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Lesson Transcript

Gina: Hi everyone, I’m Gina! Welcome back to FinnishPod101.com. This is Absolute Beginner Season 1, Lesson 4 - What's That in Your Finnish Cup?
Paula: Hei! I'm Paula.
Gina: In this lesson, we’ll continue with questions about what something is, but this time the conversation is about substances rather than objects, so the grammar will be a bit different.
Paula: This conversation again takes place at home.
Gina: Helen wants to make herself a cup of tea, but she has some trouble finding things, so she asks Emmi for help. Helen and Emmi are friends, but they will be using standard Finnish.
Gina: Okay. Let's listen to the conversation.
Helen: Mitä tämä on?
Emmi: Se on suolaa.
Helen: Entä tämä?
Emmi: Se on sokeria.
Helen: Hyvä. Nyt tarvitsen vielä teetä.
Emmi: Sitä on tässä.
Helen: Kiitos.
English Host: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
Helen: Mitä tämä on?
Emmi: Se on suolaa.
Helen: Entä tämä?
Emmi: Se on sokeria.
Helen: Hyvä. Nyt tarvitsen vielä teetä.
Emmi: Sitä on tässä.
Helen: Kiitos.
English Host: Now let’s hear it with the English translation.
Helen: Mitä tämä on?
Gina: What's this?
Emmi: Se on suolaa.
Gina: It's salt.
Helen: Entä tämä?
Gina: How about this?
Emmi: Se on sokeria.
Gina: It's sugar.
Helen: Hyvä. Nyt tarvitsen vielä teetä.
Gina: Good. Now I still need some tea.
Emmi: Sitä on tässä.
Gina: There's tea in here.
Helen: Kiitos.
Gina: So Helen was making herself a cup of tea. Do Finns drink a lot of tea?
Paula: Well yes, but actually Finns are more into coffee.
Gina: Oh yes, I’ve heard that Finns are one of the top nations for coffee consumption. I heard Finns consumed 9.7 kg of roasted coffee per person in 2011. But how much is that in cups?
Paula: I believe it would be something like 4 or 5 cups per day.
Gina: That’s quite a lot.
Paula: Yes. Coffee used to be the prestigious drink everyone wanted to have and serve their guests, even if they couldn’t really afford it. If necessary, they’d substitute some of the coffee with rye or barley.
Gina: I suppose the prestige has worn off a bit now, but it seems the popularity remains.
Paula: Definitely. Coffee is still the default drink at workplaces and all kinds of parties and receptions.
Gina: How do Finns have their coffee and tea? Do they have black coffee or what?
Paula: Well, it varies a lot, really. Many put milk or cream and sugar in their coffee, some like it black. And of course, these days there are lots of speciality coffees you can get at coffee shops. Tea is usually served with sugar or honey, and maybe lemon. Most Finns don’t put milk in their tea.
Gina: Okay, on to the vocab.
Gina: Okay. Let's take a look the vocabulary for this lesson. The first word we shall see is:
Paula: Suola [natural native speed]
Gina: Salt
Paula: Suola [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Suola [natural native speed]
Gina: Next:
Paula: Entä [natural native speed]
Gina: How about
Paula: entä [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Entä [natural native speed]
Gina: Next:
Paula: Sokeri [natural native speed]
Gina: Sugar
Paula: Sokeri [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Sokeri [natural native speed]
Gina: Next:
Paula: Nyt [natural native speed]
Gina: Now
Paula: Nyt [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Nyt [natural native speed]
Gina: Next:
Paula: Tarvita [natural native speed]
Gina: To need
Paula: Tarvita [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Tarvita [natural native speed]
Gina: Next:
Paula: Vielä [natural native speed]
Gina: Still
Paula: Vielä [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Vielä [natural native speed]
Gina: Next:
Paula: Tee [natural native speed]
Gina: Tea
Paula: Tee [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Tee [natural native speed]
Gina: Next:
Paula: Tässä [natural native speed]
Gina: Here
Paula: Tässä [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Tässä [natural native speed]
Gina: And last.
Paula: Kiitos [natural native speed]
Gina: Thank you
Paula: Kiitos [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Kiitos [natural native speed]
Gina: Let's have a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Paula: The first word is vielä. It was translated as “still” in the vocabulary, but it can be translated in many ways depending on the context. For example, it could appear in a sentence like ‘Tee on vielä kuumaa.’
Gina: Here it would be “still”, “The tea is still hot”.
Paula: Yes. Then you could use it in ‘Tee ei ole vielä valmista.’
Gina: That would be “The tea is not yet ready”.
Paula: That’s right. If you’re making a comparison, you can say ‘Pidän teestä vielä enemmän.’
Gina: And that’s “I like tea even more”?
Paula: Yes. And finally, ‘Ottaisin vielä teetä.’
Gina: “I’d like some more tea”. That’s quite a few translations for one word. What’s our next word?
Paula: Our next word is ‘tässä’. It’s an adverb meaning “here”, but it’s actually originally the pronoun ‘tämä’ that we’re already familiar with.
Gina: Then how come it’s become an adverb?
Paula: ‘Tässä’ is a certain case form that means “in this [something]”, and it’s just been established as an adverb over time. And it’s not the only one. There are many others like it, like ‘tuossa’ from ‘tuo’ and ‘siinä’ from ‘se’.
Gina: I see, I suppose we’ll see more of those in the future. Now let’s have a look at the grammar.
Gina: In this lesson, we're going to start learning about case forms.
Paula: All right. English has some case forms for pronouns, such as “I”, “me”, “my”, and “mine”. Finnish has them too - and more. In Finnish, it’s not restricted to pronouns - all nouns, pronouns, adjectives and numbers have case endings.
Gina: I can almost hear our listeners breaking out in cold sweats at the notion of even adjectives and numbers having case endings! So let’s break all the bad news at once - there are 15 cases in Finnish. There you have it! Now start breathing again!
Paula: (laughs) Yeah, I know it sounds bad. But then again, the cases of all word classes are formed in the same way, so you don’t really need to learn anything extra. Also, Finnish doesn’t have any grammatical genders, and it has very few prepositions compared to English.
Gina: That’s true. We’ll try to progress slowly, so don’t worry.
Paula: OK, in this lesson we’re looking at a case called the partitive.
Gina: All right! Now how do we use the partitive in a sentence?
Paula: Well, first of all it’s used when we want to take some or a part of something, for example - Tarvitsen sokeria.
Gina: That would be “I need some sugar”.
Paula: You also use it to indicate the material that something is made of or consists of, as in ‘Tämä on sokeria.’
Gina: “This is sugar.”
Paula: Note that in the dialogue, we had the question ‘Mitä tämä on?’ ‘Mitä’ is the partitive form of the word ‘mikä’ that we had in the previous lesson’s question ‘Mikä tämä on?’ In Finnish, you make a distinction between materials and objects also in the question word. And finally, it’s used when describing what something is like, as in ‘Tee on hyvää.’
Gina: And that would be “Tea is good.” Okay, now let’s look at the formation.
Paula: The partitive has three possible endings, ‘-a/-ä,’ ‘-ta/-tä’, and ‘-tta/-ttä’.
Gina: Er... Didn’t you say “three” endings? That sounded like six to me.
Paula: (laughs) I know. There are three endings, but each ending has two variants. It’s because of something called vowel harmony in Finnish.
Gina: Oh right, that’s the thing with the front and back vowels.
Paula: Exactly. You have to have similar vowels in the word and in the ending. The back vowels are ‘a’, ‘o’, and ‘u’. If any of these appear in the word stem, the ending will have an ‘a’. If not, the ending will have an ‘ä’. For example, ‘lasi’ becomes ‘lasia’ but ‘päivä’ becomes ‘päivää’.
Gina: OK. We’re a bit pressed for time, so please check the lesson notes for rules on when to use each of the three partitive endings. I can give you the hint that it has to do with the last letters of the word stem. Now I will say a few of the words we have learned so far, and Paula will give you three forms of each word - first the nominative, or dictionary form, then the word stem, and then the partitive form. Are you ready? Here goes - “salt”.
Paula: ‘Suola’, ‘suola-’, ‘suolaa’
Gina: I
Paula: ‘Minä’, ‘minu-’, ‘minua’
Gina: Tea
Paula: ‘Tee, tee-, teetä.’
Gina: Plate
Paula: ‘Lautanen, lautas-, lautasta’
Gina: “He” or “she”
Paula: Hän, hän-, häntä
Gina: Healthy
Paula: Terve, terve-, tervettä
Gina: Okay, let’s now go through the partitives we had in the dialogue.
Paula: OK. First we had ‘mitä’ in ‘Mitä tämä on?’ which we just discussed. Then there was ‘suolaa’ in ‘Se on suolaa’ and ‘sokeria’ in ‘Se on sokeria’.
Gina: Those were the words “salt” and “sugar” in the sentences “It’s salt” and “It’s sugar”.
Paula: Right. Then there was ‘teetä’ in ‘Nyt tarvitsen vielä teetä’.
Gina: That’s the sentence “Now I still need some tea”.
Paula: The last partitive was ‘sitä’ in ‘Sitä on tässä.’ Note that ‘sitä’ is the partitive of the word ‘se’, or “it”.
Gina: And the entire sentence is translated as “There’s tea in here”.


Gina: OK, that’s going to do it for this lesson. Keep your ears and eyes open, there will be many more partitive words coming up in the following lessons. Thanks for listening, and see you next time!
Paula: Hei hei!