"The girl has an apple."
Translation:У девочки есть яблоко.
It's my understanding that here the girl is the possessor. The noun girl - девочка - is female.
I thought in the genitive the rule was
Female (a --> ы) so why is it (a --> и) here?
Can anybody explain me when is used "есть"? Some phrases need it and some are without it...
I am not a native speaker, but as far as I understand it, the use of есть shows that there might have been some doubt about whether the object exists or not. So when you use есть, you are clearing up that doubt. You are saying that it does exist. If you know the object exists, then I think that you do not need to use есть. Like I said though, I am not a native speaker. There might be more to it. Or a better way of explaining it.
Exactly. Russian has a case system, consisting of six different cases. One for each day of the week, except for Sunday, when they just sit around and.. okay, okay, that's a lie.
There are several cases. The case you start with "I am a girl" and "The dog eats" is the 'Nominative' case. In that case, "Я девочка" is correct. However, in this case, we are talking about something the girl has or owns. Because Russian has always done it this way, they write "x has y" as "by x, there is a y".
This, by way of magic and rules of Russian grammar, implies the use of the Genitive case. So your Nominative case word 'девочка' gets magically transformed into another case - namely the Genitive - and ends up looking slightly different. Often (but not always), the word in the Genitive case looks exactly like the Nominative plural, so keep that in mind.
Alternatively, just go here: http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/morphque.cgi?flags=endnnnnp
(Most often passed on link ever in my Russian posts. Theron126 gave it to me once, and I've been using it ever since, I'm still grateful.)
Go to this website. Input a Russian word. Any word you like. Be mindful of the fact that the Russian letter ё is not accepted, but that substituting it with the regular 'е' will still give you all the helpful goodness of the declensions.
What's a declension, you ask? Fill in a word. Go on, I dare you. Hit enter.
Now look at the page that crops up and the results. You'll notice that it has all the six names for all the six cases. And that next to it, the word you input is shown, but each time, the ending - the declension - is a little bit different! If you know the Case you're supposed to use, you can use this website to help yourself pick out the right one, until you can remember when you need to use which one. :)
This has to do with the cases the words go following the verb есть when negated. Look at the two sentences.
The boy does NOT have an apple.
The girl DOES have an apple.
Apple has to be written in the genitive case because it is preceded (the item being negated/whose existence is being denied) by нет. When we have the verb есть (is/exists), and it becomes нет (which is 'not is/does not exist', basically), the item/person/whathaveyou that has changed from being/existing to not being/existing, is written in genitive.
Oh, OK. Thank you. I didn't know cases in Russian change depending on the negation. Or is it just with the verb есть? My mother tongue is Serbian and we have 7 cases, but we do not change them with negation. We say Дечак нема јабуку. (У мальчика нет яблока.) Девојчица има јабуку. (У девочки есть яблоко.) Thanks again!
It changes specifically for this verb. I have not yet seen it occur elsewhere but I think I remember reading there's like one or two other verbs where it does this, so apart from this verb, it's still pretty rare. Additional intel will have to be gathered from more knowledgeable sources, I'm afraid. :)
I have a question on what is owned. яблоко is singular in this case, but in other questions, such as У мамы есть брата, brother is plural. why?
У мамы есть брата actually doesn't make sense. For singular/plural. It's simply a case of whether you own singular or plural things. The problem with брата is that it's genitive case, but it should be nominative.
у is the preposition: "у меня" is like "at me" or "by me". This is a construction that exists in the Russian language due to the impact of the Finno-Ugric languages that have been spoken in vast areas of the present Russia. This corresponds to the ablative case in the Finnish language: "Minu-lla on kissa" = "у меня (есть) кошка" = "at me is a dog". The other Slavic languages use the same kind of expression as English: "I have a dog".
I can't wait. The more I hear about Finnish the more I'm convinced it's the hardest language in the history of the universe.
Ok so without knowing the context - the version without есть also should be correct.
Yes. The existence of an apple is in question. Есть is always used in these cases because the structure of these types of sentences are "Near or by <the girl> there exists a<n apple>."
By the girl there is an apple. "girl" is genitive because it follows the preposition "у". There is nothing to make "apple" genitive.
How would I know the difference to "the girl has an apple" and "the girls have an apple"? They look the same to me
Remember that girl/girls will be genitive because they follow "у". Some of the genitive forms overlap with the nominative forms which can confuse some people.
The girl has an apple => У девочки есть яблоко
The girls have an apple => У девочек есть яблоко