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Finnish Partitive Sing. and Plu.

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Phantom Kat
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Speaks: Spanish*, English
Studies: Finnish

 
 Message 1 of 6
01 June 2011 at 5:06am | IP Logged 
So today at school I was reviewing some of my Finnish grammar book, and I looked over the Partitive Singular and Plural. There was something I came across that confused me and was hoping someone might clarify for me.

In the Partitive Singular, one of the instances you use it is, "When negating the existence of something." They give the example:

Kaupungissa ei ole teatteria. (There is no theater in the town.)

However, in the Partitive Plural section, one instance they give is, "When talking about things which are not there or are not possessed." They give these examples:

Minulla ei ole koiria. (I don't have dogs.)
Pöydällä ei ole laseja. (There aren't any glasses on the table.)

My question is: what's the difference between the two? As far as I can tell it's not about whether a noun is countable or not. Also, it doesn't seem to matter what is not possessing the object (a town, a table). Is there something else that differentiates the two, or is it possible to use them interchangeably?

- Kat

Edited by Phantom Kat on 01 June 2011 at 5:08am



Chung
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 Message 2 of 6
01 June 2011 at 5:36am | IP Logged 
Phantom Kat wrote:
So today at school I was reviewing some of my Finnish grammar book, and I looked over the Partitive Singular and Plural. There was something I came across that confused me and was hoping someone might clarify for me.

In the Partitive Singular, one of the instances you use it is, "When negating the existence of something." They give the example:

Kaupungissa ei ole teatteria. (There is no theater in the town.)

However, in the Partitive Plural section, one instance they give is, "When talking about things which are not there or are not possessed." They give these examples:

Minulla ei ole koiria. (I don't have dogs.)
Pöydällä ei ole laseja. (There aren't any glasses on the table.)

My question is: what's the difference between the two? As far as I can tell it's not about whether a noun is countable or not. Also, it doesn't seem to matter what is not possessing the object (a town, a table). Is there something else that differentiates the two, or is it possible to use them interchangeably?

- Kat


In this instance the difference is that partitive singular is being used to refer to one object (countable or not) that is lacking or missing, whereas partitive plural is being used to refer to two or more objects (of defined quantity or not) that are missing or lacking.

You can't use partitive singular and partitive plural interchangeably since one refers to one object, and the other refers to more than one object. To put it another way you do use partitive but you take an added step of of differentiating whether we're dealing with singular or plural.

'Minulla ei ole koiraa' and 'Kaupungissa ei ole teatteria' are how you express "I don't have a dog" and "There is no theater in the city" respectively.

'Minulla ei ole koiria' and 'Kaupungissa ei ole teattereja' are how you express "I don't have dogs" (but perhaps I have just ONE) and "There are no theaters in the city" (but perhaps there is just ONE) respectively.

Edited by Chung on 01 June 2011 at 2:52pm

4 persons have voted this message useful



Phantom Kat
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160 posts - 93 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, English
Studies: Finnish

 
 Message 3 of 6
01 June 2011 at 5:50am | IP Logged 
Chung wrote:
Phantom Kat wrote:
So today at school I was reviewing some of my Finnish grammar book, and I looked over the Partitive Singular and Plural. There was something I came across that confused me and was hoping someone might clarify for me.

In the Partitive Singular, one of the instances you use it is, "When negating the existence of something." They give the example:

Kaupungissa ei ole teatteria. (There is no theater in the town.)

However, in the Partitive Plural section, one instance they give is, "When talking about things which are not there or are not possessed." They give these examples:

Minulla ei ole koiria. (I don't have dogs.)
Pöydällä ei ole laseja. (There aren't any glasses on the table.)

My question is: what's the difference between the two? As far as I can tell it's not about whether a noun is countable or not. Also, it doesn't seem to matter what is not possessing the object (a town, a table). Is there something else that differentiates the two, or is it possible to use them interchangeably?

- Kat


In this instance the difference is that partitive singular is being used to refer to one object (countable or not) that is lacking or missing, whereas partitive plural is being used to refer to two or more objects (of defined quantity or not) that are missing or lacking.

You can't use partitive singular and partitive plural interchangeably since one refers to one object, and the other refers to more than one object. To put it another way you do use partitive but you take an added step of of differentiating whether we're dealing with singular or plural.

'Minulla ei ole koira' and 'Kaupungissa ei ole teatteria' are how you express "I don't have a dog" and "There is no theater in the city" respectively.

'Minulla ei ole koiria' and 'Kaupungissa ei ole teattereja' are how you express "I don't have dogs" (but perhaps I have just ONE) and "There are no theaters in the city" (but perhaps there is just ONE) respectively.


Oh, okay. That clears things up! I tend to over-analyze things sometimes, and I would have missed the fact that one may refer to one object and another one to multiple if you hadn't pointed it out to me. Thanks for the really helpful explanation. (I'll be sure to mark these notes on my book for future reference.)

- Kat



chirel
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 Message 4 of 6
01 June 2011 at 12:13pm | IP Logged 
Chung wrote:

In this instance the difference is that partitive singular is being used to refer to one object (countable or not) that
is lacking or missing, whereas partitive plural is being used to refer to two or more objects (of defined quantity or
not) that are missing or lacking.


Yes, that's correct.
Chung wrote:

You can't use partitive singular and partitive plural interchangeably since one refers to one object, and the other
refers to more than one object. To put it another way you do use partitive but you take an added step of of
differentiating whether we're dealing with singular or plural.


Again, correct.

Chung wrote:

'Minulla ei ole koira' and 'Kaupungissa ei ole teatteria' are how you express "I don't have a dog" and "There is no
theater in the city" respectively.


'Minulla ei ole koiraa' is the correct form.

Chung wrote:

'Minulla ei ole koiria' and 'Kaupungissa ei ole teattereja' are how you express "I don't have dogs" (but perhaps I
have just ONE) and "There are no theaters in the city" (but perhaps there is just ONE) respectively.


('Kaupungissa ei ole teattereita' is the corrct plural partitive.)

Now this is what I disagree with. The negation also negates the possibility of that one theater or dog. The
difference is that whit singular you could just state a simple fact that you don't have a dog: 'Minulla ei ole koiraa'
or that there's no theater in the town. You don't need anything to preceed the phrase.

With plural you are corrcting or contradicting something or insisting on a fact. Statement: 'Sinulla on koiria' reply:
'Minulla ei ole koiria'.

Both of the plural examples actually sound a bit funny and out of context. I couldn't find anything on how to use
plural partitive, but on a hunch I'd say, just stick with singular whenever you are in doubt. The pural partitive
sounds natural to me only with plural tantum words (words that refer to singular objects but are in plural, or
words that refer to a group of objects that is regarded as a unit). Like 'avaimet' (the set of keys one has with him)
--> 'Minulla ei ole avaimia!' Or 'housut' (trousers) 'Minulla ei ole housuja'.



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 4536 days ago

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Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 5 of 6
01 June 2011 at 2:53pm | IP Logged 
chirel wrote:
Chung wrote:

In this instance the difference is that partitive singular is being used to refer to one object (countable or not) that
is lacking or missing, whereas partitive plural is being used to refer to two or more objects (of defined quantity or
not) that are missing or lacking.


Yes, that's correct.
Chung wrote:

You can't use partitive singular and partitive plural interchangeably since one refers to one object, and the other
refers to more than one object. To put it another way you do use partitive but you take an added step of of
differentiating whether we're dealing with singular or plural.


Again, correct.

Chung wrote:

'Minulla ei ole koira' and 'Kaupungissa ei ole teatteria' are how you express "I don't have a dog" and "There is no
theater in the city" respectively.


'Minulla ei ole koiraa' is the correct form.

Chung wrote:

'Minulla ei ole koiria' and 'Kaupungissa ei ole teattereja' are how you express "I don't have dogs" (but perhaps I
have just ONE) and "There are no theaters in the city" (but perhaps there is just ONE) respectively.


('Kaupungissa ei ole teattereita' is the corrct plural partitive.)

Now this is what I disagree with. The negation also negates the possibility of that one theater or dog. The
difference is that whit singular you could just state a simple fact that you don't have a dog: 'Minulla ei ole koiraa'
or that there's no theater in the town. You don't need anything to preceed the phrase.

With plural you are corrcting or contradicting something or insisting on a fact. Statement: 'Sinulla on koiria' reply:
'Minulla ei ole koiria'.

Both of the plural examples actually sound a bit funny and out of context. I couldn't find anything on how to use
plural partitive, but on a hunch I'd say, just stick with singular whenever you are in doubt. The pural partitive
sounds natural to me only with plural tantum words (words that refer to singular objects but are in plural, or
words that refer to a group of objects that is regarded as a unit). Like 'avaimet' (the set of keys one has with him)
--> 'Minulla ei ole avaimia!' Or 'housut' (trousers) 'Minulla ei ole housuja'.


Thanks for the correction to "koiraa".

Now that I see your comment, it does sound a bit weird but it doesn't seem that weird since when I hear "minulla ei ole koiria", I do understand it as "I don't have (the) dogs" and so distinguish it from just "minulla ei ole koiraa". However I freely admit that I don't have a native speaker's intuition.



Phantom Kat
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2443 days ago

160 posts - 93 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, English
Studies: Finnish

 
 Message 6 of 6
07 June 2011 at 12:58am | IP Logged 
chirel wrote:
Chung wrote:

In this instance the difference is that partitive singular is being used to refer to one object (countable or not) that
is lacking or missing, whereas partitive plural is being used to refer to two or more objects (of defined quantity or
not) that are missing or lacking.


Yes, that's correct.
Chung wrote:

You can't use partitive singular and partitive plural interchangeably since one refers to one object, and the other
refers to more than one object. To put it another way you do use partitive but you take an added step of of
differentiating whether we're dealing with singular or plural.


Again, correct.

Chung wrote:

'Minulla ei ole koira' and 'Kaupungissa ei ole teatteria' are how you express "I don't have a dog" and "There is no
theater in the city" respectively.


'Minulla ei ole koiraa' is the correct form.

Chung wrote:

'Minulla ei ole koiria' and 'Kaupungissa ei ole teattereja' are how you express "I don't have dogs" (but perhaps I
have just ONE) and "There are no theaters in the city" (but perhaps there is just ONE) respectively.


('Kaupungissa ei ole teattereita' is the corrct plural partitive.)

Now this is what I disagree with. The negation also negates the possibility of that one theater or dog. The
difference is that whit singular you could just state a simple fact that you don't have a dog: 'Minulla ei ole koiraa'
or that there's no theater in the town. You don't need anything to preceed the phrase.

With plural you are corrcting or contradicting something or insisting on a fact. Statement: 'Sinulla on koiria' reply:
'Minulla ei ole koiria'.

Both of the plural examples actually sound a bit funny and out of context. I couldn't find anything on how to use
plural partitive, but on a hunch I'd say, just stick with singular whenever you are in doubt. The pural partitive
sounds natural to me only with plural tantum words (words that refer to singular objects but are in plural, or
words that refer to a group of objects that is regarded as a unit). Like 'avaimet' (the set of keys one has with him)
--> 'Minulla ei ole avaimia!' Or 'housut' (trousers) 'Minulla ei ole housuja'.


Mhmmm, okay. I'll make a note of that: singular is more of when you're making a statement while the plural sounds more natural when you're contradicting something that has been said. The plural sounds better when used with pair words (keys, glasses, etc.). Thanks for the help!

- Kat



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