Languages

Finnish

Fact corner

Introduction

Finnish (suomi, or suomen kieli) is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland (91.7%) and by ethnic Finns outside of Finland. It is one of the official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden and Norway. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a Finnish dialect, are spoken. The Finnish dialect Kven is spoken in Norway.

Finnish is a member of the Uralic language family and is typologically between inflected and agglutinative languages. It modifies and inflects the forms of nouns, adjectives, pronouns, numerals and verbs, depending on their roles in the sentence.

The Verb

Verbs gain personal suffixes for each person; these suffixes are grammatically more important than pronouns, which are often not used at all in standard Finnish. There are four persons, first ("I, we"), second ("you, you"), third ("s/he, they") and indefinite (often called impersonal or "passive", similar to e.g. English "people say/do/…"). There are four tenses, namely present, past, perfect and pluperfect; the system mirrors the Germanic system. The future tense is not needed due to context and the telic contrast. For example, luen kirjan "I read a book (completely)" indicates a future, when luen kirjaa "I read a book (not yet complete)" indicates present.

The Negative Verb

The negative in Finnish is actually another verb form, although this one doesn't change for tense or mood. Each grammatical person, singular and plural, has its own form.

PersonSingularPlural
1stenemme
2ndetette
3rdeieivät

Conjugation groups of Finnish verbs

Finnish verbs can be divided into following groups according to the verbal ending:

  1. Verbs ending in 2 vowels (vowel + a/ä)
  2. Verbs ending in -da/-d
  3. Verbs ending in -la/-lä, -na/nä or -sta/-stä
  4. Verbs ending in -ata/-ätä, -ota/-ötä or -uta/-ytä
  5. Verbs ending in -ita/-itä
  6. Verbs ending in -eta/-etä

Verbs with changes between weak and strong grade

There are almost no irregular verbs in Finnish. However, the change between strong and weak grade of inflected verb forms might appear as irregularities for students of the Finnish language.

The change between weak and strong grade occurs in between 2nd and 3rd syllable from the end of the verb.

Group A

Only verbs belonging to the 1st conjugation can have this kind of change of weak/strong forms. The change occurs in indicative present and imperfect in all forms but the 3rd persons.

strongweakexample
kkkhaukkua
pppleppyä
ttttuottaa
kØhakea
pvsopia
tdhoitaa
nkngtunkea
mpmmampua
ltllsuoltaa
ntnnjuontaa
rtrrnakertaa
lkeljepolkea
rkerjesärkeä

Group B

Verbs belonging to the 3rd (ending in -lla/-llä), 4th and 6th conjugation can have this change. The change takes place in the 3rd persons in indicative present and imperfect.

strongweakexampleConjugation
kkklakata4
pppnapata4
tttajatella3
Øktaata4
vpkaveta6
dtmadella3
ngnkkangeta6
mmmpkammata4
llltvallata4
nnntkannella3
rrrtkerrata4
ljelkerohjeta6
rjerketarjeta6

Irregular verbs

There are some verbs that don't follow the verb patterns described above. Here are some of them:

Irregularities in Present

Irregularities in Imperfect

See also

External links

References

Verb Wiki

Verbix Website

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