1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Finnish
  4. >
  5. "Poika ja valkoinen koira ova…

"Poika ja valkoinen koira ovat kuussa."

Translation:The boy and the white dog are on the moon.

July 8, 2020



I'm French and it's my American wife who got the Tintin reference.

My excuse: Tintin is from Belgium ;)


Isn't "kuussa" "in the moon", and "kuulla" "on the moon"?


Some things are bound to be different from what seems logical simply because that is how languages work. A particular way of saying something becomes engrained as a habit and it is simply idiomatic use. For example in English we say “on the bus” when “in the bus” would actually seem more logical. We say “on a farm” but “in the country”. We are interested “in” things instead of “about” them. It shouldn’t be surprising that Finnish does this too. Pay attention to the things that seem surprising. A pattern may emerge (e.g. we tend to say “on” with vehicles that are large enough to walk around inside of, “in a car”, “in a (row) boat”, “on a (big) boat” etc.) but also just be prepared to accept exceptions and odd phrases like kotona which looks more as if it should literally mean “as a home” than “at home” in modern Finnish. (-na is an old locative ending and koto is an old synonym of koti.)


I suspect it's the same reasoning as "maassa" meaning "on the ground"


Given that there is a saying about the man in the moon, 'in' should have been accepted as well as 'on' (I've read that Tintin book often, but didn't register it in this instance - a bit obscure for a Duolingo lesson!)


Hi Bryony, Tintin was on the moon (or so the story goes)

Learn Finnish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.