Translation:A coffee?

July 7, 2020



So... you can add -ko to nouns as well to make questions? Is this common? I have some limited exposure to Finnish from previous attempts at learning the language and I don't remember ever seeing this. More to the point, how would you translate this example? Is the person offering someone else coffee? Are they asking if the shop sells coffee? Both or neither?


Yes, the -ko/kö ending makes it a question. Correct me if I'm wrong, but a yes-or-no question in particular.

Personally I'd use "Kahviko?" in cases like: "What is that smell? Coffee?" "What was your order again? Coffee?" "What's the next ingredient? Coffee?"

I'm guessing that in this case, the closest translation would be "Coffee, yes?" or "Coffee, is it?"


Great explanation and examples, kiitos!


As in, do you want/shall we have a coffee?? I'd love some context for this, kiitos!

  • "Mitä saisi olla? (Kuppi) kahvia?" = "What would you like to have? (A cup of) coffee?
  • "Mitä saisi olla? Kahvi?" = "What would you like to have? A cup of coffee?
  • "Mikä auttaisi heräämään aamulla? Kahviko?" = "What would help with waking up in the morning? Coffee?"


And how to distinguish between 'mitä' and 'mikä'?


"Mikä" is nominative singular and "mitä" is partitive singular.


Is there no rising intonation for questions in Finnish? Thank you!


Nope. Intonation tends to be more consistent in Finnish than in most other languages. When intonation rises in Finnish, it's usually for the purpose of expressing some emotion or attitude.


Please tell me in what world a native English speaker would ask someone "a coffee"? This should be something like "Would you like some coffee?" or "Would you care for a cup of coffee?" There are several ways to translate this but "a coffee?" is not one of them that would be heard in the English-speaking world.


I can think of loads of scenarios where one might ask 'a coffee?'.

At any rate, I think the point of the exercise is to demonstrate how even nouns can form questions using the -ko ending.


"Kahviko?" is also not a way in which someone would ask in Finnish whether someone would like to have coffee. Using just one word to ask that would be either "Kahvi?" or "Kahvia?", but even that seems uncommon.


"A coffee" is used when ordering in a restaurant. As in: "Would you like a coffee?" Or "I'll have a coffee, please"


As a native English speaker and coffee fiend, I hear this phrase frequently. It is usually a subordinate clause. Example: What are you having today, a coffee? Also, a waitress at my usual breakfast spot might look at me and simply say, "A coffee? "


"A coffee?" does sound a bit odd. Not impossible though. In the US and Canada the most economical and usual way to say it would be "Coffee?".


Sounds interesting.

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