1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Finnish
  4. >
  5. "I hope that I am not disturb…

"I hope that I am not disturbing?"

Translation:En kai minä vaan häiritse?

July 28, 2020

26 Comments


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

Could someone help me understand the sentence literally?


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

This is something you would say at the door of someone's office, to get their attention and check whether they are in the middle of something.

En = I do not

Kai = maybe, perhaps, hopefully (in this context)

Vaan = just (no specific meaning, just "softening" the whole question)

Häiritä = to disturb


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

elsewhere "kai" has been used to mean "I guess" is that correct?


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

Yup, it depends on the context.


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

Does minä have to be in the sentence here? Or should "en kai vaan häiritse" be correct too?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Esther953313

i'm wondering the same, can someone give a definitive answer? :)


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

It's not necessary. :)


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

Clearly this is a saying that needs to be learnt, but the English needs something after disturbing, as it is incomplete, for example you, them etc.


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

Varaloba is correct. The English verb disturb is always transitive. If the object is unspecified, you can use "anyone".


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

I agree. The meaning of the intransitive verb "to disturb" is not the same is the transitive one.

You could argue that the context implies the transitive verb, but I think that would be slang usage. Some native English speakers might possibly omit the object as in the example sentence (because the intended meaning can be deduced from the context), but it isn't common "correct" English.


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

I also agree. As a native English speaker, I first read this and started wondering if Duo was filming a horror movie or something. Maybe "interrupting" would be better?


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

I don't understand the ending on "häiritse"? This looks like a verb form that I am not familiar with. Specifically, what function does the "-tse" serve?


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

I know I keep going on about it, but Wiktionary really is wonderful: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/h%C3%A4iritse. As you can see if you click through to häiritä, and then open the conjugation table, you see that the indicate present has two forms for every person: For example, for minä, you have häiritsen for the positive and en häiritse for the negative.


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

Thanks, but so far as I can tell that doesn't really answer my question. The conjugation for "häiritä" looks to this non-native speaker like it should be more like "häiritän, häirität, häiritää", etc. Yet we have this "-tse" thrown in and I don't quite understand why. Is it just part of the verb formation, or does it serve some other purpose? Maybe it's not a conjugation, but still carries some meaning of some sort? Or did carry meaning, in the dim and distant past?


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

Oh, that, that's just the normal conjugation for this verb type. See https://uusikielemme.fi/finnish-grammar/consonant-gradation/the-finnish-verbtypes#VT5. You can't always follow the rules of the more common verb types.


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

Interesting. So I see one of two possibilities:

1) "-tse" was an affix in older versions of the language and its meaning was lost or subsumed over the centuries into the verb type itself;

2) "-ta/-tä" changed into "-tse" for some phonetic reason which may have also been lost and forgotten over the centuries. Maybe it was already being pronounced partially this way and at some point it got formalized into the writing system?

At any rate, I guess it doesn't matter; I just have to memorize it... :)


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

I dunno -- different verbs can also just evolve independently from each other. I don't see why one has to come from the other.


[deactivated user]

    I tried "Toivon, että minä en häiritse." Is that too literal?


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

    A more natural Finnish sentence would be "Toivottavasti en häiritse" = Hopefully I'm not disturbing.

    "Toivon" is maybe a bit stronger a more passionate and personal than its literal translation "I hope", whereas this sentence is really a bit more formulaic and more of an opening to the actual thing you want to say.


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

    The English sentence "I hope that I am not disturbing" is a statement, not a question.


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

    Yes, but it is an implied question, with hopefully a raised intonation at the end. The purist in me doesn't like the question mark either, but the Finnish sentence is certainly a(n implied, albeit not a grammatical) question, and Duolingo can't handle non-matching punctuation (in the system, it doesn't care about the punctuation users use).


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

    It should be "vain", not "vaan". A common mistake among native finnish speakers.


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

    It's not so much a mistake as an alternative, colloquial form: https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/vain#Finnish, https://www.kielitohtori.fi/suomen-kielenhuollon-kysymys/mit%C3%A4-eroa-sanoilla-vain-ja-vaan. This sentence is not something you would write in a formal text. I added the option of vain anyway, but it will take a while before it shows up.


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

    "En kai vaan häiritse?" almost looks like "I don't guess/hope but only am I disturbing?" I think we should toss this phrase if it is very seldom in use, and try to learn a more useful phrase. Esimerkiksi :

    Olemme pahoillamme, jos häiritsemme teitä

    We are sorry if we are disturbing you


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pavel199584

    Mistake! Its not hope, its I guess. Kai..


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

    Nope, not a mistake. In this context, hope is a normal word choice in English and kai a normal word choice in Finnish.

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