This article investigates how frequently and in what functions Swedish-speaking
beginners-level learners of Finnish use the six local cases.
The specific focus of
the article is on the comparison of correct and incorrect use of the local cases
different functions. The investigation is corpus-based, and the material
used in the study is the Swedish sub-corpus of the electronic corpus entitled
The International Corpus of Learner Finnish. The texts were compiled during
the period 2006–2009 at Umeå University.
The research material, which was
analysed using WordSmith Tools software contains a total of 43 496 word tokens,
of which 4 408 are
inflected in the local cases. The analysis to find out the different
functions in which the local cases occur was carried out manually, because
at the time of the analysis the corpus was not yet linguistically annotated.
The corpus is divided into four groups: place, time, verb government and
The results show that learners use the local cases mostly to express concrete
This is natural because on the beginners’ level the most elementary
functions of local cases are presented and learned. However, the material
contains many occurrences of verbs that govern a local case, and there are also
different types of expressions of time. The group designated “Others” includes
occurrences of local cases in various functions, for instance, the adessive case
expressing possessor, instrument, or vehicle.
In most expressions, the learners use the local cases correctly. Only in 7% of
the expressions did the learners choose an incorrect local case; these errors are
to be found mostly in expressions of concrete places and imply an overuse of the
allative case. Expressions of time or verb-governed local cases seem to be easier
for the learners. However, in expressions of time the adessive case is sometimes
used incorrectly instead of the essive case which is not systematically presented
in the beginners-level course. Incorrect adessive use instead of verb-governed
allative also occurs frequently.
The conclusion of this investigation is that Swedish-speaking beginnerslevel
learners of Finnish have already mastered the basic functions and uses of
the Finnish local cases, despite the fact that the expressions of local and directional
relations in Swedish and Finnish are structured very
a different perception of the world. The results of this study can be utilized in
teaching and in producing teaching materials for courses in Finnish as a foreign language.
Tallinn: Tallinn universitet , 2013. no 23, 238-264 p.
learner Finnish, Swedish-speaking learner, beginners-level. local cases, functions of the local cases, corpus-based investigation
oppijansuomi, ruotsinkielinen oppija, alkeistaso, paikallissijat, paikallissijaisten saneiden funktiot, korpuspohjainen tutkimus