"Мне сорок лет."

Translation:I am forty years old.

November 11, 2015

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Does anybody know why the russian numerals are so inconsistent:
20 двадцать
30 тридцать
40 сорок (?)
50 пятьдесят
60 шестьдесят
70 семьдесят
80 восемьдесят
90 девяносто (?)


The modern word for forty is actually an ancient quantity word that displaced what would be the intuitive четыредцать or четыредесят. In English this would be similar to the word "dozen" replacing "twelve" in all usages. "nine, ten, eleven, dozen, thirteen, etc.." As far as I know, scholarship isn't quite so clear on the origin of девяносто except that is has something to do with the words for nine and one-hundred.


Ok, so сорок is a noun, but how about дцать/десят?


They're both derived from десять; the difference kind of makes sense if you think of the stress - it's reduced more when it's not stressed (два́дцать, три́дцать), but not so much when the stress is on the last syllable (пятьдеся́т, etc.).


I agree, it makes sense. But it doesn't work for се́мьдесят and во́семьдесят.


If the preceding number ends with a vowel, add дцать: двА / трИ + дцать

If the preceding number ends with a consonant, add десят: пяТЬ / шесТЬ / сеМЬ / восеМЬ + десят


Ah, right. Guess it's one of those 'nod and smile' moments where you just memorize it.


My Russian professor told me a while back (and I may not be remembering perfectly) that it had something to do with a sack they would use to carry fox pelts, and that sack was called a сорокь and could only hold 40 pelts and somehow that became the word for 40...i dunno


It seems you're right (but sable pelts, not fox).


What is the nominative singular of лет?


Then why do we say лет instead of годов?


From that link:

After numbers that must be followed by a genitive plural, the form лет is used.

лет is the irregular genitive plural for "год"


I've learnt it differently, though. That год is "year" and the plural is годы. Whereas лет is the plural gentive of лето ("summer"). So it is not a matter of a noun with an irregular plural form, but a matter of expression so that when we speak of one year or a few years (up to four) we speak of year(s), but when we reach the "many years" stage (five or more years) we, for whatever reason, stop speaking of years, but instead speak of a number of summers. "He is seven summers old". If I understood and remember correctly, that is.


That makes sense, and other languages have similar idioms (even English at times).

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