Consonant gradation is an important grammatical rule that affects much of the Finnish language. These changes are usually identified by a specific cluster of consonants, often revolving around the letters of K, P and T, and can affect almost all words.
In the Finnish language words can change depending on the way that word is being used. This typically occurs when indicating where someone or something is. This can be frustrating as sometimes the word can change quite drastically, which gives rise to idea that Finnish is considered to be such a difficult language to learn.
Identifying the words can sometimes be tricky, but a good rule of thumb is to look for the last syllable of a word, and if the consonants match a pattern in the chart below then the word will change.
Note: Consonant gradation typically does not take effect if the syllable clusters include -sk, -sp, -st or -tk. For example:
- Tasku → Taskun
- Piispa → Piispan
- Masto → Maston
- Matka → Matkan
Consonant gradation chart
|Strong KK||Weak K||Example Afrikka||Result Afrikasta|
|Strong PP||Weak P||Example Pappi||Result Papin|
|Strong TT||Weak T||Example Konsertti||Result Konsertin|
|Strong K||Weak _||Example Turku||Result Turussa|
|Strong P||Weak V||Example Kylpy||Result Kylvssä|
|Strong T||Weak D||Example Katu||Result Kadulla|
|Strong NK||Weak NG||Example Helsinki||Result Helsingissä|
|Strong NT||Weak NN||Example Irlanti||Result Irlannin|
|Strong MP||Weak MM||Example Kampa||Result Kammalla|
|Strong LT||Weak LL||Example Ilta||Result Illalla|
|Strong RT||Weak RR||Example Parta||Result Parran|
|Strong HT||Weak HD||Example Tähti||Result Tähden|
|Strong LKI||Weak LJE||Example Jälki||Result Jäljet|
|Strong RKI||Weak RJE||Example Järki||Result Järjet|
|Strong LJE||Weak LKE||Example Hylje||Result Hylkeen|
|Strong HJE||Weak HKE||Example Lahje||Result Lahkeen|
More information about consonant gradation can be found from this Finnish consonant gradation(Opens in new window) article on Wikipedia.