- 1 What is the Genitive case?
- 2 Genitive singular case ending
- 3 Genitive plural case endings
- 4 How to use the Genitive
- 5 Personal Suffixes with Nouns and Pronouns
- 6 Genitive within Compound Words
- 7 Genitive with Prepositions
- 8 Exercises
- 9 Answers
What is the Genitive case?Edit
The genitive case is used to indicate the ownership of an object to some other person or object.
Its equivalent in English is the use of "'s" (apostrophe s) to indicate ownership, but in Finnish it also extends to an attributive form which in English is not marked with apostrophe s.
Genitive singular case endingEdit
Rule: The genitive singular case ending is -n.
Genitive plural case endingsEdit
The genitive plural is a rather complex subject.
The plural is usually formed by adding the plural marker -i- to the singular stem before adding the genitive -en. However, the formation will transform the -i- to -j- if it appears between two vowels, and there are other transformations that often take place.
The common genitive plural endings are -ien -iden -itten -ojen and less often -sten -ten
Do you already understand the genitive plural? You can improve this section by writing the rules for the formation of the genitive plural!
How to use the GenitiveEdit
Genitive object attributeEdit
The genitive case is used an attribute of ownership in much the same way as apostrophe s ('s) does for nouns in English.
Tämä auto on Timon
- This is Timo's car (Literally, this car is Timo's)
Sometimes, however, English will mark ownership with the word "of". In equivalent phrases in Finnish the genitive is used.
- The tower of Babel
- The University of Helsinki
And there are situations where English does not always mark the attribute with an "apostrophe s" or with the word "of", but uses the nominative form. However, Finnish is usually consistent and marks it with the genitive.
- Turku Castle (Turku's castle or the Castle of Turku)
- The London Stock Exchange (London's Stock Exchange or The Stock Exchange of London"
Personal Suffixes with Nouns and PronounsEdit
Except in existential phrases, the genitive marker -N is added to the person or the pronoun and the object owned is marked with a personal suffix.
The personal suffixes are as follows
|Third person||-nsa/-nsä or -Vn see third person explanation below|
Meidän talomme on jo remontoitu
- Our house has already been renovated
- me we becomes meidän our in genitive. Talo house adds -mme as a personal suffix.
Pesin isän auton
- I washed dad's car
""""""""::Note that isän is the genitive. Car, auto, also has an -n ending but this is not the genitive. It is instead a whole object marker known as the -N accusative.
Pesin hänen autonsa
However, in spoken language, (and especially in Helsinki!) the personal ending is often left out.
Pesin sen auton
- I washed his car
We have already seen the exceptional existential phrase structure that does not mark the sentence's OBJECT with a personal suffix. These will always have the existential verb olla.
Tämä auto on Timon
- That is Timo's car (Literally, that is the car Timo's)
- The phrase is essentially existential (something is something). These types of sentence do not take a personal suffix.
But on the other hand, if the object owned is the SUBJECT of the the sentence then the personal suffix must be given.
Minun kelloni on rikki
- My watch is broken
The personal suffix is always added to the stem but if the word already carries a case marker then the personal suffix is always added after the case ending.
He tulivat meidän talollemme
- They came to our house
- House Talo adds case ending lle before personal suffix-mme
Hampaani on kipeä
- My tooth aches
- Tooth, hammas has the stem form hampaa- to which the personal siffix -ni is added.
But note! The addition of a personal suffix will NOT of itself cause a hard grade consonant to weaken.
- Our church
- the word for church kirkko normally weakens to a stem form kirko- when adding a case ending. However, personal suffix endings DO NOT WEAKEN THE FINAL CONSONANT.
Special Rules for the third person
Rule 1. The third person suffix is the same whether the subject is singular or plural. That is, it applies to situations such as "his", "her" or "their". Whether the meaning is singular or plural is known because the personal genitive will either be singular or plural.
Se on hänen talonsa
- Its his house
Se on heidän talonsa
- Its their house
Rule 2. The genitive marker of the person is not used if the person is the person owning is the person of the verb
He menivät pankkiinsa
- They went to their bank
- pankkiin + -nsa becomes pankiinsa (- see Rule 3). Heidän pankkiinsa would be incorrect if the bank was the place where "they" do their own banking.
- They went to their bank
Kokkoset kulkivat kauppatorilla Erkki ja Marja Suomelan kanssa. Sitten he menivät heidän pankkiinsa
- The Kokkonens walked in the market square with Erkki and Marja Suomela. Then they went to their bank.
- the use of the word heidän their can only mean the Suomelas' bank, not the Kokkonens' bank.
Rule 3. The third person marker is only -nsa (or -nsä) if the case is nominative singular (unmarked), nominative plural (-T) genitive, illative, or accusative ( -N or -T forms). The -N or -T from these forms is dropped before adding the -NSA. Otherwise the vowel at the end of the case ending is lengthened and just -n is added to make the personal suffix.
Se on heidän talonsa
- Its their house
- -nsa is used in the nominative
He kulkivat takaisin talolleen
- They walked back to their house
- talolle + -nsa becomes talolleen The meaning is implicitly their own house. If it was someone else's house it would add heidän their
Se ei ole heidän talonsa
- Its not their house
Hän päätti, että hän ei myy taloaan
- He decided not to sell his house
- house is partitive for the same reason as above. So taloaan can be singular as in this example or plural (as in the previous example)
Kuluttajat luottavat lompakkoonsa
- Consumers trust their (own) wallets
- the verb luottaa trust requires the illative case (one puts trust INTO something in Finnish). Lompakko wallet is therefore in the illative "lompakkoon". This already has a long vowel ending so we do not use the vowel lengthening form. Instead, like all illative forms with the third person personal suffix, -nsa stays in its -nsa form. We know its third person plural because the verb has the ending -vat indicating plural person. Because the person owning is the same as the person of the verb, we do NOT say heidän lompakkoonsa because this would mean some other group's wallets.
Hänen omat saksensa eivät purreet siihen materiaaliin
- His own scissors would not cut into the material
- Sakset scissors is a plural noun as in English. Sakset + -nsa becomes saksensa. The plural t is lost altogether.
Raine on kadottanut lompakkonsa
- Raine has lost his wallet
- lompakko (nominative) plus -nsa. Note: No consonant degradation.
Raine ja Anne ovat molemmat kadottaneet lompakkonsa
- Raine and Anne have both lost their wallets
- So lompakkonsa can be both plural and singular depending on context. Lompakot (nominative plural) + -nsa becomes lompakkonsa
Hän otti lomapakon
- He or she took the wallet (but we don't know whose wallet)
- lompakon is in -N accusative form, which is identical in form to the genitive.
Hän otti lompakkonsa
- He or she took (his or her own) wallet
- Lompakon + -nsa becomes Lompakkonsa. Notwithstanding that this was originally in the weak case, the addition of the -nsa cause the original -n to be lost and the weakened stem to become string again.
and just to reinforce a point made before
Hän otti hänen lompakkonsa
- He or She took his or her (i.e. someoneelse's) wallet
Genitive within Compound WordsEdit
The genitive form is sometimes seen within compound words. E.g. pyykinpesu pianonsoitonopettaja and talonpoika.
Knowing when to compound words and when to use the genitive in a compound word is quite a complex matter and even many Finns find it hard to understand. You can get an explanation of this at http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/kielenopas/6.1.html#yhdyss-merk.
If you understand Finnish and understand the article at the link above and can explain this en English, you may be able to help students reading this wikibook by updating this page with an English translation of elements relating to compound genitive words. Please also write this in the Finnish version of this page in the Finnish Wikibook.
Genitive with PrepositionsEdit
Many of the words describing relative place in Finnish such as edessaä in front of, takana behind, vieressä alongside come after the word describing the absolute place. This word is always a noun that is in the genitive case. Words such as veressä are therefore known as prepositions (meaning put after). Equivalent English words such as behind, under, over are known as prepositions. Lets look at a few genitive prepositional phrases.
Poytä on sohvan edessä
- The table is in front of the sofa
- So the construction when transliterated is something like the table is of the sofa in front. Because the construction is so different from English this sounds quite strange.
Kirkon vieressä on kirkkotupa 1600-luvulta.
- Next to the Church is the church hall from the 1600s
- tupa is cabin or hut but is translated here as hall (a meeting place separate from the Church itself)
Lapsuuteni kesät kuluivat isovanhempieni luona Raisiossa (pieni kaupunki Turun lähellä)
- My childhood summers were spent at my grandparents place in Raisio (a small town close to Turku)
See the additional article about genitive prepositions.
Genitive with Prepositions
Complete the sentences with the help of the hints that are in brackets.
- a on kaupunki (close to Rovaniemi).
- b on kylä (beside Turku).
- (On the table) on lehtiä ja (under it) on matto.
- (Inside the box) on pommi. (Inside the bomb) on ruutia.
- (in the front of the department store) on myyntikoju.
- (Beside the shop) on kirkko ja (Beside the church) on metsä.
- a on kaupunki Rovaniemen lähellä.
- b on kylä turun vieressä
- Pöydän päällä on lehtiä ja sen alla on matto. (Pöydän päällä = pöydällä).
- Laatikon sisällä on pommi. Pommin sisällä on ruutia.
- Tavaratalon edessä on myyntikoju.
- Kaupan vieressä on kirkko ja kirkon vieressä on metsä.