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As Luludya and I were smoking clove cigarettes early this morning, she expressed her hope that I would continue to write this blog for many years. It warms my heart to think that a Gypsy woman, born in a wagon and raised among tambourines, should have such hopes for the continued study of the Russian language. Truly, academia enricheth the world, and I, humble slave to Luludya's every request, set to work immediately upon this posting.
As we mentioned yesterday, when subject of the verb, the Russian number one agrees with its noun in gender, number and case. The numbers two, three and four induce the genitive singular of the noun, and most other numbers require the genitive plural. I have not been blessed with daughters, but I desire them mightily, so let us choose some example sentences from the fairer sex:
|Моей дочке один год.||My daughter is one year old.|
|Моей дочке два года.||My daughter is two years old.|
|Моей дочке пять лет.||My daughter is five years old.|
But how shall we say these things in the past tense? Generally speaking, when a number phrase is the grammatical subject of the verb, it induces neuter past tense verb forms. The exceptions are numbers that end in the number one. Those numbers induce singular gender agreement in the verb:
|Моей дочке был один год.||My daughter was one year old.|
|Моей дочке был двадцать один год.||My daughter was twenty-one years old.|
|Моей дочке было два года.||My daughter was two years old.|
|Моей дочке было двадцать два года.||My daughter was twenty-two years old.|
|Моей дочке было пять лет.||My daughter was five years old.|
|Моей дочке было двадцать пять лет.||My daughter was twenty-five years old.|
We need more complex examples. I consider child-rearing the most vital of human functions, so let us choose our examples with such a thing in mind:
|Когда моей дочке был один год, я её поил тигровой кровью.||When my daughter was one year old, I fed her with tiger's blood.|
|Когда моей дочке было два года, я научил её бегать босиком на снегу.||When my daughter was two years old, I taught her to run barefoot on the snow.|
|Когда моей дочке было пять лет, я научил её ловить рыбу голыми руками.||When my daughter was five years old, I taught her to catch fish with her bare hands.|
If number phrases are used as subjects in the future tense, the generally induce 3rd person singular agreement in the verb:
|Моей дочке будет один год.||My daughter will be one year old.|
|Моей дочке будет два года.||My daughter will be two years old.|
|Моей дочке будет пять лет.||My daughter will be five years old.|
Damn, I see by my caller ID that Luludya is calling me again. No doubt she wants me to gather sage for tonight's coming-of-age ritual for her cousin Diana. I must cut this post short and attend to these needs. Until Monday, dearest my readers!
Well, the "speaking" part anyway.... at least when you're reading the blasted things you've got time to have a think.