Learning and teaching Finnish object cases
The distinction between the accusative and partitive case in Finnish is often
considered to be one of the most difficult parts of Finnish gramm ar to learn.
What components determine whether the object is in the accusative or
partitive case? Can these components be isolated and well-defined by exact
rules? ls it reasonable to teach the object only in the morphosyntax of a
clause without connecting it to its discourse function and context?
The use of the accusative or partitive case is considered to encode the
aspect of the clause. Why it is so difficult for learners of Finnish to master
the difference between the imperfective and perfective aspects?
To find answers to these questions, I analyse the use of the Finnish
accusative and partitive cases in test sentences by Hungarian leamers.
I conclude that Hungarians make conceptual transfer in two areas: 1) they
try to transfer the concept of definite vs. indefinite articles and try to denote
the difference in Finnish with the use of partitive vs. total object cases; 2)
they also try to transfer the Hungarian concept of boundedness into Finnish
and use total object cases where they would use verbal prefixes in
Hungarian. Another factor is that object cases and aspect form a very
difficult conceptual category, requiring leamers to understand and apply
many rules simultaneously.