ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Wojtowicz, Radoslaw

nyomtatható változat

Wójtowicz, Radosław (Poznan)

The choice of case for the Finnish predicative: an overview of the Finnish predicative past passive participles’ case variation (pdf)

In my presentation I will consider the choice of case of Finnish past passive participles (Fin. TU-partisiippi) that appear in the predicative position. The participles in question in certain contexts behave like adjectives and therefore are considered to be to a lesser or greater degree lexicalized.

In Finnish an adjective as a predicative can be marked in the nominative or the partitive case. Finnish scholars, including Sadeniemi (1950), Itkonen (1976), Ikola (1983) and Huumo (2006, 2007), have so far proposed several theories concerning the factors which influence the choice of the case of the adjectival predicative. These factors include the following: negation, resultativity, countablity or uncountability of the referent and defined or non-defined quantity of the referent, among others. Martin is in turn of the opinion that in certain contexts the choice of the case for the Finnish predicative is probably merely a question of free variation (Martin 1987: 278).

I assume that the rules concerning variation of the grammatical case of the predicative suggested by Finnish linguists apply to the participles that I am investigating as well. However, when it comes to the view presented by Martin (1987), I presume that it is the question of semantic motivation rather than free variation in the choice of the case of Finnish past passive participles that are used predicatively. The following pair of examples from contemporary Finnish in public use illustrates the variation of the case of the predicative:

(1)       Tupakointi       on        täällä   ehdottomasti   kielletty-Ø

smoking          is         here     strictly             forbidden-NOM.SG.

‘Smoking is strictly forbidden here’

(2)       Alkoholin                      myynti           alle      18-vuotiaille                on        kielletty-ä

alcohol.GEN.SG sale             under  18-year-olds.ALL.PL.            is        forbidden-PART.SG.

‘The selling of alcohol to persons under the age of 18 is forbidden’

In the first example a particular behaviour is not allowed in the area at all, whereas in the second one, the action of selling of alcoholic beverages is unacceptable only in certain circumstances i.e. when the buyer is a minor. My hypothesis is that when speaking about socially unacceptable behaviour, as in the second example, the partitive is used rather than the nominative.


Huumo, Tuomas 2006: Kvantiteetti ja aika I: nominaalisen aspektin näkökulma suomen objektin ja subjektin sijamerkintään. Virittäjä 110, 504–538.

Huumo, Tuomas 2007: Kvantiteetti ja aika II: nominaalinen aspekti ja suomen predikatiivin sijanvaihtelu. Virittäjä 111, 3–23.

Itkonen, Terho 1976: Erään sijamuodon ongelmia. Opuscula Instituti Linguae Fennicae, Universitas Helsingiensis 53, 173–217. Helsinki: Univesity of Helsinki.

Ikola, Osmo 1983 (toim.): Nykysuomen käsikirja. Espoo: Wellin – Göös

Martin, Maisa 1987: Adjektiivipredikatiivin sijasta. – Virittäjä 91 s. 274–278.

Sadeniemi, Matti 1950: Totaalisesta ja partiaalisesta predikatiivista. Virittäjä 54, 46–53.