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"There are four diamonds in the watch."

Translation:Kellossa on neljä timanttia.

July 6, 2020

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Airship86

"Rannekellossa on neljä timanttia." should be more accurate answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Juha_Metsakallas

Well, it would be but… It is a common phenomenon to drop the modifier of compound words if the context is clear.

  • kello instead of kaappikello, seinäkello, rannekello
  • talo instead of kerrostalo, rivitalo. omakotitalo

and so on


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Airship86

Yes, but rannekello was marked as a wrong answer back then even though it is more precise answer than just "kello".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Juha_Metsakallas

If you got this exercise this way, i.e. from English to Finnish, and rannekellossa was marked wrong, then plese report it.

What I was trying to say, that for instance, if mr. Pöllölä has a new watch and he is showing it to you, he most likely says just kellossa.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackie847172

"Rannekellossa" is still being marked wrong. I just reported it again.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Airship86

Yep, I have reported this. And I do know that it is common to drop out the beginning of the compound word if the context is already known as I also am a native Finnish speaker.

It just seemed weird that it was marked as wrong, but it's just a beta anyway and there's much to improve still.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raija808280

That may well be so but 'a watch' is 'rannekello' and nothing else. Period.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Juha_Metsakallas

Ah, I can't resist this opportunity to be a nitpicker…

A watch can also mean a guard, as in the famous painting The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raija808280

You're totally right, of course. But we were talking of different types of 'kello'. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kerry816867

Why is it kellossa on and not kellossa ovat


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Juha_Metsakallas

There is a clause type called existential clauses which express that something is somewhere. These clauses always have an intransitive verb as the predicate, main verb.

In English these existential clauses usually take the form "There is/are…" like here: "There are four diamonds in the watch". Remember that English has a very strict word order, the subject-verb-object (SVO) order is almost like carved in stone. In the sentence in question "four diamonds" does not denote the subject, since it comes after the verb – and since "to be" is an intransitive verb, it cannot be an object either (it is what is called predicative). The subject is the formal subject "There", which does not mean anything but is merely an indicator that here a subject should be. A quirk of English (and other Germanic languages AFAIK) is that this formal subject can denote both singular and plural and the number of the predicate is determined by the predicative.

Finnish uses more existential clauses than English and they work differently. In Finnish you begin with the place, here "Kellossa" and the last part is the subject, which can be either in the nominative or in the partitive. Note, that the partitive subject can occur only in existential clauses and only when the subject denotes some unspecified part or the verb is in the negative form(*).

  • Pöydällä on kirjoja : There are (some) books on the table.
  • Pöydällä ei ole kirjoja : There are no(t any) books on the table.

But you asked about the verb: Why is it in singular? I am not sure, but I reason this way. Finnish is very theme-rheme oriented (much more than English) which means that the topic, what you talk about, comes first and the new info comes afterwards. So when you begin Pöydällä… , the listener thinks "aha, you talk about something that is on the table". Because of that strict theme-rheme orientation something farther away cannot influence the choice of verb, so we opt for the singular form, and continue with …on… and end the sentence with the subject …kirjoja, so you have Pöydällä on kirjoja.

Of course here in this exercise the numerial expression changes things, there is now a specified subject, therefore neljä (sg. nom.) instead of neljää (sg. part.). Remember that other numbers than one are followed by the main word in sg. part. (timanttia).

So this exercise is a clever combination of an existential clause with a numerical expression.

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