Lesson 6 - Stem and consonant gradation I

If you recall, we discussed concepts of stem using the word "box" as an example in Lesson 5. From this lesson on, we will talk about how a stem is extracted from one word, and what sounds we need to alternate. In Kven, some consonants can change when they are in different cases. In order to find out in which case they sound different, we need to learn consonant gradation (graadivaihettelu). Ideas and concepts behind this are far more complicated, thus I will use several infographics to illustrate. So far, the most comprehensive guide on Kven’s consonant gradation is written by linguist Eira Söderholm in her book Kainun kielen grammatikki. However, the book may be too difficult/linguistic for beginners, as Söderholm put every gradation, including gradations for verbs, in the same table. 


Without further ado, let’s begin!

As we see in this chart, we always start from "Grade 0", so we first need to look vertically. This column is the basic form of every word, a.k.a, the nominative case.



A consonant (a single chess piece) is called "Weak grade". Weak grade is usually a reduction form of strong grade, and weak grade can sometimes have a completely different consonant than strong grade, i.e. aika -> aijat.

Double consonant (two chess pieces) is called "Strong grade".


The idea behind these infographics is just a concept of strong and weak grade. In most cases, double consonants are considered strong. However, there are many exceptions, especially those found in Type B, please refer to the chart below.


There are three grades:

1: Always weak.

0: Can either be strong or weak, depending on the type.

+1: Always strong.


There are three types:

Type A: Grade 0 and Grade +1 is the same, while Grade –1 involves a reduction.

Type B: Grade –1, Grade 0, and Grade +1 all have different consonants.

Type C: Grade –1 and Grade 0 is the same, while Grade +1 involves an increase.


Keep the above information in mind because we will use that later.


Words ending

In order to find out which word belongs to which type; we need to look at the ending of each word. In Kven, words can be divided into these two groups: Words ending in a vowel and words ending in a consonant. This chapter involves only words ending in a vowel. 

These charts will come in handy no matter what your Kven level is at, and they can be used as indexes as well. For beginners, try to relate to sound changes and familiarize yourself with them.


Words ending in a vowel (a, ä, i, o, u, ö, y, e) – Type A

Chart 1. Nominative (grade 0) is strong

Strong:

Weak:

nominative sg., partitive sg., illative sg., essive sg.

 

genitive pl., partitive pl., illative pl., essive pl., and comitative

 

genitive sg., inessive sg., elative sg., allative sg., adessive sg., ablative sg., translative sg., abessive sg.

 

nominative pl., inessive pl., elative pl., allative pl., adessive pl., ablative pl., translative pl., and abessive pl.


Gradation

Nominative singular

Nominative plural

kk : k

akka (strong/0)

akat (weak/–1)

nkk : nk

vankka (strong/0)

vankat (weak/–1)

rkk : rk

tarkka (strong/0)

tarkat (weak/–1)

lkk : lk

pulkka (strong/0)

pulkat (weak/–1)

k : Ø

koko (strong/0)

koot (weak/–1)

hk : h

pahka (strong/0)

pahat (weak/–1)

tt : t

katto (strong/0)

katot (weak/–1)

rtt : rt

kartta (strong/0)

kartat (weak/–1)

ht : hđ

lehti (strong/0)

lehđet (weak/–1)

pp : p

leppä (strong/0)

lepät (weak/–1)

rpp : rp

korppi (strong/0)

lorpit (weak/–1)

lpp : lp

helppo (strong/0)

helpot (weak/–1)

*Green letters are case endings; they are just examples of how they are attached to the stem. In other word, parts before the green letter are weak stems.


Sample conjugation - katto (roof):


Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

katto

katot

Genitive

katon

kattoin

Partitive

kattoo

kattoi

Inessive

katossa

katoissa

Illative

katthoon

katthoin

Elative

katosta

katoista

Adessive

katola

katoila

Abessive

katotta

katoitta

Allative

katole

katoile

Ablative

katolta

katoilta

Essive

kattona

kattoina

Translative

katoksi

katoiksi

Comitative

 

kattoine


Words ending in a vowel (a, ä, i, o, u, ö, y, e) – Type B

Chart 2. Nominative (grade 0) can be either strong or weak. This is the only type that has all three grades for each word.

–1

0

+1

all other cases

nominative sg., illative sg., essive sg., illative pl., essive pl., and comitative

partitive sg. and genitive pl., and partitive pl.


Gradation

Nominative plural

Nominative singular

Partitive singular

uvu : uku : ukku

yvy : yky : ykky

suvut (weak/–1)

pryvyt (weak/–1)

suku (weak /0)

pryky (weak /0)

sukkuu (strong/+1)

prykkyy (strong/+1)

v : k : kk

jovet (weak/–1)

joki (weak/0)

jokkee (strong/+1)

j: k : kk

aijat (weak/–1)

lajit (weak/–1)

aika (weak/0)

laki (weak /0)

aikkaa (strong/+1)

lakkii (strong/+1)

ng : nk : nkk

auringot (weak/–1)

aurinko (weak/0)

aurinkkoo (strong/+1)

r : rk : rkk

rät (weak/–1)

rkä (strong/0)

rkkää (strong/+1)

rj : rk : rkk

rjet (weak/–1)

järki (weak/0)

rkkee (strong/+1)

đ : t : tt

pađot (weak/–1)

pato (weak/0)

pattoo (strong/+1)

nn : nt : ntt

rannat (weak/–1)

ranta (strong/0)

ranttaa (strong/+1)

rr : rt : rtt

parrat (weak/–1)

parta (strong/0)

parttaa (strong/+1)

ll : lt : ltt

illat (weak/–1)

ilta (strong/0)

ilttaa (strong/+1)

lje : lki : lkke

ljet (weak/–1)

teljet (weak/–1)

lki (strong/0)

telki (strong/0)

lkkee (strong/+1)

telkkee (strong/+1)

lja : lka : lkka

oljat (weak/–1)

olka (strong/0)

olkkaa (strong/+1)

v : p : pp

avut (weak/–1)

apu (weak/0)

appuu (strong/+1)

mm : mp : mpp

kummat (weak/–1)

kumpi (strong/0)

kumppaa (strong/+1)

rv : rp : rpp

turvat (weak/–1)

turpa (strong/0)

turppaa (strong/+1)

lv : lp : lpp

halvat (weak/–1)

halpa (strong/0)

halppaa (strong/+1)

*Green letters are case endings; they are just examples of how they are attached to the stem. In other word, parts before the green letter are the weak/strong stems.


Sample conjugation - puku (dress):

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

puku

puvut

Genitive

puvun

pukkuin

Partitive

pukkuu

pukkui

Inessive

puvussa

puvuissa

Illative

pukhuun

pukhuin

Elative

puvusta

puvuista

Adessive

puvula

puvuila

Abessive

puvutta

puvuitta

Allative

puvule

puvuile

Ablative

puvulta

puvuilta

Essive

pukuna

pukuina

Translative

puvuksi

puvuiksi

Comitative

 

pukuine


Words ending in a vowel (a, ä, i, o, u, ö, y, e) – Type C

Chart 3. Nominative (grade 0) is weak. (This is a group with a very small number of words)

Strong:

Weak:

partitive sg.

all other cases


Gradation

Nominative singular

Partitive singular

s : ss

kiusa (weak/0)

kasa (weak/0)

kiussaa (strong/+1)

kassaa (strong/+1)

*Green letters are case endings; they are just examples of how they are attached to the stem. In other word, parts before the green letter are strong stems.

Chart 4. Nominative (grade 0) is weak.

Strong:

Weak:

partitive sg., partitive pl., and genitive pl.

all other cases


Gradation

Nominative singular

Partitive singular

h : hh

liha (weak/0)

raha (weak/0)

lihhaa (strong/+1)

rahhaa (strong/+1)

j : jj

raja (weak/0)

hija (weak/0)

kaja (weak/0)

rajjaa (strong/+1)

hijjaa (strong/+1)

kajjaa (strong/+1)

l : ll

kala (weak/0)

ala (weak/0)

kallaa (strong/+1)

allaa (strong/+1)

m : mm

ruma (weak/0)

rummaa (strong/+1)

n : nn

sana (weak/0)

kana (weak/0)

juna (weak/0)

muna (weak/0)

sannaa (strong/+1)

kannaa (strong/+1)

junnaa (strong/+1)

munnaa (strong/+1)

r : rr

piru (weak/0)

kuru (weak/0)

naru (weak/0)

suru (weak/0)

pora (weak/0)

vara (weak/0)

pirruu (strong/+1)

kurruu (strong/+1)

narruu (strong/+1)

surruu (strong/+1)

porraa (strong/+1)

varraa (strong/+1)

s : ss

trasu (weak/0)

nousu (weak/0)

tylsä (weak/0)

kesä (weak/0)

löysä (weak/0)

pesä (weak/0)

trassuu (strong/+1)

noussuu (strong/+1)

tylssää (strong/+1)

kessää (strong/+1)

löyssää (strong/+1)

pessää (strong/+1)

v : vv

hyvä (weak/0)

päivä (weak/0)

hiiva (weak/0)

kuva (weak/0)

ovi (weak/0)

hyvvää (strong/+1)

päivvää (strong/+1)

hiivvaa (strong/+1)

kuvvaa (strong/+1)

ovvee (strong/+1)

*Green letters are case endings; they are just examples of how they are attached to the stem. In other word, parts before the green letter are strong stems.

*All gradations for Chart 4. are situational. The list itself already contains some common words that are possible for these alternations.


Exceptions

1. Consonant gradation only occurs at the end of the last syllable of the stem.

No gradation: ope • ttaa • ja – opettaajan (genitive sg.)

With gradation: ko • mmen • tti – kommentin (genitive sg.)

2. Some archaic words are not affected by consonant gradation because they are considered dialectal forms of Finnish.

mettä (in Finnish: metsä, meaning 'forest')

veitti (in Finnish: veitsi, meaning 'knife')