"The girl has an apple."
Translation:У девочки есть яблоко.
И vs. Ы is generally depending on whether the consonant before is supposed to be "soft" or "hard".
However, there are some rules which are fairly simple to learn, fortunately; If the preceding consonant is к or г (k or g), then always use и to follow.
For noun conjugation, this covers both sg. (singular) nominative and pl. (plural) genitive.
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 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.
From what I've seen in the comments the last few lessons, есть is used to emphasize that the object belongs to the subject ("mom HAS a sister"), and is dropped when that's not the focus of the sentence ("У мамы сестра - актёр": "mom's sister IS AN ACTOR").
I may be wrong here, the mobile app makes keeping track of discussions a pain =/ someone more fluent, please correct if necessary.
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".