Probably from earlier *-kahan, composed of -ka (as seen in joka and kuka) and -han. The particle has also been compared and probably cognate to Erzya -как (-kak)[1].


-kaan (front vowel harmony variant -kään)

  1. neither, not ... either (also not)
    Jos sinä et korjaa sitä, minäkään en sitä tee.
    If you won’t correct it, neither will I.
  2. Used to emphasize lack of alternatives.
    Mitä muutakaan olisin voinut tehdä?
    What else could I have done?
  3. Used to soften a question.
    Kuka tämä herra olikaan?
    Who was this gentleman again?
  4. even; used to emphasize something
    En haluaisi tehdä sitä työtä päivääkään.
    I would not want to do that job for even one day.
    Ahtisaarikaan ei osaisi ratkaista tätä riitaa.
    Even Ahtisaari could not solve this dispute.
  5. Used to indicate change of mind or circumstances; indicates confirmation of not doing something, e.g. if someone doubts it, or, when someone is more or less surprised at an occurrence, indicates the reason why some thing was not successful – which is by not doing that something
    En matkustakaan Italiaan, vaan menen tervehtimään vanhaa äitiäni.
    Instead of travelling to Italy, I'll go to greet my elderly mother.
    Tänään ei satanutkaan, vaikka aamulla näytti synkältä.
    It didn't rain today after all, although the morning looked gloomy.
    En syönytkään jäätelöä jälkiruoaksi, vaan piirakkaa.
    After all, I didn't eat ice-cream for dessert, but pie.
  6. -ever (when used with a verb that has an interrogative pronoun, often with ikinä for emphasis)
    Kuka ikinä onkaan, hän yrittää vain saada huomiosi.
    Whoever that person is, they are just trying to get your attention.
  7. Used to form exclamations of wonder, with clauses that begin with an interrogative.
    Kuinka katoavaista maine onkaan.
    How fleeting fame can be.

Usage notesEdit

This particle can be appended to almost any word that hasn't got any previous enclitic particle, and sometimes also to such words that already have an enclitic particle. Note that the difference of the meaning or the message changes depending on which word -kaan is attached to:

Kaverinikaan ei juo huomenna kahvia. = Neither will my friend drink coffee tomorrow. (My friend will be one of those who won't drink coffee tomorrow)
Kaverini ei juokaan huomenna kahvia. = But my friend won't drink coffee tomorrow. (Contrary to what might be expected, my friend does not drink coffee tomorrow)
Kaverini ei juo huomennakaan kahvia. = My friend won't drink coffee tomorrow either. (As has happened before, my friend won't drink coffee tomorrow)
Kaverini ei juo huomenna kahviakaan. = Tomorrow my friend won't drink coffee either. (Coffee is one of the things my friend won't drink...) or Tomorrow my friend won't drink even a coffee. (Not even one cup)


  • (neither, not ... either): -kin

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Erina Olga. Particles in the Mordvin Languages (1997), p. 37