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  5. "Is that Estonian or Finnish?"

"Is that Estonian or Finnish?"

Translation:Onko tuo viroa vai suomea?

July 6, 2020

11 Comments


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

Why viroa and suomea, and not just viro or suomi?


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

Because the speaker is probably not referring to the languages as a whole.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TimK77777

The speaker may or may not refer to the languages as a whole, so both variants should be accepted.


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

I'm not even sure what that context could look like. Maybe a huge opera house packed full of people saying every word in Finnish/Estonian simultaneously? In any case, it seems like an extremely unlikely situation. I can't imagine how one could point to a language in its entirety because it's abstract and massive.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TimK77777

Suppose they are looking at a language tree and a couple of branches under “Finno-Ugric” are not marked very well, so pointing to one of these they ask this question. Since the branch woukd represent the language in its entirety I would suppose nominative should be used.


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

Yes, that would make sense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tinh1000000

Uncountable nouns take on the partitive form, in this case.


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

What are the rules on when to use "vai" or "tai"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Talvi4

KarenAntti - vai is or (eg hot or cold) and tai is and/or (eg milk and/or sugar).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Francois392425

Place -> language (partitive)

Viro -> viroa

Eesti (sometimes used) -> eestia?

EDIT: thanks for the vowel harmony which I had forgotten. But I will rephrase my question:

Talking about the Estonian language, is "eestiä" correct like viroa is?

I never heard it, but since Viro is sometimes also referred to as "Eesti", I wondered if the language itself could also change the same way in the partitive form (viro/viroa, eesti/eestiä). Vowel harmony on.


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

The partitive singular of eesti is eestiä. It's because of something called vowel harmony which separates Finnish vowels into three groups:

  • back vowels A, O, U
  • front vowels Y, Ä, Ö
  • neutral (front) vowels E I

Front vowels and back vowels cannot appear in the same word. This also applies to case endings. :)

  • If a word has one or more back vowels (A, O, U) in it, it gets the ending with a back vowel in the partitive singular: A viro + a = viroa (Estonian language)
  • If a word has one or more front vowels (Y, Ä, Ö) in it, it gets the ending with a front vowel in the partitive singular: Ä kymri + ä = kymriä (Welsh language)
  • If a word has one only neutral vowels (E ,I) in it, it gets the ending with a front vowel in the partitive singular: Ä eesti +ä = eestiä (Estonian language)
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