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Comment from: Kris [Visitor]
Hi Don,

My comment is about the phrase "Умирать с голоду"

What is the origin of this phrase? Specifically, why is the word "голод" in the dative case? My first instinct tells me that when combined with the preposition "c" in this context it should be in the genitive case. A quick google search for the phrase turns up numerous examples of its use, as well as the phrase "от голода" which I assume has the same meaning. Is it simply an exception? Is there a linguistic reason for its being?

Don responds: The short answer is that in «с голоду» the -у ending is an ancient genitive form, not a dative one. There are hundreds of stock phrases in Russian where the ending still shows up. Languages often preserve ancient forms in common phrases or words, cf. English plural “children” instead of “childs.”
06/30/09 @ 19:11
Comment from: Sashas [Visitor]
Don's right. Examples of these "wrong" genitive endings:
- вышел из лесу (also "из леса")
- Налей еще коньяку! (Pour more cognac! -- (also "еще коньяка")
11/28/09 @ 07:03

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