Difference between 'vai' and 'tai'

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dutchdoris
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Difference between 'vai' and 'tai'

Post by dutchdoris » Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:53 pm

Hiya!

Can someone explain me the difference in use between 'vai' and 'tai'? Both express 'or', but in which context? Is it the same as the Chinese ‘或者', use for a statement and '还是‘ for a question?

Thanks! :D


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Difference between 'vai' and 'tai'

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Upphew
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Re: Difference between 'vai' and 'tai'

Post by Upphew » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:46 pm

dutchdoris wrote:Hiya!

Can someone explain me the difference in use between 'vai' and 'tai'? Both express 'or', but in which context? Is it the same as the Chinese ‘或者', use for a statement and '还是‘ for a question?

Thanks! :D
With vai there can be only two options, to be or not to be - ollakko vai eikö olla?
With tai there can be multiple options, but only two are mentioned. Are you hungry or thirsty - oletko nälkäinen tai janoinen? But you could be tired too or have a need for toilet.
http://www.kysy.fi/kysymys/mika-ero-san ... ai-valilla
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jahasjahas
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Re: Difference between 'vai' and 'tai'

Post by jahasjahas » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:56 pm

Search the forum for "tai vai" (without the quotes) and you'll find lots of old threads.


ml14
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Re: Difference between 'vai' and 'tai'

Post by ml14 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:45 am

Upphew wrote: With vai there can be only two options, to be or not to be - ollakko vai eikö olla?
With tai there can be multiple options, but only two are mentioned. Are you hungry or thirsty - oletko nälkäinen tai janoinen? But you could be tired too or have a need for toilet.
http://www.kysy.fi/kysymys/mika-ero-san ... ai-valilla
Also, vai is only used in questions (direct or indirect).

That is why "tai" appears in the sentence Joko tulet mukaan tai pysyt kotona "Either you come along (with us), or you stay at home". This is clearly an either/or situation, but the sentence is a statement rather than a question.

Compare this to

Haluatko tulla mukaan vai pysyä kotona? "Do you want to come along or stay at home?" (direct question)
or
Harkitsen, lähdenkö mukaan vai pysynkö kotona. "I am considering whether I will come along or stay at home." (indirect question)


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Pursuivant
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Re: Difference between 'vai' and 'tai'

Post by Pursuivant » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:21 am

Both express 'or', but in which context? Is it the same as the Chinese ‘或者', use for a statement and '还是‘ for a question?
Don't know Chinese, but more or less yes.
Vai = ? when you have a choice of the options
Tai = ! Or 'meh' or sometimes a ? when you really can't choose
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Something wicked this way comes."


Rekkari
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Re: Difference between 'vai' and 'tai'

Post by Rekkari » Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:01 pm

The basic rule, as I recall, is to use 'vai' in questions and 'tai' everywhere else (statements, commands, etc.).

That said, it is my understanding that 'tai' can be used in a question when the choice is not a mutually exclusive 'this' or 'that' proposition, where 'both', 'all of them', or even 'none of the above' is an expected response:

Haluatko kahvia vai teeta? Do you want coffee or tea? (the assumption is that you'll take one or the other, but not both).

Haluatko sokeria tai kermaa? Do you want sugar or cream (or perhaps both or possibly neither)

Onks tää oikein?


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jahasjahas
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Re: Difference between 'vai' and 'tai'

Post by jahasjahas » Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:40 pm

Rekkari wrote:Onks tää oikein?
On. (Paitsi "teetä", ei "teeta".)


ml14
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Re: Difference between 'vai' and 'tai'

Post by ml14 » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:56 am

anna.g wrote:
dutchdoris wrote:Can someone explain me the difference in use between 'vai' and 'tai'? Both express 'or', but in which context?
When you ONLY have an option between two things, then you can use vai.
e.g. It's either snowing or it isn't. There is no other option.
"It's either snowing or it isn't" = Joko sataa lunta tai ei sada.

vai wouldn't be used in this sentence because it's not a question, it's a statement.

vai would appear in a sentence like Sataako lunta vai räntää? ("Is it snowing or is it raining sleet?").


dutchdoris
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Re: Difference between 'vai' and 'tai'

Post by dutchdoris » Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:48 pm

Thanks everyone! :D
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