How can i learn verbi rektio helposti (easily). What is logic for them?
Hi Vural, thanks for the great question!
Rektio or rection means the phenomenon in Finnish where a verb (or another word) needs words that go together with the verb to be in a certain form. For example, the verb tykätä ‘to like’ goes together with the elative or Mistä case.
Mä tykkään suklaasta.
I like chocholate+Mistä.
I like chocolate.
The elative also means ‘where from’:
Mistä sinä tulet?
Where are you coming from?
That means that rections can be really confusing and difficult to remember in the beginning. The trick is to learn the verb and its rection as a whole. I like to think of minä tykkään + Mistä as a frame where I can susbtitute X with anything:
Minä tykkään X:stä - I like X
Minä tykkään suklaasta - I like chocolate
Minä tykkään sinusta - I like you
Minä tykkään pullasta - I like pulla
and so forth.
My main advice for learning verb rections is learning them verb by verb along with the form that goes with the verb. So each time your learn a new verb, look at how is behaves in a sentence, and pay attention to the forms of the other words in the sentence.
However, there are patterns and even a certain logic to verb rections. Verbs and their rections fall into patterns, and it can really help to know about these patterns. Here are a few common ones to start with.
For example, verbs that express a sensory experience go together with the ablative case (miltä):
Ruoka tuoksuu ihanalta. - The food smells wonderful.
Paita näyttää hyvältä. - The shirt looks good.
Musiikki kuulostaa hyvältä. - The music sounds good.
Hieronta tuntuu mukavalta. - The massage feels nice.
With these verbs, the allative case (mille) is also possible and means exactly the same thing.
Uusi kielemme has done a wonderful job listing different rection patterns, so I won’t do the same job twice! You can find all their rection articles here: https://uusikielemme.fi/?s=rections
Rections are an example of Finnish grammar where it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose steam. How can I say anything at all if I’m not sure about what case the other words should be in? The good news is, it’s often not a big deal to choose the wrong form. Rections are also something that native speakers struggle with, because they are sometimes different in spoken forms Finnish and standard written Finnish.
The Finnish case system is just like the prepostition system of English and other European languages, where there’s a lot to learn case by case and mistakes are to be expected during the learning process. Just like in English, there might be some minor misuderstandings if you choose the wrong form, but usually not serious ones. As you hear and read more and more Finnish, the correct forms will start to become automatic.
Readers, what has worked for you for learning rections?
Tykkään suklaakakusta tosi paljon.
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My Finnish teacher and my friends keep telling me that I should stop translating everything from English to Finnish and start thinking in Finnish instead. I have no clue how to do that. How do I start thinking in another language?
This is an area of language learning that I find fascinating, thank you for the great question! In this post, I’ll share what works for me as a language learner, and what many of my students have also found helpful.
Thinking practice. Set a timer for 5 minutes and do your best to think in Finnish for that period of time. You will, inevitably, think in other languages as well, but any time you notice it bring yourself back to the effort of thinking in Finnish. At first, it may be that you aren't able to think in Finnish at all, but when you keep going, you'll start to notice it getting easier and easier. However, a caveat with this one: not everyone has an inner monologue where they “speak” a specific language in their head, in which case I recommend the next technique.
Talking to yourself. Another really helpful technique is to talk to yourself out loud in Finnish for a set period of time. Even one minute a day, five days a week, does wonders. If you want to speak with any fluency, you can’t do a lot of translating, so talking out loud almost forces you to start thinking in Finnish.
Talking to others. No matter how difficult this may seem at first, start speaking Finnish in real life situations, even if it's just a few words a day. Remember that there's no shame in having to switch to another language when you need to, but try to stick to Finnish as best you can.
Reading in Finnish. Regular reading in Finnish has the benefit of almost automatically switching your thoughts to Finnish. I recommend you start with a selkokirja, a novel in easy Finnish. My personal favorite is Yösyöttö by Eve Hietamies (original novel) and Hanna Männikkölahti (easy Finnish adaptation). Another great option is following the news in easy Finnish.
All of these techniques work best if you can build them into your daily routine. I’m trying to get better at speaking French, so I spend the walking or biking distance between my child’s daycare and my office either thinking in French or speaking it out loud. I avoid weird looks by having my headphones on, so it looks like I’m talking on the phone or taking a Zoom call (or, if I’m feeling confident, I’ll ditch the headphones and embrace the weird looks). I also know many French people living in Helsinki who are kind enough to want to speak French with me, so I also do my best to speak French every week.
Readers, what’s your experience? How did you make the switch from translating to thinking in Finnish? Were you able to start thinking in Finnish right at the start of your learning journey, or was it a process that took some time? What worked for you?
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Ask a Finnish Teacher / Toiminimi Mari Nikonen
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