I bumped into a discussion on the lack of the verb "to have" in Finnish. As a native speaker, I found some inaccurate claims in the discussion.
Finnish does NOT have a correspondent verb for "to have."
The verb "olla" (here in the basic form) means "to be"
In the meaning "to be" the verb conjugates normally:
minä olen I am
sinä olet you are
hän on he is
me olemme we are
te olette you are
he ovat they are
The verb "olla" is used for indicating possession. In this case, the personal pronoun is in the adessive case. The literal translation of "minulla on" is " on me there is.."+ plus the object of possession, e.g. "Minulla on koira" ="On me there is a dog."
hänellä on koira
So, Finnish does not have the verb "to have" though you translate this pattern with that verb in English.
I hope this helped.
>"Minulla on koira" ="On me there is a dog."
No, "Minulla on koira"="I have a dog." I know what all the individual words mean. When you put them together, they mean something different.
Anyway, the point of the original thread was that Finnish is allegedly easier than English, because it doesn't have a separate verb for 'to have'. That argument is nonsense because (1) it has an ANALOGOUS CONSTRUCT (if that phrasing makes you happier) which is just as difficult to learn and (2) it also has the verb omistaa, which means to possess, own, or have... so this makes Finnish easier, how, exactly?
Is it true that Finnish does not include the letter "B" in its alphabet? If so, that is amazing. On the map of Finland I can't find any placename containing the letter "B" so it must be true.
It doesn't look as if it's linked to the other Scandinavian languages either..in fact, it looks unlike any other language I know of.
It's in the Uralic language family with Hungarian, Estonian, Saami and several languages spoken by ethnic minorities in Russia.
Finnish has the letter "b" in its alphabet. However, this is used only in loan words from Indo-European languages, such as banaani=a banana, barrikadi=a barricade, bussi= a bus, baletti=ballet etc. Original Finnish word don't have b's. Original Finnish words do also without f, c and z. These also appear in a few foreign loan words, such as pizza, campingalue (campground), zoomi (zoom lense).
A funny anecdote...I met a Texan girl while in Finland and she asked about the lack of letter "f" in Finnish. She couldn't understand how come we can't have that letter since it appears in the word "Finnish" (!)...gosh. I tried to explain to her that "honey, "Finnish" is not called "Finnish" IN Finnish, but "suomalainen or suomi" She kept having a blank face, and insisted that we must have the letter "f" in our alphabet since the word "Finnish" has it...I gave up eventually. ;)
Tiina: thanks for that info. That was funny trying to explain the lack of the letter "f" to the lady. But, Tiina, the explanation for her lack of comprehension was contained in your posting..... :-)
"No, "Minulla on koira"="I have a dog." I know what all the individual words mean. When you put them together, they mean something different. "
There is no "to have" in Finnish. We only traslate that sentence to mean "I have a dog" because it makes sense to English speakers to say that. You can't always translate things literally.
And Finnish is easier than English. It has no gender whatsoever. English does have gender, contrary to what people think. We have the words "he/she/his/her/hers/it/its" whereas Finnish has no gender for nouns (just like English) but it also has no gender for pronouns, unlike English. Finnish also doesn't have a definite article, which in English is "the."
Finnish sounds an intriguing language...I never thought much about it until this thread came along... now I will delve into it and learn some more and I won't finish with Finnish until I do. No gender? That is amazing......doesn't that lead to some confusion? :-)
>There is no "to have" in Finnish. We only traslate that sentence to mean "I have a dog" because it makes sense to English speakers to say that. You can't always translate things literally. >
I agree with you. That how you translate the pattern into English, that's what it means IN English. The structure is different.
However, I feel that speking of languages as "easy" or "difficult" can be a little bit misleading. It depends on the native language of the learner. I started learning English at the age of 8 (very common in Finland) and I remember how I had difficulties to understand the difference between a/the. I couldn't understand e.g. that the dog mentioned earlier as "a dog" could be later spoken of as "the dog." And I still make mistakes with articles. Native English-speakers I have met in Finland all say that Finnish is extremely "difficult." But when I have asked e.g. Chinese people whether English or Finnish is more difficult for them, they say it's the same: both languages are as foreign to them.
And to Damian:
Yes, Finnish has no gender. And this can lead to confusion in some cases. E.g. two people are discussing and the other one starts to talk of his/her boss, for example, just referring to the boss as "hän" (he/she). In this case the other person might have to ask whether the boss is a man or a woman. But these cases are very rare. Mostly there are no confusions. Finnish does fine with no gender. :)