Croatian question: why is 2 million singular?

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by Casparul, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. Casparul Member

    "Nadzor i cenzuru interneta u Kini provodi približno dva milijuna osoba" reads the first sentence of an article.

    Can someone explain to me why dva milijuna osoba takes a verb in the singular?

    (trying desperately to learn Croatian ...)
  2. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world

    has a nice overview on the weird subject of BCS numbers and their agreement. Your question is answered about halfway down the text. As the author says -- and I agree -- the natural (plural) agreement is also possible gramatically, but much less used, and may sound 'awkward'.

    Note that the NPs headed by a quantifier (number or adverb of quantity) are in singular neuter only for numbers 5-10 (pet osoba provodi); the ones in paucal (2-4) are in plural (dvije osobe provode.
  3. PhilipPirrip New Member

    The problem with this sentence is that it is wrong. It should read "Nadzor i cenzuru... provode dva milijuna osoba". (provodi milijun, provode dva milijuna, provodi pet milijuna...) That's how it is in the standard language, some dialects probably have it differently, thus confusion.
  4. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    No it isn't wrong, Philip, it is completely grammatical. Argument (here, subject) of the verb is not just (dva) or (dva milijuna) but (dva milijuna osoba). Osoba is here genitive plural, not paucal. (Dva čovjeka only provode, but Dva milijuna ljudi provodi.) The whole NP is (dva milijuna osoba), which is semantically equal to (mnogo osoba).

    As I hinted above, both the plural and singular verb are grammatical, but singular is much more common. However, verbs don't have paucal, so one must select between singular and plural, but it isn't related with number of millions: both sets {milijun osoba provodi, dva milijuna osoba provodi, pet miliona osoba provodi}, and {milijun provode, dva milijuna osoba provode, pet milijuna osobe provode} are valid, but each because of its own reason (grammatical vs. natural agreement).

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