Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Michael: How are questions made in Finnish?
Anni: And what about question tags?
Michael: At FinnishPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Reetta Ranta is asking his neighbor whether they'll join their party. Mark Lee wants to join but seeks confirmation from his wife.
"Are you coming to our party?"
Reetta Ranta: Tuletteko juhliimme?
Dialogue
Reetta Ranta: Tuletteko juhliimme?
Mark Lee: Kyllä me tulemme, emmekö tulekin?
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Reetta Ranta: Tuletteko juhliimme?
Michael: "Are you coming to our party?"
Mark Lee: Kyllä me tulemme, emmekö tulekin?
Michael: "Yes we are coming, aren't we?"

Lesson focus

Michael: In this lesson, you will learn how to form questions in Finnish. Forming questions in Finnish is very straightforward. There are a couple of ways you can do this, but the most common one is by using the interrogative expressions "who," "where," "when," "what,," "why," and "how." For instance, if you want to ask for someone's name, you can say,
Anni: Mikä sinun nimesi on?
Michael: or "What is your name?" For this question, we used the interrogative pronoun,
Anni: Mikä
Michael: which means "What." If you want to ask for directions, you can say,
Anni: Missä on lähin bussiasema?
Michael: "Where is the nearest bus station?" Here, we used the interrogative pronoun,
Anni: Missä
Michael: which means "Where." You can also use the word
Anni: Mistä
Michael: if you want to ask someone where they are from. For instance, you can say,
Anni: Mistä sinä olet kotoisin?
Michael: "Where are you from?" Now, unlike in English, the word order in Finnish is the same when forming a question and when simply stating something. For instance, the expression
Anni: Sinä olet
Michael: means "You are." To turn this into a question, you simply add a question word in front, such as in
Anni: Kuka sinä olet?
Michael: or "Who are you?" Moreover, in English, we change the places of "this" and "is" when forming a question. In Finnish, the position of these words remains the same. Here's an example:
Anni: Tämä poika on.
Michael: "This boy is." In this phrase, the verb "is" is located at the end. When turning this into a question, we don't need to move it before the subject as we do in English. Instead, we simply add the question word:
Anni: Missä tämä poika on?
Michael: "Where is this boy?"
[Recall 1]
Michael: Let's take a closer look at the dialogue.
Do you remember how Reetta Ranta says "Are you coming to our party?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Päivi as Reetta Ranta: Tuletteko juhliimme?
Michael: In this question, we don't observe any of the interrogative pronouns we've covered earlier. As mentioned, there are a couple of ways we form questions in Finnish, and one of them is with the use of the question endings,
Anni: -ko or -kö.
Michael: That's what Reetta used here with the word,
Anni: Tuletteko,
Michael: which is derived from the verb,
Anni: tulla
Michael: which means "to come." The verb is modified to mean "You are coming," in the plural
Anni: Tulette
Michael: and a question ending
Anni: -ko
Michael: is added to turn it into an interrogative expression.
Anni: Tuletteko
Michael: "Are you coming?" Here's another example:
Anni: Tyttö puhuu suomea.
Michael: "The girl speaks Finnish." Here, we have the verb
Anni: puhuu
Michael: or "speaks." Keep in mind that yes–no questions in Finnish always have the verb at the beginning of the sentence. In this case, we take the verb, attach the question ending, and make it the first word of the sentence.
Anni: Puhuuko tyttö suomea?
Michael: "Does the girl speak Finnish?"
[Recall 2]
Michael: Now, let's take a look at our second sentence.
Do you remember how Mark Lee says "Yes we are coming, aren't we?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Päivi as Mark Lee: Kyllä me tulemme, emmekö tulekin?
Michael: First, Mark answers the question by saying
Anni: Kyllä me tulemme
Michael: which means "Yes we are coming," but then seeks reassurance for this from his wife, by asking her
Anni: emmekö tulekin?
Michael: which means "aren't we?" This part is formed by adding the question suffix
Anni: -kö
Michael: to the end of the word
Anni: emme
Michael: which means "we do not."
[Summary]
Michael: In this lesson, you've learned that there are two primary ways to form questions in Finnish. The first one is by using interrogative words like "who," "where," "when," "what," "why," and "how." The second one is by adding the question ending,
Anni: -ko or -kö.
Michael: Now, let's look at some more examples starting with
Anni: Mikä tämä on?
Michael: or "What is this?" Here, we used the interrogative pronoun "what." Here's another example:
Anni: Kuinka vaikeaa suomen kielen oppiminen on?
Michael: "How difficult is learning Finnish?" Here, we used the interrogative pronoun "how." Another way to say "how" is
Anni: Miten
Michael: For instance, we have the question,
Anni: Miten tämä toimii?
Michael: or "How does this work?" This form of "how" is often used when it is followed by the verb "do." Now, there are instances when you need to ask about who owns what. In this case, you can say something like
Anni: Kenen lompakko tämä on?
Michael: "Whose wallet is this?" Here, we used the pronoun "whose" or
Anni: Kenen
Expansion/Contrast
Michael: We learned that, when forming yes–no questions in Finnish, we attach the question endings,
Anni: -ko or -kö
Michael: to the verb. The question is: how do we know which of these two we are going to use? This is quite simple. If the verb has any of the letters A, O, or U, then you should use the question ending with the regular "o," such as in,
Anni: Harjoitteletko suomea joka päivä?
Michael: "Do you practice Finnish every day?" Here, we used the question ending with the regular "o" because the root form of the verb in the sentence has the letters A and O. Let's try another example:
Anni: Menitkö kouluun eilen?
Michael: "Did you go to school yesterday?" Here, we used the question ending with the o-umlaut, or the "O" with the two dots because the root form of the verb in the sentence doesn't have any of the letters A, O, or U.
Practice Section
Michael: Now, let's practice what we have learned by reviewing the dialogue. Respond to the prompts by speaking aloud. Then, repeat after the native speaker focusing on pronunciation.
Do you remember how Reetta Ranta says "Are you coming to our party?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Päivi as Reetta Ranta: Tuletteko juhliimme?
Michael: Listen again and repeat.
Päivi as Reetta Ranta: Tuletteko juhliimme?
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Päivi as Reetta Ranta: Tuletteko juhliimme?
Michael: And do you remember how Mark Lee says "Yes we are coming, aren't we?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Päivi as Mark Lee: Kyllä me tulemme, emmekö tulekin?
Michael: Listen again and repeat.
Päivi as Mark Lee: Kyllä me tulemme, emmekö tulekin?
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Päivi as Mark Lee: Kyllä me tulemme, emmekö tulekin?
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: Forming questions is not limited to asking what someone's name is or what someone wants for dinner. You also form questions when making requests. In Finnish, making requests is done simply by asking yes–no questions. This is where you'll find the question endings useful. For instance, if you want to borrow someone's phone, you can say
Anni: Voinko lainata kännykkääsi?
Michael: "Can I borrow your cell phone?" You may also say
Anni: Saanko soittaa puhelun kännykälläsi?
Michael: "Can I make a call on your cell phone?"

Outro

Michael: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Anni: Hei hei!
Michael: See you soon!

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