About много (as numeral)

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by wonlon, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. wonlon Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese - Cantonese
    I am studying Russian numbers. The rules are REALLY complex.:warn:

    When I studied много as a numeral, I compared several books, but their explanations differ.

    1. Declension

    i. One says много is NOT declined.

    ii. Many say it is declined like plural adjectives

    Nom. мно́го
    Acc. мно́го
    Gen. мно́гих
    Prep. мно́гих
    Dat. мно́гим
    Instr. мно́гими

    iii. One says "
    Много (or многое, pl. многие) declines both in the singular (Многое было скрыто от меня ‘Much was concealed from me’, Я многому научился у него ‘I learnt a lot from him’) and in the plural..." (Terence Wade's Comprehesive Russian Grammar)

    2. In Accusative Case

    i. Some say regardless of animacy, the accusative is equal to nominative.
    ii. Some say for inanimate nouns, it is equal to nominative. For animate nouns, it is either nominative or genitive.

    What should I trust?:confused::confused:
  2. Maroseika Moderator

    You are mixing up adverb много, adjective многое and a noun многое.

    1. Adverb много of course is undeclinable.
    Ты много учишься.
    У меня много денег.
    But cf. adverb помногу (in plenty) and понемногу (a little at a time), where we can notice traces of its declinability in the past.

    2. Adjective многое is declinable, coordinating with its noun. In the modern language it is used only in Plural:
    многих, многие (animated and unanimated differ)
    о многих
    Я видел многих людей.
    Я видел многие машины из тех, о которых написано в журнале.
    Многим людям это помогло.

    Adjectives многая and многий are obsolete and can be encountered only in some stable expressions:
    Многая лета (long live)

    3. Многое as a noun (i.e. substantivated adhective) is declinable and is used only in Plural and Sing. Neuter:
    Declension is as in (2):

    Я видел многих (людей)
    Многие я уже опробовал (машины).
    Я тебя научу многому.
    Это многим помогло.
    Многие не успели решить задачу.
    Ты узнаешь многое другое.

    Hope I have not missed anything...
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  3. wonlon Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese - Cantonese
    But the topic I am working on is words of indefinite quantity (неопределённо коли́чественное числи́тельно)(e.g. много, немного, мало, немало, сколько, несколько, столько, etc.), not adverbs or the adjective многие.

    One book said that the oblique cases of много, немного are like that of the adjectives многие, немногие, "which can even be said that they borrow the oblique cases of многие, немногие. Therefore, there are two nominative forms in Russians: 'много книг' - 'многие книги', and they differ in that много refers to 'many', многие refers to 'many in a specific sum of things'."

    Also in:
    Сornell Russian Dictionary Tree


    many, much, a lot of, as in I have a lot of soup.

    numeral; Acc. = Nom.; inflected like plural adjective in other forms; (irregular in phrases по многу [or по много] днљй)
    много много многих многих многим многими

    I mean that I am not mixing them up.
    e.g. профессор роботает c многими студентами в лаборатории. (многими студентами is declined from много студентов.)
    e.g. мы были в гостях у многих русских друзей. (многих русских друзей is declined from много русских друзей.)

    But some rules the books spell out differ.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  4. MulaTina New Member

    Lithuanian, Russian
    Maroseika is right, wonlon.

    e.g. профессор роботает c многими студентами в лаборатории. (многими студентами is declined from многие студенты.)
    e.g. мы были в гостях у многих русских друзей. (многих русских друзей is declined from многие русские друзья.)
  5. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    The reality is that «много» («сколько, двое, пятеро») is used in the Nominative and Accusative, while their adjectival equivalents — in the other cases («многих, многим, скольких, скольким, двоих, двоим, пятерых, пятерым»). By some mysterious reasons, the authors of the grammars regard some of these forms («двое, двоих, двоим; пятеро, пятерых, пятерым») as belonging to a single paradigm, whereas others as suppletive. There are no etymological or grammatical reasons for such a distinction, it is just a caprice of some people writing linguistic books.
  6. Maroseika Moderator

    In short, this is wrong. The first word should be многие.
  7. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    двое людей — двоих людей — двоим людям — двоими людьми — двоих людях
    пятеро людей — пятерых людей — пятерым людям — пятерыми людьми — пятерых людях
    сколько людей — скольких людей — скольким людям — сколькими людьми — скольких людях
    много людей — многих людей — многим людям — многими людьми — многих людях

    Why are the first three lines regarded as single paradigms?
  8. wonlon Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese - Cantonese
    Then what are the adjective equivalents of сколько, двое, пятеро?
  9. Maroseika Moderator

    Can anyone explain what does mean 'adjective equivalent' in our case?
    I found definition for English language, which looks to have a little to do with Russian: "A word or word group that is not an adjective but has the noun-modifying function of an adjective (as music in “music teacher”, dancing in “dancing teacher”, John's in “John's dog”, on the wall in “the picture on the wall”, the doctor in “my friend the doctor”, who plays golf in “a man who plays golf”)".

    But in our case двое, пятеро - numerals, сколько - pronome (as in скольких людей), много - short adjective (as in много людей), многие - full adjective (as in многие люди) and noun (as in многие думают иначе). Isn't it?
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
  10. wonlon Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese - Cantonese
    But most reference books on my hand say that много declines, how can they all be wrong?
  11. Maroseika Moderator

    This is a kind of simplification. Много morfologically is an adverb, and as such is undeclinable. But when it is used in the sense of a numeral, adjective многие is used for its indirect cases.
    It is the same like with the defective verbs, such as одержу победу instead of победю:cross:.
    We may call it defective numeral in this sense.
  12. wonlon Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese - Cantonese
    Then what would you say about сколько, it is declined, but is there anything like сколькие?

    how much; how many

    numeral; Acc. inan. = Nom.; Acc. anim. = Nom. or Gen.; inflected like plural adjective in other forms; (irregular in phrases по скольку [or по сколько] дней)
    N A G P D I
    сколько Nom/Gen скольких скольких скольким сколькими
  13. Maroseika Moderator

    I think situation is the same with the only differense that the word сколькие is very rare (but still usable).
    So Nom. in this paradigm is not сколько, but сколькие, you can easily make sure yourself:

    Сколькими людьми он пожертвовал?
    Скольких людей он пытался убить?
    Сколькие из них спаслись?

    Of course you can also say Сколько из них спаслись?
    But grammatically these phrases are different: сколькие is subject, сколько is adverbial modifier.
  14. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Historically, all the discussed forms were adjectives: those on -о/е were short (original adjectives), while those on -ие were long (compound) ones. Then the system of numerals and numeral pronouns went in disturbance, and in our particular group of words it has settled in such a way that the old Nominative-Accusative neuter singular short forms («много, двое, пятеро, сколько») have been used for the Nominative-Accusative plural, while the rest of the paradigm has been fulfilled by the standard long forms. For some words the Nominative-Accusative plurals have preserved as well («многие, сколькие»), though with some semantical restrictions.

    What I wanted to point out here, as well as in many other threads, is that some of the grammatical interpretations hammered in the people's heads by the grammars and manuals are often rather casual things, sometimes almost caprices of the respective authors.

    Here, both «много» and «многие» as elements of the paradigm are adjectives (adjectival pronouns); in other cases «много» is indeed an adverb, in some others — a special part of the speech called «категория состояния», and only the syntax can help to decide which is which since all these Russian forms on -о/е are historically neuter short adjectives («тихо» may mean all the three things: adjective «море тихо», adverb «тихо ехать» and "категорию состояния" «здесь тихо»). [As far as I know, the latter two are morphologically distinct in Lithuanian: "tyliai" as adverb and "tylu" as «категория состояния»].
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
  15. dePrades Senior Member

    Catalan and Spanish - Catalonia
    So is there a semantical difference between много людей and многие люди or are they interchangeable? I think they aren't because I'm usually corrected about them...
  16. Ёж! Senior Member

    To my mind, the first emphasises the group, and the second emphasises the people.
  17. Maroseika Moderator

    Yes, I agree with Еж, многие люди refers to the separate persons, while много людей - to the depersonalized group.

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