It literally means 'half a year'. 'For ages' would be «сто лет»: «Я тебя́ сто лет не видел!».
1) Why does полгода not require any kind of preposition? This seems like, "I have not seen you half-a-year."
2) Is the reason that полгода is a masculine noun, despite ending with an а, due to the fact that пол- is a prefix meaning "half," and so we're actually dealing with a wildebeest of a compound word, half-of-a-year and so the года is genitive? And so is the пол- masculine?
It is late and my brain has broken. Thanks in advance for help on this.
1) I think many words and phrases expressing duration work this way (i.e. just use accusative without a preposition)?
- «Не видел тебя полгода» ‘Haven’t seen you for half a year’,
- «Не слы́шал о ней сто лет» ’Haven’t heard of her for ages (for 100 years)’,
- «Не чита́л газе́ту три ме́сяца» ‘Haven’t read the newspaper for three months’,
- «Не ходи́л туда́ всю зи́му» ‘Haven’t gone there for the whole winter’.
2) Yes, it’s half-of-a-year with year being in genitive. It doesn’t change its forms, it always remains «полгода».
To make things more everything more confusing:
- Compounds with пол- are usually treated as a neuter singular (прошло́ полго́да ‘half a year has passed’), but when you add an adjective to it, it becomes plural (це́лые полго́да ‘whole half of a year’).
- It can be spelt as a single word (when the second parts begins with a consonant: полгода), with a hyphen (when the second part begins with a vowel: пол-я́блока ‘half an apple’, pronounced полъя́блока) or as 2 words (when the second part begins with a capital letter: пол Уэ́льса ‘half of Wales’).
I have more questions. Простите меня, пожалуйста - I will try to break them down.
I think many words and phrases expressing duration work this way (i.e. just use accusative without a preposition)?
«Не слы́шал о ней сто лет»
«Не чита́л газе́ту три ме́сяца»
Breaking this down... месяца is in genitive singular because of три, and лет is in genitive plural because of сто. Are три and сто in the accusative which you mention?
Yes, it’s half-of-a-year with year being in genitive. It doesn’t change its forms, it always remains «полгода».
Ru.Wiktionary has a declension table? Is it incorrect? That would not be impossible - it is a dictionary anyone can edit. :)
Compounds with пол- are usually treated as a neuter singular (прошло́ полго́да ‘half a year has passed’), but when you add an adjective to it, it becomes plural (це́лые полго́да ‘whole half of a year’).
Based on this pluralization, would I say, Прошло полгода to say, Half a year has passed,, and say, Прошли целые полгода to say, A whole half of a year has passed?
treated as a neuter singular
This is confusing because полгода is listed as "n.m." in my dictionary, meaning masculine noun.
It can be spelt as a single word (when the second parts begins with a consonant: полгода), with a hyphen (when the second part begins with a vowel: пол-я́блока ‘half an apple’, pronounced полъя́блока) or as 2 words (when the second part begins with a capital letter: пол Уэ́льса ‘half of Wales’).
So, does the пол- not do anything gender-wise to the word, but instead simply changes the word to the genitive form, while keeping the gender of the word? Does the word further decline? Let's say I want half of a chicken (for my sake, let's say that полкурици is a word...). Would I say, Я хочу полкурицу or just say Я хочу полкурици? (Of course the answer to this question hangs, I guess, on whether полгода can decline.) Thanks again.
Hello! Thanks for your interesting questions.
3) Yes. «Сто» and «три» are accusatives here. «Месяца» is genitive singular because «три» (like «два» and «четыре») is used with genitive singular, and «лет» is genitive plural because most numerals (except «один», «два», «три», «четыре» and the ones ending in it) are used with genitive plural.
4) I stand corrected! You’re right, those forms do exist. But I think those declined forms where пол- becomes полу- can be safely ignored — they sound formal, used in limited circumstances and can be replaced with полгода in colloquial speech (e.g. полуго́дом ра́нее ‘half a year earlier’ would be за полго́да до э́того ‘half a year before this’). I didn’t even think about them because they are so rare.
And the forms with полу- that are still used in colloquial speech can be treated as separate words (полме́сяца ‘half a month’ vs. полуме́сяц ‘half-moon’).
5) Yes, «прошло полгода» but «прошли целые полгода».
6) Those declinable forms with полу- are treated as masculine: «в тече́ние це́лого полуго́да» ‘during the whole half a year’. But I’ve never really heard anyone speaking like this. I had to google this example!
7) To tell the truth, I have no idea! I’d certainly use it as indeclinable: я хочу полку́рицы.
If we follow the example of «полгода» / «полугодом», then we’d expect the declinable form to be «полукурицу». It is found in Google, but with a different meaning: the creature that has half of chicken’s traits and half ot some other creature’s traits (and in this meaning, its nom. sing. form would be «полуку́рица», not «полку́рицы»). I haven’t found any examples where полукурицу serves as accusative for полку́рицы. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be used this way, but it’s certainly not used in everyday speech.
My suggestion is: ignore all that forms where пол- becomes полу-, they are close to extinction and it’s a good thing because they are so confusing! Treating all those words as indeclinable is totally fine, at least in colloquial speech.
Not only am I going to ignore полу- forms, for the nonce I'm also going to ignore Russian sci-fi that involves half-chicken, half-? traits. I have a hard enough time grasping aspect. I'm not ready for a creature that can leap tall buildings and peck my eyes out. :))
Thank you so much. Bless you for all your help for us students - you and all our other native teachers are so patient with us. I wish we could repay you with something more than lingots. I would send you all chocolate cakes if I could.
Hmm, interesting. To me that would mean that over the course of a full year I only saw "you" for about six months, made up of any grouping of periods of time that totaled six months, as opposed to necessarily being one solid six month time period. I would assume полгода is one continuous half-year period, but am certainly open to correction on the point.
These questions always bother me when I am forced to use a phrase like "IN half a year" (instead of the more correct "FOR half a year). This is most definitely not how it is said in my country and would be considered grammatically incorrect.
However, since it seems that other countries do accept the word "in" in this sense, I can't report it or do anything more than pointlessly gripe in the comment section.
Present tense would mean the speaker still doesn’t see the listener (i.e. you could use it in writing but not when you meet someone).
This is very unnatural English.
The present perfect "haven't seen" is much better than "haven't been seeing".
Except in very rare cases, "not" should be placed next to the auxiliary verb, in this case "have". ("Have not been" is better than "have been not".)
It should be "a year", not "an year".
"Half a year" is normal for me, and it means something slightly different than "six months." For me, "half a year" would be "about six months." In other words, "six months" is slightly more precise than "half a year."
Similarly, "I haven't seen you for a month" is not quite as precise as "I haven't seen you for 30 (or 31) days."
@supermollusc - No need to argue experiences as a native speaker nor whether British English is truer than American English in some respect or other. I would suppose that you can use a search engine yourself. For your information, the first four hits on my first Google search were in published books. I will take one example that can be easily attacked. In the book "Pilgrims and Other Stories" by Joseph Devlin, we have the following paragraph:
"So how have things been? I haven't seen you in half a year." As he questioned me, he eyeballed the room seeing just who the more attractive women at South Beauty were that night. I always wondered which of them had the bad, bitter taste to actually bed down with the man.
Now this can be attacked as foreign because Devlin was a Belfast Irishman and hence not a legit Brit. But he probably considered himself a native English speaker, and he did write other books. See for example http://www.amazon.com/Speak-Write-Correctly-Joseph-Devlin-ebook/dp/B0082YDXSM
I'm not sure what this result is meant to imply Presumably you do not know whether the quotes of "I haven't seen you in half a year" are from native English speakers. Quite possibly none are -- in my whole life as a native British English speaker I have never once heard any variant on "I/we haven't seen him/her/them in half a year"