The present participle in Estonian is formed by added the suffix -v to the stem of the -ma infinitive. It is used as an adjective, similar to the adjectival use of -ing in English.
stem = kasva-
present participle = kasvav 'growing'
kasvav poiss, puu 'growing boy, tree'
It can also be translated by a relative clause:
kasvav poiss, puu 'the boy/tree that grows/is growing'
(Note that this similarity to the English -ing is different from the gerund, which is formed by adding the -des forms to the -da infinitive. We have already discussed this in this post, back in February.)
Some more examples:
-ma Infinitive ------------------- -v Participle
luge/ma 'read' ------------------- luge/v 'reading'
õppi/ma 'study' ------------------- õppi/v 'studying'
tööta/ma 'work' ------------------- tööta/v 'working'
lenda/ma 'fly' ------------------- lenda/v 'flying'
Töötav ema 'A working mother' Lendav lind 'A flying bird' Rõõmustav uudis 'A gladdening bit of news' "Lendav hollandlane" "Flying Dutchman"
Note that the names for the cases (kääned) in Estonian employ this suffix. For example, nimetav kääne 'naming case' (nominative), omastav kääne 'owning case' (genitive), saav kääne 'becoming case' (translative). Their names are far more transparent than their English counterparts which come from Latin.
Being primarily used to describe a noun the ending is declined like an other adjective. The genitive form always ends in -a.
õppiv laps 'studying child'
õppiva lapse 'of the studying child'
õppivale lapsele 'for the studying child'
If the stem of the -ma infinitive ends in a consonant, for example jooksma 'run' (stem = jooks) then an -e is inserted between the stem and the participle ending to ease pronunciation.
jooks/ev tüdruk 'running girl'
jooksva tüdruk/una 'as a running girl'
Kestev mõju 'A lasting influence' Kestvad lokid 'Lasting curls'
Jooksev vesi 'Running water' Jooksval lindil 'On a running (assembly) line'
If the final consonant of the stem follows a short vowel, this consonant is doubled before the participle ending -ev.
stem = nut-
nuttev beebi 'a crying baby'
nutvad beebid 'crying babies' (no need for -ev ending and thus no doubling of the consonant)
tappev põld 'killing field'
tapvad põllud 'killing fields'
There is also the passive present participle that ends in -dav or -tav. It often corresponds to the -ible and -able endings of English adjectives.
Söödav seen 'edible mushroom'
Joodav vesi 'drinkable water' (not to be confused with joogivesi 'drinking water')
Nähtav enamus 'A visible majority'
Elukardetav relv 'Lethal weapon (lit. life endangering firearm)'
Raskesti arusaadav 'Hardly understandable'