I would venture a guess that the original words for "mother" and "daughter" were indeed «матерь» and «дочерь» but they were shortened over time. This guess is based on the resemblance to the English words, as well as to the German «Mutter» and «Tochter», which suggests similar words in PIE.
Am I right?
There is nothing in the comments about the declension of девушка. I do not understand why the translation is not "I don't have any girls." Please someone explain this. It is obvious to me that a father who has children would say he has no daughters when he means he has only sons. So please explain why the translation would not also imply that. Isn't the correct word for girlfriend подруга? Thus I completely fail to understand the developer's correct answers. I need both declension and idiomatic usage discussed, as well as for comparison the more formal usage.
подруга is a word for a friend who is a female. It is also what you might use for a girlfriend if you are that modest and shy. Девушка is the de facto standard. It gets fuzzier with boys because there is neither an agreed-on term for a young male, nor a universal word for a boyfriend. Молодой человек, even though a bit formal in sound, is the most widespread term for the latter among people approximately my age. Парень is also an option, quite informal in sound.
Девушка's plural is девушки. The word's Genitive singular is девушки, and the Genitive plural is девушек.
The word девушка also means a young woman (older than 12-15 but usually younger than 30). These are not usually possessed.
It is also what you might use for a girlfriend if you are that modest and shy
Around me, подруга is rarely used for a man's female friends. For me, this largerly is the word to describe a woman's female friends. For male's friends, I would use друг regardless of the gender (women can use друг too), and when a male calls someone подруга, this more often than not means a 'girlfriend'.
Of course, this is not universal (obviously, «Подруга дней моих суровых» can't be understood this way :D), but probably it can explain why some people suggest подруга as a translation for 'girlfriend'.
So, I take it, Shady_arc and szeraja_zhaba and Theron126 that there is no formal solution to this, but only idiomatic colloquialisms. I realize at the outset of the course, the dialect was stated to be that spoken around Saint Petersburg and Moscow. One of the reasons I have objections for studying colloquial dialect of any language is the lack of consistency across localities or even between neighborhoods. It seems to me that it would be best to discuss the formal first and then as the need arises discover the colloquial usage for that locality, and adjust accordingly.
Yesterday I attended a church for Holy Week, which is an "Old Believer" congregation, where when reading the scriptures only the Old Church Slavonic was read. It was amazing that perhaps 20 percent of this (10th century Russian?) was recognizable as Russian. I know things change. But I thought control has been brought to those changes so that unlike English (at best a motley collection of languages) Russian has been changing more slowly and is far more stable. This has been one of the attractions for me to the language. It appears now that expectation was misplaced. I was hoping for a language free of the effects of slang, because the changes happening in my country being driven by language are truly dismaying. I seek a country with enough stability long enough that I may learn the language before being faced with changes in that language, because I'm beginning to have a lot of trouble understanding and being understood here in the США.
I started learning Russian in 2009, when I think подруг was male, and подруга was female. And Девушка was a girl who was not married, whose friendships and attachments with anyone were not known, but was nevertheless to be respected for her modesty and intelligence, and neither were we entitled to consider whether she was a man's girlfriend. Has that also changed?
The time that passed since 2009 is a blink of an eye for a language. Девушка has been used as a word for a girl you have relationship with since well before I was born—which makes this use 40-50 years old at the very least. This use generallyy requires possession to be marked somehow (with a pronoun, possessive adjective or the Genitive form of a noun) — it can also be used in sentences saying that one has a girlfriend or does not have one. Come to think of it, I can easily imagine this meaning activated in any sentence with an initial у-phrase (e.g., У Петра девушка заболела).
- I do not remember how life was during Soviet rule. Still, acording to statistics, people married at a somewhat younger age, most in their early twenties. Now dating or even living with a partner is not a prelude to a forthcoming marriage. That might have boosted the popularity of the term. Or maybe not. The difference is not that drastic.
The use of девушка for a "young female" is very much alive. In very, very colloquial speech, especially in female-only companies, women also use девочка regardless of the age, provided that this "girl" is not (much) older that the speaker (even if such "girl" is over 40).
We do not teach «подруга» in the course because English does not distinguish between male and female friends. I hope, the German course will be less restricted in that area. We do teach друг, though.
- At least, I think you meant друг. I could not find подруг in any dictionary.
Part of the question is raised because I worked with a Bulgarian tutor for a while, and she insisted that every instance in the textbook of муж when referring to a married man be changed to Съпруг. And every instance of жена be changed to Съпруга. [remember that ъ is a pronounced character in Bulgarian similar to the English "uh"]. Her point was that a муж may be an unmarried man living with a woman and a жена may be an unmarried woman living with a man, but Съпруг and Съпруга are more related to the English Spouse, and thus specifically regarding a married relationship in Holy Matrimony. I think there is a counter part for this in Russian, but I'm not sure, because the textbooks sure don't make a clear distinction, or maybe this is considered very advanced.. When a woman speaks of her 'man', her муж, she might be in a wedlock situation rather than Holy Matrimony. This was very important to my Bulgarian teacher, for she considered муж and жена to be very disrespectful.
I realize precision is sadly lacking in everyday speech, but still precision is needed to show respect, reverence and propriety toward one another, and it is very troubling to see how this is being allowed to change in American society, and I was hoping it is given more attention in Russian. But I see now Russian speakers rely on context more than precise choice of words. Also, I have realized that the old rules regarding how the 2nd person singular ты is being used more and more when the 2nd person plural вы should be used in polite company, are breaking down. The same appears to be the case in intimate relationships now, no longer maintaining respectful attitudes with distinguishing between those who are married and those who are not.
This is all very troubling to me.
I think maybe what you've got here is a difference between Russian and Bulgarian. Russian does have "супруг(а)" but "муж" and "жена" simply mean "husband" and "wife" and this has been the case for a very long time (I can only speak for the last 200-odd years) and there is no disrespect in these words at all. The 1876 Russian Bible translates "wife" as "жена".
Belated edit: To be clear, the Synodal Text of the Bible uses "муж" and "жена" for "man" and "woman" as well, but the fact that it also uses them for "husband" and "wife" shows that they were acceptable, non-offensive terms even then.
(I'm a bit late to the conversation, but I guess it's better than never) "муж" and "супруг" equivalently mean "husband/male spouse", "супруг" being a bit outdated and often used a bit mockingly. It does assume a formal recognition of the marriage. There's also a bit outdated and somewhat informal term "гражданский муж", meaning a man living with a woman out of wedlock and "maintaining a common household" — its origins are in the times when marriage was a Church thing. The very dry and not too pleasant bureaucratic term is "сожитель". Same applies to "жена/супруга/гражданская жена/сожительница". Women often affectionately say "мой мужчина" about their unwed male partners (less often so about their husbands).
Подруг isn't a word except as a form of подруга. I don't believe it ever has been, but I can't say so definitely on that one. Подруга as girlfriend I would say you learned incorrectly even in 2009. Девушка can have the meaning you described as well as meaning a girlfriend.
You won't find any language free from slang, and you won't find any major language free from regional variations, but I think you'll find Russian tamer in both areas compared to English.
Thank you! That is certainly one reason why I'm enjoying Russian. Sorry for my rant. I should probably delete it. After all, I have so much more to learn!
I'd leave it, actually, it would be interesting to get Shady_arc and szeraja_zhaba's perspectives on it, if they have anything to add. They're native speakers (Moscow and Belarus respectively), I'm just an advanced learner. And really I don't see anything in your rant that was excessive or inappropriate.
Нет requires genitive case, so "девушки" here is genitive singular, not nominative plural. If it was "girls" then the Russian would need to be "девушек". As for "girlfriend" - I too had learned that the correct word was "подруга". It seems though, based not only on this course but on everything else I've read, that that was incorrect and the correct word, in modern Russian usage at least, is in fact "девушка".
Does it drive anyone else crazy when testing for a higher level that Duolingo keeps switching back and forth (almost from screen to screen) between typing in Russian and typing in English? Why can't they have the English portion and then the Russian. A small complaint, but to me it's like the ancient Chinese water torture . . . drip, drip, drip . . .
It would be much better if several questions could be done in Cyrillic script, then others in Roman script. It is not very difficult to learn to type in Cyrillic script, which maps easily onto the Qwerty keyboard, once one has copied out a Cyrillic keyboard, and switched one's keyboard language to Russian. It is however very annoying to have to change keyboards every other question.
Девочка refers to a little girl and девушка to a girl in her teens (also to a girlfriend).
In colloquial speech, though, it is more complicated because females often call each other девочки regardless of age. Essentially, девочка becomes "a female who is not older (much older) than me".
Well, sometimes it is plural, but not here.
Russian nouns have several forms called cases. The most common case is nominative, it’s used when girls is the subject of the sentence:
- Де́вушка чита́ет ‘A/the girl is reading’
- Де́вушки чита́ют ‘[The] girls are reading’
So, you’re partially right, де́вушки is indeed plural in many situations.
But to express absence, we use «нет» with a different form, genitive case. In genitive case, де́вушки is singular, and де́вушек is plural:
- Здесь нет де́вушки ‘There is no girl here’
- Здесь нет де́вушек ‘There are no girls here’
This is also the form used after «у», the a preposition to express possessor:
- У де́вушки нет книг ‘[The/a] girl doesn’t have books’
- У де́вушек нет книг ‘[The] girls don’t have books’
So, «де́вушки» can be both nominative plural or genitive singular. You need to use the context to find out the exact meaning: if it’s preceded by «у» or used with «нет», then it’s genitive singular. In other cases, it’s likely to be nominative plural.
Sentences should (ideally) be written in passable English:
- Это вода. = This (that, it) is water OR This (that,it) is the water
- Вот стул. = Here is a chair / Here is the chair.
Single words or short fragments might drop the initial article:
- вода = water/ the water
- высокое здание = high(tall) building / a high (tall) building / the high (tall) building
- крыша здания = roof of the building / roof of a building / the roof of the building / the roof of a building / a roof of the building / a roof of a building / the building's roof / building's roof /a building's roof
Why are you going to die alone? Do you want to or something? Are you already an old man, and I mean over 80? Is there something seriously wrong with you? Do you not take a shower more than once a week? If your answer to all of these is no, then why don't you come to Kyiv and make some lovely girl happy? Don't you know what the quarantine has done here? There is NO government safety net here for single moms, no work means no money which means they and their kids are lucky to have a potato a day to eat. You don't need to be perfect to be a man and adopt a family. And if you are too old to be a Dad, be a grandpa.
Question, and his is mostly theoretical because the actual difference in statements is pretty much meaningless. In russian, is there a difference between declaring 'I have no girlfriend' and 'I have no girlfriends'? As in, does pluralising the thing that you don't have actually affect what grammar rules apply?
In Russian, к, г, х, ш, ж, щ, ч do not combine with Ы. Use И instead:
- кошка, девочка → кошки, девочки
- мальчик, бог, конюх → мальчики, боги, конюхи
- нож, луч, ночь, мышь → ножи, лучи, ночи, мыши
(for ш/ж this is a spelling convention—ши and жи are pronounced with an Ы)
P.S. Also, the Accusative for nouns like мама or девочка ends in -у (e.g., кошку, землю, девочку, Викторию).
Not everyone who does not have a girlfriend in principle is like that. I do feel an attraction to the opposite gender, but I don't have a serious relationship with a woman yet because that could ruin my marriage once I get married (to a woman, of course - and hopefully for life). By the way, you're lucky I was patient with you, and I would advise you to show better judgment when responding to other people's comments if you don't want to risk having your account deleted. See the Duolingo guidelines here: https://www.duolingo.com/guidelines
A good guideline might be, don't bring up religion. Once you bring it up, people are free to respond to it. In a good-humoured manner, as Diobsb did. In a serious manner, which I guess you and I would both consider okay. Or in a nasty manner, which they certainly shouldn't. But I don't like your 'you're lucky I was patient' attitude, much less the 'you risk having your account deleted' threat. That's just not nice, not kind. Especially since you brought up religion.
If guidelines were followed in this discussion, the whole thread wouldn't had got started, since "Very true about me" is clearly off-topic:
off-topic comments don’t contribute to learning. [...] Leave them out of the language discussions.
Actually maybe I just realised the problem. Most of us read his comment as a suggestion for something you could do. But you interpreted as implying that you were doing it already, didn't you? Then I concede your reaction makes more sense. But I don't think that was what he was trying to say.
Well, I'm a Christian and have the same standards as you here, but I don't think there's anything in his comment that violates community guidelines. It's just a joke, which you and I might prefer hadn't been made, but it's not being deliberately offensive. If you would rather not have comments like that, rather than "you're lucky I was patient with you", which really doesn't sound like you were very patient, better to ask politely or else not post in the first place.
Your message is highly, as expected in this world, highly unpopular. Its duecly from the bible, from the commandments to the Isrealite nation, and from Jesus for Christian's. Most people wont care about that, but it was said for our benefit, as you indicated. While I agree this isn't the right place , congratulations on your stand.