Thursday, May 12, 2022

I Have No Idea... (your email)

A reader from Finland (who's been around for a long, long time) sent this to me in response to yesterday's post. It's definitely not just English.

Let me show you two words in Finnish:

"kuusi alusta"

Let's look at the first word, "kuusi." This could mean a spruce ("kuusi"), six ("kuusi"), or your moon ("kuu" + possessive suffix "si").

The second word, "alusta."

Foundation/basis/... ("alusta"), from the beginning ("alku" + "sta"), imperative 2nd person singular form of verb "alustaa" (to format a diskette/prepare a foundation/...), the partitive singular form of a ship/vessel ("alus" + "ta"). (Because Finnish uses singular forms of nouns after numerals, "kuusi alusta" is how "six ships" is written in Finnish).

Not all combinations are grammatically correct (such as "spruce ships"), but "six from the beginning", "the basis your moon lies on", "the spruce from the beginning" all sound correct to me.

I'm not very surprised natural language processing for Finnish isn't very easy.


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