BCS: Ne uči svi šest studenata dobro

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by Bresca, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. Bresca Senior Member

    Hello foreros!

    I'm learning BCS with the book of Mrs Alexander, and at p. 76 I've found this sentence:

    uči svi šest studenata dobro

    That "Uči" is the 3rd singular person and "svi" is 3rd plural person: is this sentence correctly written? (I would say "svi šest studenata uče dobro).

    Thank you.
  2. Vanja Senior Member

    Right Bresca!

    e svih šest studenata dobro. (Svih šest studenata uče dobro)

    Grupa od šest učenika uči dobro.

    (Svi umesto svih existed in old Serbian songs and literature.... her sentence sounds archaic by today's language...)
  3. Anicetus Senior Member

    Er, actually, it should be šest studenata uči, at least in all the standard variants of BCS.

    I guess this can seem illogical to learners, but numbers ending in 5 and higher behave somewhat like adverbs. They don't decline, they take singular verbs, agree with neuter singular participles and the noun phrase they refer to is locked in genitive plural. An attribute can't be grammatically attached to the number itself, but rather to its noun phrase. That's why it's svih šest studenata -- svih is congruent with studenata, it has to be in genitive plural.

    So, it's svih šest studenata dobro uči. And you'd say svih je šest studenata dobro učilo in the past tense. In the same way:
    pet / šest / sedam / osam / devet / deset / jedanaest / dvadeset / dvadeset i pet / sto / nekoliko (= "some") etc. studenata uči
    pet / šest / sedam / osam / devet / deset / jedanaest / dvadeset / dvadeset i pet / sto / nekoliko etc. studenata je učilo
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  4. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    Our rules on number agreement and declensions are ridiculously mind-boggling. Sometimes I wonder how we, native speakers, managed to learn them. :)

    For me, both Ne uči and Ne uče are grammatical; i.e. in this position both grammatical (singular) and natural (plural) agreement work, as in English The Government is/are gathering.... I need to check what grammars say, but I'm reasonably sure they'll support it.

    However, that does not hold in general case. For numbers over 5, it works for masc. and fem. words. For numbers 2-4, one has to use plural verb:

    Sva tri studenta uče dobro, not *uči.
    Sve tri žene uče dobro.

    But if instead of the number proper, one uses a "numeral noun", you again have a choice:

    Sve troje studenata uči dobro.
    Sve troje studenata uče dobro.
  5. Anicetus Senior Member

    Huh, interesting, I didn't think it was common for numbers ending in 5-10 to take plural forms. It just doesn't sound good to me. Would you find šest studenata su učili acceptable as well, then?
  6. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    Yes, I find it acceptable. I think I'd prefer the singular, but it doesn't grate on my ears.
  7. Vanja Senior Member

    Svo troje studenata... Isn't it? I have never used Sve in this example.

    Svo troje studenata, sve tri studentkinje....or sva tri studenta.

    Yes, six students represent the unit/ sum.
  8. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    Nope, svo is not accepted in standard, at least not in Serbian. Personally, I think it's silly, as it's a long attested form (there's a famous quote from a Milan Rakić's poem Mutno je nebo svo), but that's the state of affairs.
  9. Vanja Senior Member

    Well Duya - Sve troje is completely silly to me! It's sound unnatural...I'm not sure what standards says, I have to check it out. Svo in your example is because of the neuter to nebo, unlike Svo troje which is plural.

    Well dear Duya, one guy claims the same like you at one forum, although even that is not a proof. And he said - not because of the grammar, but because of "the difficulty of pronouncing". (but sve vreme, true)

    Google hints:
    "sve troje" - 98 900
    "svo troje" - 210 000

    U sudaru poginula majka sa svo troje dece....
    HBO Srbija: Neočekivano, svo troje se zaljubljuju....

    And this guy is so cool - he discusses the logical aspect of our grammar Sve vs. Svo, you can read here

    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012

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