Serbian (BCS): Numbers

Roxannah_

Member
Portuguese (Portugal)
Hi everyone
I have a couple of grammar questions.

Why do you say "Imam šesnaest haljina" but "Imam šesnaest suknji"? Considering 5+ uses Genitive Plural I can't figure it out.

I understand "kola" is grammatically plural. But why is it "Vidim petoro kola" and not simply "Vidim pet kola"? Is it the same for "vrata"?

Hvala puno :)
 
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  • Why do you say "Imam šesnaest haljina" but "Imam šesnaest suknji"? Considering 5+ uses Genitive Plural I can't figure it out.
    Both haljinā and suknjī are in genitive plural. Suknji could also have the form sȕkānjā in genitive plural according to this (probably the same in Serbian).


    I understand "kola" is grammatically plural. But why is it "Vidim petoro kola" and not simply "Vidim pet kola"? Is it the same for "vatra"?
    According to this, "summary number" (zbirni broj) is used for inanimate objects here due to them being "a whole (for the purpose of counting) made of a pair/multitude". A funny definition but considering kola (pl. tantum, "cart", modern coll. "car") could be defined as "entity made of/with a number of wheels (kolo)" it makes sense. Someone may offer a better explanation.


    Zbirni brojevi, oblikom zbirnih imenica ili brojnih prideva, kazuju broj licima ili životinjama raznoga roda ili veka, ili stvarima koje pȃrom ili množinom znače celinu za brojanje, npr.: dvoje čarape (i dve čarape); troje rukavice (i tri rukavice); šestoro dece sinova i kćeri; četvora kola petore kočije; degetoro čeljadi; troji svatovi, itd.

    Btw, might be an irregularity of my own speech, but I don't see/feel much of a difference between "Vidim petoro kola" or "Vidim pet kola". Might be the whole thing with "whole made of pair/multitude" being somewhat obscured in modern usage (car). It may be different in Serbian so better wait for someone else to comment on this.
     
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    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    I understand "kola" is grammatically plural. But why is it "Vidim petoro kola" and not simply "Vidim pet kola"? Is it the same for "vatra"?
    According to this, "summary number" (zbirni broj) is used for inanimate objects here due to them being "a whole (for the purpose of counting) made of a pair/multitude". A funny definition but considering kola (pl. tantum, "cart", modern coll. "car") could be defined as "entity made of/with a number of wheels (kolo)" it makes sense. Someone may offer a better explanation.

    We had a few discussions about the issue of BCS (and Slavic in general) numbers and their congruence with nouns and adjectives and it's... terribly complicated. It's my own language, but I can't wrap my head around all the details.

    The bottom line: there are two equal declensions of numbers, one involving the "collective" forms of numbers, and the other the "simple" forms. Of those, the "simple" forms came to prevail in modern language. "Collective" have only the "male" and "mixed" forms (number 3 taken for example):

    males only:
    N. dvojica ljudi (trojica, četvorica, petorica...)
    G. dvojice ljudi
    D. dvojici ljudi
    A. dvojicu ljudi
    ...

    mixed company or all neutrum:
    N. dvoje ljudi (troje, četvoro, petoro...)
    G. dvoga ljudi
    D. dvoma ljudima
    A. dvoje ljudi...

    "Collective" ones are regularly used only in nominative (=accusative) case, and for male companies. Other cases (marked blue above) are rarely encountered in modern spoken language.

    "Simple" numbers, on the other hand, can be declined and undeclined. They should be declined as:

    male, mixed, and female
    N. tri čovjeka/djeteta/žene
    G. triju ljudi/djece/žena
    D. trima ljudima/djeci/ženama
    A. tri čovjeka/djeteta/žene

    females 2:
    N. dvije žene (ek. dve)
    G. dviju žena (ek. dveju)
    D.
    dvjema ženama (ek. dvema)
    A. dvije žene (ek. dve)

    However, in modern language (which I also recommend to learners), they are not declinable, and take the nominative form throughout. When there's ambiguity (such as in dative of četiri žene), the sentence is often rephrased. For many native speakers, some declined forms are obscure, for example petorma (dative/locative/instrumental of petoro).

    I hope I got the declensions above right. Corrections welcome.
     

    Orlin

    Banned
    български
    However, in modern language (which I also recommend to learners), they are not declinable, and take the nominative form throughout. When there's ambiguity (such as in dative of četiri žene), the sentence is often rephrased. For many native speakers, some declined forms are obscure, for example petorma (dative/locative/instrumental of petoro).

    Izgleda da nedekliniranje brojeva "ima svoju cenu" jer je ponekad nemoguće izraziti neka značenja bez deklinacije. Evo jedan zabavan primer iz naše prethodne diskusije http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1586768, postovi 10-11::cross:Gađao ga je s 2 knjige. (Ne pišem "dve" zbog mog ličnog stila, a i pretpostavili smo da ne dekliniramo broj). Naravno nepravilno jer predlog s izražava "društvo" ovde (neko je gađao na nekoga uz pomoć 2 "žive" knjige) i ne može izraziti "orudno" značenje. Ali se takva fraza ipak često tvori (najverovatnije jer govornik BCS (izvorni ili ne) ko ne zna kako da sklanja brojeve ne bi mogao reći ništa bolje zato što je ":cross:Gađao ga je 2 knjige" isto besmislica ili najmanje ne izražava željeno značenje, možda isto po analogiji s npr. "s 5 knjiga"). Jedina ispravna varijanta je :tick:Gađao ga je dvema knjigama, ali nisam siguran da svaki to zna.
     
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    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    Izgleda da nedekliniranje brojeva "ima svoju cenu" jer je ponekad nemoguće izraziti neka značenja bez deklinacije. Evo jedan zabavan primer iz naše prethodne diskusije http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1586768, postovi 10-11::cross:Gađao ga je s 2 knjige. (Ne pišem "dve" zbog mog ličnog stila, a i pretpostavili smo da ne dekliniramo broj). Naravno nepravilno jer predlog s izražava "društvo" ovde (neko je gađao na nekoga uz pomoć 2 "žive" knjige) i ne može izraziti "orudno" značenje. Ali se takva fraza ipak često tvori (najverovatnije jer govornik BCS (izvorni ili ne) ko ne zna kako da sklanja brojeve ne bi mogao reći ništa bolje zato što je ":cross:Gađao ga je 2 knjige" isto besmislica ili najmanje ne izražava željeno značenje, možda isto po analogiji s npr. "s 5 knjiga"). Jedina ispravna varijanta je :tick:Gađao ga je dvema knjigama, ali nisam siguran da svaki to zna.

    Upravo tako... ali problem je što neki brojevi u nekim padežima ne postoje. Kao što si sam naveo primer, "pet knjiga" nema deklinirani instrumental (*petma knjigama? *pet knjigama? :D), pa mora da se koristi perifrastički oblik "Gađao ga je sa pet knjiga". A ako može "sa pet knjiga", ne vidim razlog ni što ne bi moglo ni "sa dve knjige".
     

    Roxannah_

    Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Thanks all. This is much more complicated than I ever anticipated... I guess I will just have to learn the damn thing.

    Let's see if I understood correctly. Because "kola" is made out of other elements (wheels and such), it falls under the category of the collective form of nouns?

    So far I have never came accross a Feminine Genitive Plural ending in I as it isn't the norm, hence my doubts concerning "suknja". Is this an irregular case? So is it correct to say "Imam pet suknji", "Imam pet sukanja" (I'm thinking of "Imam pet mačaka") and "Imam pet suknja" or only the first one is correct?

    Since "vrata" isn't made out of all these other elements, does it it follow the norm "Vidim pet vrata"?
     

    Orlin

    Banned
    български
    I think that it is the easiest to use "simple" numbers (and not declining them) and put the words that go with them in Nom. sg. for 1, Gen. sg. for 2-4 and Gen. pl. for 5+ (of course, the last number is important when the number is "complex" e. g. 21, 31, 41...101,... 1001->1, 22, 32, 42...102, ...1002->2, 73-> 3, 212->12, 345->5 etc.) because the use of collective numerals is optional.
    For gen. pl. endings, please open a new thread because the principle is "one topic per thread" here.
     
    Since "vrata" isn't made out of all these other elements, does it it follow the norm "Vidim pet vrata"?


    But vrata may have originally been made of multiple parts (two-part doors) according to Duya's post here.

    This is also suported by Petar Skok's etymological dictionary.

    vráta n pl. (Vuk, ŽK; pl., jer su od dva krila)
    This "multi-part" nature of doors etymologically may also be suggested by archaic dveri (pl, vrata). This may be also suggested by the use of the cognates of dveri in other Indo-European languages:

    Etymology: ME dure, dor < OE duru fem. (orig., pair of doors), dor neut., akin to Ger tür, door, tor, gate < IE base *dhwer-, *dhwor-, door > L fores (pl. of foris), two-leaved door, Gr thyra, door (in pl., double door)
     

    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    Oh, let's try to systematize things.

    "Kola" and "vrata" are both pluralia tantum of neuter gender. There's no particular rule which nouns are pluralia tantum (usually ones consisting of multiple parts of same). English examples are "scissors" and "pants".

    However, in general you may attach the number to them ("pet(oro) kolâ", "pet(oro) vratâ") and in that case the phrase behaves the same as if the noun was a regular neuter noun ("pet(oro) dece"). The same holds for other genders (makaze->pet makazâ).

    As for genitive plural, some nouns exhibit the so-called "labile a" (nepostojano a). For feminine nouns, this is typical for ones ending with a consonant cluster + a. However, appearance of that epenthetic a is not particularly predictable.

    For some nouns, it is mandatory:

    zemlja -> zemaljâ

    for most, it is optional:

    kruška -> krušakâ or kruški
    suknja -> sukanjâ or suknji
    tetka -> tetakâ or tetki

    for yet others, it does not exist:

    majka -> majki
    ženka -> ženki

    Note, however, that -i is not always the ending for feminine nouns. Some nouns always have -a regardless of the "labile a":

    briga -> brigâ
    slika -> slikâ

    Sorry, I don't know by heart the rule(s) that would help you distinguish those cases... if they exist :)

    (The circumflex (â) is so-called genitive sign, indicating length, typically in genitive plural. It is not normally indicated in text, except when an ambiguity might exist)
     
    Duya, what confuses me here are the options available (disregarding the gender limitations for now) for the "collective counting".

    1) There is "summary noun" (zbirna imenica) which I believe matches your "male only" group

    N. dvojica ljudi (trojica, četvorica, petorica...)
    2) There is what you call "mixed company or all neutrum"

    N. dvoje ljudi (troje, četvoro, petoro...)
    3) But there also seems to be a third option, what the grammar cited refers to as "numeric adjectives" (brojni pridjevi)

    dvoje čarape (i dve čarape); troje rukavice (i tri rukavice); šestoro dece sinova i kćeri; četvora kola petore kočije; degetoro čeljadi; troji svatovi,
    Or is 3 the same as 2?

    Which of the following options would you consider incorrect (I can't trust myself here)

    2) vs 3)
    dvoje kolâ vs dvoja kola
    troje kolâ vs troja kola
    četvoro kolâ vs četvora kola
    And does 3) go beyond 4 (the grammar cited gives "petore kočije")
    petoro kolâ vs petora kola
    šestoro kolâ vs šestora kola
     
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    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    Hey Denis, I'm not a linguist either, and as I said above, I tend to be confused with this topic too :). My post above was an attempt to summarize the topic for myself as well -- I assembled it from various sources, didn't actually take a grammar book.

    I forgot about "numeric adjectives" indeed. As for correctness, I find all your examples correct (some may sound slightly odd, but on retrospect they're fine). I'm not sure how far those "adjectives" reach: "dvanaestore kočije" is slightly odd but probably OK. To me, they sound archaic or dialectal in masculine case: "osmori gosti", and other examples are just odd: "desetora djeca". Still, I suppose that we're lurking in twilight zone here.
     

    Roxannah_

    Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    ...and too much time on their hands. I'm so confused I'm starting to regret I even asked :)

    Let's just say you win the lottery and you decide to buy 5 cars. You're talking to a friend and you say "Hey, I bought 5 cars!". How would you actually say it?
     
    ...and too much time on their hands. I'm so confused I'm starting to regret I even asked :)

    Let's just say you win the lottery and you decide to buy 5 cars. You're talking to a friend and you say "Hey, I bought 5 cars!". How would you actually say it?


    Hej, kupio sam pet kola/auta. (I would prefer auta here due to kola "cars" creating confusion with kola "rounds" as in sports)

    "Hej, kupio sam petoro kola" could also pass, but I feel no particular need for it no matter what the grammar says. "Hej, kupio sam petora kola" simply sounds archaic/dialectal/poetic.

    But, "I saw 5 children" would be "Vidio sam petoro djece", and "Vidio sam pet djece" sounds slightly incorrect, though Google shows people using even such constructs.
     
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    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    "Collectives" (petoro etc.) are typically used with animate nouns, while "plain numbers" with inanimate. Just a rule of thumb, not a hard one.
     
    This would be another workable definition. Unfortunately it does not account for "petorica muškaraca" along with "pet muškaraca".

    Ok, here is my last(?) attempt for some more order here.

    Original opposition in counting is non-collectives using simple numbers, vs collectives using collective numbers
    1) Non-collectives are composed of animates (all genders; persons and animals) and inanimates - pet muškaraca, pet žena, pet volova, pet krava, pet lopata, pet kuća. This is probably the single most important rule in counting as it leaves you with only some exceptions + everyday speech deviations.
    2) Collectives are composed of
    a) Animate collectives and "collectives" (djeca, braća, telad, ždrebad, pilad; ljudi) - petoro djece, petoro teladi, petoro ljudi
    b) Pluralia-tantum inanimates and regular inanimate plurals that exhibit one-made-of-many-of-same nature (vrata. kola; rukavice, čarape) - petoro vrata, petoro kola. Unlike these, regular inanimate collectives (and plant-life) are not counted at all it seems (lišće, drveće, kamenje)
    c) Regular animate plurals when they indicate a mixed-gender multitude - petoro svinja

    The above should be enough to enable one to make proper grammatical distinctions when counting. For everyday use, continue reading.

    For collectives, aside from "summary numbers" (petoro), two more things are there: "summary nouns" (petorica) and "numeric adjectives" (petori, petore, petora)

    Out of these
    a) Summary numbers are still regularly used
    b) Summary nouns were restricted only to collectives of males (petorica ljudi). They may have been extended partly to cover non-collective male-only animate plurals (petorica muškaraca along with pet muškaraca, petorica vojnika along with pet vojnika) and thus brought some originally simple-counting animate male nouns into collective counting at least in everyday speech. This obscures the original collective-vs-noncollective distinction used when counting and makes it behave somewhat like animate-vs-inanimate distinction to us today.
    c) Numeric adjectives seem to be less used (petora kola, petora vrata, petore rukavice, petore čarape etc)

    Some possible more modern developments in certain speeches

    a) Lost / obscured one-made-of-many-of-same nature of nouns such as kola or vrata that pushes them to be counted as other inanimates, with simple counting - pet vrata along with petoro vrata
    b) Obscured collective nature of words such as djeca that leads them to being reinterpreted as plurals (dijete / djeca, tele / telad), and pushes them to being counted with simple counting - pet djece along with petoro djece

    When you look at it that way, the original counting rules are pretty simple (collective vs non-collective opposition); what messes things up in a lot of cases in everyday speech seems to be the relaxation of the distinction (animate) collectives (djeca, telad) and suppletive plurals (ljudi) vs regular plurals (muškarci, vojnici)

    Just a theory, of course. :)
     
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    Roxannah_

    Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    This last post made things a lot clearer for me, it's very elucidative. Thanks Denis and all of you for the thorough explanations. I wasn't aware this would be as complex as it turns out to be. I predict I'll be coming back to this thread very often :)
     
    Note that this is only an assumption, I took the grammar rule linked to at the beginning of the post and tried to explain the aberrations / confusing issues in Serbian (and other BCMS languages) from there. But that rule may already represent an aberration from an earlier state so one should look closely at other Slavic and Indo-European languages.

    This book contains a discussion on (Balto-)Slavic collective numerals starting from page 807 (section 16.4), but unfortunately not all the pages are accessible.

    I was personally puzzled by the fact that animate collectives are counted at all (inanimate do not seem to be), or more precisely, if they are counted, why does "petoro djece" not mean "five groups of children" instead of meaning "five children". But, if I infer correctly from the book above (again, missing pages), they may not have actually been counted originally. Again, an assumption, but "petoro ljudi" might not have originally meant "five people/men" but rather something like "a quintet of people"; "petoro djece" is "a 'quintet' of children".
    The principal uses of the collectives are: in the sense 'n-fold' or 'n kinds of'; in place of the ordinary cardinals when referring to groups of people (especially if of mixed sex); and with pluralia tantum: for further details, see below, and discussions of the syntax of the individual languages. Close parallels to the Slavonic forms are found in Sanskrit dvaya- 'double', traya- 'treble', catvaram "quadrangle". Greek doioi 'two, both'.

    "Indo-European numerals" (the book linked to above), Chapter 16 - Balto-Slavonic, Bernard Comrie, p. 808


    I wonder whether (more modern?) BCMS petorka/šestorka etc. is a contemporary version of the same pattern. A term seen in Bosnian newspapers "kreševska šestorka" (six leaders of main Bosnian Croat parties) meaning "The Kreševo Six" is an example.
     
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    And since I'm assuming so much, let me assume some more. Take a good look at the grammar excerpts I cite thus far, from here and here.

    I'll repeat the quote from the first grammar links:

    Zbirni brojevi, oblikom zbirnih imenica ili brojnih prideva, kazuju broj licima ili životinjama raznoga roda ili veka, ili stvarima koje pȃrom ili množinom znače celinu za brojanje, npr.: dvoje čarape (i dve čarape); troje rukavice (i tri rukavice); šestoro dece sinova i kćeri; četvora kola petore kočije; degetoro čeljadi; troji svatovi, itd.
    I first thought it was simply a coincidence but both grammars:

    a) Consistently use "summary number/numeral" when referring to real collectives (šestoro djece, desetoro čeljadi) and suppletive plural ljudi

    b) Consistently use "numeric adjective" when referring to inanimate pluralia tantum and true inanimate plurals that refer to entities with one-made-out-of-many-of-same nature (troje rukavice, četvora kola, dvoji svatovi)

    Why? Maybe because the semantics are slightly different.

    a) Petoro djece is a real "quintet" formed by making a collection from an unbound multitude of children (djeca)
    b) Petore rukavice should be a quintet, but rukavice only refers to a limited number (here, a pair) of gloves. How can you form a quintet from two? Besides, we don't want to say "five single gloves" but five-fold entity formed of pairs of gloves. So it's fivefold-like (numeric adjective) not quintet (summary number).

    Maybe we could compare "petore rukavice" with what would be meant today if we said "petorostruke rukavice".

    So:

    a) Petoro djece like "petorka djece" - "quintet of children"
    b) Petore rukavice like "petorostruke rukavice" - "five-fold pair of gloves"

    If this is anywhere near correct (which it may well not be) it would explain the need for "numeric adjectives" as a third form in collective counting. Not from boredom, but from semantics.
     
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    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    Latin also uses a different set of numerals for counting the pluralia-tantum nouns.

    For example:

    duo liberi = two children
    vs.
    bina castra = two camps (castra is a plurale tantum, thus bina instead of duo)

    duae litterae (plural of littera) = two letters (of an alphabet)
    vs.
    binae litterae = two letters (like in "I sent you two letters")

    In Czech we have two sets of numerals, too:
    dva-dvoje, tři-troje, čtyři-čtvery, pět-patery, ....., sto-stery, ...

    novina = a piece of news
    dvě noviny = two pieces of news
    vs.
    noviny (plurale tantum) = a newspaper
    dvoje noviny = two newspapers

    Similarly hodina (hour) - dvě hodiny (two hours); hodiny (a clock/watch) - dvoje hodiny. (Mám dvoje hodiny. = I have two watches.)

    Čtyři rukavice means "four single gloves" (maybe they all are left), but čtvery rukavice means "four (complete) pairs of gloves".

    Generally if a language has the pluralia-tantum nouns it is very usefull to have two sets of numerals.
     
    Thanks bibax. I thought it was best to stop assuming as much as I did so I did some reading.

    Ranko Matasović, "Poredbeno - povijesna gramatika hrvatskoga jezika" (Comparative-historical grammar of the Croatian language)

    Matasović does not go into too much detail, but enough can be deduced.

    First of all, the origins:

    § 314 Osim navedenih, u praslavenskom su postojali i brojevni pridjevi, tvoreni tematskim sufiksima *-(j)a- < ie. *-(y)o- i *-er- od osnove glavnih brojeva:.
    Matasović explains the Slavic formations 5+ as being derived by analogy from 4. So četvero (Cro.) < *četweru < *kWetwer-o- results in analogous formations petero < *penteru and šestero < *šesteru etc. This opinion can also be seen in Comrie's article in "Indo-European numerals". For a different opinion summarized by Ivanov based on Tocharian B evidence, see here.

    Matasović considers the forms četvoro etc. to be specifically Eastern Shtokavian deriving from -or- < *-aru-, with Western Shtokavian, Kajkavian and Chakavian having -er- instead.

    So it turns out forms such as četvoro / petoro etc. are also adjectives historically, but neuter singular, which would then make četvori / četvore / četvora m/f/n plural forms. What happened to masculine and feminine (četver and *četvera) singular forms he does not elaborate, but does mention at least masculine is attested in earlier texts. Petar Skok in his etymological dictionary also mentions adjective četver attested in 15th century. Matasović says:

    U hrvatskome se standardnom jeziku brojni pridjevi upotrebljavaju uglavnom u množini, a poimeničeni i u jednini sr. roda (v. tablicu). Medutim, u starijim se tekstovima pojavljuju i oblici jednine, npr. troj, deseter itd.
    The bold part is important, it would be interesting when this happened chronologically. So I suppose četvero/četvoro went from originally adjective "quadruple(-like)" / "four-fold" neutrum singular to something like noun "quartet" (is there a better English word?).

    I guess četverica (for masculine) is a result of a similar process of "poimeničenje" (how would you say that in English? "nounisation"?), which Skok confirms:

    Taj prijevoj dolazi najprije u dva stepena: ver i vor, prvi u pridjevu četver (15. v.), poimeničenom s -ica četverica f »4 muška čeljadeta ili živinčeta«,
     
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    Going back to Matasović, parallels he cites for Baltic languages are striking:

    Slične, ali ne posve podudarne tvorbe postoje i u baltijskome; usp. lit. dveji »dvoji, dvoje«, treji » troji, troje«, ketveri, penkeri, šešeri itd. U litavskome se ovi brojevi upotrebljavaju kao pridjevi, kao i njihove slavenske usporednice, a stoje uz imenice koje imaju samo množinu, ili se upotrebljavaju u parovima, npr. lit. su dvejais naujais batais »s dvojim novim čizmama (s dva para novih čizama) «.
    Skok has the following:

    U baltičkoj grupi paralelizam za sveslav. četyre, četver-, četvr- je potpun: lit. keturi = četyre, ketveri »četiri puta toliko« = četver-,
    If I understand Matasović correctly (and if he didn't leave out some important bits) the Baltic languages:

    a) Have similar but not exactly the same formations of these numbers
    b) They are used as adjectives there
    c) They are used with pluralia tantum and paired objects (boots in the example he cites)

    What is missing here? The "nounisation" (poimeničenje) as in četvorica and četvoro (noun from adjective). And if we compare the cited Serbian grammars, the numeric adjectives are used in Serbian precisely in the same circumstances as Matasović cites for Baltic languages - for pluralia tantum and paired/multiple-of-same objects.

    Could the "nounisation" of numeric adjectives (I really need to find a better word) and the uses of these new nouns with animate collectives (djeca, telad) be a (dialectal) Slavic innovation?
     

    phosphore

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    Hej, kupio sam pet kola/auta. (I would prefer auta here due to kola "cars" creating confusion with kola "rounds" as in sports)


    To me "pet kola" sounds wrong, while "pet auta" may be accepted in Bosnian standard (I wouldn't know), but is certainly not correct in Serbian. The only acceptable solution is "pet automobila" and that's exactly what we do everytime we have a problem with the congruence of numbers: we use another construction.
     

    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    To me "pet kola" sounds wrong, while "pet auta" may be accepted in Bosnian standard (I wouldn't know), but is certainly not correct in Serbian.

    We're having a beef today, apparently...

    Why would "pet auta" be incorrect in Serbian? "Auto" is a masculine noun, it has plural "auti" or "auta", and genitive plural "autâ". "Automobil" is certainly a more formal way to put it. Granted, shorthand "auto" is far less used in Serbia than in Bosnia and Croatia, but there's no reason why it would be incorrect.
     
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    phosphore

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    I assumed that "auto" didn't have plural forms. I don't think I've ever heard them, so I was convinced "auta" was a regionalism. I may be wrong though.
     
    I assumed that "auto" didn't have plural forms. I don't think I've ever heard them, so I was convinced "auta" was a regionalism. I may be wrong though.


    It may be a difference between standards, but Bosnian standard does seem to allow for plural. "Rječnik bosanskog jezika", Institut za jezik Sarajevo, has this (accents not written):

    auto im. m. i s.r. (grč.), n.mn. auti i auta - automobil
    "Pravopis bosanskoga jezika", Senahid Halilović, in Pravopisni rječnik section has the following:

    auto (m.r.) nom. mn. auti
    Either Halilović is incomplete here or he didn't consider auto in neuter as proper. But on the other hand, Halilović is 1995, and Institute's Rječnik is 2007, so auto in neuter may be a newer still addition. HJP has only auto m.

    As for kola, I really don't use it that often in the sense of "car", so I'll yield to your opinion here. I guess it's not that advisable to "go with the instinct" in the case of words that are colloquial / with uneven regional distributions such as kola and auto. My apology here.
     
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    Roxannah_

    Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I've been told that "auto" is Neuter in Bosnian, while it's Masculine in Serbian, as it is short for "automobil", regardless of its ending in -o.
     

    doorman

    Senior Member
    Croatian, Italian
    I've been told that "auto" is Neuter in Bosnian, while it's Masculine in Serbian, as it is short for "automobil", regardless of its ending in -o.
    Could somebody verify this? If so, this could be the reason why a lot of people in Croatia tend to use auto as a masculine noun.

    It seems very strange (and interesting) to me that the same noun has a different gender in BCS. Are there other such examples?
     
    Could somebody verify this? If so, this could be the reason why a lot of people in Croatia tend to use auto as a masculine noun.

    It seems very strange (and interesting) to me that the same noun has a different gender in BCS. Are there other such examples?

    The Bosnian dictionary cited above, published in 2007, does list auto as being allowed both as masculine and neuter, earlier Pravopis from 1995 lists only masculine.

    I would bet, also judging by HJP entry for auto (masculine), Duya's and Roxannah's post, that masculine might have been the norm in S-C times.

    Why both masculine and neuter? Roxannah's explanation sounds plausible. Auto is short for automobil, which is masculine so the masculine might come from there. People could have started using it in neuter due to its similarity in form with neuter nouns ending in -o (as in kolo, odijelo, pecivo). Just a guess.
     

    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    It seems very strange (and interesting) to me that the same noun has a different gender in BCS. Are there other such examples?

    Bol is another -- it can be feminine or masculine.

    Why both masculine and neuter? Roxannah's explanation sounds plausible. Auto is short for automobil, which is masculine so the masculine might come from there. People could have started using it in neuter due to its similarity in form with neuter nouns ending in -o (as in kolo, odijelo, pecivo). Just a guess.

    Yes, that sounds plausible. I've certainly heard "jedno auto" but it sounds somewhat substandard to me; it doesn't particularly surprise me that dictionaries treat it as borderline (i.e. some record it, others don't).

    BCS doesn't quite "like" masculine nouns ending in a vocal (except -a, but those decline like feminine nouns). Most of them are relatively recent loans, like kafe, žele, taksi, kanu, depo, and their declension still sounds artificial (except partially the ones on -i, getting an epenthetic j, i.e. taksija): kafea, kanua, depoa. Vocal groups such as -ea-, -ua-, -oa- are foreign to our phonotactics, as far as I know. So, their shift into neuter in colloquial speach is rather natural.
     
    I'm thinking...could the German usage (Auto is neuter in German I believe) have contributed to auto being reinterpreted as neuter, along with the final -o? With maybe migrant workers and students and, in the 90's, refugees, introducing such usage as they were visiting/returning home?

    Because depo doesn't go through this change despite it's similarity in form to auto, not even in colloquial speech (as far as I know)
     
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    phosphore

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    This subject is quite confusing. I thought about how to say "five doors" and "five cars" and to me "pet vrata", "petoro vrata", "petora vrata" all sound correct, but only "petoro kola" and "pet automobila" do so, "pet kola", "petora kola", "pet auta" do not. :D
     

    Roxannah_

    Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Hey guys, I'm soooooo sorry for being such a pest but I'm having so much trouble with this. Just when thought I had it all figured out... something comes up to mess it all up again.

    So I was under the impression 2-4 takes the Genitive Singular while 5+ takes the Genitive Plural. At least that's what my Grammar says and most of you here as well. I was doing this exercise and I wrote "pet pasa su crna", "pet žena su niska", "pet haljina su ljubičasta".

    How crazy of me to think it was correct! Everyone corrected me saying that for 5+ I need to use Neuter Singular. I was like.... what?! The corrections I got were as followed "pet pasa su crno", "pet žena su nisko", "pet haljina su ljubičasto".

    My question is: Are the corrections I was given actually correct :))) (since there's so much passionate debates over this language between native speakers I don't know who to trust anymore :D) And if they are in fact correct... when exactly do I use this Neuter Singular?

    Thanks everyone.
     

    Majalj

    Senior Member
    Bosnian & Croatian & Serbian
    The corrections I got were as followed "pet pasa su crno", "pet žena su nisko", "pet haljina su ljubičasto".

    My question is: Are the corrections I was given actually correct :)))

    Not at all! Unfortunately, I do not have sufficient knowledge to explain it, so let's wait for others.
     

    phosphore

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    So I was under the impression 2-4 takes the Genitive Singular while 5+ takes the Genitive Plural. At least that's what my Grammar says and most of you here as well. I was doing this exercise and I wrote "pet pasa su crna", "pet žena su niska", "pet haljina su ljubičasta".

    How crazy of me to think it was correct! Everyone corrected me saying that for 5+ I need to use Neuter Singular. I was like.... what?! The corrections I got were as followed "pet pasa su crno", "pet žena su nisko", "pet haljina su ljubičasto".

    My question is: Are the corrections I was given actually correct :))) (since there's so much passionate debates over this language between native speakers I don't know who to trust anymore :D) And if they are in fact correct... when exactly do I use this Neuter Singular?

    Thanks everyone.

    You do use neuter singular but copula too should be singular. So you have:

    Pet pasa je crno.
    Pet žena je nisko.
    Pet haljina je ljubičasto.

    That's what we call grammatical agreement. You may also apply what we call semantical agreement to obtain:

    Pet pasa su crni.
    Pet žena su niske.
    Pet haljina su ljubičaste.

    However, to me this second series seems to be on the borderline between grammatical and ungrammatical.
     
    Hey guys, I'm soooooo sorry for being such a pest but I'm having so much trouble with this. Just when thought I had it all figured out... something comes up to mess it all up again.

    So I was under the impression 2-4 takes the Genitive Singular while 5+ takes the Genitive Plural. At least that's what my Grammar says and most of you here as well. I was doing this exercise and I wrote "pet pasa su crna", "pet žena su niska", "pet haljina su ljubičasta".

    How crazy of me to think it was correct! Everyone corrected me saying that for 5+ I need to use Neuter Singular. I was like.... what?! The corrections I got were as followed "pet pasa su crno", "pet žena su nisko", "pet haljina su ljubičasto".

    My question is: Are the corrections I was given actually correct :))) (since there's so much passionate debates over this language between native speakers I don't know who to trust anymore :D) And if they are in fact correct... when exactly do I use this Neuter Singular?

    Thanks everyone.

    The rule you've described is a simplification. It's not genitive singular for 2-4, but rather paucal, and its forms can vary. I've tried to explain it here.

    For 5+ I guess it is genitive plural, but the verb itself is in singular and the adjective following it *1 is neuter singular.

    5+ grammatical and spoken:
    Pet plavih (G pl) muškaraca (G pl) je (biti, 3 pers sing) umorno (N neuter sing)
    Pet visokih (G pl) žena (G pl) je (biti, 3 pers sing) stiglo (N neuter sing) na posao.
    I believe this should be the rule. However, in spoken language I would also use the sentences phosphore listed as borderline that take plural of the verb and for the adjective *1 following it take nominative plural in agreement for gender.

    5+ spoken language:
    Pet plavih muškaraca su (biti, 3 pers plural) umorni (N masculine plural)
    Pet visokih žena su (biti, 3 pers plural) stigle (N feminine plural) na posao.
    The grammatical behavior is almost as if 5+ is considered a neuter collective and thus takes the verb in singular and the adjective *1 in neuter singular. The 2-4 forms on the other hand take the verb in plural and the following adjective *1 in paucal as explained in the post I linked to.

    2-4 grammatical and spoken:
    Tri plava (paucal) muškarca (paucal) su (biti, 3 pers plural) umorna (paucal)
    Tri visoke (paucal) žene (paucal) su (biti, 3 pers plural) stigle (paucal) na posao.
    I'd welcome any corrections.

    *1 I don't know what the proper term is here, it's the ones in bold.
     
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    Orlin

    Banned
    български
    This 5+ singular is bugging me now.

    Pet žena je nisko vs Pet žena su glumice iz Engleske.

    Meni (izvorni bugarski govornik) "Pet žena je nisko"(?!) zvuči čak nekako smešno i 100% nelogično. Ja mislim da će "logičko" slaganje s brojevima 5+ (tj. upotreba množine u respektivnom rodu: "Pet žena su glumice iz Engleske") nekad postati preferirana (ili jedina pravilna) varijanta, kako je u velikoj većini jezika.
     
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    Roxannah_

    Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Hi everyone!

    I'm ressurrecting this thread from the ashes as my doubts are related to this (cough nightmare cough) subject.

    So I have for example:

    Pet pasa je crno. Šest žena je nisko. Sedam haljina je ljubičasto. etc.

    Now someone told me I can also make use of a "semantical agreement" apart from the "grammatical agreement" and that in these cases I can also say:

    Pet pasa su crni. Šest žena su niske. Sedam haljina su ljubičaste.

    Is this information correct? Can I say these sentences in both ways?
     

    phosphore

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    That's correct. You may find the same information in one of my posts on the last page.

    Once again, the agreement with partitive phrases may be grammatical or semantic.

    I. partitive phrases whose main word is an undeclinable number (pet, šest, sedam, osam...)

    1) adjectives in the attributive position follow the semantic agreement
    Tih [+pl. (+m.)] pet pasa
    Ovih [+pl. (+f.)] osam žena
    Onih [+pl. (+n.)] deset otkrića
    2a) verbs and adjectives in the predicative function may follow the grammatical agreement
    - verbs and adjectives agree with the partitive word
    - verbs take the (neuter) singular form
    - adjectives take the neuter singular form
    Pet pasa je [+3.p.sg.] crno [+sg. +n.].
    Osam devojaka je [+3.p.sg.] nisko [+sg. +n.].
    Predstavljeno je [+3.p.sg. +n.] deset najnovijih otkrića.
    2b) or they may follow the semantic agreement
    - both verbs and adjectives agree with the noun
    Pet pasa su [+3.p.pl.] crni [+pl. +m.].
    Osam devojaka su [+3.p.pl.] niske [+pl. +f.].
    Predstavljena su [+3.p.pl. +n.] deset najnovijih otkrića.
    II. partitive phrases denoting groups of people of both sexes, whose main word is a collective number (dvoje, troje, četvoro, petoro...)

    1) adjectives in the attributive position follow the grammatical agreement
    To [+sg. +n.] dvoje stanara
    To [+sg. +n.] petoro učenika
    2a) verbs and adjectives in the predicative function may follow the grammatical agreement
    Dvoje stanara je [+3.p.sg.] besno [+sg. +n.].
    Petoro učenika je došlo [+3.p.sg. +n.] na čas.
    2b) or they may follow the semantic agreement
    Dvoje stanara su [+3.p.pl.] besni [+pl. +m.].
    Petoro učenika su došli [+3.p.pl. +m.] na čas.
    III. partitive phrases denoting groups of males, whose main word is a numeral noun (dvojica, trojica, četvorica, petorica...)

    1) adjectives in the attributive position follow the grammatical agreement
    Ta [+sg. +f.] dvojica stanara
    Ta [+sg. +f.] petorica učenika
    2a) verbal forms inflected for person follow the semantic agreement while verbal and other adjectives in the predicative function may follow the grammatical agreement
    Dvojica stanara su [+3.p.pl.] besna [+sg. +f.].
    Petorica učenika su [+3.p.pl.] došla [+sg. +f.] na čas.
    2b) or they may follow the semantic agreement
    Dvojica stanara su [+3.p.pl.] besni [+pl. +m.].
    Petorica učenika su došli [+3.p.pl. +m.] na čas.
     
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    phosphore

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    I understand "kola" is grammatically plural. But why is it "Vidim petoro kola" and not simply "Vidim pet kola"? Is it the same for "vrata"?

    This is a whole other matter. The nouns kola and vrata are pluralia tantum and such nouns may be preceded only by a numeral adjective. In practice, with masculine and feminine pluralia tantum we do use numeral adjectives only, while with neuter pluralia tantum we use either cardinal or collective numbers or numeral adjectives.

    I. quantities from 1 to 4

    1) masculine and feminine pluralia tantum: jedni, dvoji, troji, četvori nogari; jedne, dvoje, troje, četvore kočije
    - as numeral adjectives are used to denote quantity in this case, agreement is made with the noun
    Tu su stajali [+pl. +m.] troji nogari.
    Došle su [+pl. +f.] dvoje kočije.
    2) neuter pluralia tantum

    a) collective number: dvoje, troje, četvoro vrata
    - the noun is in its genitive (plural) form
    - as you have a partitive phrase in this case, agreement may be grammatical or semantic
    Bilo je otvoreno [+sg. +n.] troje vrata.
    Bila su parkirana [+pl. +n.] samo dvoje kôla ispred zgrade.
    To [+sg. +n.] troje kôla
    b) numeral adjective: jedna, dvoja, troja, četvora vrata
    - the noun is in its nominative (plural) form
    - as numeral adjectives are used to denote quantity in this case, agreement is made with the noun
    Bila su otvorena [+pl. +n.] troja vrata.
    Bila su parkirana [+pl. +n.] samo dvoja kȍla ispred zgrade.
    Ta [+pl. +n.] troja kȍla
    II. quantities of more than 5

    1) masculine and feminine pluralia tantum: petori nogari; petore kočije
    - as numeral adjectives are used to denote quantity in this case, agreement is made with the noun
    Tu su stajali [+pl. +f.] petori nogari.
    Došle su [+pl. +f.] petore kočije.
    2) neuter pluralia tantum

    a) cardinal number: pet kôla
    - the noun is in its genitive (plural) form
    - as you have a partitive phrase in this case, agreement may be grammatical or semantic
    Došlo je [+sg. +n.] pet kôla.
    Osam vrata od deset bila su zatvorena [+pl. +n.].
    Tih [+pl. +n.] pet kôla
    b) collective number: petoro kôla
    - the noun is in its genitive (plural) form
    - as you have a partitive phrase in this case, agreement may be grammatical or semantic
    Došlo je [+sg. +n.] petoro kôla.
    Osmoro vrata od desetoro bila su zatvorena [+pl. +n.].
    To [+sg. +n.] petoro kôla
    c) numeral adjective: petora kȍla
    - the noun is in its nominative (plural) form
    - as numeral adjectives are used to denote quantity in this case, agreement is made with the noun
    Došla su [+pl. +n.] petora kȍla.
    Osmora vrata od desetorih bila su zatvorena [+pl. +n.].
    Ta [+pl. +n.] petora kȍla
     
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    phosphore

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    N. dvoje ljudi (troje, četvoro, petoro...)
    G. dvoga ljudi
    D. dvoma ljudima
    A. dvoje ljudi...

    "Collective" ones are regularly used only in nominative (=accusative) case, and for male companies. Other cases (marked blue above) are rarely encountered in modern spoken language.

    Actually, the form dvoga doesn't appear in this paradigm.

    N, G, A. dvoje ljudi
    D, I, L. dvoma ljudima

    However, we tend not to ever use the form dvoma, so we say ka dvoje, sa dvoje, o dvoje instead.
    Krenuo je prema dvoje ljudi (dvoma ljudima) koji su sedeli u ćošku.
    Popričao je sa dvoje ljudi (dvoma ljudima) iz ćoška.
    Pričao je o dvoje ljudi (dvoma ljudima) iz ćoška.
    Anyway, the form dvoga appears in the paradigm of the substantivised collective number.

    N, A. dvoje
    G. dvoga, dvojega
    D, L. dvome, dvojem
    I. dvojim

    However, this whole paradigm is hardly ever used nowadays.
    Koje od ova dva/ovo dvoje (ovog dvoga) je tačno?
    Možemo se složiti u dve stvari (dvome).
    Izlaganje ću završiti sa dve stvari (dvojim).
    Thus neither cardinal numbers (numerals one to four excepted) nor collective numbers are (practically) ever declined. The declension of cardinal numbers simply doesn't exist and the declension of collective numbers isn't part of the natives' linguistic competence any more. On the other hand, numeral nouns are declined as all nouns from the third declension and numeral adjectives are declines as all other adjectives.

    Now I'll stop posting to see what others think on the subject. :)
     

    Roxannah_

    Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Wow phosphore, that's a lot of material for me to study :) I browsed this thread quickly yesterday and missed your post about grammatical and semantical agreement. I did find it now.

    I was so confused with this subject, I put it on the side for a while and found the courage to get back to it now. So it's like I'm seeing it for the first time. There's a lot here to absorb and at this point my mind is like a blank canvas when it comes to this matter :) Thanks for taking the time to explain it again and posting all this info.
     

    phosphore

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    I think it's not that difficult as it may seem. It sure is quite complicated, but it shouldn't take more than two afternoons to master it. There are two main divisions.

    I. Countable nouns may be:

    1) singularia tantum with the plural meaning (e.g. deca, braća, telad)
    - they combine with collective numbers (and in some cases also with numeral nouns)

    2-4: dvoje dece, troje braće, četvoro teladi
    (also dvojica, trojica, četvorica braće)

    The forms dva deteta, tri brata, četiri teleta (from dete, brat, tele) are interchangeable with the forms dvoje dece, troje braće, četvoro teladi (from deca, braća, telad).

    5+: petoro dece, petoro braće, petoro teladi
    (also petorica braće)

    The forms dvoje, troje, četvoro, petoro braće and dvojica, trojica, četvorica, petorica braće are interchangeable.

    2) pluralia tantum (e.g. nogari, kočije, vrata)
    - they combine with numeral adjectives (and in some cases also with cardinal and collective numbers)

    1: jedni nogari, jedne kočije, jedna vrata

    2-4: dvoji nogari, troje kočije, četvora vrata
    (also dvoje, troje, četvoro vrata, see above)

    5+: petori nogari, petore kočije, petora vrata
    (also pet vrata and petoro vrata, see above)

    The forms such as pet vrata and dvoje, troje, četvoro, petoro vrata are widely used in speech, but they are not accepted by the norm.

    3) all other countable nouns (e.g. muškarac, računar, žena)
    - they combine with cardinal numbers (and in some cases also with collective numbers and numeral nouns)

    2-4: dva muškarca, tri računara, četiri žene
    (also dvoje and dvojica muškaraca)

    The forms dva muškarca, dvoje muškaraca, dvojica muškaraca are interchangeable. They can be distinctive only with those masculine nouns that are not specified for sex: dva studenta means two students whose sex is not known and not important, dvoje studenata - two students of both sexes, dvojica studenata - two male students. But this distinction is on its way to be lost and is not strictly maintained in speech (except for the last option dvojica studenata, which always denote two male students). Thus dvoje studenata may be used instead in the meaning of dva studenta, so to enforce political correctness, or instead of dvojica studenata, even if both students are male.

    5+: pet muškaraca, pet računara, pet žena
    (also petoro and petorica muškaraca)

    The nouns brat, from the first declension (dva, tri, četiri brata), and dete, from the second declension (dva, tri, četiri deteta), don't have regular plural forms. The singularia tantum nouns braća and deca are used instead (petoro braće, petoro dece). Other nouns from the second declension, such as drvo (dva, tri, četiri dȑveta), do have regular plural forms, but these forms (pet drvèta) for some reason sound odd in most cases.
    The masculine nouns from the third declension such as tata and deda should be used only in combination with numeral nouns: dvojica tâta, dvojica dêda. Those such as violinista may be used with collective numerals: dvoje violinista, meaning two violinists of either sex, or numeral nouns: dvojica violinista, meaning two male violinists. For numbers five and above cardinal numbers may be used too: pet violinista, petoro violinista, petorica violinista. Pet violinista would denote five violinists whose sex is not known and not important, petoro violinista - five violinists of both sexes, petorica violinista - five male violinists. But, same as above, this distinction is not strictly maintained in speech.

    That should be more than enough of what there is to know so that you can use the right numeral construction with every noun.

    II. Numeral constructions may be:

    1) paucal phrases with cardinal numbers 2-4
    - only nouns that have both singular and plural
    - the number acts as an attribute, the noun is in its (nominative) paucal form
    - declinability: limited
    - congruence: with the noun, as it is the head of the phrase

    2) partitive phrases

    2a) with cardinal numbers 5 and above
    - only nouns that have both singular and plural (in everyday language also neuter pluralia tantum)
    - the number acts as the head of the phrase, the noun is in its genitive plural form
    - declinability: no
    - congruence: grammatical or semantic, see above

    2b) with collective numbers (dvoje, troje, četvoro, petoro...)
    - singularia tantum with the plural meaning and masculine nouns with the feature [+human] to denote a group of people whose sex is not known and not important (in everyday language also neuter pluralia tantum)
    - the number acts as the head of the phrase, the noun is in its genitive plural form
    - declinability: limited for 2-4, no for 5 and above
    - congruence: grammatical or semantic, see above

    2c) with numeral nouns (dvojica, trojica, četvorica, petorica...)
    - only masculine nouns with the feature [+human] to specifically denote a group of males
    - the numeral noun acts as the head of the phrase, the noun is in its genitive plural form
    - declinability: full
    - congruence: grammatical or semantic, see above

    3) phrases with numeral adjectives (dvoji, troji, četvori, petori...)
    - numeral adjectives combine only with pluralia tantum
    - the numeral adjective acts as any other adjective, the noun may be in any of its (plural) forms
    - declinability: full
    - congruence: with the noun, as it is the head of the phrase

    That should be all there is to know on this subject, but I'm not sure anymore about it being quite complicated, still not that difficult. Anyway, I'll really stop posting now. :)
     
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    Roxannah_

    Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    but it shouldn't take more than two afternoons to master it.

    :):):)

    I printed your last 3 or 4 posts and I'll be in seclusion until I tackle this (and that won't definitely happen in two afternoons I can tell you that in advance :))

    A small question. I came across "lopti" and "tašni" as feminine genitive plural, instead of the expected (at least for me) "lopta" and "tašna". Is this a matter of choice thing where I can use any of the two forms or only the -i ending form is correct?
     

    Orlin

    Banned
    български
    :):):)

    A small question. I came across "lopti" and "tašni" as feminine genitive plural, instead of the expected (at least for me) "lopta" and "tašna". Is this a matter of choice thing where I can use any of the two forms or only the -i ending form is correct?

    I think usually both forms are correct, but this is probably off-topic here and deserves a separate thread.
     

    phosphore

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    Feminine nouns with a consonant cluster at the end of the stem often have the genitive plural in -i and not in -a. In this particular case HJP gives lôpta and lôpti, but RMS gives only lȍpti and that's the only form I know. I don't know if there is any rule about it, but the tendency is towards the -i forms in all such feminines, especially in newer borrowings.
     
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