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"There is a woman who wants some peace and quiet walking in the forest."

Translation:Metsässä kävelee nainen, joka haluaa olla rauhassa.

July 3, 2020



The English syntax is messed up, creating confusion. First, it would be natural to read the current version as "wants ... walking in the forest", not connecting the end to the subject in the start of the sentence. English is not Latin, so the intended reading would be posdible but not customary. Secondly, translating "is" into "kävelee" as a verb takes a lot of imagination. It might be better to rearrange the English version in a less ambiguous way.


The "is" isn't translated at all. The "kävelee" is a translation of "walking". The syntax is also fine. It's exactly as understandable as "there is a woman walking in the forest". It's only more specific about kind of woman we're talking about. This is because the "who" clearly marks the beginning of a relative clause, and the "wants" requires either an infinitive verb or a noun phrase as its object to finish the clause, and the "some peace and quiet" positioned as the object of the clause is clearly a noun phrase, therefore clearly ending the relative clause. I don't see where there could be any ambiguity.


Maybe the (relative-)sentence is clear to the author (and/or you), but to me it could mean the following (I'm clustering it, to make it more obvious):

  • {who wants some peace and quiet} {walking in the forest}, i.e. she wants to aquire the quietness while walking in the forest

  • {who wants some peace and quiet} {walking} {in the forest}, i.e. the woman wants P & Q, AND the woman is walking AND she is in the forest

  • OR (same clustering) the woman wants some P & Q in the forest (i.e. acquire it there) AND she is walking thereby.

The finnish sentence on the other hand would be clustered into: {In the forest walks a woman} {who wants some peace and quiet}, which also happens to be a perfectly fine english sentence. I don't disagree, that the originally proposed sentence bears (more or less) the same (or a similar) meaning, however, in my opinion, translations should be (if possible) more or less literal (so you don't end up with aspects that weren't there in the original text). If I retranslated the proposed english sentence, I would end up with "Nainen, joka haluaa olla rauhassa, kävelee metsässä", which is certainly not the same order as the original sentence and also bears the ambiguity of the originally proposed english translation.


Metsässä kävelee nainen, joka haluaa olla rauhassa: There is a woman walking in the forest, who wants some peace and quiet. Is this also ok?


"Metsässä on nainen joka haluaa olla rauhassa ja hiljainen kävelymatka" means "There is a woman in a/the forest who wants to be in peace (and quiet) and a quiet walk".

"Kävelymatka" is a trip that is made on foot, and "to have some peace and quiet" is a well-established and commonly used idiomatic expression that essential means "freedom from stress or interruptions". In Finnish, that can be expressed with just one noun: "olla rauhassa". You're not likely to ever a Finn say "olla rauhassa ja hiljaisuudessa" instead.


Thank you very much. I've deleted my original post because it could be misleading. But I still have concerns :-) In the Finnish sentence, The woman is walking in the forest+she wants some peace and quiet. But the English sentence is There is a woman+she wants some peace and quiet walking in the forest. Or, maybe I misundertsnd the English sentence, rather than the Finnish one?


There are some innate structural differences between English and Finnish that are causing differences in structure, but the meaning is identical. The key factor is the dummy subject, and another factor of lesser relevance but worth noting is differences in punctuation.

English does not use commas for restrictive relative clauses, but Finnish does. Therefore: "a woman who wants some peace and quiet" -> "nainen, joka haluaa olla rauhassa". At the top level of syntactic analysis, both are one unit. A noun phrase, to be more specific. In your previous post, you used a comma to create a non-restrictive clause that wasn't there.

Now to the more important factor: English uses dummy subjects but Finnish does not. If you insist on sticking to the order of the relative clauses in the English sentence, you'd have to start the translation with "nainen" because you can't translate the "there" because it's a dummy subject and Finnish doesn't have any of those. That's why the sentence would be "Nainen, joka haluaa olla rauhassa, kävelee metsässä". The problem with this is the fact that it can be a general statement, meaning that it doesn't necessarily describe a specific situation like the English sentence does. In other words, it can be translated back to English as "a woman who wants to be in peace walks in a forest", which could be interpreted as "any woman who wants to be in peace would try to achieve that by going for a walk in a forest". That would no longer be a narration of what a specific woman is doing. That's why the sentence would ideally start with something that makes it clear that we are talking about a specific situation. That's what the dummy subject does in the English sentence.

Edit: Another thing of note and perhaps of more importance and relevance is the fact that placing the woman in the beginning of the sentence also implies definiteness, meaning that it would be "the woman" in English. In the suggested translation, it is instead the forest that has the definite article in the English sentence because it begins the Finnish sentence.


I appreciate your explanation but the problem that has been mentioned in this thread several times persists: it's very confusing because the English sentence appears to have a different meaning than the Finnish one. It was the first time I met this sentence, I was given the English translation and had to pick Finnish words. I just couldn't figure out which ones to pick, and when I saw the correct solution, understood that "walking in the forest" relates to the woman, not the "wanting peace and quiet". So far, this is the most confusing sentence I've met in the course. Simply adding commas (e.g. "there is a woman, who wants some peace and quiet, walking in the forest") would solve the problem.

EDIT: Also the hover hint for "there is" shows "on" which wasn't part of the list of words to pick and doesn't help understanding that "walking" should be linked to the woman rather the "wanting peace and quiet".


Thank you very much for giving your time for replying. That's why I don't like learning Finnish from English resources but we do not have good Turkish courses to learn Finnish, yet.


if you take the finnish sentence as a start, the correct translation, in my opinion, would be:" in the forest a woman is walking, who wants peace.". Those are the words used in Finnish. why make up those extra words (there is...some..and quiet). those words are not essential in English I think and not written in Finnish.


There are a few things that are odd with "in the forest a woman is walking, who wants peace".

  • It starts with an adverbial, which isn't necessarily wrong, but it's unusual in English unless the intention is to emphasise something. Word order is not as flexible as in Finnish. When an English sentence begins with an adverbial, it is usually separated with a comma from the rest of the sentence.
  • The relative clause is separated by the verb phrase from what it's supposed to modify.
  • "Who wants peace" translates to "kuka haluaa/tahtoo rauhaa".

why make up those extra words (there is...some..and quiet).

They are not extra words. Finnish does not use dummy subjects ("muodollinen subjekti" in Finnish) but English does. The "there" at the beginning of the sentence is a dummy subject, which cannot be translated into Finnish due to the absence of that structural grammatical element in the Finnish language. The fact that the woman is in indefinite form ("a woman") as opposed to definite form ("the woman") makes the dummy subject necessary. If it were "the woman", the sentence could begin with that because a definite article would replace a dummy subject. Also "some" and "and quiet" are essential parts of the very commonly understood and used idiomatic expression "to have some peace and quiet", which translates to "olla rauhassa".


This sentence is very confusing. It twists it around from the English to the Finnish.


The English construction (of all of these types of sentences in these lessons) is really needlessly complicated. It's completely fine to say "In the forest walks a woman who wants some peace and quiet." in English. Really. It's fine. I can learn that I must leave out the "a". Requiring a complete and total reorg of essentially all translated words is just absurd. So much gymnastics to try to recreate this in Finnish - it's silly. The minute I see "There is a..." at the beginning of a sentence, I know I'm in for some red results.


Seems to me that commas could have made the English formulation unambiguous: "There is woman, who wants peace and quiet, walking in the forest". This is as awkward as the current sentence, but at least makes it clear that the desire for peace and quiet is general and is not tied to the act of walking in the forest.


Could someone please translate this word for word?


In forest walks woman who wants to be in peace.


This (i.e., "in the forest walks the woman who wants peace and quiet") is also an unambiguous formulation. Although this construct is also not exactly natural for ordinary prose, it would be a fine, and grammatically correct, piece of poetry!

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