Saturday, December 8, 2012

Words ending with 'nen'

Just like Finnish has verb types, we also have noun types. That matters when you have to add an ending after a word, because sometimes the word stems change. This post is about nouns that end with nen. I'd say that these are the four important noun forms that are worth memorizing by heart:

  • nominative suomalainen: Minä olen suomalainen. - I am Finnish.
  • genitive suomalaisen: Tänään on suomalaisen musiikin päivä. - Today (8.12.) is the Finnish music's day, the day of Finnish music.
  • partitive suomalaista: Älä pakota minua kuuntelemaan suomalaista musiikkia. - Don't force me to listen to Finnish music. 
  • plural partitive suomalaisia: Onko sinulla suomalaisia kavereita? - Do you have Finnish friends? 

Once you know the genitive, just drop the n and add the ending you need.

  • essive: Pidätkö itseäsi suomalaisena? - Do you consider yourself Finnish?
  • elative: Tykkäätkö suomalaisesta ruoasta? - Do you like Finnish food? 

(However, partitive is always suomalaista, which is confusingly close to suomalaisesta.)

With plural, you also have to put an i between the word stem and the ending. Sometimes the i will cause the previous vowel to change or disappear. (And certain plural forms can be even trickier.)

  • adessive: Miksi suomalaisilla hevibändeillä on niin paljon faneja Saksassa ja Etelä-Amerikassa? - Why do the Finnish heavy bands have so many fans in Germany and South America?

All the nationalities, some colours and a lot of adjectives end with nen. Here's my random list of words that belong to this group:

  • nainen, ihminen, lautanen, lapanen - a woman, a human being, a plate, a mitten
  • punainen, sininen, keltainen, valkoinen - red, blue, yellow, white
  • iloinen, surullinen, onnellinen, erikoinen, erityinen,  tyytyväinen, viimeinen - glad, sad, happy, exceptional, particular, content, the last
  • kreikkalainen, mongolialainen, ghanalainen, kongolainen - Greek, Mongolian, Ghanaian, Congolese

Also, if you make a verb into a noun, it ends with nen.

  • leipoa > Leipominen on hauskaa! - Baking is fun!
  • siivota > Vihaan siivoamista. - I hate cleaning.
  • imuroida > Tykkäätkö imuroimisesta? - Do you like vacuuming?

Useful links:

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About the author of this blog:

My name is Hanna Männikkölahti. I am a professional Finnish teacher who gives private online lessons and simplifies books into easy Finnish. You can contact me through You can subscribe to this blog from the right-hand banner. 


Tommy Quist said...

I remember one of the first patterns that I managed to make out when I got to finland was the -nen to -sen transformation and I remember thinking how odd it was that the change would occur so "far" back (as in, I thought three letters in was "far") This was before I was actually trying to learn Finnish, though.

Unknown said...

Before also I tried to find the rule to make noun from verb besides 4. infinitiivi. But it is so difficult. because even verbityypi 1 has many ways to get noun. For example

verbityypi 1 kirjoittaa-kirjoitus,

verbityypi 2 käydä-käynti

verbityypi 3 epäillä-epäilys

verbityypi 4 halata-hali

verbityypi 5 tarvita-tarve

Because it is very useful and helpful. Hope I can get a good answer from u . Paljon kiitoksia .

Hanna said...

Oh my.. I have to study that and get back to the topic! :) I've never thought about the verb types from this point of view. Here's a link that you might find interesting:
Especially the point 7)Teonnimet.

For anybody interested in word formation, 'Miten sanoja johdetaan' by Anneli Brown, Anna-Liisa Lepäsmaa and Leena Silfverberg is a good book.

Unknown said...

before I collect many verb ,but i lose the paper. i have found some rules....pity pity

Unknown said...

Today I borrowed this book from libary. It is wonderful book, so I cant stop reading it . I already read 20 pages. Thanks so much ...

Hanna said...

Hyvä, Aiko! :) Munkin pitäisi ostaa se kirja itselleni.

Anonymous said...

I think punainen is derived from puna.

Unknown said...

Kannata ostaa Se on halvin. Hinta on 32.20 €, ilmainen toimitus. En minä tarvitse ostaa sitä. Haluaisin ostaa <> ensin. :) Mun kirjanostoslista on täynnä.