"Is that dark bread soft?"
Translation:Onko tuo tumma leipä pehmeää?
I can't give you "official" answer, but I think that "leipä pehmeä" should be accepted (in addition to the suggested "leipä pehmeää").
If we split this to pieces. Leipä means (one) bread (countable) whereas leipää means (some amount of) bread (uncountable). In this sentence I understand we have only one bread, therefore "leipä" should be used.
If we say "onko tuo tumma leipä pehmeä", i would understand that the whole bread is soft (comparing to other hard or soft objects).
If we say "onko tuo tumma leipä pehmeää", I would understand that it is soft type of bread, comparing to other types of bread.
Without context it is unnecessarily hard to different these two and therefore I would vote to accept both.
To confuse you more, it is valid to ask "onko tuo tummaa pehmeää leipää", which would imply you have a piece of bread and you want to know if it is dark soft bread (uncountable).
I also think that "Onko tuo tumma leipä pehmeä?" applies more to the outside surface of the bread, for some reason. Like if you were to touch the bread, lay your head on the bread etc. it would feel soft.
"Onko tuo tumma leipä pehmeää?" sounds then, to me, like you are talking about whether the inside of the bread is soft, if it would be soft to eat etc. :D
Yes! Because you can't eat the whole bread with a single bite. Only a part of it. So when you use the nominative, you're talking about how bready the breadness of the bread is, the qualities of the bread as an independent, existing thing. If you use the partitive, the focus is on what it's like to eat that bread. :)
So is it correct to translate these two variants into english : "is that dark bread soft?" (pehmeä) ; and "is that dark soft bread?" (pehmeää)
I think we are talking about complex nuances here and it is hard to give a short yes/no answer (especially when I'm not so good in English).
"Is that dark bread soft" sounds me that you have one bread (countable) that is soft, then you can translate it to "onko tuo tumma leipä pehmeä".
"Is that dark soft bread" sounds to me that you have unidentified object that you guess is one bread (countable). Then you could say "onko tuo tumma pehmeä leipä".
If you mean that "is that dark soft bread" refers to uncountable bread, then you can say "onko tuo tummaa pehmeää leipää".
So it depends on the context
Ok thank you helps me, there is no avoiding the countable question. What I did accidentally I think was to borrow a concept from Irish where the significant thing is whether the adjective is establishing the identity of the subject or merely adding a quality to it; not really surprising that that is unhelpful. Thanks.
I realized another thing that might be confusing the OP: agreement. You feel like "pehmeää" is tightly connected to "leipä" like "pehmeä leipä" because they are next to each other. However, they are not that close. They are actually separate. If this was a statement instead of a question, it would be "Tuo tumma leipä on pehmeää." They are next to each other just because "on" was moved to the beginning to function as the question word, "onko."
Yes! The adjective is not modifying the noun here, it's a complement to it. Uusikielemme.fi explains it well, as always: https://uusikielemme.fi/finnish-grammar/grammatical-cases/the-complement-predikatiivi.
I don't know exactly why but when you have a word like leipää, kahvia, maitoa, a colloquial word you use the adjective in that form, "tämä kahvi on kuumaa", "tuo leipä on pehmeää", or "maito on kylmää"... and so on. If you have a countable word like pulla or makkara, then can you say "tämä pulla on liian kuuma" but usually you say "tämä on liian kuumaa". The person who is better in grammatics please, explain it! :D
I think it's that when you refer to the bread as one single unit (one loaf if bread, for instance), you use "pehmeä" whereas if "leipä" is used as a mass noun, it's "pehmeää".
"Tämä leipä on pehmeä" - this whole bread, entirely, including the crust, is soft to the touch
"Tämä leipä on pehmeää" - this bread (mass noun) is soft (in general), the bread matter feels soft in your mouth when you eat it