kissa istuu minun sylissä

According to Wikipedia,

Adpositions are among the most frequently occurring words in languages that have them.

(One could therefore expect that in languages that don’t have them, adpositions are not that frequent.)

In Finnish, postpositions are more common than prepositions. Maybe because this is the first language with postpositions which I am trying to learn, I can’t help feeling excited about them. I find it especially cute that there is a special postposition, sylissä, which means “on the lap”:

Kissa istuu minun sylissä.

Cat sits on my lap.

Conceptually, there is nothing particularly weird about postpositions: they are just like prepositions except they are placed not before their object but rather their object after. Once you get used to that, it even starts to seem more natural. Some Finnish postpositions related to spatial arrangement could have at least three flavours. For example, alla means just “under” (static), while alle is used to express moving “under” and alta is (moving) “from under”. If you look carefully at the table below, you’ll see that there is pattern system method in ’t.

Where Where to Where from
above yllä ylle yltä
under alla alle alta
on top of päällä päälle päältä
up, at the top ylhäällä ylhäälle ylhäältä
down, at the bottom alhaalla alhaalle alhaalta
left vasemmalla vasemmalle vasemmalta
right oikealla oikealle oikealta
among, in the middle of keskellä keskelle keskeltä
among, intermixed with joukossa joukkoon joukosta
around, on the perimeter ympärillä ympärille ympäriltä
at, by äärellä / ääressä ääreen äärestä
in front of edessä eteen edestä
behind takana taakse takaa
between välissä väliin välistä
inside, indoors sisällä sisälle sisältä
outside, outdoors ulkona ulos ulkoa
far (away) kaukana kauaksi kaukaa
near, close to lähellä lähelle läheltä
next to vieressä viereen vierestä
(somebody’s) place luona luokse luota

Some other postpositions are always about movement, and yet some others are always static, for instance:

Static Dynamic
opposite, vis-à-vis vastapäätä through läpi
alongside, together with, while ohella / ohessa by, past ohi
with (food) kera through, via, by kautta
with kanssa / kaa upward ylös
onto kiinni downward alas
after jälkeen over yli
for the sake of tähden beneath, underneath ali
because of, due to johdosta / johtuen (moving) around ympäri
depending on riippuen along with mukaan
during aikana along pitkin
in the beginning of alussa across poikki
in the end of lopussa forward eteenpäin
on behalf of, for puolesta backward taaksepäin
in opinion of mielestä towards kohden / kohti
in case of varalta in a zigzag way mutkitellen

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