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  5. "Etsivätkö koirat lintua?"

"Etsivätkö koirat lintua?"

Translation:Are the dogs searching for a bird?

July 12, 2020



This really threw me off, this example sentence!

I was thinking "Are they searching for the dog birds?" and getting so confused haha



"koirat" and "lintua" are in different cases, so they cannot have anything to do with each other (different roles in the sentence). Plus "the dog birds" would be a closed compound in Finnish, "koiralintu, koiralintuja".


Furthermore, if it was "Are they searching for dog birds", the pronoun "he" would be required.

  • 1325

Never mind. I read the explanation elsewhere.

The partitive is used here because of an ongoing actiong: The dogs are in the middle of searching for a (or the) bird.


In English "looking for" and "searching for" are used interchangeably


When does the question suffix become -kö?


Finnish has something called "vowel harmony" (vokaaliharmonia). This means that only some letters can sit next to each other in a word.

In a (super simplified) nutshell, if a word has an accented letter in it (ö or ä), then the ending will have one too: Venäjä becomes venäjää. Jäätelö becomes jäätelöä. Eivät becomes eivätkö.

Normally I'd recommend the website Uusi Kielemme, but their website has recently been hacked. Try this one out instead: http://venla.info/grammar-vowel-harmony.php


@Paluumuuttaja: Isn't it the same with y/u? In that y goes with ä/ö and u with a/o? (Dec. 2020)


Yes, that's correct: myytKÖ (do you sell) versus suututKO (do you become angry).


uh, my bad. I hunt so I put "Are you searching for a bird dog?" Which essentially is what a dog that searches for birds does lol.


It's the same in Finnish, actually. Lintukoira. :)


Would I say * etsivätkö koirat lintun?* if I wanted to say that dogs search for birds in general?


Are the dogs searching for birds? could be translated as Etsivätkö koirat lintuja?


Thank you, is that sg like a partitive prular?

What I was trying to ask really is the form of lintu if the action is not continuous. Maybe it doesn't make sense for this particular verb, but for example how would you say the dogs are chasing the birds (now) and dogs chase birds (in general)


Lintuja is partitive plural.

I believe etsiä is normally a partitive verb, and thus needs a partitive object even when not expressing the continuous aspect. Thus 'Etsin sinua joka päivä', "I look for you every day."

But with many other verbs, the simple aspect would be expressed with an accusative object. Thus 'Näen sinut joka päivä', "I see you every day."

If the object is plural and not a personal pronoun, then I think the partitive plural would be used for indefinite objects, but the accusative plural for definite objects.

Thus 'Näen lintuja joka päivä', "I see birds every day". But I believe 'Näen linnut joka päivä', "I see the birds every day."


Thank you very much. Your answers are always very helpful.

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