Ukrainian/Belarusian: verb agreement

egz03

Member
English
I have a question about verb agreement when the subject is modified by a numeral. In Russian, agreement tends to be optional in such a situation, so you can say:

Пять человек пришли (five people arrived-PL)

or

Пять человек пришло (five people arrived-NEUTER.SG)
I was wondering if this was also true for other East Slavic languages, like Ukrainian or Belarussian. If anyone has insight on this, I would love to head it!
 
  • Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    I have a question about verb agreement when the subject is modified by a numeral. In Russian, agreement tends to be optional in such a situation, so you can say:

    Пять человек пришли (five people arrived-PL)

    or

    Пять человек пришло (five people arrived-NEUTER.SG)
    I was wondering if this was also true for other East Slavic languages, like Ukrainian or Belarussian. If anyone has insight on this, I would love to head it!
    You might find some interesting information in this old thread. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if it will address your question directly, and I personally know almost nothing about East Slavic languages other than Russian.
     

    egz03

    Member
    English
    Thanks. Yeah, it wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but it was interesting to see that neuter agreement in Croatian, especially neuter plural for 2-4. Is it still neuter singular agreement in sentences like "5 men tried to work"? (I ask because this is apparently a context where you can't have this neuter agreement in Russian - Пять человек старались-PL работать but not Пять человек старалось-NEUT.SG работать.)
     

    cyanista

    законодательница мод
    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
    I've accidentally stumbled upon this old thread and found the question very interesting!

    In Russian the verb can be singular or plural depending on the structure of the sentence and on the intended meaning (speaking about an entity or about separate agents), see also § 184 here.

    I am not completely sure about Belarusian, though. I have the feeling that a plural verb would mostly be preferable in similar sentences:

    На суботнік прыйшлі 3,5 мільёны чалавек. Source

    When searching I have seen a very curious case of usage: an article in a respected Belarusian newspaper Nasha Niva is titled

    На хвіліну маўчання да польскай амбасады ў Мінску прыйшлі 40 чалавек.
    Source

    Virtually the same article has been published by the Euroradio website with the following headline:

    На хвіліну маўчання да польскай амбасады ў Мінску прыйшло 40 чалавек. :) Source

    All in all, both variants are used by the media but the first one seems to be somewhat more widespread. What I don't know is whether the use of a singular verb has been legitimate in Belarusian all along or whether it is a Russian contamination (which wouldn't come as a complete surprise to me).


    I would be very glad to hear what Ukrainian foreros think!


     
    Last edited:

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    What I don't know is whether the use of a singular verb has been legitimate in Belarusian all along or whether it is a Russian contamination (which wouldn't come as a complete surprise to me).
    I think Russian is deviant in this respect. At least Polish, Czech and Slovak use a singular verb after 5.
     

    Selyd

    Senior Member
    ucraniano
    Ukrainian:
    Прийшли п'ять чоловік (five people arrived-PL)
    П'ять чоловік прийшли
    Прийшли п'ятеро людей
    Прийшли п'ятеро
    or
    Прийшло п'ять чоловіків (five people arrived-NEUTER.SG)
    П'ять чоловіків пийшло
    Прийшло п'ятеро людей
    Прийшло п'ятеро
    Прийшло п'ятеро П'ятеро прийшло
     

    cyanista

    законодательница мод
    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
    Прийшли п'ять чоловік
    ...
    Прийшло п'ять чоловіків
    Is one of them more popular than the other?
     

    Selyd

    Senior Member
    ucraniano
    Привет, cyanista!
    В украинском языке большое значение имеет звуковое построение фразы.
    "Прийшли п'ять чоловік" имеет некую незаконченность и могло бы иметь продолжение "і чимдуж ...". "Прийшло п'ять чоловіків" имеет звуковую законченность. "Прийшло п'ятеро П'ятеро прийшло" я подчеркивал, чтобы
    показать на чем ставится акцент, смысловое ударение. Некоторые такие
    особенности могут изучаться, а некоторые приобретаются только в языковой среде. Поэтому украинский труден в изучении.
    Может сказанное будет полезным. Удачи!
     

    cyanista

    законодательница мод
    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
    Дякую, Selyd. :)
    В украинском языке большое значение имеет звуковое построение фразы.
    Дуже цікаво! :idea:
     
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