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  5. "Mitä soitinta sinä haluaisit…

"Mitä soitinta sinä haluaisit soittaa?"

Translation:Which instrument would you like to play?

July 10, 2020


[deactivated user]

    Haluaisin is would like to, haluan is want to


    I might suggest "Which instrument..."


    What makes it soitinta and not soitin?


    The fact that it's the object of the clause.


    Sorry, that doesn't help. Is there a previous example on the course? A particular module where this is explained? I'm drawing a blank, here, for some reason.


    Are you familiar with the concept of a grammatical object? As it says in the tips section of Home 2, "If something is the focus of your actions, it’s called an object". Inflecting a word into the form of an object is something that should already come naturally to you, even though you may not be aware of it. This is because the forms of English personal pronouns are influenced by whether they are subjects or objects. A male referent who is the subject of a clause would be referred in third person with "he", whereas a male referent as an object would be referred to in third person with "him". So if you're not sure whether something is an object, you could try replacing it with an English personal pronoun. "Would you like to play him?" sounds less weird than "Would you like to play he?", so that tells us that "instrument" is an object in this sentence. But keep in mind that what is an indirect object (usually a recipient of something) in English is actually an adverbial in Finnish, and that the object of an English ownership clause is actually the subject in its Finnish translation (and the Finnish translation of the subject is an adverbial).

    In Finnish, inflecting things into forms that are used for objects goes beyond personal pronouns, since Finnish cases are applied nouns, adjectives, numerals and all types of pronouns. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as applying partitive case to all objects. This is because the case of an object depends on whether it's a partial object or a total object. Partitive case is applied to partial objects and accusative case is applied to total objects. And to make matters unnecessarily complicated, accusative case can assume three different forms; one is identical to nominative case (which some call "nominative-accusative case"), another is identical to genitive case (which some call "genitive-accusative case"), and the third one is a -t ending, which is applied to personal pronouns.

    A partial object is one that is the target of an incomplete action. Playing an instrument is inherently an incomplete action since it doesn't have state of completion, and thus "soittaa" prompts partitive case for its object. An example of a verb that can have a total object would be "rakentaa" (to build) if the action is not ongoing.

    Genitive-accusative case is used in clauses that have a subject, except in clauses that express necessity, whereas nominative-accusative is used in clauses that don't have a subject and additionally in clauses that express necessity. Clauses that have an object but no subject are clauses with an imperative verb (a direct command) or a passive verb (the form used when the doer of the action is unspecified). An example of the former would be "Rakenna talo", meaning "Build a house". An example of the latter would be "Talo rakennettiin", meaning "The house was built". An example of a clause expressing necessity would be "Minun täytyy rakentaa talo", meaning "I have to build a house". Applying accusative case to personal pronouns is simpler because they always get a -t ending.


    Thank you very much for your efforts, but I've read it several times over and I'm no clearer regarding the rule that turns "soitin" to "soitinta". Your terms are a big step up from those with which I'm familiar.

    Eons ago, I got top exam marks for English Language (my own language), French, Spanish and Italian, though scraped a pass in German. But these days I can just about work out what's a noun and what's a verb, and not much more. I wouldn't know an adverbial or a genitive-accusative case if I fell over them. At school, the more 'technical' linguistic / grammatical terms were not widely taught (not like now), so I'm absolutely floundering, here. Passage of time & forgetting is a contributing problem, no doubt! Then Finnish partitive comes along and ... well ... it's a journey! After this course I hope to continue with book-studying, and hopefully will pick up more grammar knowledge / refresh old knowledge as I go.

    Meanwhile, basically, soitin becomes soitinta and I can't work out why / in what circumstance the difference occurs. The rest of the sentence I get.

    I recall recently being confused regarding lämmin vs. lämmintä (Termarissa on lämmintä keittoa.). Are both these changes - lämmin to lämmintä; soitin to soitinta - for the same reason? If so, how do I spot when I need to make that change ... in basic, practical terms?

    Thanks also for referring me to the Home 2 Tips Sheet - fantastically helpful to re-read this now I've had more experience with learning Finnish and things are gradually sinking in & consolidating :)


    In that case, I would recommend at least learning about some of the most basic and common linguistic terminology regarding grammar before trying to do a deep dive into the logic behind Finnish grammar. They are tools that provide massively useful shortcuts for grasping the logic behind grammatical forms and structures. As someone who also had difficulty with this sort of stuff until I went back to school after being burned out by an unfulfilling work life, I can tell you that it's more intuitive than it seems once you get the gist. All you really need is motivation and a bit of patience.

    Arguably the most important concept when it comes the things I laid out in my previous post (and also important to the basics of grammar in general) is the concept of clause elements. If you start with the sentence as the largest unit of observation used in the structural analysis of an utterance or a text, then clauses, which are divisible into clause elements (e.g. a subject) are the are the first step down from that, which are then followed by phrases (e.g. a noun phrase), which in turn are followed by word classes (e.g. a noun). Clause elements can include slightly different sets of concepts depending on what language you're analysing. In the context of English grammar, the list of clause elements are subject, verb, direct object, indirect object, subject predicative, object predicative, and adverbial. In Finnish, you'll be dealing with the same concepts except when it comes to objects. This is because indirect objects do not exist in Finnish, as their Finnish equivalents function as adverbials. Additionally, the concepts of partial object and total object do not exist in English because English doesn't have partitive and accusative cases, with both acting as the cases used for objects (nor does English have cases in general, except when it comes to small traces of them in pronouns), so in Finnish grammar, the concepts of direct objects and indirect objects are replaced by partial objects and total objects.

    If you wish, you could start with figuring out and learning how to recognise examples of the above bolded terms, and then coming back to what I've written in my previous post. Then it should be much clearer, and further structural analysis of Finnish or any other language should also take much less effort. When you figure out how to recognise objects, for instance, you should pretty quickly understand why "soitin" turns into "soitinta" here on the basis of what I wrote. In short, an object is the target of an action, usually performed by a subject, but a subject is not always necessary (and it's less necessary in Finnish than in English). Since the instrument is the target of the action of playing, it is an object. More specifically, it's a partial object and thus requires partitive case.

    As to why that noun phrase in the other sentence uses the partitive singular form "lämmintä keittoa" as opposed to the nominative singular form "lämmin keitto", it's because "keitto" is usually treated as an uncountable noun, just as "soup" is in English. An uncountable noun is one that can't easily be divided into separate units. In other words, you would be more likely to refer to some soup rather than one soup. One of the various functions of partitive case is that it expresses the existence of some of something as opposed to one of something.


    Have since done some review lessons and it's finally clicked that this was the Partitive! That's all I needed to know. I hadn't recognised it, having become so used to those words ending in a double vowel ... had completely forgotten about, e.g., "Meillä ei ole tulostinta." (tulostin to tulostinta) Useful to know / rediscover the -ta version of partitive. Kiitos paljon!


    I think the correct the translation should be "what instrument would you like to play"


    It's a correct alternative but not the only correct translation. The difference between "what instrument" and "which instrument" is that the latter refers to a limited selection of instruments. "Mitä" works for both except when the selection has been limited to no more than two options. In that case, the word "kumpaa" would be used instead.

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