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Is the rules for numbers and counting in Ukrainian the craziest in its kind?

rule 1: The number "one" has gender, and will appear in three forms depending on the noun it counts. один брат - one brother (masculine); одна сестра - one sister (feminine); одне місто - one city (neuter)

rule 2: Number "two" will take two form depending on the gender of the noun.

and here is the beginning of the most unexpected conditions; rule 3: With numeral “one” and all numerals that end with “one” (21, 41, 191) nouns are used in Nominative singular form!

rule 4: With numerals “two” “three” and “four” and all numerals that end with “two”, “three” and “four” (22, 43, 194, etc.) nouns are used in Nominative plural form!!

rule 5: With all other numerals nouns are used in Genitive plural form: 5, 6, 7, 8 … років/студентів/машин/студенток (Genitive plural) And yes... genitive form. And you have to know that "The rule of making Genitive Plural of nouns is pretty complicated."

Does it end here? no.

rule 6: Numbers 11, 12, 13, and 14 are exception to this rule. They all are followed with nouns in Genitive plural form.

Now imagine you are an accountant and work for a supermarket, and every day you have to read a list of the number of the different goods that have been sold!

October 8, 2016



In some ways, it's good we passed this hurdle early on, then there's the whole case system where the number changes completely with the word. There is actually many words for each number. For example; two can be translated два, дві, двох, двом or двома!

October 8, 2016


I think you must have a perspective of other languages. Is there any more complicated number system around? :)) I don't know... Por ejemplo in east asian languages.

October 8, 2016


In my experience, this is fairly common to Slavic languages. You'll come across it in Russian and Polish for definite. It's actually something you just get used to, and when you learn another Slavic language, you'll likely find it's become almost automatic. Plus, the numbers are really, really similar between the Slavic languages, so you have a built-in cheat sheet when you learn the next.

Afaik, it's the remnants of a dual form. (Though don't ask me why it would apply to numbers over two... I have no idea.)

I should think Arabic, with a fully functioning dual form and masculine and feminine forms for all the numerals (I believe) would rival it in terms of complication.

And then you have languages like Japanese (and I think some other Asian languages), where if you need to count something you also have to specify the class of thing you're counting, like for example "I have three long thin things pencils, and two small animals dogs. I will feed one flat thing slice of bread to my one small animal dog."

(and my Japanese is minimal so this is just to explain somewhat, I don't for the life of me remember if "long thin thing", for example. is a class of objects in Japanese...)

It's a bit like we say loaves of bread or pieces of paper, except it applies to (afaik) everything that can be counted.

In short, the Slavic case system with counting... nah, doesn't seem so weird to me!

Don't be intimidated by it, it's not as hard as it seems at first.

October 11, 2016


Thanks. It was really helpful. And motivating as well :)

October 11, 2016


Rule 3 isn't that hard, just add "and" between the numbers, like "twenty (and) one", "fourty (and) one" etc. As to rule 6, it's easy to remember, because these numerals end with "-надцять", so they follow the same scheme as other -teen numerals.

October 11, 2016


"rule 1: The number "one" has gender, and will appear in three forms depending on the noun it counts. один брат - one brother (masculine); одна сестра - one sister (feminine); одне місто - one city (neuter)"

It actually has a plural form too, believe it or not. It is used for nouns that are always plural (одні штани, одні ножиці) or for something that usually goes in pairs (одні руки, одні очі, одні черевики).

November 5, 2016


It was helpful, and painful as well! :))

November 6, 2016


If you want to get good at numbers one and two, just ride the маршрутка in Ukraine. You frequently have to pass money and tell people how many tickets you're buying, or how many tickets the person behind you is buying, so you/they can get the correct change. Один and два are very common.

November 17, 2016


An efficient method. Cost me a car! Say a van, одна маршрутка :))

November 17, 2016


Good one! )))

I hate those маршрутка's... :)

December 8, 2016


Very cool - thanks for listing these - will use in class next week.

October 8, 2016


de nada! :)

October 8, 2016
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