Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A super interesting plural partitive detail

Here's something cool about the plural partitive, or the plural stems in general, but let's not go too deep.

First, the basic words and their meanings:

  • koira = a dog
  • juna = a train
  • kissa = a cat
  • kala = a fish
  • vessa = a bathroom, a toilet

All there words have two syllables and an a in the end. However, the plural partitive is different. MIKSI?

  • koira > koiria
  • juna > junia
  • kissa > kissoja 
  • kala > kaloja
  • vessa > vessoja

The answer is in the first vowel of the word!

If the first vowel is O or U, the ending is IA:

  • koira > koiria
  • juna > junia


  • muna (an egg)  > munia 
  • kukka (a flower) > kukkia
  • turha (pointless, useless) > turhia
  • sota (a war) > sotia
  • poika (a boy) > poikia

If the first vowel is A, E or I, the ending is OJA:

  • kissa > kissoja 
  • kala > kaloja
  • vessa > vessoja


  • kana (a chicken)  > kanoja
  • sana (a word) > sanoja
  • hella (a stove) > helloja
  • vika (a fault) > vikoja
  • sika (a pig) > sikoja

If you have Finnish friends, ask if they know about this. :)

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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 www.linktr.ee/hannamannikkolahti and follow this blog, if you want to be the first one to know when I post something new. 


Tommy Quist said...

Is this symmetrical with respects to vowel harmony? That is to say, when the word ends in ä, do inital ö and y lead to iä and initial ä to öjä?

Random Finnish Lesson / Hanna Männikkölahti said...

No, but I like the way you think.:) In two-syllable words ending with ä, the plural partitive is -iä.

päivä (a day) --> päiviä
ännä (a letter n) --> änniä
yskä (a cough) --> yskiä
pöljä (a silly person --> pöljiä
kesä (a summer) --> kesiä
reikä (a hole) --> reikiä
silmä (an eye) --> silmiä

Olli Väisälä said...

Poikkeus: suola -> suoloja (ei suolia:)

Unknown said...

How about ambulance?