ISSN: 2306-5737E-ISSN: 2658-4069
Acta Linguistica Petropolitana
Transactions of the Institute for Linguistic Studies
ISSN: 2306-5737E-ISSN: 2658-4069
Acta Linguistica Petropolitana
Transactions of the Institute for Linguistic Studies 

The Finnish verbs of falling

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Viymaranta Y., Protasova Ye. Yu. Glagoly padeniya v finskom yazyke. Acta Linguistica Petropolitana. 2020. XVI(1): 389–434.

In Finnish, a Finno-Ugric language, many different verbs are used to describe the process of falling. They differ in meaning according to the trajectory, the characteristics of the falling object, and the process of landing. The list of verbs of falling was compiled with the help of dictionaries, corpus material, and native and multilingual speakers of Finnish. After completing the list of verbs, the authors collected examples of the use of the chosen ca. 40 verbs (in some cases, different Aktionsarten were also included). The main corpus of examples was retrieved from the Language Bank of Finland, available online at The examples illustrated the direct, special, and metaphoric meanings of the verbs. After comparing the contexts where different verbs were used, it was found that the most frequent verbs are pudota, tippua (falling from above to the ground), kaatua (falling from a vertical position into a horizontal one) and romahtaa (collapse). The first two verbs may replace each other in almost all contexts. Although the primary meanings of the other verbs are often different, they may have very similar metaphoric meanings, especially when people speak of their mental state. The other verbs described in this study are: alentua ‘become lower, go down, fall, sink’, aleta ‘become lower’, kellahtaa ‘fall, tumble down, topple over’, kellistyä ‘fall, tumble (down), fall down’, kierähtää ‘fall, tumble over, stumble, flip over, turn over’, kolahtaa ‘bang, slam, hit, bump, clunk, go down well’, kompastua ‘trip, stumble, trip up’, kopsahtaa ‘thump, clap, click, fall with a thump’, kupsahtaa ‘topple, topple over, tumble over, pop off’, kuukahtaa ‘topple, topple over, tumble over, pop off’, langeta ‘fall, throw’, laskea ‘lower, reduce, fall, drop, go down’, lätsähtää ‘splash, belly-flop’, leijailla ‘float, soar, hover’, lentää ‘fly’, loiskahtaa ‘splash, spill’, luhistua ‘collapse, cave in, fall in, break down, fall apart’, lysähtää ‘collapse, sink, drop, slump, flop’, lyyhistyä ‘collapse, fall down, sink, drop, slump’, molskahtaa ‘splash, plop’, painua ‘sink, fall’, plätsähtää ‘splash’, roiskahtaa ‘splash, splatter, spurt out’, romahtaa ‘collapse, tumble down, fall down, crash down, cave in, topple over’, sortua ‘collapse, fall down, cave in, crash down’, tömähtää ‘thump, thud’, tuupertua ‘collapse, drop, sink, fall down’, vajota ‘sink, fall’, valua ‘flow, run, drip’, varista ‘fall off, drop off’, and vierähtää ‘roll, elapse’.

verbs of falling, Finnish, language corpus, lexical semantics
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verbs of falling, Finnish, language corpus, lexical semantics
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