Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

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Phineas
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:08 pm

Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

Post by Phineas » Wed May 08, 2019 4:00 pm

In working through Agi Risko's book "Beginner's Finnish" I came across
this sentence: "Siellä on varmasti isot ikkunat ja niistä ihana näköala."
(They're talking about their cabin on the Stockholm ferry.)

Why do we use "Siellä on" here instead of "Siellä ovat"? Is the construction
analogous to the possessive e.g. "Minulla on, sinulla on, . . .? Is it that there
are several windows but only one view from them?

How does one choose between "on" and "ovat" after "Siellä"?

Thank you in advance for help,
Steve



Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

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Retread
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:08 pm

Re: Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

Post by Retread » Wed May 08, 2019 11:14 pm

How does one choose between "on" and "ovat" after "Siellä"?
Asked my wife ... Siellä is singular (one place) so on not ovat. Ovat is plural.

I'm just the messenger!


Phineas
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:08 pm

Re: Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

Post by Phineas » Thu May 09, 2019 12:31 am

So does "siellä" (rather than "ikkunat") serve as the
logical subject of the sentence? And if that is the case,
is "siellä ovat" always incorrect?

Thank you, and please convey my thanks to your wife.
Steve


Phineas
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:08 pm

Re: Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

Post by Phineas » Fri May 10, 2019 2:39 am

If we are using "on" rather than "ovat" because we are
talking about an indefinite quantity, shouldn't "isot ikkunat"
be in the partitive?

Steve


necadam
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:57 am

Re: Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

Post by necadam » Sun May 12, 2019 1:41 pm

Retread wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 11:14 pm
How does one choose between "on" and "ovat" after "Siellä"?
Asked my wife ... Siellä is singular (one place) so on not ovat. Ovat is plural.

I'm just the messenger!
That's a very bad explanation indeed.


Phineas
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:08 pm

Re: Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

Post by Phineas » Sun May 12, 2019 2:05 pm

I have to agree. "Me" is plural, but we say "Meilla on . . . " when expressing
possession. I am still trying to figure this one out. According to Wiktionary,
"siellä" is the superessive adverbial case of of "se" and that it "resembles" the
adessive. So (I guess) by analogy based on the possessive construction, we use
"on." That would have been satisfied me, but I have found examples of "siellä ovat"
and "siellä on" in various documents written by native speakers.

Thank you for the reply,
Steve
Last edited by Phineas on Sun May 12, 2019 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Phineas
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:08 pm

Re: Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

Post by Phineas » Sun May 12, 2019 4:06 pm

Just fixing the typo: That should have been "Meilla" rather than "Meila."

Steve


phaaga
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:23 pm

Re: Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

Post by phaaga » Mon May 27, 2019 2:05 pm

On or Ovat does not depend on Siellä.

The form isot ikkunat sounds to me in this context like a specific set/number of windows, not more and not less.

Just like:

Hänellä on isot silmät (He has big eyes).

Otherwise:

Siellä on isoja ikkunoita / There are big windows there (no specific number).

Siellä on iso ikkuna. /There is a big window there.

"on" in the above 2 sentences, because also partitive plural operates with a singular verb (on, not ovat).

But the following would be wrong:

"Siellä ovat isot ikkunat." / = There are the big windows. Wrong from the word order point of view.

Correct to say:

Isot ikkunat ovat siellä. / The big windows are there.


Phineas
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:08 pm

Re: Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

Post by Phineas » Thu Jun 06, 2019 5:32 pm

Otherwise:

Siellä on isoja ikkunoita / There are big windows there (no specific number).

Siellä on iso ikkuna. /There is a big window there.
Thank you much for that very helpful explanation, and sorry for the
belated reply. What about the case of a particular number of windows,
but not a natural set like "isot silmät."? For example,

"There are three big windows there." Do we use the partitive singular?
"Siellä on kolme isoa ikkunaa." ?

Steve


Valinnan vapaus
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:08 pm

Re: Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

Post by Valinnan vapaus » Sat Jun 08, 2019 7:13 pm

^ Yes. After any basic numeral, you use singular partitive just the way you wrote it, though with some words like paljon you might need plural partitive instead.

I didn't bother to read the whole thread but in case it wasn't given yet...
"Siellä on isot ikkunat" should be translated "The windows there are big"
"Siellä ovat isot ikkunat" with the most neutral word order is "Isot ikkunat ovat siellä" and it means "The big windows are there." Actually the first one can also mean that. The difference is just that in puhekieli very often the singular is used even when grammatically the plural is correct, so it sounds like puhekieli.


Phineas
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:08 pm

Re: Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

Post by Phineas » Sat Jun 15, 2019 3:51 pm

Thank you much for the reply. It was quite helpful. I was not aware of
the subtle role of word order in this context.

Steve


phaaga
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:23 pm

Re: Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

Post by phaaga » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:25 pm

Word order is very important in Finnish, just like in other languages. Relatively free, compared to English, Swedish, Germanic languages, but NOT free, as
non-Finnish speakers who learn Finnish, are told. So yes, there are nuances, not difficult, but things become difficult and confusing when basic things are not taught or a student is given false information, so called half-truths.


Phineas
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:08 pm

Re: Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

Post by Phineas » Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:39 am

I know that Finnish word order is not free, though I am ignorant
of its nuances. Years ago, while studying Russian, I was asked
more than once if it were true that Russian had free word order.
I don't know how people got that idea.

Thanks again for the explanation.

Steve


phaaga
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:23 pm

Re: Siellä on vai Siellä ovat

Post by phaaga » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:26 pm

Indeed, the "free word order" idea, I heard for the first time ever in Finland regarding Finnish. Never had I heard that a language has free word order. But I believe nowadays they are careful about this "free word order thing, as foreigners tend to learn the language wrong, if the language is taught wrong...This is not the only thing, I could mention other half-thruths as well, and a foreigner can not know these things, unless they are told.


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