Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Consonant Gradation in Finnish

Consonant gradation refers to a set of consonant alternations. In Finnish, consonant gradation occur with the intervocalic voiceless plosives p, t and k and the corresponding geminates pp, tt, and kk. Finnish has two types of consonant gradation: strong and weak.

The Finnish word for bank is pankki. This is the strong grade. The word for "in the bank" is pankista. This is the weak grade. The strong grade has the geminate "kk" and the weak grade has the consonant "k."

The Finnish word for shop is kauppa. This is the strong grade. The word for "in the shop" is kaupassa. This is the weak grade. The strong grade has the geminate "pp" and the weak grade has the consonant "p."

The Finnish word kaupinki means city. The word for "from the city" is kaupingista. The strong grade has the plosive "k" and the weak grade has the plosive "g."

The Finnish word katu means street. The word for "on the street" is kadulla. Here the strong grade has the plosive "t" and the weak grade has the plosive "d."

The Finnish word ilta means bridge. The word for "on the bridge" is illalla. The strong grade has the consonants "lt" and the weak grade has the consonants "ll."

The Finnish word kampa means comb. The word for "in the comb" is kammassa. The strong grade has the consonants "mp" and the weak grade has "mm."

The Finnish word kylpy means bath. The word for "in the bath" is kylvyssä. Here the strong grade has the plosive "p" and the weak grade has the fricative "v."

Finnish has many examples of consonant gradation. The geminate consonants of the strong grade degeminate in the weak grade. Single consonants of the strong grade exhibit many changes in the weak. Consonant gradation is a special feature of the Finnish language.

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