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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lancekent

I hope I'm not the only one who found it funny...

...that the icon for the "Genitive Plural" lesson is a skull. Is that supposed to mean "abandon hope, all ye who enter here"? Hahaha. Keep up the good work, course-builders!

November 7, 2015

18 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flootzavut

Yeah, that made me chuckle when I saw it too!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cherub721

LMAO! That's how I feel when I encounter it, for sure.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flootzavut

I think there should be a worse icon for verbs of motion though... genitive plural has a bad rep, but verbs of motion are much more mindblowing IMO.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theron126

Verbs of motion have nothing on genitive plural.

Another fun one is the preposition по - when I ran into that again I realized that I do know how to make distressed whale noises after all.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flootzavut

See, I really never had a major problem with genitive plural, at least in Russian - I don't think I've got that far in German. Verbs of motion give me brain melt 8-o

Though honestly, I'm kind of relieved it's not just me discovering a talent for distressed whale noises... ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theron126

Verbs of motion never seemed that scary to me, but the genitive plural, and the rules for with numbers...

And you have a prepositional case, but you don't use it with most prepositions, and often prepositions have half a dozen meanings and the case depends on the meaning...

And then the cursive handwriting. Apparently it's all vertical lines, and you figure out the meaning from the spacing between them...

This is why normal people don't learn Russian. If they did, the whales would go out of business.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shady_arc

:D The Prepositional case is called so because it is never used without a preposition, unlike all others, which, depeding on the structure you use, can act on their own or with a preposition.

As for the meanings of the prepositons, well, it is the same in English.:)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flootzavut

Don't forget the plural of child is not childs but children, and the plural of fish is... fish.

(Though, I mean, Russian has человек/люди & ребёнок/дети, so by comparison...)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flootzavut

Huh, I always vaguely wondered why it was called the prepositional case and not, like, the locative or something else. Learn something new every day!

It's funny what people do and don't find hard, I never had a big issue with how the cases work with numbers, either.

I think probably the cursive I have a slightly advantage that my initial Russian learning was all done longhand, so writing stuff out in cursive happened from the very beginning.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shady_arc

Hm. What's so unusual about English plurals?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SquirrelWalsh

With plurals, it doesn't help that English is actually a hodge-podge of about 12 different languages, all with their own rules that are inconsistently kept/rejected. Yeah, I'm looking at you, pierogies.

The plural of moose is moose because it entered English in the 16th century from Algonquian vs goose is Old English/Anglo-Saxon from c. the 5th c. Relatedly: the plural of box is boxes because it's derived from Latin. The plural of ox is oxen because it it derived from Old English.

You can also blame Middle English for Child/children; it's a similar construction to brother/brethren. (See also: beef/cow, pork/pig, poultry/chicken & goose for more fun with language care of the Norman conquest.)

tl;dr: English can't decide if it wants to be based on German or Latin, so it splits the difference. The more basic the word is, the more likely it is to be Germanic and therefore not a normal plural.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theron126

Yes, prepositions have lots of meanings in English, but at least we don't have different cases. Our plurals, though, make the Russian genitive look simple.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theron126

The exceptions to the rules. Plural of house is houses, plural of mouse isn't mouses, it's mice. Plural of boot is boots, but plural of foot is feet. Plural of goose is geese, but plural of moose is also moose. And on and on and on.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theron126

Thanks for the comment. I know why English is all confused, but I had no idea about the origins of each individual word. Thanks!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tamuna10

Haha, that's actually really funny! :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slogger

That is really funny! I know what I won't be looking forward to when studying German.

. . . The Russian course is the same way--the developers knew a good thing when they saw it, I guess. It definitely is the killer as far as having varied endings is concerned, among the cases in Rus., too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shady_arc

It just has more patterns that you would expect. From other nouns you might imagine that you only need to memorize how мама, стол, окно and кровать produce the case (or maybe there is just one ending for all of them: plural behaves like that in Dative, Prepositional and Instrumetal)

In reality, fleeting vowels might appear (земля→земель, окно→окон, девочка→девочек, яйцо→яиц), and some patterns have a sub-pattern if the noun happens to end in something particular. For example:

  • a consonant-ending masculine noun;, but the consonant happens to be palatalized or is a hush: учитель→учителей, нож→ножей, день → дней
  • a masculine ending in -Й: музей→музеев, настой→настоев
  • neuter nouns in -е have ЕЙ as the ending but if it is -ие, you replace it with -ий: море→морей, здание→зданий
  • if a noun ends in an unstressed -це, you have zero ending and probably a fleeting vowel: полотенце→полотенец

Which is a lot to digest.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slogger

Thanks, Shady_arc, for the analysis. Yes, the ones you bulleted are the ones I have the most trouble with. And you're right: it is a lot to digest. I've got an old grammar book from the Soviet era that usually describes case ending in a half page or so, but for the gen. pl. has a huge foldout! The only foldout in the book. (But I'll eventually learn these, I'm confident--especially if I would, ahem, work a little harder at it.)

BTW, the Russian course is great. All the hard work done by you and the other developers has produced a super course. Many thanks. I was intending not to start the course right away, being busy with re-studying another language (not on Duo). But I just had to give a a little try, and now I'm hooked.

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