I'm looking for a native speaker who could give me their opinion about the following sentences:

1.Joku soitti. Arvaa kuka (se oli)?

2.Joku soitti, mutta en saa-nut nime-stä selvää.

3.Hän haluaa mennä naimisiin jonkun kanssa, jolla on tumma tukka.

In sentence 1., 'joku' refers to a person known to the speaker.

In sentence 2., 'joku' refers to an unknown person.

In sentence 3., 'jonkun' refers to a non-specific person.

According to my data (Haspelmath 1997), sentence 1 should be incorrect. In other words, indefinite pronouns of the 'joku' type should not be available in the specific known function (i.e. when referring to an entity whose identity is known to the speaker but they do not want to mention/reveal it).

I need the opinion of a native speaker to confirm or reject the caim presented above.

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1 Answer 1


Native speaker of Finnish here. In my opinion all three sentences are grammatical.

However, the first sentence is a bit weird. The normal way to say this would be "Arvaa kuka soitti?" (Guess who called?). By splitting it up into "Joku soitti, arvaa kuka?" (Somebody called, guess who?), which is really two separate phrases glued together, you emphasize that "somebody" being unknown, and hence get a teasing nuance of "I know but you don't, try to figure it out!"

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