Nubers Change Case

Discussion in 'Grammar & Pronunciation' started by colineček, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. colineček

    colineček Member

    Why is it that quantities start in the Genitive (Koho Co) case and then at 5 change to the Accusative (Koho Čeho) case?

    Jedno pivo
    Dvě pivo
    Tři pivo
    Čtyři pivo
    pět piva
    Šest piva ...... and so on

  2. eso

    eso Well-Known Member


    Jedno pivo
    Dvě piva
    Tři piva
    Čtyři piva
    Pět piv
    Deset piv
    Sto piv

    And case isn't changed.

    If it's nominative (1. Kdo co), it's:

    Je tu jedno pivo.
    Jsou tu dvě piva.
    je tu pět piv

    If it's accusative (4. Koho, co), it's:

    Dejte mi jedno pivo.
    Dejte mi dvě piva.
    Dejte mi pět piv
    Dejte mi dvanáct piv.

    If it's genitive (2. Koho, čeho) it's

    Taková je chuť jednoho piva.
    Taková je chuť dvou piv.
    Taková je chuť tří piv.

    There can be diferent forms of noun by quantity, but case isn't changed.
  3. doman

    doman Well-Known Member

    And what about the PIV ?

    Na zdravy napijeme ! :D
  4. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    You are right, I changed my post accordingly.
  5. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    I wrote about it here.
  6. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    At five and above, it's the genitive plural form of the noun, not the accusative.
  7. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    at five and above you're too tipsy to care anyway :wink:
  8. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    :lol: :lol:
  9. colineček

    colineček Member

    OK, my apologies. I cannot believe I wrote such utter rubbish in my post. eso’s correction is my understanding.

    However, the point still stands unexplained: Why are numbers 1..4 in the nominative (1 man, 2 men, 3 men and 4 men) and numbers 5 and above in the genitive (5 of men …. etc).

    wer: I tried to understand your explanation, however, why should the number five be considered an abstract characterisation, and the lesser 4 articles?

    In any case, I could just simply ignore this quandary and simply accept that this is the way it is.
    Thanks for all zour input
  10. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    A typical primitive perception of quantities has three levels: ONE, TWO and A LOT. Just observe kids starting learning to count, for example. There’re also some experiments with animals, with birds for example. They’re able to notice that one of 2 or 3 eggs is missing, but they rarely notice that one of 4 (5,6…) eggs is missing.

    The languages emerged before the discovery/understanding of all numbers (quantities) thus they conform to this primitive perception (singular×dual×plural, cognate words for “3” and “a lot” like French “trois” and “très” etc.). And because the small numbers are most used, these relicts resist to become regularized. Later, when the individual numbers replaced the quantity “a lot” they adopted the genitive from it.

    There were also other leaps in perception of quantities which influenced the languages, like the discovery of connection between ordinal and cardinal numbers or between cardinal numbers and fractions. For these leaps, an irregularity for small numbers is apparent even in English (one×first, two×half×second).

    The threshold between “small numbers” and “a lot” could be sligthly different for different languages or different leaps. Also the regularization resistence differs, Slavic languages are more resisting because of extensive inflection and because of isolation in early era.
  11. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Exactly, it is even in indoeuropean languages, where there was at first:

    one, two, a lot

    As Wer wrote in his other post, another number was added a this number "transcended" this old system, so it was called something beginnig with "tr" (tres in Latin, treis in ancient Greek, trayas in Sanskrit,...). But this change did not come alone, as the people already had been able to count to two, so they multiplied their numeral by two, so instead of binary system, there was quaternary system (with the numeral "four" - quatuor, tetaras, čatur). Later, the same process was repeated, numerals five (quinque, pente, paňča), six (sex, hex, šáš), seven (septem, hepta, sápta) and eight were added. And then, there is the mysterious number "nine"... it was revealed, that it came with another upgrade and it is a cognate with word "new", as it was a new number (novem x novus, ennea x neos, náva x návas).
    The conception of slavic numerals comes probably from the age, where there were but four of them.
    Even more interesting conception is in Russian:
    1 - with nominative singular (oděn gorod)
    2,3,4 - with genitive singular (!!!) (dva, tri, četyre goroda)
    5+ - with genitive plural (pjať gorodov)

    Even wilder it becomes when there is an adjective before the noun as it assumes the form of genitive plural if there is 2,3,4, although the following noun is in genitive singular:
    1 - oden vělikij gorod
    2,3,4 - dva (tri, četyre) vělikich goroda :shock:
    5 - pjať vělikich gorodov
  12. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Very interesting, wer and Eleshar. Thanks!

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