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Re: [Slovak-World] Re: Cats and Kittens

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  • BJLK@aol.com
    This is what prompted my original question about plurals. My confusion was actually about kittens, not cats. If the plural of dievčatko is dievčata, what is
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 20, 2012
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      This is what prompted my original question about plurals. My confusion was
      actually about kittens, not cats. If the plural of dievčatko is dievčata,
      what is the correct plural of mačiatko? Sorry to sound like an idiot . . .

      B. J.

      _________________________
      B. J. Licko-Keel (BJLK@...)


      In a message dated 10/20/2012 11:43:35 A.M. Central Daylight Time,
      votrubam@... writes:

      Cat/macka and kitten/maciatko are different words.



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • votrubam
      ... (Yes, I was convinced you knew the answer to the first question, BJ.) The above conflates two patterns, dievcatko and dievca (dievcata is not the plural of
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 20, 2012
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        > actually about kittens, not cats. If the plural of
        > dievčatko is dievčata, what is the correct plural of mačiatko?

        (Yes, I was convinced you knew the answer to the first question, BJ.) The above conflates two patterns, dievcatko and dievca (dievcata is not the plural of dievcatko).

        Dievc~atko - dievc~atka', mac~iatko - mac~iatka, are like mesto - mesta', kino - kina', auto - auta'... the common neuter pattern ending in -o.


        Dievc~a - dievc~ata' follows a different pattern, note the singular ending in -a (not -o) and the insertion of -at-: dievca - dievc-AT-a (which does not take place with dievcatko - dievcatka, the -at- is in both the singular and the plural in dievcatko).

        It's another word for "kitten," mac~a, that follows this pattern: mac~a - mac~ata'

        In the very distant past, the "inserted -at-" pattern developed for younglings. Dievca, based on the now rather uncommon _deva_, used to mean "a little girl," kniez~a (based on kn~az, meaning "a nobleman" then) used to mean a young prince, etc. Most of the words that follow this pattern today still refer to young animals: s~ten~a (puppy), tel~a (calf), kurc~a (chicken), jahn~a (lamb), sr'n~a (fowl)...

        The unexpected thing about this pattern, besides the insertion of -at-, is that the nouns are neuter (to dievca, to knieza, to maca...) although they end in -a, which is typical of feminine nouns in Slovak. Only knieza can be, alternatively, modified as masculine (ten knieza), but the plural will still be tie kniezata (_tie_ as with non-human-masculine and other nouns, as in _tie_ domy, not as in _ti'_ muz~i).


        Martin
      • BJLK@aol.com
        Martin, thank you so much for this very excellent explanation of an aspect of Slovak grammar that I have always found confusing. It s something that is never
        Message 3 of 4 , Oct 20, 2012
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          Martin, thank you so much for this very excellent explanation of an aspect
          of Slovak grammar that I have always found confusing. It's something that
          is never addressed in even the best dictionaries, and rarely covered in much
          detail in most grammar textbooks (of which I have a nice collection).
          Although Slovak is my first language, it was learned orally, which was useful
          because the declensions became intuitive, but was deficient in a literacy
          sense. My earliest formal Slovak lessons (when I was about 9 or 10) were very
          general, and my later studies with Sister Methodia at Calumet College of
          St. Joseph (in Whiting, IN), which did concentrate on grammar, were not long
          enough to cover everything well.

          I really appreciate your help--since my mother died and I no longer had
          anyone with a good Slovak education with whom to have a conversation and ask
          questions, my language skills have deteriorated considerably, so I'm
          grateful for your tutoring.


          B. J.

          _________________________
          B. J. Licko-Keel (BJLK@...)


          In a message dated 10/20/2012 6:05:00 P.M. Central Daylight Time,
          votrubam@... writes:

          > actually about kittens, not cats. If the plural of
          > dievčatko is dievčata, what is the correct plural of mačiatko?

          (Yes, I was convinced you knew the answer to the first question, BJ.) The
          above conflates two patterns, dievcatko and dievca (dievcata is not the
          plural of dievcatko).

          Dievc~atko - dievc~atka', mac~iatko - mac~iatka, are like mesto - mesta',
          kino - kina', auto - auta'... the common neuter pattern ending in -o.


          Dievc~a - dievc~ata' follows a different pattern, note the singular ending
          in -a (not -o) and the insertion of -at-: dievca - dievc-AT-a (which does
          not take place with dievcatko - dievcatka, the -at- is in both the singular
          and the plural in dievcatko).

          It's another word for "kitten," mac~a, that follows this pattern: mac~a -
          mac~ata'

          In the very distant past, the "inserted -at-" pattern developed for
          younglings. Dievca, based on the now rather uncommon _deva_, used to mean "a
          little girl," kniez~a (based on kn~az, meaning "a nobleman" then) used to mean
          a young prince, etc. Most of the words that follow this pattern today
          still refer to young animals: s~ten~a (puppy), tel~a (calf), kurc~a (chicken),
          jahn~a (lamb), sr'n~a (fowl)...

          The unexpected thing about this pattern, besides the insertion of -at-, is
          that the nouns are neuter (to dievca, to knieza, to maca...) although they
          end in -a, which is typical of feminine nouns in Slovak. Only knieza can
          be, alternatively, modified as masculine (ten knieza), but the plural will
          still be tie kniezata (_tie_ as with non-human-masculine and other nouns,
          as in _tie_ domy, not as in _ti'_ muz~i).


          Martin




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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • votrubam
          ... Glad it made some sense, B.J. Now, let s consider the difference between stirring and steering away... :-/
          Message 4 of 4 , Oct 20, 2012
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            > explanation of an aspect

            Glad it made some sense, B.J. Now, let's consider the difference between stirring and steering away... :-/

            <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Slovak-World/message/34124>

            Whew.


            Martin (Shaken and not stirred.)
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