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Finnish locative system

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Title: Finnish locative system  
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Subject: Finnish grammar, Finnish language
Collection: Finnish Grammar
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Finnish locative system

The Finnish language has eight locative cases, and some Eastern dialects symmetrify the system with the exessive case. These can be classified according to a three-way contrast of entering, residing and exiting a state, and there are three different systems of these cases. This system is similar to that of Estonian, and can be reconstructed to the Proto-Finnic locative system.

System Entering Residing Exiting
Inner -(h)Vn "into" (illative) -ssa "in" (inessive) -sta "from (in)" (elative)
Outer -lle "onto" (allative) -lla "on" (adessive) -lta "from (at/on)" (ablative)
State -ksi "into as" (translative) -na "as" (essive) -nta "from being as" (exessive)

(The symbol "V" in the illative case denotes an epenthetic vowel, which is the preceding vowel in Finnish, e.g. tie → tiehen, and the -h- elides between two short vowels, e.g. ryhmä → ryhmähän → ryhmään.)

It is immediately noticeable from the table that the "exiting" forms (sta/lta/nta) have the same consonant as the "residing" forms (ssa/lla/na) added with the Finnish partitive case ending -ta. This may be traced into a Proto-Uralic ablative ending, which is preserved in what is now the partitive case. Also, the Finnish system is somewhat simpler than in the Hungarian language, where there is a separate system for "to the top", "on top", and "off from the top".

The exessive case is not used in standard Finnish, but it is found in Savo Finnish and Karelian.

See also

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