lukee/lukemassa

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tas
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 5:18 am

lukee/lukemassa

Post by tas » Fri Dec 26, 2014 6:03 pm

Hi,

from what I understand, hän lukee is "he reads" and "hän on lukemassa" = he is reading.
In english I think he is reading is used much more than he reads, is it the same in finnish?
Can someone give me a few examples of each usage? Because I can't really wrap my head around the differences except for situations like hän on lukemassa kirjastossa, he is reading in the library, but when would "hän lukee" be used?

lukee/lukemassa

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ml14
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:21 am

Re: lukee/lukemassa

Post by ml14 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 12:01 am

tas wrote:Hi,

from what I understand, hän lukee is "he reads" and "hän on lukemassa" = he is reading.
In english I think he is reading is used much more than he reads, is it the same in finnish?
Can someone give me a few examples of each usage? Because I can't really wrap my head around the differences except for situations like hän on lukemassa kirjastossa, he is reading in the library, but when would "hän lukee" be used?


I'm fairly sure that lukee (simple present) is more common than olla + lukemassa. Thus I would normally translate "He is reading in the library" as Hän lukee kirjastossa. Although the two constructions (i.e. the simple present tense and olla + -massa) can sometimes mean the same thing, sometimes the construction olla + -massa has different implications.

For example, there was an article a while back that said something like, Hän oli tekemässä voittomaalia, which (according to a Finnish speaker I asked) meant "He was involved in scoring the winning goal", suggesting that he assisted on the goal but did not necessarily shoot the puck into the net.

Also, I once saw a sentence like Joukkue on siirtymässä venäläisliigaan which a Finnish speaker explained to me as "There are plans to move the team to the Russian league", i.e., the move is being planned but has not necessarily been finalized. If the simple present tense were used (Joukkue siirtyy venäläisliigaan), it would mean "The team is moving/will move to the Russian league", i.e. the move is no longer in doubt.


007
Posts: 620
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:01 pm

Re: lukee/lukemassa

Post by 007 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 11:54 am

tas wrote:Hi,

from what I understand, hän lukee is "he reads" and "hän on lukemassa" = he is reading.
In english I think he is reading is used much more than he reads, is it the same in finnish?
Can someone give me a few examples of each usage? Because I can't really wrap my head around the differences except for situations like hän on lukemassa kirjastossa, he is reading in the library, but when would "hän lukee" be used?


Hän lukee kirjaa -> He reads a book (still reads it, not yet finnished)
Hän lukee kirjan -> He reads a book (in a sense that he will/reads it completely)
Hän on lukemassa kirjaa -> He is reading a book (still reading it)

from bla.la
Jos hän lukee englanninkielisen version, hän näkee, kuinka kohdan pitäisi kuulua.
If he reads the English version, he will be able to see what the wording should be.

Halusin sanoa rouva Breyerille, että hän lukee valmistelemaansa puhetta, eikä kuuntele.
I would like to say to Mrs Breyer that she is reading the speech she has prepared and is not listening.

Kuvitelkaapa äitiä, joka istuu lastensa vieressä lukemassa heille iltasatua.
Imagine a mother sitting with her children and reading them a good-night story.

Note the Accusative and Partitive cases. on a side note, glad that I am also getting to learn while trying to explain here :D
“Go where you are celebrated – not tolerated."
"Aina, kun opit uuden sanan, opettele samalla sen monikko!"


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Pursuivant
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Re: lukee/lukemassa

Post by Pursuivant » Sat Dec 27, 2014 1:25 pm

As said, its a difference of timing of the action, is it in progress etc. Also there is a nuance whether he is actually reading right now in the library or say has a habit of reading at the library. Add to this, theres three kinds of reading, reading silently, reading out loud, and reading that means "studying". So the person might not be "reading" at the library, they might be writing an essay... :twisted:
"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes."


Rob A.
Posts: 3964
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:51 am

Re: lukee/lukemassa

Post by Rob A. » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:15 am

tas wrote:Hi,

from what I understand, hän lukee is "he reads" and "hän on lukemassa" = he is reading.
In english I think he is reading is used much more than he reads, is it the same in finnish?
Can someone give me a few examples of each usage? Because I can't really wrap my head around the differences except for situations like hän on lukemassa kirjastossa, he is reading in the library, but when would "hän lukee" be used?
This stuff gets really subtle, really fast.....

I don't think you would normally see "hän on lukemassa", on its own...it implies there is something else. Hän lukee is kind of a general statement that, "he reads"....maybe not at the moment, but, hey, yeah, he does read. Hän on lukemassa implies that he is reading at the moment and seems likely to continue to read. Like saying, "he is in the state of reading". That, of course, is just one version of what it might mean. Context may imply something else, or some nuance to this particular act of reading"...

Finnish infinitives...this is an example of the third infinitive in the inessive form... are a complex area with lots of rules depending on the main verb and the meaning intended. Very basically the use of infinitives is a grammatical convention that allows verbs to work together to provide concise and subtle variations in meaning. Finnish has a very rich and deep grammar, and that it takes awhile to really learn it should be no surprise. I'm not sure how long it would take Finnish children to pick up these subtleties, but I'm sure it is a very gradual process....maybe even lifelong as it is with most languages, though the bulk of it is probably learned at a young age.


ml14
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:21 am

Re: lukee/lukemassa

Post by ml14 » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:56 pm

Hi Rob A.,
Rob A. wrote:This stuff gets really subtle, really fast.....

I don't think you would normally see "hän on lukemassa", on its own...it implies there is something else. Hän lukee is kind of a general statement that, "he reads"....maybe not at the moment, but, hey, yeah, he does read. Hän on lukemassa implies that he is reading at the moment and seems likely to continue to read.
I'm pretty sure that lukee is not restricted to general (i.e. habitual) statements: it can also mean "he is reading (right now)", and at least in my experience, it is the primary way of expressing this meaning.

The on lukemassa-construction is rarer than the simple present in my experience, and (as I mentioned in the last post) this construction can potentially mean something different than just "(He) is reading".

If you run into a context where the simple present form lukee is not enough to make clear that the reading is happening right now (because lukee can also have a future or habitual meaning), then the form on lukemassa could be used for clarification. You can also achieve this clarification through phrases like nyt, tällä hetkellä or similar, though.

I don't mean to nit-pick here; it just seems wrong to identify the simple present form (lukee, etc.) primarily with the habitual tense. In English, the so-called "simple present" (reads, gives, etc.) is now more of a habitual tense than a present tense -- the true present tense now being expressed by forms like is reading, is giving, etc. -- but there are many languages (perhaps the majority of them) in which this development hasn't occurred.


Rob A.
Posts: 3964
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:51 am

Re: lukee/lukemassa

Post by Rob A. » Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:27 am

ml14 wrote:Hi Rob A.,
Rob A. wrote:This stuff gets really subtle, really fast.....

I don't think you would normally see "hän on lukemassa", on its own...it implies there is something else. Hän lukee is kind of a general statement that, "he reads"....maybe not at the moment, but, hey, yeah, he does read. Hän on lukemassa implies that he is reading at the moment and seems likely to continue to read.
I'm pretty sure that lukee is not restricted to general (i.e. habitual) statements: it can also mean "he is reading (right now)", and at least in my experience, it is the primary way of expressing this meaning.

The on lukemassa-construction is rarer than the simple present in my experience, and (as I mentioned in the last post) this construction can potentially mean something different than just "(He) is reading".

If you run into a context where the simple present form lukee is not enough to make clear that the reading is happening right now (because lukee can also have a future or habitual meaning), then the form on lukemassa could be used for clarification. You can also achieve this clarification through phrases like nyt, tällä hetkellä or similar, though.

I don't mean to nit-pick here; it just seems wrong to identify the simple present form (lukee, etc.) primarily with the habitual tense. In English, the so-called "simple present" (reads, gives, etc.) is now more of a habitual tense than a present tense -- the true present tense now being expressed by forms like is reading, is giving, etc. -- but there are many languages (perhaps the majority of them) in which this development hasn't occurred.
ml14

Oh yes...I agree with you...I, perhaps, wasn't explaining myself clearly enough. Maybe I could have said that, Hän lukee, is a standard, catch-all way of saying it. With other verbal forms you start getting more specific shades of meaning, and the various forms allow the infinitive to "work" with other verbs.

Hän on lukemassa, means one thing, but other forms can mean you aren't even actually reading yet...Hän on valmis lukemaan., for example. Or maybe no longer reading...Hän lakkaa lukemasta. But, of course, there are other clues in the sentences that the meanings are different.... Some of it seems to me to be a bit more complicated form of case declension. Sometimes the main verb simply calls for a certain case ending and really the infinitive becomes simply a complicated looking adverb. Other times it seem to be more like an adjective.


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