Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Finnish A-infinitive

The official name of what I normally just call the basic form of a verb is the basic form of the A-infinitive. After reading this post you'll know that there is also a translative form of the A-infinitive. I also have a post about the MA-infinitive and the E-infinitive.

In these examples, the first verb is conjugated according to the person, and the second one is in A-infinitive:

  • osata: Osaatko uida? - Can you swim? Do you know how to swim? 
  • saada: En saa uida, koska olen sairas. - I'm not allowed to swim, because I'm sick.
  • voida: En voi uida, koska minulla ei ole uimapukua. - I can't swim, because I don't have a swimming suit.
  • jaksaa: Jaksatko uida tuohon saareen? - Do you have the energy to swim to that island?
  • tarjeta: Kuinka sinä tarkenet uida noin kylmässä vedessä? - How can you stand the cold when swimming in such a cold water?
  • haluta: Haluan uida! - I want to swim! 
  • tykätä: Tykkäätkö uida yksin vai muiden kanssa? - Do you like to swim alone or with the others?

The translative form of the A-infinitive is used to replace a subclause that starts with the conjunction jotta, which means so that or in order to. Normally the translative ending is ksi, but with this particular verb construction it is kse.

  • Tulin kurssille oppiakseni suomea. = Tulin kurssille, jotta oppisin suomea. - I came to the course in order to / so that I would learn Finnish.
  • Hän lähti jo kotiin mennäkseen aikaisin nukkumaan. = Hän lähti jo kotiin, jotta hän voisi mennä aikaisin nukkumaan. - He left for home already in order to / so that he would go to sleep early.

Remember the correct possessive suffix:

  • oppiakseni
  • oppiaksesi
  • oppiakseen or oppiaksensa
  • oppiaksemme
  • oppiaksenne
  • oppiakseen or oppiaksensa

Actually, this form isn't very common in spoken language. Normally, I'd just use the jotta sentence. However, there are a couple of expressions with the translative structure that are very common in spoken language. Notice how the meaning is a bit different:

  • Mun muistaakseni juna lähtee neljältä. - As far as I remember, the train leaves at four o'clock.
  • Mun tietääkseni se on naimisissa. - As far as I know, she's married.
  • Mun ymmärtääkseni kokous on peruttu. - If I understand correctly, they've cancelled the meeting.

About the author of Random Finnish Lesson: 

My name is Hanna Männikkölahti. I am a professional Finnish teacher who gives private online lessons and simplifies books into easy Finnish. Please read more in and follow this blog, if you want to be the first one to know when I post something new.  


Unknown said...

Hello ! I am new follower and I like your blog. Could clarify for me if personal endings ni, si... are also used with colloquial forms of Minun, Sinun....

Hanna said...

Heippa! It depends on your the dialect, but usually the possessive suffixes are not used in the spoken language, except for certain structures like this "muistaakseni". About the minun,sinun etc. forms, I say them like this: mun, sun, sen, meiän, teidän, niien. In some dialects, it's miun, siun, etc.:)

Unknown said...

Thank you so much Hanna! Now itäs clear for me!

Unknown said...

Kiitos paljon

taha said...

Kiitos paljon blogista. Mulla on jotain kysymyksiä. On olemassa monia sanoja, joilla on samat merkitykset. Mikä on ero (pudota, laskea, langeta ja kaatua), myos (menettää, hävitä, eksyä, kadota, kadottaa, hukkua ja hukata) ja (liikuttaa, muuttaa ja siirtää). Mikä on oikea tapa käyttää niitä

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for doing such a great job when creating this remarkably useful Finnish study blog. I found almost all the things that I could not find anywhere else from this blog.