I have to say I find it counterproductive that whole sentences are often glossed. Understanding that Ukrainian grammar and English grammar are different is part of the learning process. I would prefer having individual word glosses, and then it being up to the learner to piece together the meaning of the sentence. "Чиї" - whose (pl), це (this/these) студенти (students). It feels like cheating to mouse over one word and be given the exact answer.
I think it is because in this sentence "це" means "this" or "it" but becomes "these" because the sentence uses plural nouns. You are right though as they could have simply put "these" as an alternate meaning.
Does це mean both "this" and "these" then? Is there ever a plural form? For example, is there a difference in how you'd translate "What is this?" and "What are these?" Or do you just have to rely on context to know if it's singular or plural?
ЦЕ is both for Singular and Plural. Just the form of the noun matters. Це студент. Це студенти.
However, "these students" should be translated as "Ці студенти".
If you know French, це= c'est, ce sont, цей = ce (ce chat), ця = cette, ці = ces
I looked this up, and this source (scroll down to demonstrative pronouns for this/these) seems to agree with you, but 1) I'm not sure how great that source is since it has this/these in the second table when it probably means that/those, and 2) maybe there's something else going on?
You are right as to that/those
And I forgot to add that це can also mean this/ce for neuter gender: Це молоко (this milk).
[noticing that you are learning German as well] "це" is like "das" in German. Works both for singular (das ist) and plural (das sind). You can say "Wessen Eltern sind das?", right? So we just skip the "sind" and only leave "das" which does not indicate plural or singular.
Been awhile since I did any German, but that sounds like demonstratives in Dutch. Not sure about German, but in Dutch dat/dit (that/this) become die/deze for plurals depending on usage* ("this house"="dit huis" and "these houses"="deze huizen" but "this is a house"="dit is een huis" and "these are houses"="dit zijn huizen"). Is that (roughly) what's going on here with це/ці? "What is/are це?" but "Це student is..." and "Ці students are..."
*Gender also matters for which form is used in Dutch (and I believe German as well), but for the sake of simplicity I used a neuter word to avoid gender complicating the pattern.
Yes, it's similar to the example that you wrote with houses.
When you are talking about "this" as kind of an adjective it will be цей-ця-це-ці.
When you are talking about "this" as not modifying a noun but being the subject of a sentence, it will be just це*.
Detailed examples (sorry, couldn't make it shorter):
- Це does not carry a gender and does not indicate singular/plural (це = das = esto/este/ésta/estos).
[m] Це студент = This is a student = Das ist ein Student = Este es un estudiante.
[f] Це студентка = This is a student = Das ist eine Studentin = Ésta es una estudiante.
[pl] Це студенти = These are students = Das sind Studenten = Estos son estudiantes.
- Цей-ця-це-ці carry a gender (цей = dieser = este, ця = diese = esta, ...)
[m] Цей студент = This student = Dieser Student = Este estudiante.
[f] Ця студентка = This student = Diese Studentin = Esta estudiante.
[pl] Ці студенти = These students = Diese Studenten = Estos/estas estudiantes.
The confusion might arise with neutre
[n] Це село can mean both "this is a village" (Das ist ein Dorf) and "this village" (Dieses Dorf). Basically imagine German "Das ist Dorf" and "Das Dorf", we drop "ist" so it becomes messy :)
Sorry, I can't do Dutch, so you try to guess by my German :) * potato for a long post *
This is incredibly helpful, thanks! I can understand the German (and Spanish) just fine, just didn't want to butcher anything trying to write my own examples. :)
Haha, no, I think you should try writing examples if you have some in mind, this is helpful for you to practice and understand how it works, and good for me to see how an "outsider" sees it :)
I still don't really understand the difference between translating this (correctly) as "whose students are these?" and (incorrectly?) as "whose are these students?" and would appreciate some explanation :)
Whose students are these? -> Чиї це студенти? (these/це is the subject)
Whose are these students? -> Чиї ці студенти? (students/студенти is the subject, these/ці is an attribute of the subject)