Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

Michael: Does the Finnish language have a future tense?
Kati: And how do you indicate the time frame?
Michael: At FinnishPod101.com, we hear these questions often. In the following situation, Willa Washington finds this week's homework very challenging. She hopes to get some help from her classmates and asks Gabriel Garcia,
"Have you already done your homework?"
Willa Washington: Oletko jo tehnyt kotitehtäväsi?
Dialogue
Willa Washington: Oletko jo tehnyt kotitehtäväsi?
Gabriel Garcia: Teen ne huomenna.
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Willa Washington: Oletko jo tehnyt kotitehtäväsi?
Michael: "Have you already done your homework?"
Gabriel Garcia: Teen ne huomenna.
Michael: "I will do it tomorrow. "

Lesson focus

Michael: The English language has three simple tenses, which are the past, present, and future tenses. The Finnish language, on the other hand, has four tenses, and these are
Kati: preesens
Michael: the present tense,
Kati: imperfekti
Michael: the past tense,
Kati: perfekti
Michael: the perfect tense,
Kati: pluskvamperfekti
Michael: and the past-perfect tense. That's right. The Finnish language doesn't have a future tense. That is, it doesn't formulate the simple future tense the same way it's done in English, which is by placing the word "will" before the root form of the verb in a sentence. What's unique about Finnish is that you can use the present tense to express the future. For instance, if you want to say, "I go to the living room," in Finnish, that is,
Kati: Minä menen olohuoneeseen.
Michael: Now, if you want to say, "I will go to the living room," in Finnish, that would also be
Kati: Minä menen olohuoneeseen.
Michael: Both use the simple present, but where you would use the future tense in English, you would still use the same tense in Finnish. Here's another example:
Kati: Minä autan sinua.
Michael: In English, this could mean "I help you," or "I will help you." In the last couple of examples, you have to understand the context to see whether someone is talking about the present or the future. The good news is that you can also use adverbs to refer to the future.
Kati: Täytän 18 ensi vuonna.
Michaell: "I will be 18 next year." Without the adverb "next year," or
Kati: ensi vuonna,
Michael: the sentence will remain in the simple present, since
Kati: Täytän 18
Michael: is equivalent to "I turn 18." Here's another example:
Kati: Syön keittoa.
Michael: In English, this is "I eat soup." If you want to express this same sentence in the future tense, you can say
Kati: Syön keittoa huomenna.
Michael: Here, the time reference "tomorrow," or,
Kati: huomenna
Michael: is what tells us that the action is to be done in the future. Just like in English, there's no need to express the verb in its future tense if there's a time reference.
[Recall 1]
Michael: Let's take a closer look at the dialogue.
Do you remember how Willa Washington says "Have you already done your homework?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Kati as Willa Washington: Oletko jo tehnyt kotitehtäväsi?
[Recall 2]
Michael: Now, let's take a look at our second sentence.
Do you remember how Gabriel Garcia says "I will do it tomorrow?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Kati as Gabriel Garcia: Teen ne huomenna.
Michael: Literally, this would be "I will do them tomorrow," as in Finnish, "homework,"
Kati: kotitehtävät
Michael: is treated as plural. This compound word is made of
Kati: koti
Michael: meaning "home" and
Kati: tehtävä
Michael: meaning job, task, or assignment. So, once more: "I will do it tomorrow."
Kati: Teen ne huomenna.
Michael: I will do it tomorrow.
[Summary]
Michael: In this lesson, you've learned that Finnish grammar does not have a true future tense. However, that does not mean you can't talk about the future in Finnish. So far, you've learned that there are different ways to express the future in the Finnish language, one of which is with the help of adverbs, such as
Kati: huomenna
Michael: "tomorrow,"
Kati: ensi vuonna
Michael: "next year,"
Kati: myöhemmin
Michael: or "later."
Michael: You've also learned that, where you would use the future tense in English, you would still use the present tense in Finnish, such as when you say,
Kati: Menetkö töihin bussilla?
Michael: Depending on the context, this could mean "Do you go to work by bus?" or "Will you go to work by bus?"
Expansion/Contrast
Michael: Another unique thing about Finnish grammar when it comes to expressing the future tense is that, in some cases, the form of the noun or the object of the sentence conveys the future while the verb remains the same. Take this example, for instance,
Kati: Ostan autoa.
Michael: This means "I am buying a car." Here's another one:
Kati: Ostan auton.
Michael: Here, the verb remains the same, but the form of the noun is changed. With this, we get, "I will buy a car." What we did here was use the present tense of the verb and a genitive case object. Let's try another example:
Kati: Luen kirjaa.
Michael: "I am reading a book." Now, let's use the same verb, but this time, we will change the form of the object from the partitive case to the genitive case:
Kati: Luen kirjan.
Michael: This time, we have "I will read the book."
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: There is yet another way you can express the future tense in Finnish, and that's with the help of the verb,
Kati: aikoa
Michael: which means "to intend" or "to plan." For instance, if you want to ask a friend what they intend to do on the weekend, you can say,
Kati: Mitä aiot tehdä viikonloppuna?
Michael: "What are you going to do this weekend?" Here, we use the conjugated word
Kati: aiot
Michael: which could mean "you are going to." A similar word would be,
Kati: meinata
Michael: or "mean," which also refers to "intention" or "plan."
Kati: Meinaatko käydä kaupassa tänään?
Michael: This could be translated to "Are you planning on going to the store today?" or simply "Do you mean to shop today?"

Outro

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

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