"What is that? Milkshake or ice cream?"
Translation:Mitä tuo on? Pirtelöä vai jäätelöä?
"Mikä" is in nominative case and "mitä" is in partitive case. Nominative forms are generally reserved for subjects of a clause, whereas partitive case has a long list of possible usages. In this situation it's used because it refers to an amount of something. I recommend looking up info on the case system as a whole. It's much more time-effective than learning the applications of individual words.
Just curious about whether the -kö suffix should be used in the second sentence and if not, why not? (I know whenever we used to ask "miksi?" about a particular aspect of finnish language, our teacher would often point to a picture of Agricola and say "kysykää häneltä" or something along those lines).
(I typed a reply but my browser hung when I pressed post so apologies if you get two comments). Thanks for the clarification. I wasn't really aware of the yes/no nature of -ko/kö. I guess paljonko and montako are exceptions to the rule. Are there any other commonly used exceptions?
The -ko/-kö affix can also be used...
- ...in a way that is similar to the usage of the "if" and "whether" conjunctions, for example "en tiedä, tuleeko hän" (I don't know whether s/he'll be coming).
- ...in combination with the particle -han/-hän in a way that expresses something like "I wonder if", for example "onkohan sauna vielä lämmin" (I wonder if the sauna is warm yet/still).
- ...in combination with a negative verb and the particle -han/hän either in a way that expresses something like "I suppose", for example "eiköhän se onnistu" (I suppose I/we can get it done) or in a suggestion to do something that is similar to "why don't we", for example "eiköhän mennä tuon mokoman suon yli niin että heilahtaa" (why don't we cross that damn swamp like nobody's business). The latter example is a tuntematon sotilas reference, in case you were wondering.
Kiitoksia vastauksestasi! Really appreciate you taking the time to explain. The Tuntematon Sotilas reference was right over my head, I haven't read or watched it! In british and irish english, the "suo" that you find in Finland is more like what we call a bog (that's what Hatlamminsuo near me is anyway, like the bogs that feature in The Hound of the Baskervilles for example, but on the other hand I don't know that there are any everglades style swamps in the british isles anyway so that might colour my perception of this).
Edit - meant to edit this but you replied before I had the chance (and I couldn't initially see "reply" on your reply but it's there now) - obviously bog is just the british isles, in other parts of the world swamp is spot on and of course I understand that this is primarily made by US english users and so english is geared more to US english than other users. Although I was happy to see that bog was used for suo here.
Although I've had a translation course that went over English wetland types in quite some detail, I can never quite remember the differences off the top of my head. "Suo" can translate to quite a few of them so they're all swamps to me unless I have to translate it professionally :)
It's a verb and treated as such. If you know where to put the verb, you've got it covered already, which should be pretty simple since Finnish is an SVO (subject-verb-object) language like English. Although one of the few complicating factors is that there is no requirement for a subject-verb inversion in questions that begin with an interrogative word, unlike in English. But subject-verb inversion still does obviously happen in questions that begin with a verb instead due to the lack of an interrogative word in the clause, like in English.