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The Translative Case – ksi – Translatiivi

Table of Contents
  1. The Use of the Translative Case
    1. When a change of state happens
    2. When a transition happens
    3. When translating languages
    4. When expressing the time of a future event
    5. In certain words
    6. With certain verb rections
    7. With certain participle constructions
  2. The Formation of the Translative Case
    1. Words ending in a single vowel
    2. Words ending in an -e
    3. Words ending in -nen
    4. Words ending in -i
      1. New words ending in -i
      2. Old words ending in -i
      3. Old words ending in -si
  3. Consonant Gradation in the Translative Case

1. The Use of the Translative Case (-ksi)

1.1. When a change of state happens

By this, I mean that something changes from one state to another: say, from water to wine, or from warm to cold. The verb ”muuttua” (”to change, to turn into”) is the most typical for this type of sentence.

Finnish English
Ilma muuttui kylmäksi. The weather turned cold.
Aika kävi pitkäksi. Time dragged on (”the time became long”).
Maalaa se punaiseksi! Paint it red!
Se muuttui vedeksi. It turned into water.
Sivut muuttuivat kirjaksi. The pages turned into a book.
Hän kasvoi pitkäksi. He grew tall.
Minä tulen aika nopeasti sairaaksi. I get sick pretty quickly.

1.2. When a transition happens

This is fairly close to 1.1, but deals mostly with people and is often harder for students to grasp. Ice turning into water is a clear change, but so is a person becoming unemployed, pregnant or an engineer. Those are maybe more transitions than changes. Some verbs that are typical for this type of sentence are ”päästä”, ”opiskella”, ”valmistua” and ”joutua”. You can find some example sentences of those below.

Finnish English
Pääsin ylioppilaaksi vuonna 2004. I became a graduate in the year 2004.
Hän opiskelee toimittajaksi. She studies to become a journalist.
Roope tuli Bodomin uudeksi kitaristiksi. Roope became Bodom’s new guitarist.
Hän valmistui insinööriksi. He graduated as an engineer.
Hän joutui vangiksi. He was imprisoned (”he ended up as a prisoner”).
Hän joutui työttömäksi. He became unemployed.
Hän tuli raskaaksi. She became pregnant.

1.3. When translating languages

Just like all the examples above, this chapter also deals with a change, between languages this time! The target language will be put in the translative case.

Minä käännän sen suomeksi. I will translate it to Finnish.
Sano se suomeksi! Say it in Finnish!
Kuinka sanotaan viroksi ”kirja”? How do you say ”kirja” in Estonian?
Käänsin satukirjan englannista suomeksi. I translated a fairytale book from English to Finnish.

1.4. When expressing the time of a future event

When we’re expressing the time by which something will happen or is due to happen, the translative is also used. These are usually cases where we know in advance when, and for how long something is going to happen.

Finnish English
Minä menen kesäksi Suomeen. I’m going to Finland for the summer.
Matkustatteko te kotiin jouluksi? Are you going home for Christmas?
Matkustan Lappiin viikoksi. I’m traveling to Lapland for a week.
Menen Suomeenj kolmeksi viikoksi. I’m going to Finland for three weeks.
Hän lähti kaupungille pariksi tunniksi. He went into town for a couple of hours.
Vien sen kotiin viikonlopuksi. I’m taking it home for the weekend.

1.5. In certain words

There are some words that inherently have the translative attached to them, either as a fossilized element, or to express an abstract use of the translative case. This also includes phrase constructions like ”tietääkseni” and ”muistaakseni”.

Finnish English Finnish English
anteeksi I’m sorry. lisäksi in addition
lopuksi in the end esimerkiksi for example
miksi why tarpeeksi enough
aluksi in the beginning terveydeksi bless you
ensiksi first, firstly toiseksi second, secondly
onneksi luckily

1.6. With certain verb rections

As mentioned in 1.1. and 1.2. there are certain verbs that have a rection that requires the translative case. You can read more about translative verb rections here.

1.7. With certain participle constructions

The translative also appears in some verb constructions using the participles. Some examples of this are ”tulla tehdyksi” (something gets done), ”saada tehdyksi” (I complete something) and ”saada tehtäväkseen” (receive as a job). These are pretty terrible translations, I know. You can read more about participle constructions here.


2. The Formation of the Translative Case

The translative ending is -ksi. In the singular, it is added to the weak stem of the word (the same stem to which you add the -n for the genitive). In the plural, it is added to the plural stem (the stem to which you add the -ssa for the plural inessive).

2.1. Words ending in a single vowel (-a/-ä, -u/-y, -o/-ö): add -ksi

This is also true for some words ending in -i and -e, but they generally have a different rule. See below!

Nominative Translative Nominative Translative Nominative Translative
kala kalaksi tyyny tyynyksi talo taloksi
seinä seinäksi työ työksi melu meluksi

2.2. Words ending in -e: add an extra -e- before the -ksi

Words ending in -e get a second -e- in any case except the partitive.

Nominative Translative Nominative Translative Nominative Translative
huone huoneeksi perhe perheeksi kappale kappaleeksi
kirje kirjeeksi lentokone lentokoneeksi taide taiteeksi
parveke parvekkeeksi koe kokeeksi aste asteeksi

2.3. Words ending in -nen: replace the -nen with -se/-se before the -ksi

This is the same change that -nen words go through when being used in any case except the partitive.

Nominative Translative Nominative Translative Nominative Translative
nainen naiseksi hevonen hevoseksi suomalainen suomalaiseksi
eteinen eteiseksi iloinen iloiseksi ihminen ihmiseksi
sininen siniseksi toinen toiseksi tavallinen tavalliseksi

2.4. Words ending in -i

2.4.1. New words ending in -i: add -ksi

New words are often loanwords. Usually they’re recognisable because they resemble words in other languages, like ”pankki” for ”bank”, or ”paperi” for ”paper”. Loanwords are easier than Finnish words because they don’t undergo as many changes when you add endings.

Nominative Translative Nominative Translative Nominative Translative
banaani banaaniksi paperi paperiksi kahvi kahviksi
pankki pankiksi posti postiksi maali maaliksi
tili tiliksi adverbi adverbiksi dollari dollariksi

2.4.2. Old words ending in -i: replace -i- with -e- and add -ksi

Old words are very often nature words. After all, nature has been around for so long that Finns have had names for them since the very beginning. Some words’ age can be confusing, for example ”äiti” (mother) is actually a new Finnish word, eventhough mothers have been around since the beginning of time!

Nominative Translative Nominative Translative Nominative Translative
suomi suomeksi ovi oveksi järvi järveksi
kivi kiveksi suuri suureksi nimi nimeksi
pieni pieneksi lehti lehdeksi pilvi pilveksi

2.4.3. Old words ending in -si: replace -si- with -de- and add -ksi

More old words, but this time with -si at their end. This group has its own additional change

Nominative Translative Nominative Translative Nominative Translative
uusi uudeksi vuosi vuodeksi si deksi
kuukausi kuukaudeksi vesi vedeksi reisi reideksi

3. Consonant Gradation in the Translative Case

Wordtype A
Nominative Translative Nominative Translative Nominative Translative
tyttö tytöksi pankki pankiksi puku puvuksi
pöytä pöydäksi hattu hatuksi kauppa kaupaksi
silta sillaksi kampa kammaksi hiekka hiekaksi

I have a separate article on wordtype A.

Wordtype B
Nominative Translative Nominative Translative Nominative Translative
savuke savukkeeksi opas oppaaksi keitin keittimeksi
tavoite tavoitteeksi rakas rakkaaksi hammas hampaaksi
soitin soittimeksi puhallin puhaltimeksi allas altaaksi

I have a separate article on wordtype B.


That concludes the article on the translative case!

 

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