https://www.duolingo.com/profile/d.amagyzener

He?! She?!

Terve, dear Duolingo community! Yeah, the Finnish pronoun ´hän´ means both ´he´ and ´she´, but... How can I clearly say, e. g. ´she kissed him,´ and vice versa? That seems obscure to me. As in a situation of indirect speech, what should a narrator definitely (and naturally) say whether a woman or a man does something?

July 27, 2020

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/annika_a

what should a narrator definitely (and naturally) say whether a woman or a man does something?

Like others have said, context is usually your friend.

But just like you use woman and man in your question, you can also use the words nainen and mies (etc.) in Finnish.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Judit294350

You can't. Having the same in Hungarian it makes no difference. You get used to it.

The same happens in English - "he told him" - which he? which him? You cannot tell and you work it out by context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gregorius877608

Yeah, no clear way to do this directly.

Which is an issue that sometimes comes up with e.g. book translations where original makes the use of a specific pronoun a plot point, so it needs to be made clear...so one has to actually name the people, or use some construction like replacing "him" with "the man" or "that man".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/d.amagyzener

Oh, that's a good answer. Thanks a lot :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jileha
  • 1316

In real life, you have context. Using personal pronouns implies that the target audience knows who the speaker/writer is talking/writing about. And in a conversation, if it should be unclear, you can ask something like: what? Matti kissed Liisa?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Parsakaali3

For the question "what should a narrator definitely (and naturally) say" I would say you don't often hear people say for example "hän pussasi häntä" he/she kissed her/him. I would say the more natural way of saying this would be "he/ne pussasivat" meaning "they kissed".

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