Problems with stems

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Hydro
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Problems with stems

Post by Hydro » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:28 am

So I'm actually going through this, and I've started learning Finnish.
I love every moment of it.

But... since I currently learn from Wikipedia (I'll order books soon), I've also ran into some troubles.
This also appeared in other places, when relating to cases.

I'm trying to understand what are the noun stems; the vowel stems; weak\strong vowel stems; consonant stems, etc.

The reason is.. well, take a look in this link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_la ... noun_cases
And you'll see that nearly every case has something like this:
Characteristic ending -ssa/-ssä added to the weak vowel stem
Characteristic ending -n added usually (but not always) to plural stem
Characteristic ending: -ta/-tä, where the 't' elides if intervocalic. The consonant stem of a noun (if any) comes from the partitive singular. Otherwise the ending is added to the strong vowel stem.
So, what is this? The explanation provided at wikipedia is... not understandable.

Thanks,
Hydro


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Problems with stems

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Hank W.
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Post by Hank W. » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:50 am

the stem is the common ground

minä olen idiootti
sinä olet idiootti
hän on idiootti

me olemme idiootteja,
te olette idiootteja
he ovat idiootteja

o- is the "stem" of "being"
Cheers, Hank W.
sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.


Rob A.
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Post by Rob A. » Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:08 am

I'm not surprised your having difficulties with this... It seems to be a Finnish thing... I assume the basic idea of the various cases is not the problem... The different cases can involve various stem changes ..one of which is the strong vowel stem/weak vowel stem:

Look at this site for an example: (to get started type in the stem: tytö )

http://manto.fi.muni.cz/finnish/Singular_and_Plural


And here's another site I like:

http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/Finnish.html

There are all sorts of interesting things that can happen to word stems in Finnish... but they do seem to follow a rational pattern, at least for the most part...just a matter of learning them... Then you will be able to "talk like a book"....

The colloquial language??... Gee... for me, at this point that seems along way off.... :) :) :)


Hydro
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Post by Hydro » Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:10 am

I'll check out those websites, but I'm still wondering as to WHAT the stem is.
What is the weak\strong vowel stem - how do I find it, etc.
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Rob A.
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Post by Rob A. » Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:13 am

Here's some more on the partitive... It's from this book that I'm slowly working my way through..."Finnish for Foreigners 1" by Maija-Hellikki Aaltio...

The basic meaning of the partitive sing. is indefinite quantity (in English often "some, "any", or anoun without an article) in contrast to the baisc form which denotes definite quantity ("the beer") or entity ("a car", "coffee", the whole category).

In its basic meaning, the partitive sing. is used of material nouns and other uncountables. Uncountable words have no plural, they cannot be counted....

However,all Finnish nouns and adjectives have their partitive forms, as the partitive is a frequently used form with several different functions..."


And here's some more about structure:

The stem may differ from the basic form if the word ends in -i, -e, or a consonant. Otherwise the partitive sing. ending can be added directly to the basic form....

Note. The following word types have partitve sing. stems which differ from the basic form:

---i -- e words, e.g. onni (onnen) onne/a
-----------------------pieni (pienen) pien/ta
-----------------------vesi (veden) vet/ta
---huone words huone (huoneen) huonet/ta
---nainen words nainen (naisen) nais/ta
---salaissuus words salaisuus (salaisuuden) salaisuut/ta

As usual, adjectives and pronouns agree with the noun...

The partitive is not used as the sujbject of the sentence (except in "there is" sentences)...

The partitive is used after indicating measure or quantity
lasi vet/ta
iso kuppi kahvi/a...

The partitive is used in greetings, wishes and exclamations:
Hyvä/ä yö/tä!(Edit: corrected the ä and ö character errors--RA - 07/04/20)
Hauska/a ilta/a!
Ihana/a!



I hope this helps...I suppose the main thing to remember is the partitive mainly relates to indefinite quantity, but it has other uses as well.... Patience amd persistence seem to be the necessary for learning this language.... :)

And thanks for bringing up the subject...I've now learned a fair bit more about the the use of the partitive....I also went through the genitive case...but that can be left for another time... :wink: :wink:
Last edited by Rob A. on Fri Apr 20, 2007 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.


EP
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Post by EP » Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:24 pm

What is the weak\strong vowel stem - how do I find it, etc.
That really sounds difficult. I have never learned grammatical terms (except simple ones like subject and object and adjective and substantive). I would not know a weak vowel stem from a strong one. And that concerns all the languages I know at least to some degree (seven of them alltogether).

Is it really necessary to study Finnish in that fashion? I suppose age is a factor, but would it be possible to try to learn the way children learn? They know nothing of grammar, and they get it right.


kalmisto
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Post by kalmisto » Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:24 pm

Hydro

stem = hakuvartalo ( in Finnish )

The stems of the word "kissa" ( cat ) are "kissa","kissoi" and "kissoj" as you can see here :
http://www2.lingsoft.fi/cgi-bin/finstem ... sa&class=N

What stems are good for : "Hakuvartaloiden avulla voidaan löytää tekstistä kaikki sanan taivutusmuodot".


Hydro
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Post by Hydro » Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:24 pm

EP wrote:
What is the weak\strong vowel stem - how do I find it, etc.
That really sounds difficult. I have never learned grammatical terms (except simple ones like subject and object and adjective and substantive). I would not know a weak vowel stem from a strong one. And that concerns all the languages I know at least to some degree (seven of them alltogether).

Is it really necessary to study Finnish in that fashion? I suppose age is a factor, but would it be possible to try to learn the way children learn? They know nothing of grammar, and they get it right.
And how do children learn, exactly?


And from all the posts I've recieved - most of you seem to misunderstand me.
I'm trying to understand what a stem is, and how do I recognize or find it.
Sorry for the confusion.
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Jukka Aho
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Post by Jukka Aho » Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:32 pm

Hydro wrote:'m trying to understand what a stem is, and how do I recognize or find it.
Would this description be of any help? Or this one? Or how about this?

Basically, stem is the part of a word that will stay unchanged when you glue all kinds of suffixes to it. But a single Finnish word can have multiple stems (different stems being used in different cases, according to certain rules), and there is also a phenomenom called consonant gradation which will change some letters in some forms so it’s not as straightforward as, say, in English.

• • •

As for how to find and learn the stems for the different words, and how to deal with them – I don’t really know. Perhaps some FSL speaker can shed some light on that. (Do they have these things listed in some dictionary?)

One of the problems with explaining these things lies obviously in that native speakers – myself included – were never taught any of these finer analytical and morphological details at school (the only exception being those who went on to study linguistics) because, well – it sort of comes naturally to us! So most of the time we can only sit back and watch in awe¹) as those who speak Finnish as their second language fearlessly discuss and analyze our gobbledygook in depth, slicing and dicing it to various components that a native speaker is not really even aware of existing.

_____
¹) A good dose of creeping, numb horror is usually involved, too.
znark


Hydro
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Post by Hydro » Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:53 pm

Jukka Aho wrote:
Hydro wrote:'m trying to understand what a stem is, and how do I recognize or find it.
Would this description be of any help? Or this one? Or how about this?

Basically, stem is the part of a word that will stay unchanged when you glue all kinds of suffixes to it. But a single Finnish word can have multiple stems (different stems being used in different cases, according to certain rules), and there is also a phenomenom called consonant gradation which will change some letters in some forms so it’s not as straightforward as, say, in English.

• • •

As for how to find and learn the stems for the different words, and how to deal with them – I don’t really know. Perhaps some FSL speaker can shed some light on that. (Do they have these things listed in some dictionary?)

One of the problems with explaining these things lies obviously in that native speakers – myself included – were never taught any of these finer analytical and morphological details at school (the only exception being those who went on to study linguistics) because, well – it sort of comes naturally to us! So most of the time we can only sit back and watch in awe¹) as those who speak Finnish as their second language fearlessly discuss and analyze our gobbledygook in depth, slicing and dicing it to various components that a native speaker is not really even aware of existing.

_____
¹) A good dose of creeping, numb horror is usually involved, too.
Yeah, that helps alot.

So what's the difference between a consonant stem and a vowel stem?
Or the weak vowel stem to the strong vowel stem?
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Rob A.
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Post by Rob A. » Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:13 pm

Hydro wrote:
Jukka Aho wrote:
Hydro wrote:'m trying to understand what a stem is, and how do I recognize or find it.
Would this description be of any help? Or this one? Or how about this?

Basically, stem is the part of a word that will stay unchanged when you glue all kinds of suffixes to it. But a single Finnish word can have multiple stems (different stems being used in different cases, according to certain rules), and there is also a phenomenom called consonant gradation which will change some letters in some forms so it’s not as straightforward as, say, in English.

• • •

As for how to find and learn the stems for the different words, and how to deal with them – I don’t really know. Perhaps some FSL speaker can shed some light on that. (Do they have these things listed in some dictionary?)

One of the problems with explaining these things lies obviously in that native speakers – myself included – were never taught any of these finer analytical and morphological details at school (the only exception being those who went on to study linguistics) because, well – it sort of comes naturally to us! So most of the time we can only sit back and watch in awe¹) as those who speak Finnish as their second language fearlessly discuss and analyze our gobbledygook in depth, slicing and dicing it to various components that a native speaker is not really even aware of existing.

_____
¹) A good dose of creeping, numb horror is usually involved, too.
Yeah, that helps alot.

So what's the difference between a consonant stem and a vowel stem?
Or the weak vowel stem to the strong vowel stem?

Well... I guess were getting there slowly...Try this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_gr ... owel_stems

I think you might be trying to "run before you can walk" so to speak. The approach I use when I don't understand for sure what's going on with grammatical explanations is to let it sit..."incubate" is a good description someone uses in another thread...and come back again later. There are a lot of different rules which taken together make a relatively rational whole, but it takes a while to work through them all. I think the basic idea of the "stem" should be clear and then I think you should have a basic awareness that these stems change consistent with various grammatical rules for various reasons and then just keep moving forward and stepping back to clarify some aspect of the grammar that may not have been clear the first time through....

But don't get frustrated... Remember five year-old kids can speak Finnish.... :) :)

And Jukka's points about how native speakers learn a language certainly applies to English, too... When I was learning to speak English as a child, no one was saying to me... "That's an irregular verb...why are you putting a "t", or an "e" or whatever on the end of the stem?"... As a child you just gradually get to know the correct forms. I first encountered terms like pluperfect and subjunctive and conditional etc. when I started learning French....And then, of course, being a smart ass, I "reverse-engineered" it to my knowledge of my native language, English. Terms like illative and essive and abessive, I first picked up when I started learning Finnish a few months ago... I'm sure most native Finnish speakers don't know their abessives from a hole in the ground yet they (usually) will speak correctly... :evil:


enk
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Post by enk » Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:40 pm

kalmisto wrote:stem = hakuvartalo ( in Finnish )

The stems of the word "kissa" ( cat ) are "kissa","kissoi" and "kissoj" as you can see here :
http://www2.lingsoft.fi/cgi-bin/finstem ... sa&class=N
But do note that it is only hakuvartalo for that program where you're
actually looking (haku-) for the stem (-vartalo). Otherwise it's known
as just vartalo or sanavartalo.

-enk


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sinikala
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Post by sinikala » Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:50 pm

Hydro wrote:
EP wrote:
What is the weak\strong vowel stem - how do I find it, etc.
That really sounds difficult. I have never learned grammatical terms (except simple ones like subject and object and adjective and substantive). I would not know a weak vowel stem from a strong one. And that concerns all the languages I know at least to some degree (seven of them alltogether).

Is it really necessary to study Finnish in that fashion? I suppose age is a factor, but would it be possible to try to learn the way children learn? They know nothing of grammar, and they get it right.
And how do children learn, exactly?


And from all the posts I've recieved - most of you seem to misunderstand me.
I'm trying to understand what a stem is, and how do I recognize or find it.
Sorry for the confusion.
From a layperson's viewpoint; stem = vartalo (body) of the word... it's the root, the bit that doesn't change much in English, but does in Finnish by the kpt changes.

How do you recognise it? Practice.

It's something you just get a feel for. If you know what endings can go on a word, just remove them and work back.

As a good fallback, if you are totally lost, use this tool

http://www2.lingsoft.fi/cgi-bin/fintwol

Put in your word and it strips off the endings and shows the basic form (stem?) and tells you what suffixes were in your word to start with.

e.g. Porissa, you know that -ssa means in a place... take that away and you have Pori remaining, I don't know if that's really what linguists call the stem?

It gets more complicated when there is a kpt change e.g. if you read puvun... you have to recognize that after the n is gone, the stem doesn't have a v, but a k ... puvun comes from puku.

I kind of know the rules for kpt changes, but if you ask me is it in weak or strong form? I would not have a clue. I am a bad student! :wink:
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Rob A.
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Post by Rob A. » Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:01 pm

Well, thank you...sinikala...

That looks like it will be a very useful link.... :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Jukka Aho
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Post by Jukka Aho » Sat Apr 21, 2007 1:29 am

Rob A. wrote:Well... I guess were getting there slowly...Try this link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_gr ... owel_stems
It just occurred to me that Panu Mäkinen’s Finnish Grammar website has some useful information about stems as well. (I have used the site as a reference from time to time, but never paid much attention to that particular detail – until now.)
Rob A. wrote:And Jukka's points about how native speakers learn a language certainly applies to English, too... When I was learning to speak English as a child, no one was saying to me... "That's an irregular verb...why are you putting a "t", or an "e" or whatever on the end of the stem?"... As a child you just gradually get to know the correct forms. I first encountered terms like pluperfect and subjunctive and conditional etc. when I started learning French....And then, of course, being a smart ass, I "reverse-engineered" it to my knowledge of my native language, English. Terms like illative and essive and abessive, I first picked up when I started learning Finnish a few months ago... I'm sure most native Finnish speakers don't know their abessives from a hole in the ground yet they (usually) will speak correctly... :evil:
Natives actually are taught at least the following concepts in school, during their basic education and lukio:
  • Parts of speech (dividing words into classes such as verbs, nouns, numerals, pronouns, adjectives, conjunctions, etc.)
  • The 15 common cases, their names and endings (nominative, genitive, ... – the older and less common ones, such as prolative, will usually only get a brief mention as curious relics.)
  • Possessive suffixes
  • Conjugating verbs by person and number
  • Grammatical tenses: the present tense, the imperfect tense, ...
  • Grammatical moods: indicative, conditional, imperative, potential
  • Sentence structure/analysis: main clauses, subordinate clauses, etc.
  • Sentence elements/analysis (subjects, objects, verbs, predicatives, ...)
  • Congruence
  • Consonant gradation
  • Vowel harmony
  • Punctuation rules
  • Infinitives and their classes
But I don’t think the list goes on much longer than that, and stems as such, or i as a plural identifier, or vowel changes, etc. are not discussed in any detail. It is mostly expected that natives can handle them – and a number of other things that FSL students need tables for – by ear. And much of that stuff is promptly forgotten once you finish your basic education, or lukio, and it (obviously!) never goes quite as far into the analytical depths as Finnish-as-Second-Language studies or “proper” linguistic studies might.
znark


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