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All Slavic languages: forty

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by Athaulf, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Actually, četrdeset is the word for forty in both Croatian and Serbian; I can't think of a cognate for сорок in either. A good example, however, would be the Croatian word tisuća (= Russian тысяча) and the Serbian equivalent hiljada. The standard Croatian language has always had a tradition of hostility towards foreign borrowings and a tendency to coin Slavic words whenever possible, often by following the examples of other Slavic languages. Thus it often has cognates with Russian where Serbian has adopted various non-Slavic loanwords.

    However, this word is also a good example of the great difficulty of learning to use such familiar Russian words actively. When I see тысяча in a Russian text, I instantly understand what it means. However, I am completely clueless as to whether it should be stressed тысяча, тысяча, or тысяча, since the Russian stress has no correspondence whatsoever with Croatian even for the most similar words. Furthermore, it's also very hard for me to remember that the word is тысяча, not тысача, тисяча, or тисaча, since Croatian has nothing similar to the Russian concept of hard/soft consonants. Memorizing all this information is almost as hard as memorizing an entirely unfamiliar word.
     
  2. Kolan Senior Member

    Montréal (Québec)
    Russian (CCCP)
    I may be confused with this example, because I clearly remember my discussion about "четрдесет" with my friend, native Hrvat. Somehow, he knew that сорок means 40. Actually, we discussed other Numerals, too, so that "тысяча" was among them also.
     
  3. el_tigre Senior Member

    Orebić
    Croatian(štokavski+čakavski)
    Hiljada is originally Greek word, tisuća is typically Slavic.
     
  4. Tolovaj_Mataj Senior Member

    Ljubljana, SI
    Slovene, Slovenia
    Exactly. Our word for 1000 is tisoč.
    (What I noticed is that in Croatian they use far more u sound, where we use o sound.)
     
  5. Tolovaj_Mataj Senior Member

    Ljubljana, SI
    Slovene, Slovenia
    One person is not enough to make a generalisation. I must say I had never heard this word 'сорок'before. Even when I listened to Serbs and Croats speaking. But why am I writing this? Because I've just followed a link and have found this:
    source: http://indoeuro.bizland.com/project/grammar/grammar32.html#6
     
  6. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    As per the post above, сорок is definitely a borrowing specific to East Slavic languages. But on the other hand, I think that all other numbers in Croatian and Russian are easily recognizable except for, curiously, один/jedan (which is also pretty easy to figure out from context).
     
  7. iobyo Senior Member

    Bitola, Macedonia
    Macedonian
    Using the word сорок as a numeral in a Slavic language seems very strange to me.
     
  8. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    Why?
     
  9. winpoj Senior Member

    It is rather strange, isn't it? Why would the East Slavs choose a Persian word for forty and not for, say, fifty or thirteen? Was this number in any way special to them?
     
  10. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    Whatever
    A cynic would say, they were able to count only by 39 until they met Persians... :cool:
     
  11. Kolan Senior Member

    Montréal (Québec)
    Russian (CCCP)
    Probably, Russians met Byzantine Greeks before that time

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D1%81%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BA

    and borrowed from them 40, not 1000. For example, by that time in ancient Russian we already had тьма for 10000 (which still exists in тьма-тьмущая = enormous quantity, literally - 10000 times 10000) or for 1000000.

    Eastern Christianity spread out of there, then Persians learned 40 from Russians. :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2008
  12. Kolan Senior Member

    Montréal (Québec)
    Russian (CCCP)
    Един was used in modern Russian as Numeral until 19th century.

    "... един на един будет един" (Фонвизин, "Недоросль").

    But this is just another example of abundant Church Slavonic - ancient Russian paronyms in modern Russian.

    Един (есть) Бог (God is the same in his appearances) - Бог один (God is only one, not many)
    Мы едины (we are united) - Мы одни (we are alone).
    Eдинственный (single, singular, exclusive, unique) - единичный (isolated, sporadic, unitary, single piece, one-of-a-kind, elementary, made out of ones "1") - одиночный (solitary, sole, individual, alone)
    Единожды (one time, ... times one, on one occasion) - однажды (once, one day)

    A native speaker would never use them as synonyms or substitutes, they are paronyms with quite subtle difference.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2008
  13. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    That's a good question. I am wondering whether they had used a name more Slavic-like before they adopted сорок.

    Tom
     
  14. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    čeština
    Here's a discussion about the etymology. Scroll down to 11 and click on each reply. While the thread doesn't offer a definitive solution, it offers some interesting ideas.

    What follows is an unfounded speculation. One of the situations which - in my opinion - could lead to the replacement of such a trivial word by a loanword (like winpoj, I find that extremely weird) could be something like this: A territory is invaded by an enemy tribe, which imposes its military rule and decides to tax the hell out of the locals. The yearly tax happens to be 40 units of something, and the unfortunate population borrows a word from the language of the invader. The loanword becomes so common that it gradually crowds out the native word. Speculation over. :)
     
  15. Kolan Senior Member

    Montréal (Québec)
    Russian (CCCP)
    We had четырдесят but it is, apparently, of Church Slavonic, not Russian origin.

    И по сем поют "Святый Боже" и октенья, в нейже поминается усопший брат, и глаголют "Господи помилуй" четырдесят.

    http://starbel.narod.ru/kirtur/kt54.htm
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2008
  16. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    Ancient-Novgorod language also had четвертадесять.
    However what I cannot understand is what has Persian to do with this word? Even Turkish hardly could be the source, though such version really exists.
    But the word existed in Russian even before the Tartar invasion, meaning 40 skins as a tax unit since 13 cent. (Русская правда).
    Modern etymologists (Chernykh in part.) suppose originally сорок or сорочок was a kind of a package for 40 sable or squirrel skins.
    Comp. also сорочка (<сракы), of definately Slavic origin having Baltic parallels.
    Evidently, the word has first appeared in the hunters speach and there are similar examples in other language: Danish snes first meant long rod for about 20 fishes (in the fishermen speach), and now "snes" means 20.
     
  17. Kolan Senior Member

    Montréal (Québec)
    Russian (CCCP)
    Good point! We can derive it then from Old Slavonic срак -> сорок, like град - город, драг - дорог, враг - ворог, врата - ворота, very naturally.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2008
  18. Kanes Senior Member

    Bulgarian
    Bulgarian: четирисе
     
  19. iobyo Senior Member

    Bitola, Macedonia
    Macedonian
    Because it isn't formed with the expected four + ten ("четырдесят").

    It wouldn't be all that strange (at least not to another Slavic speaker) if a word like сорок was used for a number like 100 or 1,000 which don't tend to be formed with smaller numbers (сто, тысяч, миллион, etc.).
     
  20. dihydrogen monoxide Senior Member

    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    Russian sorok is from Ancient Greek meaning forty.
     
  21. Kolan Senior Member

    Montréal (Québec)
    Russian (CCCP)
    This looks more or less reasonable, although the Greek word itself has no preference in ordinary life. Why only forty, what is the point of its special meaning? It should be a quite intensive trade, lots of goods delivered in lots by 40 pieces.

    It is hard to imagine, however, how a very particular fur trade could influence such a basic and common numeral as 40. Not just influence, but entirely substitute it. The worst argument is that there is no further etimology. Looks like that the fur trade by 40s already used, instead of четыредесят, the new word сорок picked up earlier. Сорочица (a bag, package for 40 skins), therefore, derives from сорок 40, which is a more logical and natural way.

    The Bible, on the other hand, contains many references to the number 40. This numeral is quite outstanding there. When written in Greek (if taught this way by Byzantine missionaries lacking cyrillic texts in Church Slavonic), the Bible could have undisputable influence compared to a local fur trade.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008
  22. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    Vasmer supposed Greek source impossible, because Greek σαράκοντα had lost -κο- and changed to σαράντα in the IX century, too long before сорок has appeared in Russian.
    And Chernykh, 30 years after, even didn't mention Greek version at all.
    I guess one of the reasons why Russian has refused from четыредесят/четвертадесят could be the length of this Numeral - the longest one in fact (5 syllables!). In other Slavic languages this was not such a trouble (comp. четырисе, четрдесет).
    And, Kolan, if it's hard to imagine that such a special term could force out regular Numeral, just remember a/m example from Danish.
     
  23. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    Are you sure 40 is the most important numeral in the Bilble? Why exactly 40 and not 7? How many times 40 is mentioned there?
    Besides, сорок has appeared in Russian in the 13-th century. By that time Russians used to read religious books in Church-Slavonic during more than 2 centuries! An the most important, exactly Church-Slavoinic, as you have mentioned before, keeps this ugly четырдесят.
     
  24. Kolan Senior Member

    Montréal (Québec)
    Russian (CCCP)
    That Danish was spoken by a relatively small nation on a compact land, fishing for living. Apparently, fish could be national measurement unit, that does not surprise me.

    Not in Russia on a vast mainland, where hunting for animal fur could be only a secondary business (after agriculture - crops and cattle) for the population dispersed among and between several principalities, generally unfriendly to each other. There is no parallel.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2008
  25. Kolan Senior Member

    Montréal (Québec)
    Russian (CCCP)
    It is not important how many times, it is most prominent episodes that incorporate 40.

    By the way, the fact that сорок was found in XIII century sources does not contradict to its unrecorded appearance possibly earlier. The key date is 988 AD.
     

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