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"pihvi, peruna ja tomaatti"

Translation:a steak, a potato, and a tomato

August 2, 2020

16 Comments


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

Random question. Does the Oxford comma debate also exist in Finnish?


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

I don't know about the debate but its usage is far less common.


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

It is far less common, because it is wrong to use it.


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

Why is the use of 'a' required?


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

Because countable singular nouns require a determiner in English, though there are some exceptions such as certain collocations and idioms.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeilDavis0

Are we actually bothered about gramatically correct English though; I want to learn Finnish not English! If the translation is correct idiomatic English then surely it should be accepted as correct. In this case I would be much more likely to say "steak, potato and tomato" in everyday usage rather than "a steak, a potato and a tomato".


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

I've heard a similar point being made on several different occasions and so far haven't been convinced of the sensibility of neglecting the source language. There is nothing to be gained from that and it introduces the risk of misunderstandings. In this particular situation, for instance, a learner could get the idea that "steak" without an article can be translated to "pihvi", but that would be wrong. If it's syntactically a subject, it would actually translate to "pihviä". This is because "steak" without an article is basically the same as "some steak" rather than "one steak".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeilDavis0

I would disagree; you are insisting on an almost artificial version of English rather than English as it is spoken. That is in itself more likely to raise confusion than accepting idiomatic English as well as a precise grammatical form of English that is never actually used outside linguistic arguments! If you have steak for lunch then it'll always be referred to as steak rather than a steak or the steak (though you might hear that if ordering at a restaurant) even if that is grammatically incorrect.


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

I feel as though we are talking past each other because I recognise that there are contexts where not using the articles makes sense. The thing is that, as I already implied, "steak, potato, and tomato" translates to "pihviä, perunaa ja tomaattia", not "pihvi, peruna ja tomaatti". Is there something about this fact that you disagree with or don't quite understand?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RichardBro462679

I get it now. The distinction is important not for any English language reason, but purely for a Finnish one - the partitive case (which English doesn't have; though French sort of does? - if that's any help).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeilDavis0

@RichardBro462679 I would agree if we were translating from English to Finnish there the correct word for articles / not articles / partitive etc. should be strictly grammatically correct. However if we're going from Finnish to English then I would say it's understanding the meaning of the the sentence that is the key issue and for that then both the idiomatic common usage versions and strictly grammatically correct versions of the meaning should both be acceptable.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeilDavis0

@KristianKumpula - as I can't respond to your response I'll put it here! Yes I understand your point I just don't agree with it. What I am saying is that a natural translation (i.e. idiomatic rather than strictly grammatically correct English) should be acceptable as that's what most people will understand and use. Translating into strict but artificial English may help some, but as a native English speaker I find it distracting and off putting to be forced to use an unusual idiom while I'm trying to learn a new language. While you are correct that "a steak, a potato and a tomato" is the strict translation it's not a sentence anyone would use and while it should be accepted the idiomatic version that native English speakers would actually use should also be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RichardBro462679

News to this English speaker


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

Don't beat yourself up over it. There were quite a few grammar related things about my native language I was wrong about or wasn't aware of before my university studies.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Erin181519

Steak can be countable and uncountable. The use of an article with the word steak shouldnät be obligatory


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

But when it's used in the uncountable sense, the Finnish equivalent is "pihviä", not "pihvi". It says "pihvi" in the source text.

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