Finite and Non-Finite Verbs

Learn and discuss the Finnish language with Finn's and foreigners alike
Post Reply
Yixie
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:19 am

Finite and Non-Finite Verbs

Post by Yixie » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:34 am

Hei!

I signed up to these forums so I could ask about something that I don't entirely understand. I was learning a handful of words when I decided to start learning about finnish grammar.

But, basically, I'm having trouble understanding what defines finite and non-finite verbs. The finnish grammar book I'm reading said that finite verbs are "personal," while non-finite are not. A website I stumbled across told me that non-finite don't have tense while finite do.

I'd love if someone here could help me make sense of them, I'm quite confused.

Thanks, Yix.



Finite and Non-Finite Verbs

Sponsor:

Finland Forum Ad-O-Matic
 

Upphew
Posts: 9963
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:55 pm
Location: Lappeenranta

Re: Finite and Non-Finite Verbs

Post by Upphew » Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:44 pm

Yixie wrote:Hei!

I signed up to these forums so I could ask about something that I don't entirely understand. I was learning a handful of words when I decided to start learning about finnish grammar.

But, basically, I'm having trouble understanding what defines finite and non-finite verbs. The finnish grammar book I'm reading said that finite verbs are "personal," while non-finite are not. A website I stumbled across told me that non-finite don't have tense while finite do.

I'd love if someone here could help me make sense of them, I'm quite confused.

Thanks, Yix.
Would these help?
http://www.uusikielemme.fi/infinitives.html
http://www.uusikielemme.fi/verbtypes.html
http://google.com http://translate.google.com http://urbandictionary.com
Visa is for visiting, Residence Permit for residing.


Yixie
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:19 am

Re: Finite and Non-Finite Verbs

Post by Yixie » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:55 pm

Helpful, but not really at the same time. Haha.


tummansininen wrote:If I can be so bold, I think it's a very silly thing for any elementary language teaching to be dealing with unless you study linguistics.

How to use the verbs is far more important than understanding designations and classifications etc. I guess you mean verbs like maistua vs maistaa where one is "how something tastes" and one is "actively having a taste of something" ie, one can be done only by objects and the other can be done only by people/animals.
But... far better just to learn that one goes with "what does this food taste of" and one goes with "doing the tasting". And perhaps use more than one text to learn Finnish from, as I suspect you're using a rather technical source.
I'll leave the elementary bits and baubles for the elementary! :)

I agree that it's important to learn how the verbs are used. But gaining a technical understanding of them is also important, even if I haven't studied linguistics. It really depends on who the person is and how they learn. I love technicalities.

The big reason for wanting them defined is because the endings/structure of the verbs, from what I gather, are very different.

Getting a handle on the technicalities first also will make it easier to break down and construct text later.

But, studying from more than one source isn't such a bad idea!

Thanks for the replies, Yix.


AldenG
Posts: 3334
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:11 am

Re: Finite and Non-Finite Verbs

Post by AldenG » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:54 pm

The term "non-finite verb" refers to verb forms, i.e. "the verb in this sentence," not to different families of verbs.

Tulla finite:

1. Hän tulee huomenna.

Tulla non-finite:

2. Hän aikoo tulla huomenna.
3. Luulin hänen tulevan vasta huomenna.
4. Luulin hänen tulleen aikoja sitten.

1. He comes tomorrow
2. He intends to come tomorrow.
3. I thought he's coming "not until" tomorrow.
4. I thought he came ages ago.

More quasi-literally:

3. I believed his coming only tomorrow.
4. I believed his having come ages ago.

...the point being that 4 is non-finite in the Finnish version but not necessarily in an English translation.

It's still true, as tummansinen points out, that learning about Finnish tends to lead you away from learning Finnish. In the end, I took quite a different route than I had with French, German, and Swedish, but realized I should have done the imitative-analogical, non-analytical, approach with them all. (Of those three, only Swedish remains conversable, if a little ragged now, for me.)
As he persisted, I was obliged to tootle him gently at first and then, seeing no improvement, to trumpet him vigorously with my horn.


AldenG
Posts: 3334
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:11 am

Re: Finite and Non-Finite Verbs

Post by AldenG » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:05 am

And also, as tummansinen gets into, there are all kinds of ways to slice and dice categories of Finnish verbs. These may satisfy a need for categorization in life and may help in discussions of comparative linguistics, but I haven't seen them lead anyone to conversationality. An analytical approach is a handicap to first learning, though at a late point in learning (some point in school, for native speakers) it can help clarify finer points.

So now you've got two of us pointing you in the same direction.
As he persisted, I was obliged to tootle him gently at first and then, seeing no improvement, to trumpet him vigorously with my horn.


Rekkari
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:11 pm

Re: Finite and Non-Finite Verbs

Post by Rekkari » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:19 pm

Yixie wrote:
...basically, I'm having trouble understanding what defines finite and non-finite verbs.
I'm not sure that anyone has really answered your question with a simple explanation, so I'll offer mine. Non-finite verbs are verb forms that are not functioning grammatically as verbs. That means infinitives (The bird flew to escape from the cat.), gerunds (Flying is something a cat can't do.), and participles (The bird was flying after some sort of flying insect.). Anything else is a finite verb form.

As others have said, finite vs. non-finite is not really an important distinction when learning practical Finnish. But I do think that a basic knowledge of Finnish grammar is both beneficial and necessary for most adult learners. While a child doesn't need to know the how's and why's of Finnish grammar while learning to speak, this ability to absorb language through immitation and analogy unfortunately doesn't extend intact into adulthood. Most adults will need a basic rules-based framework upon which to start building their new language skills.

I don't understand a single word of Chinese. I can personally say that, if you stuck me in a room in China for 24 hours to listen to and observe a group of Chinese interacting, at the end of the day I would still not understand a single word of Chinese and would have a headache to boot. Stick me in a room with a typical introductory Chinese language book with grammar, vocabulary, and example sentences, however, and at the end of the day I'll be able to say, "Good morning, how are you."

There are two extremes for language learning: textbook with rote memorization on the left, total immersion on the right. The best approach to learning a new language will depend on the person, their goal, and their current skill level. A beginner will be far to the left while learning basic grammar and vocabulary. Someone seeking native fluency will be on the extreme right. Everyone else will be somewhere in between.

So, if you're a beginner, pay no attention to advice telling you not to waste your time learning grammar and memorizing vocabulary. Just don't get stuck in the mud there.


Post Reply