Curiosities in Finnish

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Omzinesý
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Re: Curiosities in Finnish

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What topics would you like to learn about the next time?

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Ser
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Re: Curiosities in Finnish

Post by Ser »

Omzinesý wrote:
17 Mar 2020 14:43
What topics would you like to learn about the next time?
Probably various syntax stuff that you can't easily find even in reference grammars. The gods of humanity know how many times I have opened grammars and paper search engines trying to find information about the following topics, even for major languages like Romanian and Hungarian, and have ended up in utter failure. (I'm still pretty bitter over not being able to find info about relative clauses on PPs in Romanian reference grammars.)

Specific questions:
- Can relative clauses be made on PPs? ("the woman I told you about", "the table I like to write on")
- Can relative clauses be made on objects of comparison? ("the guy I'm shorter than", "the one guy I scored less than")
- Can nouns be modified by adverbs and PPs directly? ("all the people here", "the mouse under the table", "research on early dinosaurs")
- Is there a use of "inverse when"? ("When I was helping them, you complained." -> "I was helping them when you complained.")
- Are there absolute clauses, even if just as a literary construction? ("His books having been burned, Don Quixote cried.")
- Can adjectives stand as a pseudo-clause followed by a pause, even if just as a literary construction? ("Fatigued, we kept walking until reaching the town.")

Various topics:
- Incrementative correlations* ("the plant is getting bigger and bigger", "the more I water the plant, the bigger it gets", "the less I say, the better")
- Equality comparatives ("I'm as short as him", "I run as fast as him", "I run as much as him", "I make as much money as him")
- How adjectives are turned into NPs ("the big one", "the rich and the poor", "Italians", *Frenches, "the French")
- How VPs are turned into so-called ""headless"" NPs ("the one making mistakes", "whoever makes a mistake", "the shout-er and the shout-ee")
- Past-tense real conditions ("If you really did the homework, then there is no problem.")
- Nuances in non-past unreal conditions (future more vivid "If you do the homework, you'll be rewarded." ~ future less vivid "If you did the homework, you'd be rewarded")

* In Mandarin, those three incrementative correlation examples use a similar syntax, making use of 越 yuè 'INCR', a particle to express correlated increments.
植物越來越大 plant INCR come INCR big = 'the plant is getting bigger and bigger'
我越澆植,植越長大 1S INCR water plant, plant INCR grow big = 'the more I water the plant, the bigger it gets'
我說越少越好 1S say/speak INCR few/less INCR good = 'the less I say, the better'
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Re: Curiosities in Finnish

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Ser wrote:
18 Mar 2020 01:11
Omzinesý wrote:
17 Mar 2020 14:43
What topics would you like to learn about the next time?
Probably various syntax stuff that you can't easily find even in reference grammars. The gods of humanity know how many times I have opened grammars and paper search engines trying to find information about the following topics, even for major languages like Romanian and Hungarian, and have ended up in utter failure. (I'm still pretty bitter over not being able to find info about relative clauses on PPs in Romanian reference grammars.)
I can quick-answer some and later return to the questions.

Specific questions:
- Can relative clauses be made on PPs? ("the woman I told you about", "the table I like to write on")
Nope

- Can relative clauses be made on objects of comparison? ("the guy I'm shorter than", "the one guy I scored less than")
Nope

- Can nouns be modified by adverbs and PPs directly? ("all the people here", "the mouse under the table", "research on early dinosaurs")
Yes, but I think teachers don't recommend it.

- Is there a use of "inverse when"? ("When I was helping them, you complained." -> "I was helping them when you complained.")
Yes, do some languages lack them?

- Are there absolute clauses, even if just as a literary construction? ("His books having been burned, Don Quixote cried.")
I would call them nonfinite constructions. But yes, very many and complex.

- Can adjectives stand as a pseudo-clause followed by a pause, even if just as a literary construction? ("Fatigued, we kept walking until reaching the town.")
Finnish has a special Essive case for such adverbial uses.


Various topics:
- Incrementative correlations* ("the plant is getting bigger and bigger", "the more I water the plant, the bigger it gets", "the less I say, the better")
Similar to those of English

- Equality comparatives ("I'm as short as him", "I run as fast as him", "I run as much as him", "I make as much money as him")
more or less similar to those of English

- How adjectives are turned into NPs ("the big one", "the rich and the poor", "Italians", *Frenches, "the French")
The adjective in plural

- How VPs are turned into so-called ""headless"" NPs ("the one making mistakes", "whoever makes a mistake", "the shout-er and the shout-ee")
maker of
The complex system of nonfinite verbform needs its own message.

- Past-tense real conditions ("If you really did the homework, then there is no problem.")
- Nuances in non-past unreal conditions (future more vivid "If you do the homework, you'll be rewarded." ~ future less vivid "If you did the homework, you'd be rewarded")
There is Conditional Mood. But they are quite SAE constructions anyways.
Ser wrote:
18 Mar 2020 01:11
* In Mandarin, those three incrementative correlation examples use a similar syntax, making use of 越 yuè 'INCR', a particle to express correlated increments.
植物越來越大 plant INCR come INCR big = 'the plant is getting bigger and bigger'
我越澆植,植越長大 1S INCR water plant, plant INCR grow big = 'the more I water the plant, the bigger it gets'
我說越少越好 1S say/speak INCR few/less INCR good = 'the less I say, the better'

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Re: Curiosities in Finnish

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Nonfinite verb forms in Finnish

In typology, nonfinite verb forms are usually divided in four groups: infinitives, converbs, participles, and action nominalizations. (Furthermore, there are actor nominalizations, actee nominalizations etc. that are rarely handled.) Those terms describe Finnish nonfinite verbforms relatively well, at least much better than English.

Definitions of the four nonfinite verbforms

All nonfinite verbforms are deverbalized (i.e. they lose verby features) by definition. Some nonfinite verbforms are also recategorized (i.e. they gain features of some other lexical classes). The other defining feature is their syntactic role.

Code: Select all

			infinitive	converb		participle		action nominalization
decategorized		+		+		+			+
new lexical class	-		-		adjective		noun
syntactic role		complement*	adjunct*	modifier of a noun 	all those of nouns 
*Complements are obligatory modifiers of their head (i.e. without them the clause is ungrammatical) and adjuncts are optional modifiers (i.e. causes are grammatical without them). It practice, defining if they are obligatory is hard and subjective.

Infinitives


//a//

teh-dä ‘to do’
puhu-a ‘to speak’
kara-ta ‘to escape’

//maan//

teke-mään ‘to do’
puhu-maan ’to speeek’
karkaa-maan ’to escape’

Both //a// and //maan// are quite “normal” infinitives and semantically very alike. Some verbs just demand //a// and some //maan// as their complement. //maan// has preserved somewhat more implications of movement and it appears with motion verbs, (1).

(1)
Juoksin ostamaan kondomeita kaupasta.
I.ran buy:INF condoms from.shop
‘I ran buying condoms from a shop.’
//a// appears with verbs of allowing and can then have an own subject in Genitive, (2). //maan//, on the other hand, appears as accusativus cum infinitivo, (3)

(2)
Annoin lasten riehua koko päivän.
I.let child.PL.GEN play_intensivyly whole day
‘I let the children play intensively all the day.’

(3)
Opetin lasta puhumaan saksaa.
I.taught child.PART speak.INF German.
‘I taught child to speak German.’


//masta//

teke-mästä ’from doing’
puhu-masta ’from speaking’
karaka-masta ‘from escaping’

//masta// is related to verbs of stopping or coming from doing something, (4).

(4)
Lakkasin keräilemästä Pokémon-kortteja.
I.ceased collect.INF Pokémon.cards
‘I ceased from collecting Pokémon cards.’


//massa//

teke-mässä ’doing’
puhu-massa ’speaking’
karaka-massa ‘escaping’

Massa is the hardest one when you have to decide if it is an infinitive or something else. It appears in a progressive construction, (5), which is not quite as frequent as English “is Vning” though. It also appears as accusativus cum infinitivo when you perceive somebody doing something (6). See also Referative in the same use, (7).

(5)
Hallitus on sulkemassa Suomen rajat.
government is close.INF Finland.GEN borders
‘The government is closing Finnish borders.’

(6)
Näin pulun ylittämässä tietä.
I.saw pigeon cross.INF road
‘I saw a pigeon crossing a road.’


Infinitives of Referative Construction //van//, //neen//, //tun//

teke-vän, teh-neen, teh-dyn
puhu-van, puhu-neen, puhu-tun
karkaa-van, karan-neen, kara-tun

Referative construction has a bunch of infinitives. They have relative tense agreement (simultaneous and anterior) and a same-subject vs. different-subject marking. Same subject marking has person agreement with Possessive Suffixes. You can check a Finnish grammar in, say, Wikipedia to see what they are.

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		Different subject 	same subject 		no subject = impersonal
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------		
Simultaneous 	-van 			SG1 -va-ni		-tta-van 
					GS2 -va-si
					SG3 -va-nsa
					PL1 -va-mme
					PL2 -va-nne
					PL3 -va-nsa		
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anterior 	-neen 			SG1 -nee-ni		-tun 
					GS2 - nee -si
					SG3 - nee -nsa
					PL1 - nee -mme
					PL2 - nee -nne
					PL3 - nee -nsa		
Referative construction often has an own subject that is in Genitive case, (7). Often the main verb is expressing something. That’s why the construction is called Referative.

(7)
Näin pulun ylittävän tietä.
I-saw pigeon cross.INF.SIM.DS road
‘I saw a pigeon crossing a road.’

(8)
Väitin ymmärtäneeni mitä hän sanoi.
väit-i-n ymmärtä-nee-ni mitä hän sano-i
claim-PST-SG1 understand-INF.PST-SS.SG1 what SG3 say-PST
‘I claimed I had understood what he said.’

(9)
Luulin Euroopassa puhuttavat saksaa.
luul-i-n Eurooppa-ssa puhu-tta-van saksa-a
think-PST-SG1 Europe-INESS speak-IMPERS-SIM.INF German-PART
‘I thought they speak German in Europe.’


Converbs

The meaning of infinitives is usually just defined by their head. Semantically they are quite dumb. Converbs have special meanings.


Purposive converb //akse//

Purposive converb always has a possessive suffix and is coreferential (SS) with the subject of the main clause.

teh-däkse-ni/si/en/mme/nne/en ’in order to do’
puhu-akse-ni/si/en/mme/nne/en ’in order to speak’
kara-takse-ni/si/en/mme/nne/en ’in order to escape’

(10)
Prinsessa teki hiuksistaan köyden päästääkseen prinssin torniin.
princess made of.her.hair rope let.PURPOSIVE prince tower.ILL
‘The princes made a rope of her hair in order to let the prince into the tower.’


Instrumental converb //malla//

teke-mällä ‘by doing’
puhu-malla ‘by speaking’
karkaa-mallla ‘by escaping’

(11)
Isä näytti tunteensa ostamalla autoon uudet talvirenkaat.
father showed hi.feelings buy.INSTRUMENTAL for.car new winter.wheels
‘Father showed his feelings by buying new winter wheels for the car.’


Temporal converb //essa//, //ttua//

tehessä, tehtyä ‘when doing’, ’having done’
puhuessa, puhuttua ’when speking’, ’having spoken’
karatessa, karattua ’when escaping’, ’having escaped’

Temporal converb also has relative tense inflection (simultaneous, anterior) and subject reference (same subject, different subject, no subject). Same subject agreement is again formed by possessive suffixes. The anterior impersonal is though rare and ungrammatical in many contexts. The own subject is in Genitive case, (13).

Code: Select all

	Different subject 	same subject 		no subject = impersonal
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Simultaneous 	-essa 		SG1 -essa-ni		-tta-essa
				GS2 -essa-si
				SG3 -essa-nsa
				PL1 -essa-mme
				PL2 -essa-nne
				PL3 -essa-nsa	
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anterior 	-ttua		SG1 -ttua-ni		-tua ? 
				GS2 - ttua-si
				SG3 - ttua-nsa
				PL1 - ttua-mme
				PL2 - ttua-nne
				PL3 -ttua-nsa	
Temporal converb expresses temporal relations.

(12)
Kävellessään Nalle Puh hyräilee.
walk.TEMPORAL.SIM.SG3 Winnie the Pooh hum.SG3
‘When walking, Winne the Pooh is humming.’

(13)
Nasun kieltäydyttyä hunajasta, Puh söi sen kaikki.
Piglet.GEN neglect.ANTE.DS honey Pooh ate it all
‘Piglet having neglected the honey, Pooh ate it all.’


Attendant Circumstance converb //en//

teh-den ‘doing’
puhu-en ‘speaking’
kara-ten ‘escaping’

(14)
Ukki tupakoi penkillä istuen.
Gandpa smokes sit.ATTENDANTCIRCUMSTANCE on.bench
‘Grandpa smokes sitting on the bench.’

Attendant Circumstance converb can also have an own subject. The converb is (productively) dot inflected. If the own subject is part of the subject of the main clause of belongs to them, the own subject of the converb appears in Nominative case (15). If it is not, it appears in Genitive case (16).

(15)
Presidentti huutaa sylki suusta roiskuen.
president yells, saliva.NOM mouth.ELL splatter.ATTENDANTCIRCUMSTANCE
‘The president is yelling, saliva splattering out of his mouth.’

(16)
Hipit polttavat kannabista kadulla kaikkien nähden.
hippies burn cannabis street.ADESS everyone.PL.GEN see. ATTENDANTCIRCUMSTANCE
‘Hippies smoke cannabis in the street, everybody seeing.’


Negative converb //matta//

teke-mättä ‘without doing’
puhu-matta ’without speaking’
karkaa-matta ’without escaping’

Negative converb expresses that the main clause happens without the converb construction. An infinitive of verbs olla ‘to be’ or jättää ‘to leave (tr.)’ + //matta// works as a negative infinitive. Normal negation cannot appear with the infinitives above.

(17)
Vieras lähti sanomatta kellekään mitään.
guest left say.NEGCON anybody.ALL anything
‘The guest left, without saying anybody anything.’

(18)
Aion jättää tulematta juhliin.
I.intend leave.INF come.NEGCON party.PL.ILL
‘I intend not to come to the party.’


Participles

//va//, //nut//, /ttu//, //ma//, //maton//

teke-vä, teh-nyt, teh-ty, teke-mä, teke-mätön
puhu-va, puhu-nut, puhu-ttu, puhu-ma, puhu-maton
karkaa-va, karan-nut, kara-ttu, karkaama, karkaa-maton

Orientation is an important category of participles. It expresses what is the syntactic role of the head noun. Subject-oriented participles, or course, cannot have an own subject because the head is the subject. As usual, object-oriented participles can have same subject as the main clause, their own subject or no subject at all. Finnish participles also have a tense inflection. With referative infinitives and temporal converbs, I said that the tense distinctions are relative (simultaneous or anterior) but particples don’t behave that nicely. There is some relative tense and some absolute tense. Aspect also makes them messy. When I read especially history books in Finnish I all the time think that the author uses participles wrongly, but it is so common that it must be that I just don’t understand the tense system. That’s why I call them present and past participles here. There is also a negative participle, that has no tense or person inflection.
Participle constructions, like all Finnish adjectives, precede their head noun.
Participles, like all Finnish adjectives, agree their head in case and number.

Code: Select all

		Subject oriented 	Object oriented 	Object oriented  	Object oriented 
					without subject 	with a subject		with same subject
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Present 	va			tta-va			| ma			ma-ni
								|			ma-si
								|			ma-nsa
								|			ma-mme
								|			ma-nne
								|			ma-nsa 
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Past 		nut 			ttu			|
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Negative  	maton 
(19)
Nalle Puh seikkailee [A. A. Milnen kirjoittamassa] kirjassa.
Winne thePooh adventures [A. A. Milne-GEN write-OBJECTOR.DS-INESS] book-INESS
‘Winnie the Pooh adventures in a book [written by A. A. Milne].’

(20)
Nalle Puh seikkailee [1900-luvun alussa kirjoitetussa] kirjassa.
Winnie thePooh adventures [20th.centure.GEN beginning.INESS write.PTCP.PST.NOSOBJ-INESS] book-INESS
‘Winnie the Pooh adventures in a book [written in the beginning of 20th century].’

(21)
Kaipaatko tuota syömätöntä ruokaa.
miss.SG2.Q that.PART eat.NEGPTCP.PART feed.PART
‘No you need that uneaten food.’


Action Nominalization

Action nominalizations are nouns that refer the action itself.

//minen//
teke-minen ’doing’
puhu-minen ’speaking’
karaka-minen ‘escaping’

Finnish Action Nominalization is very nouny in that it takes its arguments as genitive modifiers, like any noun.
(22)
Kirjan kirjoittaminen
book.GEN write.AN
’writing of the book’

(23)
Kirjailijan kirjoittaminen
author.GEN write.AN
‘author’s writing’


Discussion

Like you can see, many of the nonfinite verbforms in this message can be separated to some kind of an old action nominalization (//ma// especially appears in many places) and a case suffix. This analyses does not emphasize morphologically easy word forms but tries to analyse them functionally.

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Ser
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Re: Curiosities in Finnish

Post by Ser »

That was a pretty interesting post, on non-finite forms! It surprises me to see so many uses clearly distinguished with different suffixes. In Indo-European languages in Europe, you typically just get a few non-finite forms that do multiple things, and some of that work is taken care of by subjunctives.
Omzinesý wrote:
18 Mar 2020 10:55
- Can nouns be modified by adverbs and PPs directly? ("all the people here", "the mouse under the table", "research on early dinosaurs")
Yes, but I think teachers don't recommend it.
That's pretty interesting. Do they insist in doing the thing that Classical Latin does, using a participle instead? (Even if they don't justify it with Classical Latin.) Classical Latin didn't allow adverbs and PPs to modify nouns directly (except in a very few contexts), and instead tended to use a participle or relative clause:

omnēs quī hīc adsunt (lit. "all that are present here") all.PL.NOM REL.PL.NOM here be.present.3PL
mūs sub mēnsā latēns (lit. "(the) mouse hiding under the table") mouse.SG.NOM under table.SG.ABL hide.IMPF.PTCP.SG.NOM
quaestiō dē animālibus tractāns (lit. "investigation discussing about animals") investigation.SG.NOM about animal.PL.ABL talk.about.IMPF.PTCP.SG.NOM
- Is there a use of "inverse when"? ("When I was helping them, you complained." -> "I was helping them when you complained.")
Yes, do some languages lack them?
Yes, Mandarin Chinese lacks the use of "inverse when".

It wouldn't surprise me if "inverse when" turned out to be a feature of the Eurasian corridor (Europe, Middle East, India), but I don't know. Spanish, French and Standard Arabic do have "inverse when" at least.
- Are there absolute clauses, even if just as a literary construction? ("His books having been burned, Don Quixote cried.")
I would call them nonfinite constructions. But yes, very many and complex.
Absolute clauses are a very particular type of construction with a non-finite verb. They stand as an adjunct for the main clause, typically a temporal one, are used with no subordinator, and can be transitive holding both a subject that's different from that of the main clause and objects.

One of your examples of an adjunct clause involving a temporal converb ("Piglet.GEN neglect.ANTE.DS honey, Pooh ate it all") has an instance of an absolute clause pretty much. Same goes for the attendant circumstantial with -en ("president yells, saliva.NOM mouth.ELL splatter.ATTENDANTCIRCUMSTANCE").
- How adjectives are turned into NPs ("the big one", "the rich and the poor", "Italians", *Frenches, "the French")
The adjective in plural
Although I imagine the plural is not used in the situations of "the big one", "the bigger one", "the biggest one", "the very big one", "the not so big one", etc. Finnish has no articles; is there really no marker at all for adjectives that have been turned into a singular NP?
- How VPs are turned into so-called ""headless"" NPs ("the one making mistakes", "whoever makes a mistake", "the shout-er and the shout-ee")
maker of
The complex system of nonfinite verbform needs its own message.
In European languages, NPs consisting of ""headless"" relative clauses typically do not involve non-finite forms. Your post above on non-finite forms doesn't address any similar equivalent to my examples... I imagine that Finnish does the normal European thing of using a subordinator that inflects for case ("the one that's talking", "the one that's being talked to"), although I don't know what it might do since it doesn't allow relative clauses on PPs. Then again, it has a lot of cases, so probably not an issue that creates curious, strange constructions. And the "shout-er and shout-ee" example may possibly be rendered by a participle turned into an NP, in some way, maybe?
- Past-tense real conditions ("If you really did the homework, then there is no problem.")
- Nuances in non-past unreal conditions (future more vivid "If you do the homework, you'll be rewarded." ~ future less vivid "If you did the homework, you'd be rewarded")
There is Conditional Mood. But they are quite SAE constructions anyways.
The interesting thing about past-tense real conditions in European languages is that they typically use the indicative. Similarly, non-past unreal conditions tend to have some nuance between the use of indicative and non-indicative moods.
Last edited by Ser on 20 Mar 2020 22:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Curiosities in Finnish

Post by Omzinesý »

Ser wrote:
18 Mar 2020 16:20
That was a pretty interesting post, on non-finite forms! It surprises me to see so many uses clearly distinguished with different suffixes. In Indo-European languages in Europe, you typically just get a few non-finite forms that do multiple things, and some of that work is taken care of by subjunctives.
The number of nonfinite verb forms seems to increase when we go eastwards in Eurasia. Hungarian is prototypical examply of a language that has one infinitive, one converb and one action nominalization. Many Finnish converbs and infinitives can be seen as case forms of some generic nonfinite suffixes. That doesn't differ very much from, say, English preposition + -ing.
Of course, Finnish as well has finite sibordinate caluses.
Ser wrote:
18 Mar 2020 16:20
Omzinesý wrote:
18 Mar 2020 10:55
- Can nouns be modified by adverbs and PPs directly? ("all the people here", "the mouse under the table", "research on early dinosaurs")
Yes, but I think teachers don't recommend it.
That's pretty interesting. Do they insist in doing the thing that Classical Latin does, using a participle instead? (Even if they don't justify it with Classical Latin.) Classical Latin didn't allow adverbs and PPs to modify nouns directly (except in a very few contexts), and instead tended to use a participle or relative clause:

omnes quī hīc adsunt (lit. "all that are present here") all.PL.NOM REL.PL.NOM here be.present.3PL
mūs sub mēnsā latēns (lit. "(the) mouse hiding under the table") mouse.SG.NOM under table.SG.ABL hide.IMPF.PTCP.SG.NOM
quaestiō dē animālibus tractāns (lit. "investigation discussing about animals") investigation.SG.NOM about animal.PL.ABL talk.about.IMPF.PTCP.SG.NOM
That is one strategy. Genitive and compounds are common too.
An like I said it is not impossible in Finnish to have a P modifying an NP.



Ser wrote:
18 Mar 2020 16:20
- Are there absolute clauses, even if just as a literary construction? ("His books having been burned, Don Quixote cried.")
I would call them nonfinite constructions. But yes, very many and complex.
Absolute clauses are a very particular type of construction with a non-finite verb. They stand as an adjunct for the main clause, typically a temporal one, are used with no subordinator, and can be transitive holding both a subject that's different from that of the main clause and objects.

One of your examples of an adjunct clause involving a temporal converb ("Piglet.GEN neglect.ANTE.DS honey, Pooh ate it all") has an instance of an absolute clause pretty much. Same goes for the attendant circumstantial with -en ("president yells, saliva.NOM mouth.ELL splatter.ATTENDANTCIRCUMSTANCE").
I usually use term absolute constructions, only for participles modifying a noun in a function where some other languages would use subordinate clauses. The head of an absolute construction is a noun, while the head of a converb construction is the converb. They are a characteristic of classical languages.
But that is discussion on what some terms mean which is often not meaningful.
Ser wrote:
18 Mar 2020 16:20
- How adjectives are turned into NPs ("the big one", "the rich and the poor", "Italians", *Frenches, "the French")
The adjective in plural
Although I imagine the plural is not used in the situations of "the big one", "the bigger one", "the biggest one", "the very big one", "the not so big one", etc. Finnish has no articles; is there really no marker at all for adjectives that have been turned into a singular NP?
Of course an adjective-noun can be in singular. Yes, it has no marker of being a noun. I think even spoken language don't use demonstratives in that context though they are often used like articles.

Code: Select all

"Minä sanon teille: helpompi on kamelin mennä neulansilmästä kuin rikkaan päästä Jumalan valtakuntaan."
I say to.you : easier is camel.GEN go.INF heairpinturn.ELAT than rich.GEN get.INF God.GEN kingdom.ILL 
Ser wrote:
18 Mar 2020 16:20
- How VPs are turned into so-called ""headless"" NPs ("the one making mistakes", "whoever makes a mistake", "the shout-er and the shout-ee")
maker of
The complex system of nonfinite verbform needs its own message.
In European languages, NPs consisting of ""headless"" relative clauses typically do not involve non-finite forms. Your post above on non-finite forms doesn't address any similar equivalent to my examples... I imagine that Finnish does the normal European thing of using a subordinator that inflects for case ("the one that's talking", "the one that's being talked to"), although I don't know what it might do since it doesn't allow relative clauses on PPs. Then again, it has a lot of cases, so probably not an issue that creates curious, strange constructions. And the "shout-er and shout-ee" example may possibly be rendered by a participle turned into an NP, in some way, maybe?
In English you have an actor nominalization -er.
In Finnish you can say "Se joka ... " 'DEMONSTRATIVE REL.PRON ...' of course. Finnish is a SAE lang.
Ser wrote:
18 Mar 2020 16:20
- Past-tense real conditions ("If you really did the homework, then there is no problem.")
- Nuances in non-past unreal conditions (future more vivid "If you do the homework, you'll be rewarded." ~ future less vivid "If you did the homework, you'd be rewarded")
There is Conditional Mood. But they are quite SAE constructions anyways.
The interesting thing about past-tense real conditions in European languages is that they typically use the indicative. Similarly, non-past unreal conditions tend to have some nuance between the use of indicative and non-indicative moods.
I don't quite get what you mean. Do you mean the irrealis condition clauses that have Past Tense in English, or do you mean clauses that happen in the past?
It seems that your examples can quite directly be translated into Finnish, though.
Ser wrote:
18 Mar 2020 16:20
- Is there a use of "inverse when"? ("When I was helping them, you complained." -> "I was helping them when you complained.")
Yes, do some languages lack them?
Yes, Mandarin Chinese lacks the use of "inverse when".

It wouldn't surprise me if "inverse when" turned out to be a feature of the Eurasian corridor (Europe, Middle East, India), but I don't know. Spanish, French and Standard Arabic do have "inverse when" at least.
How does Mandarin do that?

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Re: Curiosities in Finnish

Post by Salmoneus »

Ser wrote:
18 Mar 2020 01:11

Some interesting questions for a conlanger to consider!
Specific questions:
- Can relative clauses be made on PPs? ("the woman I told you about", "the table I like to write on")
[/quote]
I'm not sure about your wording there. I take it you're asking whether it is possible to relativise oblique arguments when they are marked by prepositions? And that this is therefore just a more specific form of the general question about relativising obliques?
- Can relative clauses be made on objects of comparison? ("the guy I'm shorter than", "the one guy I scored less than")
Do you have reason to think that 'being the object of comparison', semantically, is a cross-linguistically relevant factor here? What I mean is, intuitively I'd think that this resolves to just "does comparison require obliques?" and "can obliques be relativised?" (eg, if your comparison translates literally to "the guy surpasses me in height", I'm guessing the mere presence of comparative semantics won't matter...). And in languages like English where comparison uses a preposition, I'd think that relativisation would be as for other prepositional phrases?
- Can nouns be modified by adverbs and PPs directly? ("all the people here", "the mouse under the table", "research on early dinosaurs")
That's an interesting question. Do you have any information on which languages or families can't (or can) do this?

Although I'm not sure why you call 'here' an adverb, as it clearly modified nouns directly, making it an adjective...
- Is there a use of "inverse when"? ("When I was helping them, you complained." -> "I was helping them when you complained.")
Not sure what you mean here. Are you saying something about the order of adverbial clauses, or are you saying something about the semantic (perfective vs imperfective) of 'when'?
- Can adjectives stand as a pseudo-clause followed by a pause, even if just as a literary construction? ("Fatigued, we kept walking until reaching the town.")
Are you sure the pause is syntactically significant, rather than rhetorical? I'm always skeptical of the idea that English punctuation directly represents actual pauses in speech...
Various topics:
- Incrementative correlations* ("the plant is getting bigger and bigger", "the more I water the plant, the bigger it gets", "the less I say, the better")
I'm not sure why you group these; they seem very different to me.

In your first example, I get why you call this 'incrementative' - one use of the comparative builds on the other, as it were. Not sure why you call it a correlation. But the second and third ones seems unrelated to that - correlations, but not really incrementative. I'd say it's just a comparative correlation - "when its loud, it's annoying" vs "when its louder, it's more annoying". You've also chosen specific constructions in English that are a bit odd, because they involve substantive comparitives and object-first word orders, both of which are rare in English... but I assume that's not what you're talking about?

I get that Mandarin may treat these the same way, but I don't think that means there's really something that unifies them objectively.
- How adjectives are turned into NPs ("the big one", "the rich and the poor", "Italians", *Frenches, "the French")
How and presumably also whether...
- How VPs are turned into so-called ""headless"" NPs ("the one making mistakes", "whoever makes a mistake", "the shout-er and the shout-ee")
I don't understand what you mean here.
- Nuances in non-past unreal conditions (future more vivid "If you do the homework, you'll be rewarded." ~ future less vivid "If you did the homework, you'd be rewarded")
I'm not sure I agree with you premise here. In English this seems like the usual real vs unreal distinction.

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Re: Curiosities in Finnish

Post by Ser »

OMG, so many tiny replies...

I should've expected this when posting a long badly-written but nevertheless interesting list like that, dammit.

Also, this post is partly necessary clarifications, but is also heavily off-topic... I guess we'll be moving some of this discussion to a new thread soon.
Omzinesý wrote:
19 Mar 2020 11:32
I don't quite get what you mean. Do you mean the irrealis condition clauses that have Past Tense in English, or do you mean clauses that happen in the past?
It seems that your examples can quite directly be translated into Finnish, though.
I mean realis condition clauses that relate to an event in the past (and which have the simple past tense in English):

"Look, I don't see why you think I should've mentioned that I got along with that guy back in high school. That was so many years ago. If we got along back then, what would be the problem now? If we didn't back then, how would that change anything?"

Notice these are different from irrealis "future less vivid" clauses, also formed with the simple past tense: "If you and Mark got along better in the next few months, you would be such great project partners".

English "if + simple past" forms either realis past conditions, or irrealis future less vivid conditions. Usually you rely on context to tell them apart (also, in real life, I think (irrealis) future less vivid conditions are a lot more common than realis past ones...)
Omzinesý wrote:
Ser wrote:
18 Mar 2020 16:20
Yes, Mandarin Chinese lacks the use of "inverse when".

It wouldn't surprise me if "inverse when" turned out to be a feature of the Eurasian corridor (Europe, Middle East, India), but I don't know. Spanish, French and Standard Arabic do have "inverse when" at least.
How does Mandarin do that?
It uses the other construction I gave that is sort of equivalent to it, often adding the adverb "then". So if you want to say "I was helping them when you complained", you say an equivalent of "when I was helping them, you (then) complained". Two examples from the Naver Chinese dictionary (the latter with "then"):

在他演讲时有人打开了门。
{zài tā yǎnjiǎng shí} yǒu rén dǎ-kāi=le mén
{in 3S give_speech when} there_be person hit-open=PRFV door
Somewhat literally, "while he was giving a speech, there was a person that hit the door open".)
'He was giving a speech when someone opened the door.'
(I used {} to indicate that zài tā...shí "in 3S..when" is a subordinate clause. The subordinator 时 shí 'when' is always used at the end of its subclause, never at the beginning.)

他年幼时就继承王位了。
{tā niányòu shí}, jiù jìchéng wáng-wèi=le
{3S young when}, then inherit king-position=PRFV
Somewhat literally, "When/While he was young, he then inherited the king post."
'He was (still) young when he inherited the throne.'



Now, Salmoneus...
Salmoneus wrote:
20 Mar 2020 00:08
- Can relative clauses be made on PPs? ("the woman I told you about", "the table I like to write on")
I'm not sure about your wording there. I take it you're asking whether it is possible to relativise oblique arguments when they are marked by prepositions? And that this is therefore just a more specific form of the general question about relativising obliques?
Yes, to distinguish them from the next point.
- Can relative clauses be made on objects of comparison? ("the guy I'm shorter than", "the one guy I scored less than")
Do you have reason to think that 'being the object of comparison', semantically, is a cross-linguistically relevant factor here? What I mean is, intuitively I'd think that this resolves to just "does comparison require obliques?" and "can obliques be relativised?" (eg, if your comparison translates literally to "the guy surpasses me in height", I'm guessing the mere presence of comparative semantics won't matter...). And in languages like English where comparison uses a preposition, I'd think that relativisation would be as for other prepositional phrases?
I think what you say about this point resolving into those two questions is true, at least most of the time. Latin, Spanish and French basically use conjunctions in comparisons, so they can't relativize a standard of comparison. But English and Standard Arabic use prepositions, so they can. But note it is precisely because I'm interested whether this could be different in some particular languages that I look for it.
- Can nouns be modified by adverbs and PPs directly? ("all the people here", "the mouse under the table", "research on early dinosaurs")
That's an interesting question. Do you have any information on which languages or families can't (or can) do this?
Classical and Late Latin can't. So in Latin you typically include the PP as a modifier of an adjective or a verbal participle that then modifies the noun, or inside a relative clause (Ctrl+F omnēs quī for a few examples I gave to Omnizesý). Yeah, although nouns can't, adjectives are able to take PP modifiers. In some situations you can modify an NP with an ablative NP, and besides, English phrases can also be reworded with genitive NPs that modify the head NP as you'd expect.

vir contentus vītā = "man.NOM happy.SG.NOM life.ABL"
'a man happy with his life' ('a man with a happy life') [adjectival phrase]

tabernās argentāriās quae circā forum Rōmānum essent (Livy, Ab Urbe Conditā 26.11)
shops.ACC silverly.PL.ACC REL.PL.NOM around forum.ACC Roman.SG.ACC be.SUBJ.IMPF.3PL
'the silversmith workshops around the Roman forum' [relative clause: "...workshops that were around..."]

mulier praeclārā pulchritūdine = "woman.NOM splendid.SG.ABL beauty.ABL"
'a woman of splendid beauty' [ablative NP modifier]

mulier summae virtūtis = "woman.NOM highest.SG.GEN virtue.GEN"
'a woman of great virtue' [genitive NP modifier]


There is one main exception to this in Latin: abstract nouns related to actions and feelings, useful to clarify syntactic roles. Although these abstract nouns can generally take genitives, those genitives are often ambiguous for the roles of subject or some sort of object.

amor ergā eam = "love.NOM toward her.ACC"
'[someone's] love for her' (could also be: amor eae "love.NOM her.GEN", but this could also mean 'her love [for someone]')

fuga ex Italiā (Cicero, Ad Atticum 7.17) = "escape.NOM from Italy.ABL"
'an escape from Italy' (or also: fuga Italiae "escape.NOM Italy.GEN", but Italy could be the one escaping)

quem propter commūne odium in bonōs ōderās (Cicero, In Vatīnium 25)
REL.MASC.SG.ACC because_of common.SG.ACC hatred.ACC against good.PL.ACC hate.PLUP.2S
'[Vatinius,] whom you had hated because of his usual hatred for good people' (or also: odium bonōrum, but this could also be 'good people's hatred [for someone]')
Although I'm not sure why you call 'here' an adverb, as it clearly modified nouns directly, making it an adjective...
Hah. I suppose that's fair if if we're talking about English, but is it so if it's Spanish? La gente aquí 'the people here'. I guess some linguists would argue that Spanish has a few invariable adjectives, particularly colours (zapatos café, brown shoes), but my dialect treats those regularly (zapatos cafés) while still accepting la gente aquí. Although maybe some linguists would argue aquí is some sort noun modifier from the use of brand names (chocolates Lindt 'Lindt chocolate', computadoras Lenovo 'Lenovo computers')... I do notice that other such basic adverbs like ayer 'yesterday' and así 'this way, thus' can't modify NPs directly (*los eventos ayer, *la construcción así). I don't know...

Once again, I'm asking about this because (Classical/Late) Latin doesn't allow this, as with PPs of place. Can't say *hominēs hīc.
- Is there a use of "inverse when"? ("When I was helping them, you complained." -> "I was helping them when you complained.")
Not sure what you mean here. Are you saying something about the order of adverbial clauses, or are you saying something about the semantic (perfective vs imperfective) of 'when'?
Both. I mean the perfective aspect use of cum, and also its unmarked use after the main clause. "When you showed up I was cooking dinner" feels a bit more marked to me than "I was cooking dinner when you showed up", but maybe you'll disagree...
- Can adjectives stand as a pseudo-clause followed by a pause, even if just as a literary construction? ("Fatigued, we kept walking until reaching the town.")
Are you sure the pause is syntactically significant, rather than rhetorical? I'm always skeptical of the idea that English punctuation directly represents actual pauses in speech...
I, at least, really can't pronounce this kind of thing without making a pause or intonation break, in either English or Spanish (Cansados, seguimos caminando hasta llegar al pueblo).

It seems obvious to me that German commas are more orthographical than anything else, but I think English and Spanish commas generally reflect speech, especially in Spanish. Many English speakers seem to believe a rule that commas should be placed after a sentence-initial adjunct though. Also, in real-world Spanish, you can often find commas after long, heavy subjects, right in between the subject and the verb, reflecting a natural spoken pause, even though the RAE of course disapproves of that use of the comma.
Various topics:
- Incrementative correlations* ("the plant is getting bigger and bigger", "the more I water the plant, the bigger it gets", "the less I say, the better")
I'm not sure why you group these; they seem very different to me.

In your first example, I get why you call this 'incrementative' - one use of the comparative builds on the other, as it were. Not sure why you call it a correlation. But the second and third ones seems unrelated to that - correlations, but not really incrementative. I'd say it's just a comparative correlation - "when its loud, it's annoying" vs "when its louder, it's more annoying". You've also chosen specific constructions in English that are a bit odd, because they involve substantive comparitives and object-first word orders, both of which are rare in English... but I assume that's not what you're talking about?

I get that Mandarin may treat these the same way, but I don't think that means there's really something that unifies them objectively.
I think you're right that the first construction is of a different nature than the one in the second and third examples, so I should've separated them.

The second type of construction is very specific and odd, yes, but it's common in European languages, and I've noticed both Standard Arabic and Mandarin also have special correlative constructions to express this (with 越...越 yuè...yuè "INCR" in Mandarin, and in Arabic, with كلما kullamaa 'the more' and قل qalla 'the less', as in قل...قل qalla...qalla 'the less X, the less Y'), hence my interest in it. Grammars of languages often don't mention how this kind of thing is naturally translated into those other languages though, hence why I ask.

I'm sure there are languages that need to use normal comparisons for this ("Whenever I water this kind of plant more, it always gets bigger", "If I say less, everything will be better"), but I'd like to know which are some of them.
- How VPs are turned into so-called ""headless"" NPs ("the one making mistakes", "whoever makes a mistake", "the shout-er and the shout-ee")
I don't understand what you mean here.
I'm asking how Finnish does the equivalent of "headless relative clauses", to use the common term. (A term I don't like much, because I believe the subordinators or parts of the supposed subordinators are the actual heads in these.)

I mentioned "shout-er/shout-ee" in the same question (although I shouldn't have...), because in Classical Chinese agent nouns and patient nouns are formed with the same morphemes as headless relative clauses. See 所見 suǒ jiàn ("REL.PAT see") 'the one seen, what is seen, lo visto' and 天之所見 tiān zhī suǒ jiàn ("heaven POSS REL.PASS see") 'what Heaven sees', or 殺者 shā zhě ("kill REL.AGT") 'killer' and 樂殺人者 lè shā rén zhě ("happy kill person REL.AGT") 'those who enjoy killing people [cannot benefit from the efforts of the world... Tao Te Ching 31]'.

I don't expect Finnish to have anything interesting (just derivational suffixes instead, as usual), but I'd apply the question broadly to the world's languages. Maybe there's an inflectional language out there that has agent and patient "articles" that go with an infinitive of sorts (imagine i pal-ash 'bless-er', en pal-ash 'bless-ee', where -ash is a non-finite inflectional suffix, and where i/en show article-like behaviour elsewhere), or something stranger still.
- Nuances in non-past unreal conditions (future more vivid "If you do the homework, you'll be rewarded." ~ future less vivid "If you did the homework, you'd be rewarded")
I'm not sure I agree with you premise here. In English this seems like the usual real vs unreal distinction.
Hmm, yeah, I think you're right about that.
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.

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Re: Curiosities in Finnish

Post by Salmoneus »

Ser wrote:
21 Mar 2020 00:48
OMG, so many tiny replies...

I should've expected this when posting a long badly-written but nevertheless interesting list like that, dammit.
Sorry if my reply came across as fisking! I agree that some of your questions are interesting, I'm not just not entirely sure what you mean by some of them...

English "if + simple past" forms either realis past conditions, or irrealis future less vivid conditions. Usually you rely on context to tell them apart (also, in real life, I think (irrealis) future less vivid conditions are a lot more common than realis past ones...)
Vastly more common - to the point where I'm not 100% happy even about your example.

This is, in any case, as I understand it, a coincidence. It's the result of two processes: the past subjunctive, being naturally found in many conditionals, has come to become a general conditional mood; and over time the past subjunctive has merged with the past indicative...

[although it's not as simple as real/unreal in the present, because there are also middle options. A continuum could be suggested: "If Bob's coming tomorrow..." > "If Bob comes tomorrow..." > "If Bob should come tomorrow" > "If Bob were to come tomorrow" > "If Bob came tomorrow". ]
I think what you say about this point resolving into those two questions is true, at least most of the time. Latin, Spanish and French basically use conjunctions in comparisons, so they can't relativize a standard of comparison. But English and Standard Arabic use prepositions, so they can. But note it is precisely because I'm interested whether this could be different in some particular languages that I look for it.
Well, now you mention it, IS 'than' a preposition in English, or is it a conjunction? I hadn't considered the latter possibility before. But consider:
"Bob would be better than Sue"
"Better Bob than Sue"
"I'd rather Bob than Sue"
"I'd rather Bob won than Sue"
"I'd rather Bob win than Sue cancel the competition"

Kind of looks conjunctive.

And consider prepositional phrase fronting: "I am sitting on Sue" > "On Sue, I am sitting"; but not "I am taller than Sue" > ?"than Sue, I am taller". Though I think archaic English can do the latter. Also, to complicate things further: you can front "than" clauses when prefixed by "rather": "Rather than eat the fish, I left the shop", but not *"Than eat the fish, I prefered to leave the shop".

So I don't really know what's going on there.
- Can nouns be modified by adverbs and PPs directly? ("all the people here", "the mouse under the table", "research on early dinosaurs")
That's an interesting question. Do you have any information on which languages or families can't (or can) do this?
Classical and Late Latin can't. So in Latin you typically include the PP as a modifier of an adjective or a verbal participle that then modifies the noun, or inside a relative clause
Yes, sorry, I saw your Latin examples, I was just wondering how widespread you thought this was in other languages, and in which.
Although I'm not sure why you call 'here' an adverb, as it clearly modified nouns directly, making it an adjective...
Hah. I suppose that's fair if if we're talking about English, but is it so if it's Spanish? La gente aquí 'the people here'. I guess some linguists would argue that Spanish has a few invariable adjectives, particularly colours (zapatos café, brown shoes), but my dialect treats those regularly (zapatos cafés) while still accepting la gente aquí. Although maybe some linguists would argue aquí is some sort noun modifier from the use of brand names (chocolates Lindt 'Lindt chocolate', computadoras Lenovo 'Lenovo computers')... I do notice that other such basic adverbs like ayer 'yesterday' and así 'this way, thus' can't modify NPs directly (*los eventos ayer, *la construcción así). I don't know...
Two things come to mind...

"Here" obviously isn't a normal adjective in English either - it follows the noun rather than preceding it. In fact it sort of acts like a prepositional phrase. But it certainly modifies the noun - "This man here ate an octopus in China". Ordinary adverbs can't modify the noun (hence the name), though prepositional phrases can. "Beyond" is an interesting one - it can act like "here" ("he looked through the window, into the room beyond"), but it can also be a preposition ("he looked into the room beyond the window").

The semantics make me thing that deixis is involved here, that this in some ways more like a determiner than and adjective (although, again, wrong side of the noun). Indeed, while "this" and "that" have become fixed before the verb, "yonder" can still go either before it (like "this") or after it (like "here"). This would tie in to your observation about brand names, which again have a kind of deictic function (it's not telling you a property of the chocolate, it's telling you WHICH (type of) chocolate it is); sadly we can't do this in English, though.

How many words in English does this affect? Here, there, now, then... after, yonder, beyond, behind, before... they all seem to be basically adjectives that are prepositional in function?

Although iirc Hiberno-English allows "so" as well ("your man so").

Once again, I'm asking about this because (Classical/Late) Latin doesn't allow this, as with PPs of place. Can't say *hominēs hīc.
My intuition is that English is just zero-deriving adjectives out of certain adverbs (or vice versa), and other languages don't allow this.
- Is there a use of "inverse when"? ("When I was helping them, you complained." -> "I was helping them when you complained.")
Not sure what you mean here. Are you saying something about the order of adverbial clauses, or are you saying something about the semantic (perfective vs imperfective) of 'when'?
Both. I mean the perfective aspect use of cum, and also its unmarked use after the main clause. "When you showed up I was cooking dinner" feels a bit more marked to me than "I was cooking dinner when you showed up", but maybe you'll disagree...
I think I do. Or... well, maybe not. But I think it's a pragmatic markedness - they're just used in different situations, one of which is more common. I'd say... no, sorry, can't really describe it. Well, for example, you'd put the "when" clause first to retrospectively explain an event: "When you got here, I was finishing the boat in the garage" (that's why I didn't hear you come in); whereas you'd put it last to retrospectively explain an emotion? "I was finishing the boat in the garage when you got here" (that's why I'm grumpy, because you interrupted me).

And certainly there are cases when you'd put 'when' first. "When I was just a little boy, I asked..."; "Many years later, when he faced the firing squad, Aureliano Buendia..." (ok, that's actually 'as' rather than 'when', but it still works...)

Anyway, I'd say you can put the 'when' clause either side.

You can also put the 'when' on a clause of any aspect, although if the clause you put it on is more backgrounded and broader in time than the other, it often/usually becomes 'while' or 'whilst' instead.
"I ate when you knocked"
"I was eating when you knocked"
"I was eating when/while you were knocking"
"I ate while(/when) you were knocking".

But I'm still not sure exactly which context you mean by 'inverse when' (aside from word order)
- Can adjectives stand as a pseudo-clause followed by a pause, even if just as a literary construction? ("Fatigued, we kept walking until reaching the town.")
Are you sure the pause is syntactically significant, rather than rhetorical? I'm always skeptical of the idea that English punctuation directly represents actual pauses in speech...
I, at least, really can't pronounce this kind of thing without making a pause or intonation break, in either English or Spanish (Cansados, seguimos caminando hasta llegar al pueblo).
Depends on the sentence, to me, and the context. "Fragile, it may have been, but..." has no pause for me. "Blue, they painted it, in the end" often wouldn't in speech, though could do. "Fatigued, they walked" is fine without a pause if nothing follows, though it has an old-fashioned, storytelling feel.
It seems obvious to me that German commas are more orthographical than anything else, but I think English and Spanish commas generally reflect speech, especially in Spanish. Many English speakers seem to believe a rule that commas should be placed after a sentence-initial adjunct though. Also, in real-world Spanish, you can often find commas after long, heavy subjects, right in between the subject and the verb, reflecting a natural spoken pause, even though the RAE of course disapproves of that use of the comma.
Commas reflect a combination of syntax and imagined or typical speech, but they don't always reflect actual speech. A lot of allegro speech really is very allegro, without big pauses at all - sometimes even full stops aren't really respected in everyday speech.
The second type of construction is very specific and odd, yes, but it's common in European languages, and I've noticed both Standard Arabic and Mandarin also have special correlative constructions to express this (with 越...越 yuè...yuè "INCR" in Mandarin, and in Arabic, with كلما kullamaa 'the more' and قل qalla 'the less', as in قل...قل qalla...qalla 'the less X, the less Y'), hence my interest in it. Grammars of languages often don't mention how this kind of thing is naturally translated into those other languages though, hence why I ask.

I'm sure there are languages that need to use normal comparisons for this ("Whenever I water this kind of plant more, it always gets bigger", "If I say less, everything will be better"), but I'd like to know which are some of them.
A further complication: English also lets you say (though it's a bit old-fashioned) "when I water it the more"

However, I think you should distinguish between having correlative comparisons per se, and English's specific construction of using substantives in correlative comparisons. I suspect the former is much more common than the latter. I suspect English does the latter at least in part because it DOESN'T (any longer) have many correlatives in other contexts, and we've therefore borrowed an adverbial noun to take up that function. [we do still have "as... so", but that's pretty old-fashioned]
I'm asking how Finnish does the equivalent of "headless relative clauses", to use the common term. (A term I don't like much, because I believe the subordinators or parts of the supposed subordinators are the actual heads in these.)
Ah, OK.
I mentioned "shout-er/shout-ee" in the same question (although I shouldn't have...), because in Classical Chinese agent nouns and patient nouns are formed with the same morphemes as headless relative clauses. See 所見 suǒ jiàn ("REL.PAT see") 'the one seen, what is seen, lo visto' and 天之所見 tiān zhī suǒ jiàn ("heaven POSS REL.PASS see") 'what Heaven sees', or 殺者 shā zhě ("kill REL.AGT") 'killer' and 樂殺人者 lè shā rén zhě ("happy kill person REL.AGT") 'those who enjoy killing people [cannot benefit from the efforts of the world... Tao Te Ching 31]'.
And English can do likewise - "the seen", "the seeing" - it just prefers nominal derivation. In particular, English doesn't like treating headless relatives as nouns, and therefore things get awkward when one wants to, say, indicate number...
I don't expect Finnish to have anything interesting (just derivational suffixes instead, as usual), but I'd apply the question broadly to the world's languages. Maybe there's an inflectional language out there that has agent and patient "articles" that go with an infinitive of sorts (imagine i pal-ash 'bless-er', en pal-ash 'bless-ee', where -ash is a non-finite inflectional suffix, and where i/en show article-like behaviour elsewhere), or something stranger still.
That would be strange, though elegant - how would these be (or connect to) articles?

This reminds me of a/o possession, although I can't think of an elegant way to get from one to the other. I don't know enough about how possession interacts with relativisation... although I suppose you could just do something like:

"I talk to the man they have blessing" > "I talk to [] they have blessing". And then you can distinguish agent and patient with a/o possession: "I talk they A bless" vs "I talk they B bless" [you could then make the 'they' be zero-marked].
Or, similarly, alienable vs inalienable.

So you could have "ego tak i belas" (I talk to he who blesses) vs "ego tak en belas" (I talk to he who is blessed). I've toyed with the idea of a language that just sticks a/o possessive markers on almost everything ("I saw a A horse" (I saw someone's horse) vs "I saw a O horse" (oh fuck, there's a horse running around smashing stuff!); "I saw a A ship" (cool, someone has a ship!) vs "I saw a O ship" (aargh, there's a ship, this can't be good, it's coming for us!!!), and this would fit with that.

Or, you could have "ego tak i belas" (I talk to he who blesses) vs "ego tak belas-u" (I talk to he who is blessed), using inalienable possession for the latter.

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Re: Curiosities in Finnish

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Ser asked if PPs can be made modify nouns and that is an interesting question. It sometimes appears, (1).

(1) lohta vihannesten kera/kanssa
salmon.PSRR vegetable.PL.GEN with
‘salmon with vegetables’

Teachers do not, however, usually recommend it. Instead PPs are adjectivized with derivational (glossed DER) suffix -inen, compare (2a) with (2b) and (3a) with (3b). These adjectives inflect like any adjective and agree the noun in number and case.

(2a) totuuden jälkeen
totuus-n jälki-Vn
truth-GEN track-ILL
‘after truth’

(2b) tutuudenjälkeinen aika
totuus-n-jälki-inen aika
truth-GEN-track-DER time
‘port-truth time’

(3a)
pöydän alla
pöytä-n alla
table-GEN under
‘under [the] table’

(3b)
pöydänalainen tuoli
pöytä-n-ali-inen tuoli
table-GEN-under-DER chair
'a chair under [the] table'

Adjectivization is possible of some adpositions only. For example, phrases with kera/kanssa ‘with’ in (1) cannot be adjectivized. Finnish also makes strict distinctions between location and goal adpositions. Xn alla ‘in the area under X’ Xn alle ‘to the area under X’ Deadpositional adjective can, however, be only formed from a location PP.

Some extra examples, (4) and (5).

(4a)
kielten välillä
kieli-ten väli-llä
language-PL.GEN distance-ADESS
‘between languages’

kieltenvälinen vertailu
kieli-ten-väli-inen vertailu
language-PL.GEN-distance-DER comparison
‘interlinguistic comparison’ ‘comparison between languages’

(5a)
lain mukaan
laki-n muka-Vn
law-GEN ?-ILL
‘according to law’

(5b)
lainmukainen käyttäytyminen
laki-n-muka-inen
law-GEN-?-DER behavior
’behavior obeying law’

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Re: Curiosities in Finnish

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Abbreviations

jne. (ja niin edelleen) 'etc.'
yms. ynnä muuta sellaista 'etc'
ym. ynnä muuta 'etc.', 'et al.'


jne. usually appears with lists, (1).
ym. is often used as an adjective, (2). It also mean 'et al.' in scientific papers. Iso suomen kielioppi could be referred to like in (3). Then it is read "ynnä muut". I though see et al. also in papers written in Finnish.

(1)
Olen tehnyt tänään hyvin tavallisia asioita: syönyt aamiaisen, lukenut päivän lehden, tiskannut, kaynyt kävelyllä jne.
'I have done today very usual things: eaten breakfast, read the daily newspaper, washer dishes, had a walk etc.'

(2)
Puimme säästä ym. tylsästä.
'We spoke about weather and other boring things.'

(3)
(Hakulinen ym. 2004: 134.)
'(Hakulinen et al. 2004: 134.)'

(4)
Nuori alkaa kapinoida vanhempiaan vastaan yms.
'A youth starts to rebel their parents etc.'


ko. kyseessä oleva 'in question'
em. edellä mainitty 'above' 'before mentioned'

Finnish does not have articles and use of demonstratives is not frequent in written official texts. I, at least, use "ko." quite often. Kyseinen and mainittu mean more or less the same. Ko. and em. are quite similar specifiers. I think em. refers to a more specific part of text. There is a fun fact that in English papers you refer to something you said above, like in a PDF reader, while in Finnish articles you often refer to something you said before.

(5)
Em. esimerkissä (1) käsitellään lyhennettä ko..
'In example (1) above, the abbreviation ko. is discussed.'

(6)
Minulla ei ole kantaa ko. kysymykseen.
'I have no stance on the issue in question.'

esim. esimerkiksi 'e.g.'

(7)
Syön mielelläni vihanneksi, esim. porkkanoita.
'I like eating vegetables, e.g. carrots.'

ks. katso 'see'
This abbreviation also appears in papers, (8)

(8)
ks. s. 143
'see p. 143'

l. eli 'i.e.'
I have seen eli be abbreviated l. but it is quite stupid to replace a three-letter word with a two-letter word.

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