Characteristics of the Finnish language in AX Semantics
Finnish has no genders for nouns. It distinguishes between animate and inanimate, which only plays a role for personal pronouns. There are two numbers: singular and plural. Additionally, Finnish has fifteen cases for nouns.
|number||singular||yksi vanha auto|
(one old car)
|plural||viisi vanhaa autoa|
(five old cars)
(I paint the house.)
(I'm painting the house.[part/incomplete object])
|essive||käyttää leiriä talona|
(use the camp as the house)
|translative||Muutan sen taloksi.|
(I'll turn it into a house.)
(See you at the house!)
|ablative||Kävelin talolta toiselle.|
(I walked from the house to another.)
|allative||Koska saavut talolle?|
(When will you be arriving to the house?)
(to the house)
(from the house)
|inessive||Asun talossa. |
(I live in the house.)
|abessive||On vaikeaa elää talotta.|
(It's difficult to live without a house.)
(with the house)
(with their house(s))
[comitative case is always followed by a possessive suffix (e.g., "en" in this example)]
|adjectives (noun)||before noun||punainen omena|
|verb tenses||present||hän ostaa|
The standard order of a noun phrase in Finnish is the following:
preposition + determiner + numeral + adjective + noun.
See for example:
ilman näitä kolmea suosittua laulajaa without these three popular singer[sg,part] PREP DET NUM ADJ NOUN "without these three popular singers"
Finnish nouns are inflected for number and case. Lexicon entries for nouns may also be necessary for inflecting determiners, adjectives and pronouns correctly. They are omitted, if a lexicon entry is required, but missing.
The basic lexicon entry for talo (house) contains:
- inflection table for case and number:
If you need lexicon entries for countries, write to the support about that and you will get them for Finnish with automatic handling of prepositions.
In the lexicon, the inflection table encodes case and number. For adjective position, the default is "before noun".
Finnish verbs inflect for person, number and tense. The most common verbs are encoded in our software. If a verb inflects incorrectly, you should add it to the lexicon.
There is no need to use verb containers for passive and negative forms because they do not inflect. Therefore, they can be included in the plain text. Take
lukea(to read)for example,
lue is its negative present form , and
luetaan is its passive present form. Both will not inflect while changing number, person, or tense.
The noun will automatically agree with the numeral number when a numeral variable is used. Four types of numerals are possible on the AX NLG platform: cardinal, cardinal as digit, ordinal, and ordinal as digit.
As the example below shows, cardinal numerals other than 1 require the
partitive case in the singular number for the following noun (e.g., päivää).
(the ninth day)
(the 9th day)
If the numeral is not in nominative case, the numeral and the noun agree in case, but notice that they are still in singular number:
kahdella [ade sg] autolla [ade sg] (by two cars)
If determiners are included in the numeral phrase, they are plural:
nämä [nom pl] kaksi [nom pl] autoa [par sg] (these two cars) näillä [ade pl] kahdella [ade pl] autolla [ade sg] (by these two cars)
For Finnish, both cardinal and ordinal numerals are written out until 12 on the platform, otherwise (above 12) the output is in digit form. Take cardinal numerals for example:
kaksitoista autoa (twelve cars) vs. 13 autoa (13 cars)
The AX NLG platform supports the following determiners for Finnish: demonstrative, distal, proximal, possessive, and quantifier (every). Besides, possessive determiners require possessive suffixes that are added to the noun after the case ending, for example:
laukku (bag) tämä laukku (this bag) [hänen] laukkunsa (his bag)
Finnish prepositions normally require the noun to be in the
partitive case, for example,
ennen (before), etc.
käsi [nominative] (hand) ilman kättä [partitive] (without hand)
Finnish uses both pre- and postpositions, though often what is elsewhere expressed by a preposition is expressed by case. In Finnish containers only prepositions can be set, postpositions have to be put after the container as plain text.
On the AX NLG platform, in the following example the case setting in the container for
elative and for
Pariisi it is
He matkustivat Australiasta Pariisiin. (They traveled from Australia to Paris.)
A case switch happens for some countries like
Malta, for which not the
elative case but the
ablative is needed. See for example:
He matkustivat Maltalta Pariisiin. (They traveled from Malta to Paris.)
Such case switches are saved in the lexicon for the countries that need them. This means that in the container for both
Malta we have set the
elative case and if the input is
Malta, the inflected form automatically switches to
ablative, if the corresponding lexicon entry exists.
The AX platform applies vowel harmonies automatically. Vowel harmony means that many inflection suffixes have different variants, that are used depending on what kind of vowels a word contains. For Finnish this means that a word doesn't combine back vowels (u, o, a) with front vowels (y, ö, ä) and vice versa. The rest (i, e) are considered neutral.
Therefore if a letter with an umlaut is in the word, the suffix will also take an umlaut. For example, the noun lemma
pöly needs to take the suffix
-sta in the elative case. Since
pöly contains the umlaut
ö, the suffix
-sta will automatically change into
pöly (dust) -> pölystä (about dust)
The AX platform applies consonant gradation automatically. This involves that consonants alternate between a strong grade (e.g. kk/pp/mb/…) in some inflection forms of a word and a weak grade (e.g. k/p/mm/…) in others. It can only take place at the border between the last and the one-but-last syllable.
The following example shows a consonant gradation from
lippu (flag, nom sg) -> liput (flags, nom pl)