Ukrainian, By The Numbers

My studies of Ukrainian language continues, alongside my efforts for the JLPT exam, and lately I have been in the weeds with numbers.

  1. один (odin)
  2. два (dva)
  3. три (trih)
  4. чотири (chotihrih)
  5. п’ять (pyach), etc.

An observant person may notice that they’re clearly similar to more familiar languages, including Latin and ancient Greek. Definitely a close relation, or mutual influence, who knows?

But the way things are counted in Ukrainian is interesting. Take the following example:

English has “singular” and “plural” endings for nouns, but Ukrainian appears to have three endings for singular, between 2 and 4, and 5 or more. One year (рік, “rik”), two years (роки, “rokih”) and thirteen years (років, “rokil”).

Interestingly, the conjugation from twenty onward seems to depend on the last number. In the below example, the word for student changes depending on whether it’s twenty one (i.e. “singular”) vs. twenty two (i.e. “between 2 and 4”). The twenty doesn’t factor into this.

Finally, like other inflected European languages (again, Latin is a great example), the numbers when used to count something will conjugate to match the object in terms of case and gender. The number one, depending on the grammatical gender of the word, will either be :

  • Один кіт (odin kit, “one cat”), masculine
  • Одна машина (odna mashina, “one car”),1 feminine
  • Одне місто (odneh misto, “one city”), neuter

That’s a brief look at Ukrainian numbers, and what I’ve figured out so far. Enjoy!

1 I really love the fact that the word for car is “mashina”, because it reminds me of the word machine. Are they related? I would like to know.

Published by Doug

🎵Toss a coin to your Buddhist-Philhellenic-D&D-playing-Japanese-studying-dad-joke-telling-Trekker, O Valley of Plentyyy!🎵He/him

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