Сок (часть первая)

by Don  

The word for juice is сок. Usually when we talk about juice, we specify the type of juice, thus we have phrases like:

apple juice
orange juice
grape juice

In English the phrase “apple juice” is made up of two nouns where the first noun modifies the second noun. In Russian you don't normally use a first noun to modify a second noun. Instead you change the first noun into an adjective and then use it with the second word, thus:

Noun Adjective Phrase Meaning
яблоко яблочный яблочный сок apple juice
апельсин апельсиновый апельсиновый сок orange juice
виноград виноградный виноградный сок grape juice

Here are some sample sentences:

— Какой сок ты хочешь?
— Яблочный.
“What kind of juice do you want?”
“Apple juice.”
Боря очень любит апельсиновый сок. Boris really likes orange juice.
Я думал, что это яблочный сок, но оказывается, что это виноградный сок. I thought that this was apple juice, but it turns out that it is grape juice.
Купи мне гранатовый сок, пожалуйста. Buy me pomegranate juice, please.

Many liquids sometimes appear in the genitive case to indicate ‘a quantity of,’ and juice is one of them. We call that usage the partitive genitive. Note the contrast in these sentences:

Он выпил сок. (accusative) He drank the juice.
Он выпил сока. (genitive) He drank some juice.

Сок is interesting because it has an alternative partitive genitive case form соку in addition to the regular genitive; sometimes we call those forms ‘second genitives.’ Thus you might come across:

Он выпил соку. (second genitive) He drank some juice.

Those second genitives are becoming less and less common. They are more conversational in style, less formal. You are very likely to hear them out of the mouth of someone's grandmother. A younger person with a big-city education will use them less often.


Comment from: Amanda [Visitor]

Hmm… That is definitely something to think about… I’m trying to remember back to my English grammar class from a couple years ago, and while I seem to remember (possibly erroneously) that one noun cannot modify another, I am having trouble coming up with a good reason for it. The closest I found to something like an answer is in Terence Wade’s “A Comprehensive Russian Grammar,” where he states that in English nouns can function as adjectives, which seems like a horrible compromise in that it doesn’t answer the question one way or the other. :p However, I have a further question: can all Russian adjectives be used both predicatively and attributively?

Don responds: The person who told you that nouns can’t modify other nouns in English was simply wrong; I just glanced at a copy of Quirk’s “A Grammar of Contemporary English,” and nouns that premodify other nouns are treated in some detail. In regards to English grammar Quirk is an Authority with a capital “A".

You asked whether all Russian adjectives can be used both attributively and predicatively. I believe almost all Russian long-form can be used both ways. Most Russian short-form adjectives can only be used predicatively, with the exception of the possessive short-form adjectives formed from people’s names, e.g. «Я увидел Танину маму» “I spotted Tanya’s mother.”

Regarding long-form adjectives, Nakhimovsky and Leed in their “Advanced Russian” make the observation that Russians do not use long-form adjective phrases in predicates as readily as English does. Thus while it is possible to say things like «Маша — очень красивая» “Mary is very pretty,” there is a tendency to rephrase it as something like «Маша — очень красивая студентка.»

Last but not least, there are a couple functionally unique long-form adjectives that I don’t think are used predicatively, namely the interrogative какой and the the superlative самый.

09/23/10 @ 18:25
Comment from: Arseny [Visitor]

As almost all of one-syllabic words of 2nd declension this word has a special form of local case - сокУ. E.g. - в самом сокУ, to say “в самом соке” will be an error

Don responds: Certainly you are right that in «в самом соку» and «в собственном соку» it would be awful to have «соке». However I think nowadays there is a tendency to use the «соке» form more often in fruit juices: в яблочном соке, в вишнёвом соке.

09/23/10 @ 09:34
Comment from: Amanda [Visitor]

In English can two nouns really compose together? I always thought that when a noun like “apple” composed with something like “juice” or “tree,” it opaquely turned into an adjective; that orthographically it doesn’t have a different form but semantically it does…?

Don responds: What an interesting question. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that before. Let’s think about it. Let’s compare two phrases, one in which an adjective modifies a noun and another in which a noun modifies a noun:

A1. a comfortable seat
B1. a car seat

Is “car” in this context a noun or an adjective? It’s worth calling it a noun if it shows a syntactic or semantic characteristic that distinguishes it from adjectives generically. I can think of one, at least. If the modifier is an adjective, then it can be shifted into predicative position and still have the same truth value. In other words, if A1 is true, then A2 is true:

A2. The seat is comfortable.

But if you shift a noun modifier, then you don’t have the same truth value, i.e., B1 does not imply B2:

B2. The seat is a car.

Other phrases that seem to bear this out are: “a fake ID” vs. “a student ID” ; “a new key” vs. “a house key"; “a foreign car” vs. “a company car". I conclude that it’s sensible to say that in B1 “car” is still a noun, not an adjective.

PS. Although I consider the test valid, I can think of counterexamples where, at first glance, it might not distinguish noun and adjective, particularly when dealing with words that indicate a substance from which something is made, e.g. a steel cage, a rubber balloon, a paper airplane, a plastic bag. Should we consider those words nouns or adjectives? I leave that discussion to others…

09/22/10 @ 18:49
Comment from: Andrey [Visitor]

The special case is томатный сок (tomato juice). Although we almost never use томат when referring to tomatoes (using помидор instead), the juice is always called томатный, not помидорный.

09/22/10 @ 00:19

Form is loading...