Word of the Day

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sets of items in Slavic

This is another grammatical feature where Slovak differs from Czech and approaches Polish and Russian when using numbers expressing sets of items, known as skupinové číslovky in Slovak and souborové číslovky in Czech. Such numerals are found with plural nouns (pluralia tantum) for single items.

Czech: čtvery nůžky - nůžky is in the nominative plural
Slovak: štvoro nožníc - nožníc is in the genitive plural
Polish: czworo nożyczek - nożyczek is in the genitive plural
Russian: четворо ножнц (četvoro nožnic) - nožnic is in the genitive plural
Meaning: four pairs of scissors.

I wonder if this is so because in Slovak, Polish and Russian these numbers end in o, whereas in Czech it has a regular y ending for plural nouns.

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