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Lesson Transcript

Tiina: Hi everyone, I'm Tiina and this All About lesson 3: Painless Finnish Grammar! In this lesson, we'll get into the grammar portion of our series.
Reeta: Oh no, not grammar!
Tiina: I'm sure some of our listeners are having the same reaction. But, we're here to tell you – there's nothing to worry about here.
Reeta: You’ll be surprised to learn that in comparison with English or other foreign languages, many parts of Finnish grammar are very different!
Tiina: Different, you say? The listeners must be wondering what you mean by that. Well, we’re about to show them!
Reeta: Okay, so let’s get started!
(Sentence Order SVO)
Tiina: First, what we want to do is take a look at English. If you think for a moment about how English works, you’ll be able to see how Finnish is similar.
Reeta: For one thing, English is a SVO language! Tiina, what does SVO stand for?
Tiina: Subject-verb-object. That means that in an English sentence, the subject always comes first, followed the verb, and then the object. That’s how English sentences are put together.
Reeta: Can we have an example?
Tiina: “I eat fruit”. "I" is the subject, or the one doing the action. "Eat" is the verb, or the action taking place. And lastly, "fruit" is the object that undergoes the action.
Reeta: And Finnish is similar in this regard.
Tiina: Yes, in Finnish, the sentence we mentioned before would still be “I eat fruit”. But like we said earlier, there are a lot of areas of Finnish grammar that are quite different from their English counterparts, right?
Reeta: That's right. And now we’ll show you what some of them are.
Tiina: What we’ve decided to do is compare Finnish examples to English grammar examples so that you can really see the differences. The next one we’ll talk about is tense.
Reeta: Tense… well first, what is tense?
Tiina: Good question! Tense refers to time – past, present, and future. Finnish has almost the same tenses as English.
Reeta: Yeah, that’s right.
Tiina: Let’s hear some examples. How about a simple sentence?
Reeta: Minä menen torille. "I go to the marketplace." menen is the verb, and it means "to go" in 1st person singular. The infinitive is mennä.
Tiina: So many of you will see that that sentence is in the present tense. But how do we change it to the future? For example, “I will go to the supermarket”.
Reeta: Minä aion mennä kauppaan. "I will go to the market." aion is an auxiliary verb in the 1st person singular that indicates an action that will happen in the future.
Tiina: Now, I know many of you think that this is marking tense – of course, this aikoa indicates an action that should happen at some future point in time. However, notice that the verb changes in relation to the subject. To make it even clearer that it’s in the future, though, you can add a word that tells us when you will go to the supermarket, like huomenna, "tomorrow", or myöhemmin, "later". If you have a word that indicates future in there, then there is no doubt that this action will take place in the future.
Reeta: Exactly, that’s right.
Tiina: Now, in a lot of languages, the verb conjugates, or changes its form, according to who is doing the action. This is especially true for Romance languages, but we also see it in English: for example, “I go” versus “he goes”. See how we change the verb? How about in Finnish?
Reeta: Well, as we saw previously, in Finnish, the verb does conjugate according to the subject.
Tiina: In Finnish, the verb will always conjugate according to the subject.
Let’s hear some examples. Listen to the verb, which is the word in the middle of the sentence.
Reeta: Minä menen torille.
Tiina: ”I go to the market”.
Reeta: Tiina menee torille.
Tiina: ”Tiina goes to the market”. You heard how the verb changed in both sentences, right?
Reeta:Yes, the verb did change a little bit!
(Singulars and Plurals)
Tiina: Next, let’s talk about singulars and plurals. For English, we learn that to make a plural, we add ‘s’ at the end. But when you think about it, there are tons of exceptions.
Reeta: Yeah, like "knives" ,"geese", "mice"…
Tiina: Now, Finnish words also make the distinction between singular and plural. The word for "book", kirja, in plural, will be kirjat.
Tiina: The word for "car", auto, will change to autot when in plural! Here, you can see that a “t” is added to the end to make the noun plural. This only happens in some cases.
Reeta: We will go into more detail about this in more advanced lessons.
Tiina: Alright, well I think that just about does it for our overview of Finnish grammar!
Reeta: We hope this has prepared you for your journey into the Finnish language. Hopefully after this, there should be no major surprises!
Tiina: Keep up with FinnishPod101.com for more lessons that will teach you Finnish the easy and fun way! Bye everyone.
Reeta: Hei hei!