Finaalirakenne suomenkielisissä teksteissä 1500-luvulta nykysuomeen

  • Heidi Salmi
  • Kirsi-Maria Nummila
  • Duha Elsayed
  • Harri Uusitalo


The Final clause in Finnish texts

from the 16th century to the present day

Modern Finnish language has a compact means of expressing that the action described in the embedded clause is the purpose of the action reported in the main clause (Hän on ponnistellut lujasti estä|ä|kse|en [prevent+INF+TRANSL+POSS.3SG] neuvottelujen kariutumisen ’He has made considerable effort in order to prevent the failure of the negotiations’) or that the main clause action is a prerequisite of the action reported in the subclause (Hän ei ole elänyt tarpeeksi kauan kerto|a|kse|en [tell+INF+TRANSL+POSS.3SG] löydöstään ’He hasn’t lived long enough to tell about his discovery’). This non-finite construction, named the Final clause (finaalirakenne) at its most scaled-down meaning can even convey simple posteriority (Edmonton meni jatkoon pudot|a|kse|en [fail+INF+TRANSL+POSS.3SG] seuraavalla kierroksella Minnesotalle ’Edmonton made the playoffs and/but lost against Minnesota in the following round’). The construction consists of the translative form of the A-marked infinitive. A possessive suffix is attached to the infinite verb form. It usually refers to the subject referent of the main clause.

The Final clause appears to be a formation typical to literary language even though the translative of the A-marked infinitive has some lexicalized uses in local dialects. This paper was written by a group of Old Finnish researchers who decided to follow the factors behind its frequency in various old texts. As a result, a pilot study on the Final clause was conducted.

The construction was investigated from three different perspectives: 1) diachronic changes in religious and legal texts, 2) the effect of genre, and 3) the author’s language background. Pieces of corpora, representing periods of Old Finnish, Early Modern and Modern Finnish, each 35 000 words in size, were determined, and the occurances of Final clause (or constructions close enough to it) were calculated.

The results show that the Final clause, like non-finite clauses in general, was still seeking its shape in the earliest Biblical and legal texts. Few occurances of the Final clause could be defined in the 16th century texts. The translative of the A-marked infinitive had other uses, though. The Final clause spread rapidly in the 19th century and peaked in Elias Lönnrot’s legal texts as well as in the Bible translation eventually published in the 1930’s.

From the beginning, the Final clause had a literal tone in it. Antti Lizelius (1708‒1795), parson of Pöytyä and Mynämäki counties and founder of the first Finnish newspaper, made frequent use of the Final clause in his Tiedotuskirja, local history research, while underused it in the newspaper Suomenkieliset Tieto-Sanomat, whose main goal was public enlightenment. Texts of several 19th century authors were investigated in the same manner in order to find out the effect of language background on the use of the Final clause. The writer’s mother tongue appeared to be a greater factor than the status of the text as original or translated. Non-native Finnish speakers were three times as likely to use the construction than native speakers.

Many further questions arise from the findings of this paper which is a preliminary introduction to a so far little-researched non-finite construction. Nevertheless, it proved possible to follow the birth and development of the Final clause from available literal sources.

Avainsanat: finaalirakenne, vanha kirjasuomi
joulu 17, 2018
Salmi, H., Nummila, K.-M., Elsayed, D., & Uusitalo, H. (2018). Finaalirakenne suomenkielisissä teksteissä 1500-luvulta nykysuomeen. Sananjalka, 60(60.), 28-48.