All Slavic languages: collective nouns [groups of animals]

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by t.tellur, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. t.tellur

    t.tellur Member

    In English, there are over 100 hundred collective nouns, see here. How is it Slavic languages?
    In Czech, there are few basic nouns
    stádo (krav, slepic, koní - of cows, of chickens, of horses) - used mostly for creatures that can't fly with few exceptions (stádo hus - a skein of geese)
    hejno (ptáků, hus - of birds, of geese) - used mostly for creatures that are able to fly
    skupina (psů, koček - of dogs, of cats) - basic word for English group, it is used for anything
    houf (psů, koní - of dogs, of horses) - used in sense [a pack of, a herd of], it can be used for non living things too (houf zbraní - a pack of weapons)
  2. FairOaks Banned

    I don't think a lot of English speakers living in the 21st century know what the hell "meinie", "sownder" or "doylt" are. And if somebody told me "Mate, look at that wedge over there!", I'd most likely visualise cheese/cake or that piece of wood which is used to keep a door shut/open, a golf club, even, but certainly not a flock of swans flitting about.
  3. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    By "collective nouns" here do you just mean groups of animals, rather than all collectiove nouns?

    For groups of animals Russian vocabulary is not as extensive as English.

    Just a few words come to mind:
    стадо /stado/ - herd (typically a group of large domsetic animals sich as cows) - to use that word for chickens, geese (as in Czech) would be very funny in Russian, you would imagine chickens mooing and chewing cud :)
    стая /staya/ - pack, flock (typically a group of wild or feral animals or birds)
    рой /roy/ - swarm (flying insects)
    колония /koloniya/ - colony (typically social insects such as termites)
    прайд /prayd/ - pride (lions)
    табун /tabun/ - herd (mostly horses, I guess it can be used for other horse-like animals, e.g. zebras)

    There are probably more terms used in biology etc., but these are the most common I can think of.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013
  4. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)

    stádo : even/odd-toed animals, elephants, etc. (not used for birds) : stádo krav, koní, slonů ...;
    hejno : birds, fishes : hejno husí, sleďů, ...;
    smečka : predatory mammals : smečka psů, vlků, ...;
    tlupa: monkeys, anthropoid apes, prehistoric/primitive men : tlupa goril, neadrtálců, ...;
  5. SkyScout

    SkyScout Member

    Polish French English-US
    Polish Collective Nouns

    a gang of robbers - gang złodziei
    a bunch of grapes/bananas/cherries - kiść winogron/bananów/wiśni
    bunch of keys - pęk kluczy
    bunch of flowers (to put in a vase)- bukiet kwiatów (do włożenia do wazonu)
    a flock of birds/sheep - stado ptaków/owiec
    a herd of cows/buffalo/deer/moose/giraffe/elephant, etc. - stado krów/bawołów/jeleni/łosi/żyraf/słoni
    a pack of hounds/wolves - stado ogarów/wilków
    a pack of cards - talia kart
    a pack of lies - stek kłamstw
    a shoal of fish - ławica ryb
    a swarm of bees and all other insects - rój pszczół i wszystkich innych owadów
    a clump of bushes/flowers - kępa krzaków/kwiatów
    a bouquet of flowers (for carrying) - bukiet kwiatów (do noszenia)
    a bundle of faggots - wiązka kijów i gałęzi związanych razem
    a medley/selection of tunes - wiązanka/wybór melodii
    a block of flats/apartments - blok mieszkalny
    a suite of rooms - apartament z pokojami
    a cluster of houses - zbiorowisko domów
    a cluster of grapes (which are still growing)- pęk winogron (które wciąż rosną)
    a team of footballers - drużyna piłkarzy
    a team of oxen - zaprzęg wołów
    a bevy of beautiful girls - grono pięknych dziewcząt
    a board of directors - zarząd dyrektorów
    a panel/team of experts - komisja/zespół ekspertów
    a sheaf of wheat - snop pszenicy
    an assembly of Churchmen - zgromadzenie duchownych
    a fleet of ships - flota statków
    a nest of tablets (i.e. a group that will fit under each other neatly) - komplet tabletek
    a set of teacups - komplet filiżanek do herbaty
    a news bulletin - biuletyn informacyjny
    a crowd of people - tłum ludzi
    a hum of conversation - pomruk rozmowy
    hordes/droves of tourists/sightseers - hordy/napór turystów/zwiedzających
    a batch of samples/letters - plik próbek/listów
    a batch of loaves - partia bochenków
    a chain of shops - sieć sklepów
    a tuft of hair/grass -pęk włosów/trawy
    a range of mountains - łancuch górski
    a wad of notes - plik notatek
    a consensus of opinion - jednomyślność opini
    a pile of books/magazines/newspapers (that could be carried) - sterta książek/magazynów/gazet
    a heap of books/magazines/newspapers (lying about)- sterta książek/magazynów/gazet (leżąca gdzieś)
    a confederation of states - konfederacja stanów
    a bed of flowers (an area where they grow) - klomb kwiatów (przestrzeń gdzie one rosną)
  6. FairOaks Banned

    All right then. Here's a small list of the most common Bulgarian collective nouns concerning groups of animals:
    стадо, сюрия, билюк — basic words = herd/flock (usu. sheep, goats)
    рой, рояк — flying insects or birds
    орляк, ято — flying birds
    черда/чарда — a herd (of cows or buffaloes)
    колония — a colony (of ants, termites, etc.)
    пасаж — a shoal (fish)
    табун, хергеле — a stud/herd (of horses, donkeys, etc.)
    глутница — a pack (of wolves, dogs, etc.)
    чупило, пилило, люпило, мътило — a brood (birds)
    котило — a litter (cats, dogs)
    впряг — a team (of oxen, mules, horses, etc.)
  7. iobyo Senior Member

    Bitola, Macedonia
    Here's a few in Macedonian for groups of animals:

    • стадо, булук (from Turkish), крдар/крдо - flock, herd of livestock (when grazing or traveling together);
    • ергеле - wild horses;
    • јато - flock of birds, shoal of fish;
    • глутница - pack of wolves;
    • рој - swarm (flying insects);
    • ѕевгар (from Greek) - a pair of drought animals;
    • кот, котило - litter (of mammal offspring in general).
  8. sesperxes

    sesperxes Senior Member

    Burgos (Spain)
    I seize the thread to ask whether in all your countries eggs and roses are bought/sold by the DOZEN (another collective name, I guess).
  9. Anicetus Senior Member

    Not in Croatia, eggs are usually sold in packages of 10 and 6 here. There is a word for "a dozen" -- tucet -- but it's rarely used nowadays.
  10. marco_2 Senior Member

    The same is in Poland: we understand the word tuzin (a dozen) but we rarely use it. By the way, eggs in Poland were also sold by mendel (15) or even kopa (60). The old recipes for cakes started with the words: Weź kopę jaj i daj dziewce niech utrze (Take 60 eggs and order your maid to rub them /with sugar/) :)
  11. Exactly the same in Czech, but the system is more difficult:
    - tucet (12), with derivations půltucet (6) and veletucet (12x12 = 144),
    - mandel (15), most often used for sheaves,
    - kopa (4 mandele = 5 tuctů = 60, analogically půlkopa 30 and velekopa 3600),
    - vrh (3 or 4, depending on what is counted; vrh, literally throw, was a very specialized measure, used for instance for buttons).

    is still used quite often, the othersare more or less archaic.
  12. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    In Slovenian, ducat (= dozen) is very commonly used.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013
  13. Azori

    Azori Senior Member


    stádo, črieda - group of animals, mostly of ungulates - hoofed animals
    kŕdeľ - used for birds, it can be also used for some other animals, e.g. sheep
    svorka - group of dogs or wolves
    roj - swarm (of flying insects)
    húf - disordered, chaotic group of animals, mostly in motion
    skupina - group (general word)
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  14. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)

    krdelo = pack of wolves; a disorganized herd of horses (SSKJ also lists flock of birds as an archaic meaning, which surprised me)
    jata = flock of birds; school of fish
    družina, panj = hive of bees
    roj = swarm of insects
    čreda = herd of cattle, horses, donkeys, etc.
    leglo = litter (of young mammals)
    trop = flock of goats, sheep; herd of deer, wild boars; pack of wolves, etc.
    gnezdo = nest; horde (of rats, guinea pigs, etc.)
    skupina = group

    Sources: SSKJ,
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  15. marco_2 Senior Member

    I would add to it the following:

    a pack of wolves / dogs - zgraja / sfora wilków / psów
    a herd of horses or other similar animals - tabun
    a herd of cows and other animals kept on farms - trzoda (archaic though you can hear trzoda chlewna - formally about pigs)
    a flock of sheep - kierdel (used only by Highlanders, similar to Slovak krdel' as you can see)
  16. jadeite_85 Senior Member

    italian, slovene
    drhal = group with a denigratory meaning
  17. ilocas2 Senior Member

    Hello all, as you can see on Google, Czech word stádo is used with birds, as t.tellur wrote in the first post

    stádo slepic - "stádo slepic"

    stádo hus - "stádo hus"
  18. Sobakus Senior Member

    Ста́до is actually also used in Russian for grass-eating birds at the very least, so ста́до гусе́й, у́ток. Dahl also mentions southern череда́ "procession, metaphorical chain" for birds. For beef cattle turns out a word I've never encountered, гурт, is also used. For sheep Dahl mentions northern руно́ (which he says is normally used for fish, never encountered), southern ота́ра (seen this one). A group of mares with one stallion is called кося́к, the same word is also used for generic groups of fish, birds (in formation) and "some other animals".
  19. marco_2 Senior Member

    In Polish for generic groups of birds in formation we use the noun klucz (literally: a key), so klucz żurawi / dzikich gęsi = cranes / wild geese flying in a V.
  20. Lubella

    Lubella Senior Member

    рій of insects
    стадо group of animals
    зграя group of animals
    табун of birds, of fish, of horses
    череда, стадо of cattle other domestic animals
    косяк of horses, of fish
    отара of goats, sheep
    ватага of goats, sheep
  21. Lubella

    Lubella Senior Member

    a curiosity ... the word копа was used in Ukrainian to indicate the number of 60 and and a certain amount of wheat bundles
    стайка, стая - sheaf (a bundle of grain stalks laid lengthwise and tied together after reaping), rarely group of animals the stall
    in other Slavic languages I see that kopa and stajka, staja indicate groups of animals. Then maybe, just maybe once they meant numbers and now they mean an uncertain amount, "a group"?
  22. marco_2 Senior Member

    In Polish the word staja once meant an old measure of distance which primarily indicated how long a horse could tow a cart without rest.

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