Category: "Deadjectival nouns"

Столовая

January 14th, 2011 — posted by Don

In Russian you can often take a noun stem, say one like стол-, which means table, and add a suffix (often -ск-, -ов-, -н-, or -ин-), and then add adjectival flexions to form an adjective. In this case one adjective from стол is столовый. The phrase столовая комната, literally “table room” is a room where there are tables, in other words, it is the dining room. Nowadays in Russian they just use the adjective part of the phrase, skipping the noun entirely, so the word for “dining room” now declines like this:

SgPl
Nomстоловаястоловые
Accстоловую
Genстоловойстоловых
Pre
Datстоловым
Insстоловыми

Since it is nearly always used as a noun itself, and since its endings match normal adjectival endings, we call this a deadjectival noun.

В столовой стоит стол и шесть стульев. There is a table and six chairs in the dining room.
Иди в столовую и сервируй стол. Go into the dining room and set the table.
Мама выгнала собаку из столовой. Mom chased the dog out of the dining room.

There is another meaning of столовая, which is “cafeteria,” that is a big public dining room. Most Russian homes don't have a separate dining room, so the cafeteria meaning is the one most commonly encountered inside Russia.

В университетской столовой каждый день обедают свыше тысячи человек. Every day more than a thousand people eat at the university's cafeteria.
Наша компания доставляет свежие булочки в городские столовые. Our company delivers fresh rolls to city cafeterias.