Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

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Phineas
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Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by Phineas » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:55 pm

I recently came across these sentences:

(1) Minulla on monta hyvää kirjaa.

(2) Minulla on paljon hyviä ystäviä.

Are these correct? If so, why the change from singular to plural partitive?



Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

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Jukka Aho
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Re: Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by Jukka Aho » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:05 pm

Phineas wrote:I recently came across these sentences:

(1) Minulla on monta hyvää kirjaa.

(2) Minulla on paljon hyviä ystäviä.

Are these correct?
Yes, they are.
Phineas wrote:If so, why the change from singular to plural partitive?
Monta can be considered as the singular partitive of moni but it has also developed into a quantifying pronoun unto its own. (See VISK § 765.) In this role, it works much like numerals (yksi mies vs. viisi miestä ~ monta miestä), requiring the singular partitive even though referring to a multitude of things, and can even take the partitive case itself: viittä miestä ~ montaa miestä. (Previously, this was called a “double partitive” and frowned upon by some grammarians as bad form — something best avoided. However, the usage has lately generally been accepted as part of the language.)

You could also say:

Minulla on monia hyviä kirjoja.
(compare to Minulla on kymmeniä hyviä kirjoja.)

Monet käsikirjoitukset tuhoutuivat maanjäristyksessä.
(compare to Sadat käsikirjoitukset tuhoutuivat maanjäristyksessä.)

Paljon differs from monta in that the focus is on ”a mass of things” rather than the things individually. Paljon calls for the partitive plural when referring to countable objects (paljon kirjoja) and the partitive singular when referring to uncountables (paljon maitoa, paljon vettä, paljon viljaa, paljon iloa, paljon musiikkia). The word monta cannot be used with uncountables.
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Phineas
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Re: Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by Phineas » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:22 pm

Thank you for that excellent explanation.

AldenG
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Re: Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by AldenG » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:19 am

You can think of the singular forms of moni, including monta, as translating to "many a . . ."

For instance:

"Many an English speaker comes to Finland thinking he'll learn Finnish as easily as he did French or German."

"I've spent many an evening puzzling over the partitive."
As he persisted, I was obliged to tootle him gently at first and then, seeing no improvement, to trumpet him vigorously with my horn.

Rob A.
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Re: Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by Rob A. » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:40 pm

AldenG wrote:You can think of the singular forms of moni, including monta, as translating to "many a . . ."

For instance:

"Many an English speaker comes to Finland thinking he'll learn Finnish as easily as he did French or German."

"I've spent many an evening puzzling over the partitive."
Yes...that's how I was thinking of your first sentence..."I have many a good book."....And Jukka's example as: "I have many good books." There is a distinction in the English versions...as subtle as it might be, and I guess the same distinction is there in the Finnish versions....

AldenG
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Re: Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by AldenG » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:08 am

Rob A. wrote: Yes...that's how I was thinking of your first sentence..."I have many a good book."....And Jukka's example as: "I have many good books." There is a distinction in the English versions...as subtle as it might be, and I guess the same distinction is there in the Finnish versions....
(That was Phineas, actually.)

You can use "a lot of" for paljon in place of "much," since (apparently unlike Spanish-speakers) we can't say "I have much good friends" but have to say "I have a lot of good friends." We can also say "I have a lot of money" but not "I have many moneys."

So even though in a sense, monet is many and paljon is much, "a lot of" may be a better training wheel to use for paljon. Unlike "much," "a lot of" covers both countables and uncountables the way paljon does. (Moni in singular is not really many -- one must think of it as "many a.")

Eventually, of course, we need to forget those correspondences to English words and think directly in Finnish phrases. At a certain point, paying too much attention to the English distinctions and looking for their correspondences in Finnish muddies the waters more than it clears them.
As he persisted, I was obliged to tootle him gently at first and then, seeing no improvement, to trumpet him vigorously with my horn.

PäähäniSattuu
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Re: Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by PäähäniSattuu » Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:19 pm

Jukka Aho wrote:
Phineas wrote:I recently came across these sentences:

(1) Minulla on monta hyvää kirjaa.

(2) Minulla on paljon hyviä ystäviä.

Are these correct?
Yes, they are.
Phineas wrote:If so, why the change from singular to plural partitive?
Monta can be considered as the singular partitive of moni but it has also developed into a quantifying pronoun unto its own. (See VISK § 765.) In this role, it works much like numerals (yksi mies vs. viisi miestä ~ monta miestä), requiring the singular partitive even though referring to a multitude of things, and can even take the partitive case itself: viittä miestä ~ montaa miestä. (Previously, this was called a “double partitive” and frowned upon by some grammarians as bad form — something best avoided. However, the usage has lately generally been accepted as part of the language.)

You could also say:

Minulla on monia hyviä kirjoja.
(compare to Minulla on kymmeniä hyviä kirjoja.)

Monet käsikirjoitukset tuhoutuivat maanjäristyksessä.
(compare to Sadat käsikirjoitukset tuhoutuivat maanjäristyksessä.)

Paljon differs from monta in that the focus is on ”a mass of things” rather than the things individually. Paljon calls for the partitive plural when referring to countable objects (paljon kirjoja) and the partitive singular when referring to uncountables (paljon maitoa, paljon vettä, paljon viljaa, paljon iloa, paljon musiikkia). The word monta cannot be used with uncountables.
If I may get an explanation as well 'paljon' has always confused me, I can use it correctly, I just can't make sense of it. What I know is that it is the instructive singular of the noun paljo, a rare occurence in itself. Rare enough that many sources mistakenly call it the genitive singular. As an instructive paljon would be an adverb, this usually holds. Such as:

Mä juon vettä paljon -> I drink water a lot.

However if the word order is reversed we get mä juon paljon vettä, I drink a lot of water. In this construct paljon seems to function as the direct object of juoda. Which still makes sense on some level because paljon is also the acusative of paljo, as in, I drink an _entire_ lot of water. You could in this case argue that paljon in this case is in fact an accusative case. Here's where it breaks apart though, I've been told that:

paljon ihmisia juo vettä -> a lot of people drink water

Is entirely correct. If we assume it is and 'paljon ihmisia' can also serve as the subject of a sentence. Then 'paljon' is an indeclinable noun specifying a quantity? I never saw an indeclinable noun in Finnish before. except the similarly functioning vähän.

Another thing is, is this sentence correct: 'mun on pakko juoda paljon vettä'? This grammatical construct requires the nomintive (or endingless accusative, call it what you like) case be used for the direct object. Similar to 'juo paljon vettä', is that correct too?

Same story applies to vähän as an instructive singular of vähä which I also never got.

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Re: Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by Jukka Aho » Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:41 pm

PäähäniSattuu wrote:If I may get an explanation as well 'paljon' has always confused me, I can use it correctly, I just can't make sense of it. What I know is that it is the instructive singular of the noun paljo, a rare occurence in itself. Rare enough that many sources mistakenly call it the genitive singular. As an instructive paljon would be an adverb, this usually holds. Such as:

Mä juon vettä paljon -> I drink water a lot.

However if the word order is reversed we get mä juon paljon vettä, I drink a lot of water. In this construct paljon seems to function as the direct object of juoda. Which still makes sense on some level because paljon is also the acusative of paljo, as in, I drink an _entire_ lot of water. You could in this case argue that paljon in this case is in fact an accusative case. Here's where it breaks apart though, I've been told that:

paljon ihmisia juo vettä -> a lot of people drink water

Is entirely correct. If we assume it is and 'paljon ihmisia' can also serve as the subject of a sentence. Then 'paljon' is an indeclinable noun specifying a quantity? I never saw an indeclinable noun in Finnish before. except the similarly functioning vähän.
Words that are indeclinable, or indeclinable to a degree, and which are used for expressing a temporal aspect, mood, location, manner, or quantity, are typically classified as adverbs in Finnish. There are specific grammatical terms for this; vajaa taivutusparadigma (“incomplete inflection/declination paradigm”: only some grammatical cases apply / exist / can be used) and taipumattomuus (“indeclinability”: the word does not get inflected at all.)

The word paljon is grammatically categorized as a kvanttoriadverbi (“quantifier adverb”). I’m not sure if it is at all useful to think it as a noun here... ;) The same goes for vähän. See VISK § 657 for a more thorough description, which I think will answer your questions about usage. If not, feel free to post further questions.
PäähäniSattuu wrote:Another thing is, is this sentence correct: 'mun on pakko juoda paljon vettä'? This grammatical construct requires the nomintive (or endingless accusative, call it what you like) case be used for the direct object. Similar to 'juo paljon vettä', is that correct too?
Yes, both your examples are correct. Check out the VISK article linked above.
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PäähäniSattuu
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Re: Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by PäähäniSattuu » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:44 am

Ah, so it's actually a category in Finnish. I suppose I'm calling it an indeclinable noun because it behaves like a noun grammatically that doesn't show case.

So essentially, if you have a sentence 'paljon ihmisiä nakee paljon kissoja", there is no real way to know which is the subject and it's ambiguous and could both mean 'a lot of people see a lot of cats' or 'a lot of people are seen by a lot of cats'?

Also, is it 'me tulimme paljolla autoilla' or 'tulimme paljolla autoja'?

Edit, oh ehh, my example sentences might be flawed because they can also take objects in the partitive: Swap it with 'mun on pakko nähdä paljon ihmisiä', can you say that?

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Re: Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by Upphew » Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:40 am

PäähäniSattuu wrote:Edit, oh ehh, my example sentences might be flawed because they can also take objects in the partitive: Swap it with 'mun on pakko nähdä paljon ihmisiä', can you say that?
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jahasjahas
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Re: Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by jahasjahas » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:29 am

PäähäniSattuu wrote:So essentially, if you have a sentence 'paljon ihmisiä nakee paljon kissoja", there is no real way to know which is the subject and it's ambiguous and could both mean 'a lot of people see a lot of cats' or 'a lot of people are seen by a lot of cats'?
I'm very uncomfortable with using "paljon X:iä" as the subject of a sentence. (This also applies for the previous "Paljon ihmisiä juo vettä" example.) It sounds very weird. Either you need to make it an existential sentence ("Pihalla on paljon ihmisiä, jotka näkevät paljon kissoja.") or use some form of moni*. "Monet ihmiset näkevät paljon kissoja." (Though that makes it sound pretty abstract: "Many people (in the world) see a lot of cats.")
Also, is it 'me tulimme paljolla autoilla' or 'tulimme paljolla autoja'??
I guess the correct form would technically be "Me tulimme paljoilla autoilla", but you can't really use any form of paljo* there. "Me tulimme monilla autoilla."

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Re: Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by PäähäniSattuu » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:36 am

jahasjahas wrote:
PäähäniSattuu wrote:So essentially, if you have a sentence 'paljon ihmisiä nakee paljon kissoja", there is no real way to know which is the subject and it's ambiguous and could both mean 'a lot of people see a lot of cats' or 'a lot of people are seen by a lot of cats'?
I'm very uncomfortable with using "paljon X:iä" as the subject of a sentence. (This also applies for the previous "Paljon ihmisiä juo vettä" example.) It sounds very weird. Either you need to make it an existential sentence ("Pihalla on paljon ihmisiä, jotka näkevät paljon kissoja.") or use some form of moni*. "Monet ihmiset näkevät paljon kissoja." (Though that makes it sound pretty abstract: "Many people (in the world) see a lot of cats.")
Yeah, see, this is sort of what I was looking at, if paljon could function as the subject of a sentence.

So how 'Minun on pakko nähdä paljon ihmisiä'?', is that possible or is in fact 'minun on pakko nähdä paljo ihmisiä" required?

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jahasjahas
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Re: Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by jahasjahas » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:17 pm

PäähäniSattuu wrote:So how 'Minun on pakko nähdä paljon ihmisiä'?', is that possible or is in fact 'minun on pakko nähdä paljo ihmisiä" required?
Definitely "Minun on pakko nähdä paljon ihmisiä." The latter is simply incorrect in standard language (though see below for the colloquial use).

The nominative "paljo" is used as an adjective, and means "plenty", "voluminous", etc. It's a pretty rare form, as my MOT Englanti dictionary doesn't even have an entry for it. Here's an example sentence: ""Kolme piirrettä kovettaa sydämen: paljo syöminen, paljo nukkuminen ja paljo puhuminen", on Al-Fudail sanonut. Hän oli suufilainen viisas."

You'll also see "paljo" used as a dialectal/colloquial form of "paljon" for speakers who drop word-final n's and s's. "Kuinka paljo yksityisetsivän palkkaamine maksaa?" (Note also the missing n in "palkkaaminen".)

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Re: Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by Jukka Aho » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:12 am

jahasjahas wrote:
PäähäniSattuu wrote:Also, is it 'me tulimme paljolla autoilla' or 'tulimme paljolla autoja'??
I guess the correct form would technically be "Me tulimme paljoilla autoilla", but you can't really use any form of paljo* there. "Me tulimme monilla autoilla."
Me tulimme paljoilla autoilla sounds like “We arrived by a much of cars.”
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PäähäniSattuu
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Re: Monta, Paljon and the Partitive

Post by PäähäniSattuu » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:19 pm

Hmm, I suppose that in that case I am satisfied that 'paljon' is an adverb which grammatically modifies the verb rather than that 'ihmisiä' modifies paljon.


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