All Slavic languages: Plurals and number

This topic started here.

You are bound to constantly keep stumbling over that when you learn Russian.
Note the peculiarity:
The dual form has the same stress as the singular one. Plural is different.
But for feminine you have it only in case the stress is on the final syllable (wherefor your example qualifies). For masculine and neutral - vice-versa.
поле - поля - два поля
дом - дома - два дома
гора - горы - две горы
судьба - судьбы - две судьбы
 
  • jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    The dual form has the same stress as the singular one. Plural is different.
    I know what you mean, but dual is not the most appropriate of all words to express this phenomenon in Russian. Dual is a number (just like singular and plural) that refers to two elements, as the name suggests, found in very few languages, such as Classical Greek and Slovenian. Furthermore, the Russian genitive singular is also used with the numbers three and four, another reason to abandon that nomenclature.

    I'd also like to know if there's any other Slavic language that uses the genitive singular for 2, 3 and 4. Polish and Czech don't, both use nominative/accusative plural (and depending on the context, other cases are also used).
     

    papillon

    Senior Member
    Russian (Ukraine)
    I agree that dual is not the best term here...
    I'd also like to know if there's any other Slavic language that uses the genitive singular for 2, 3 and 4. Polish and Czech don't, both use nominative/accusative plural (and depending on the context, other cases are also used).
    That would be a good topic for a new All-Slavic thread;) !
     
    It also exists in Arabic but I did not know about Slovenian.
    But you are right: it is not only with 2 but with 3 and 4 as well. starting with 5 it gets different. But isn`t that quite common in languages that a noun when used with a numeral either has a modifier or at any rate a different form than when it is just plural on its own?
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    But isn`t that quite common in languages that a noun when used with a numeral either has a modifier or at any rate a different form than when it is just plural on its own?
    Not in the ones I'm familiar with. Normally you have a straight-forward plural there. Basque comes to mind, which, despite having plural forms, uses the singular after numbers. Japanese, on the other hand, doesn't have a plural as we speakers of European languages understand it, but uses counters instead (different words attached to numbers whether one is referring to people, machines, trees, small animals, big animals, houses, etc.). I've heard Chinese is similar to Japanese in that respect.

    Originally Posted by jazyk [URL]http://forum.wordreference.com/images/buttons/viewpost.gif[/URL]
    I'd also like to know if there's any other Slavic language that uses the genitive singular for 2, 3 and 4. Polish and Czech don't, both use nominative/accusative plural (and depending on the context, other cases are also used).
    That would be a good topic for a new All-Slavic thread;) !
    Let's ask a moderator to do it then if he or she finds it fitting.
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    I'd also like to know if there's any other Slavic language that uses the genitive singular for 2, 3 and 4. Polish and Czech don't, both use nominative/accusative plural (and depending on the context, other cases are also used).
    While they coincide in most cases, there is an important group of nouns, namely masculine animate (nom.pl. muži, acc.pl. muže), were they don't. At least in Czech.

    We've had a thread devoted to dual forms. Click. :)

    Jana
     

    cyanista

    законодательница мод
    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
    I know what you mean, but dual is not the most appropriate of all words to express this phenomenon in Russian. Dual is a number (just like singular and plural) that refers to two elements, as the name suggests, found in very few languages, such as Classical Greek and Slovenian. Furthermore, the Russian genitive singular is also used with the numbers three and four, another reason to abandon that nomenclature.


    The dual did exist in Old Russian, you know. If you allow me a self-quote:

    Originally Posted by northernmonkey

    PS. yes i agree, i have noooooooooooooooo idea why 'two', 'three' and 'four' are considered to be 'semi-singular'. this completely confused me when i first started learning!
    I've done some research and found out that it has something to do with the ancient dual form that became obsolete as early as 16th century and was later perceived as genitive singular because of their likeness. For some reason it was adopted for three and four as well.

    Those willing to read the Russian article about it will find it here (the very bottom of the page).
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    русский (Russian)
    Peculiarities are better explained with examples (note gender doesn't matter, feminine or neuter will follow the same case/number pattern but with different endings):

    one ruble, one year = один рубль, год (nom. sg.)
    two rubles, years = два рубля, года (gen. sg.)
    three rubles, years = три рубля, года (gen. sg.)
    four rubles, years = четыре рубля, года (gen. sg.)
    but: five rubles, years = пять рублей, лет (gen. pl.)
    21, 31 ... рубль, год is always- nominative singular singular!
    22 - 24, 32- 34, ... рубля, года - genitive singular
    5 - 20, 25 - 30 , 35 - 40, 45 - 55 ...рублей, лет - genitive plural


    год - годы
    лето - лета
    человек - люди
    ребёнок - дети

    1 ребёнок, двое детей, трое детей, ...
    but 1 человек, 2 человека, 3 человека... (люди is not used here!)

    It gets more coplicated when those expressions are used in sentences, where the role of the numerative requires a different case, e. g. "Не хватает пяти рублей", "Она вырастила пятерых детей", etc.
     

    papillon

    Senior Member
    Russian (Ukraine)
    год - годы
    лето - лета
    человек - люди
    ребёнок - дети

    1 ребёнок, двое детей, трое детей, ...
    but 1 человек, 2 человека, 3 человека... (люди is not used here!)
    the highlight is mine

    Anatoli touched on the important categry of collective plurals. These forms were discussed recently in this thread.
    In Russian, plurals like
    телята,
    ягнята, ребята, девчата, as well as дети describe a group of nouns (most often animate in Russian) and belong to the category of collective plural. For them, collective numerals must be used.

    два/две детей (dva/dve detey) :cross:

    двое детей (dvoye detey) :tick:
    трое детей (troye detey)
    четверо детей (chetvero detey)
    пятеро детей (piatero detey)
    шестеро детей (shestero detey)

     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    While they coincide in most cases, there is an important group of nouns, namely masculine animate (nom.pl. muži, acc.pl. muže), were they don't. At least in Czech.
    I know, but I didn't want to touch on that, in the same way I didn't want to touch on Macedonian having something similar to the Russian genitive singular used with masculine nouns and numbers especially from two to ten.
     

    Irbis

    Senior Member
    Slovenian, Slovenia
    In Slovenian:

    ena slika je visela na steni (one picture was hanging on the wall)
    dve sliki sta viseli na steni (2)
    tri slike so visele na stani (3)
    štiri slike so visele na steni (4)
    pet slik je viselo na steni (5)
    šest slik je viselo na steni (6)
    ...
    sto slik je viselo na steni (100)
    sto ena slika je visela na steni (101)
    sto dve sliki sta viseli na steni (102)
    ...

    If there is number 5 or higher (or 0), you have to use genitive of plural after it. And to verb it is seen as singular neutral gender (similar to numeral adverbs like "veliko" (a lot of)).

    This change to genitive is true only for nominative and accusative:
    Pet slik je viselo na steni.
    Petih slik nisem videl.
    Petim slikam sem dorisal sonce.
    Pet slik gledam.
    Pri petih slikah sem stal.
    S petimi slikami sem prekril steno.

    Normal declination for slike (pictures) in plural is:
    slike
    slik
    slikam
    slike
    slikah
    slikami


    Only last two digits are important, 801 behaves the same as 1.
     
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