Tuesday, 5 February 2013

What rains?

When "it rains" or "es regnet", have you ever thought about what rains? Soon you will know.

It's the Numen.

Numen is an all-encompassing spirit, will, or entity, which is omnipresent and does things like raining or snowing, whenever it feels like it.

In Finnish, we don't have numen, but we just say "Rains." ("Sataa.") which suits our terse way of expressing ourselves just fine. We can also say "Outside rains." ("Ulkona sataa."), but "outside" is not the subject of the sentence; a more accurate translation would be "Rains outside.". We don't have a word for the verb "snow", so we just say "Rains snow." ("Sataa lunta."), but snow is again not the subject of the sentence, but the object. All these are perfectly valid Finnish sentences, even though the last two are a bit more verbose than we'd like to.


  1. Italian follows the Finnish way: we just say "piove", "rains". No one is doing it.

  2. In Bavaria you just say "'zefix!".

  3. In Russian, both rain and snow---they go. "Goes rain", "goes snow". They can do that themselves. But usually we don't know where they are heading.

    1. Fascinating! But the "snow" or "rain" is the subject of the sentence, right?