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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!


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.


Polish is the most difficult, Ukrainian would be second. East Asian languages (from my experience with Vietnamese) are pretty easy.

A pretty difficult thing is the Irish/Japanese number systems is that there are numbers for people and numbers for things.

In most languages, numbers are pretty easy in terms of numbers but with Slavic languages; it is a real mess :) I'm excited to see what Klingon will have in store for us!


haha, klingon! I didn't know about it. I searched it in google. The alphabet characters seem pretty hard to discern. But the counting can't be more complex than Ukrainian :))


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.


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


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.


"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).


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


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.


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


Related topic: The word маршрутка has three consecutive consonants.

Consonant cluster In English, for example, the groups /spl/ and /ts/ are consonant clusters in the word splits. Many Slavic languages may manifest almost as formidable numbers of consecutive consonants, such as in the Slovak words štvrť /ʃtvr̩tʲ/ ("quarter"), and žblnknutie /ʒbl̩ŋknutje/ ("clunk"; "flop") and the Slovene word skrbstvo /skrbstʋo/ ("welfare").



Yes, but in Slovak and Czech r and l are vowels.


Good one! )))

I hate those маршрутка's... :)


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

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