Asadova Chehrangiz Salim qizi,

Master student of Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages


Key words: quantity, semantics, singularia tantum, pluralia tantum, noun, discordance.


Асадова Ч. Семантика категории количества в английском и русском языкахСтатья посвящается проблеме семантической категории количества в английском и русском языках. Автор анализирует случаи несовпадения количественной семантики в исследуемых языках.

Асадова Ч. Инглиз ва рус тилларида миқдор категориясининг семантикаси. Мақола инглиз ва рус тилларидамиқдор категориясининг семантикаси муаммосига бағишланган. Муаллиф икки тилда миқдор семантикасининг номуқобиллик томонларини аниқлаб берган.

In both English and Russian, there is a grammatical category of the number. This category expresses quantitative relations existing in real life, reflected in the consciousness of the speakers of the given language and having a morphological expression in the corresponding forms of the language.

The number category, which reflects the quantitative relations between real objects, is naturally tied to the noun [1, 71].

In both languages ​​there is a fairly significant group of nouns, in which only the multiplicity seme is represented, which is expressed in the corresponding morphemes of the number and in the forms of matching adjectives, verbs and pronouns. Some of these nouns coincide in both languages. This is primarily nouns, denoting pairs or composite objects: ножницы – scissors; очки – glasses; брюки – trousers.

Some of these nouns do not coincide, and in one language there are nouns in which only the seme of plurality is represented, and in the other there are nouns in which there is an opposition semiqueness-plurality. This often creates difficulties in translating, especially oral, when there is a condition of time limitation and the translator must quickly transform the original noun, remembering in what number it is used in the translation language.

In Russian, the first group includes nouns:

1) denoting pair or composite objects: грабли – rake; качели – swing; салазки – toboggan

2) denoting the mass, substance, material: дрожжи – yeast; духи – scent; обои – wallpaper

3) denoting complex actions, processes, states: выборы – election; похороны – funeral; именины – name-day

In English there are also a number of nouns in which the multiplicity seme is lost and only the seme of singularity remains:

Pijamas – пижама; News – новость

When characterizing the category of the number of nouns, the following cases are possible:

1) a word can have the forms of both numbers (vary in numbers), but in the sentence it is used in the form of a certain number;

2) the word has the form only singular, refers to singularia tantum;

3) the word has the form only pl. (refers to the pluralia tantum);

4) the word has no number indicators (it is impossible to determine the number).

In modern Russian and English, the grammatical category of a number is based on the opposition of the singular and the plural. The singular form denotes one object in a series of homogeneous objects: a table – стол, a book – книга, a bird – птица. The plural form denotes an indefinite set of homogeneous objects: tables – столы, books – книги, birds – птицы.

Many Russian and English nouns can take the form of both singular and plural. In this case, the singular and the plural are distinguished by means of expression. For example, the presence of different endings: a cow-cows, a wolf-wolves, a box-boxes; using suppletive forms in the Russian language: man - men, child - children; by changing the root vowels in English: a foot - feet, a goose - geese, go mouse - mouse. Thus, the presence of two forms of a number forms a class of items to be considered.

A large group of Russian and English nouns have only one form of the number: the singular (singularia tantum (translated from Latin "only one") or plural (pluralia tantum - in Latin only "plural").

So, to nouns that have only the singular form, are Russian and English nouns with real meaning: молоко – milk, серебро – silver; with an abstract meaning: храбрость – bravery, здоровье – health, языкознание – linguistics; as well as proper names: Лондон – London, Россия – Russia.

To nouns that have only the plural form, belong to words consisting of two parts: ножницы – scissors, очки – glasses, джинсы – jeans; complex or characterized by spatial extension of subjects: каникулы – holidays, шашки – draughts, кудри – curls, джунгли – jungle, мемуары – memoirs; names of mountain peaks, constellations: Альпы – Alps, Близнецы – Gemini; words with collective meaning: скот – cattle, молодежь – youth.

Incidentally, in the plural, the grammatical meaning of the noun in Russian and English, according to many researchers, has no expression. So Russian nouns in the plural are not demarcated either by the systems of case endings of the noun itself, or by the forms of words that are consistent with it. Russian nouns that call paired items (pluralia tantum): scissors, sledges, gates, skis, etc. do not belong to any genus, or refer to a special "twin" genus.

Among the English words denoting pairs or parts consisting of several parts, a part of the nouns of the middle kind: a clock (it) – часы (они), a rake (it) – грабли (они), a gate (it) – ворота (они), a scabbard (it) – ножны (они).

There are nouns, the number of which does not always coincide in Russian and English. For example, words like "stairs, brains, clothes, arms" in English are used only in the plural. Also there are English words used only in the singular, while in Russian they can be used in the plural: news – новость (новости), advice – совет (советы), progress – успех (успехи), knowledge – знание (знания), information – информация (сообщения). And the strangest mismatch! The word «money – деньги» in English is used with the value of the singular, and in Russian - always with the value of the plural.

In English there are nouns having one form for the expression of the singular and plural: a deer – deer (олень – олени), a sheep – sheep (овца – овцы), a swine – swine (свинья – свиньи), an aircraft – aircraft (самолет – самолеты), a trout – trout (форель), a salmon – salmon (лосось). The Russian words «форель и лосось» are also used for the designation of one fish, and for the designation of several fish.

Some English nouns that are used in the plural form are homonyms of nouns that have both forms, for example: a color-colors (= hues of color); a custom - customs (= traditions) and customs (= taxes on imported goods). In Russian, there are also such coincidences: нота – ноты (a lot of musical notation) and ноты (printed music); номер – номера (rooms in the hotel) and номера (the hotel itself).

The quantity can be expressed without indicating the subject, i.e. the qualitative concretization of the object. This is the most abstract representation of the number. The materials of explanatory, synonymous and antonymic dictionaries testify to the lexical quantity field in modern English and Russian as one of the vast private micro systems that combines words with the meaning of: a) definite-quantitative words (two, one hundred, million); b) indefinite-quantitative words (many, few, some, several).

The center of the category of quantity in modern languages ​​should be considered numerals, which are "abstract" notation of numbers and expressed in numbers of the count [1, 72].

Quantitative numerals representing the number of integer units can act as a name for the natural order of numbers: one, two, three, four, five, etc.

Also in quantitative combinations, along with numerals, counting nouns are used: a pair of gloves, ten of eggs, a hundred of nuts, etc.

The quantitative particles that exist in the English language serve to refine the quantitative relationships of objects: almost, exactly, exactly, just exactly.

As for collective numerals, in Russian they can be formed from word-building suffixes -er (o); - ver (o): четверо (four), десятеро (ten), вчетвером (four together), вдесятером (ten of them).

A special way to represent the number is the word-making suffixes from the numerals of prefix-suffix adverbs: в- двадцатых (at twenty’s), в-десятых (at ten’s), в-пятых (at fifth’s), вдвое (double, twice), впятеро (five times), надвое (in two), натрое (in three), четырежды (four times).

Also as counting words are used: во-первых (first of all, in first place), во-вторых (secondly, in second place), etc.

The micro system "a certain number" includes nouns denoting monetary units: грош, алтын, рубль, сумм, тийин и т.д. (half a kopeck coin, a quarter-kopeck, rouble, sum).

A quantitative evaluation is also present in a large group of denominations, expressing units of measure, grade, work, energy (куб-cube, балл-force, mark, вольт-volt, ампер-ampere, герц-hertz).

The strength of quantity is expressed by a certain measure of measurement (length, weight, volume) (gram, carat, liter, pood, tone, pound).

Words that have in their definitions a unit of time: second, minute, ten day period, week, month, year, etc. also belong to this group.

The investigated field can be filled with words, in the semantics of which there is a quantitative characteristic: a quartet (a musical work of four performers), a class (a large group of people), etc.

As well as a separate, rather extensive productive group in the micro system, the numbers are the words: gang, battery, battalion, army, guard, handful, pile, jamb, pile, mass, and many other words, many, although in linguistics there are objections about having them collectivity values.

All listed and other means of language expression of the category of quantity reflect the existing views on the study of this category.

One of the main categories of the noun, which forms the categorical meaning of objectivity. The category of numbers serves to express the quantitative characteristics of objects of objective reality. It opposes the singular to the plural.

When analyzing the value of a number, the following cases are possible:

1) the word has the form singular, which denotes one object: monograph, thesis. The value of the number is one;

2) the word has the form singular, but denotes a set of objects (meaning of the collective set): studenthood, foliage;

3) the word has the form singular, but there is no nominative value of the number; denoted uncountable objects (the category of the number is formal, it has the syntactic component of meaning): milk, sour cream, love;

4) the word has the form pl. and means a lot of objects: tables - rooms;

5) the word has the form plural, but the number of objects is indefinite (one or several): scissors, sleigh;

6) the word has the form plural, but the value of the number is not, because denoted unreadable items: cream, name-day;

7) the word does not have the form of a number; is unchangeable, the nominative value of the number is undefined, the syntactic component can be expressed in the text.

Thus, English is characterized by the predominance of analytical forms, while the Russian language is synthetic in its structure. The tendency to reduce the number of synthetic forms, characteristic of the English language, led to the disappearance of case and generic forms in nouns.

For the Russian language this phenomenon is uncharacteristic, as a result of which there is widespread agreement of nouns with a definable word in number, gender and case, which is absent in modern English [2, 68]. Therefore, in English, the number of language tools that have the grammatical category of the number is much smaller than in the Russian language. This typological difference in the matched languages ​​also causes the fact that the quantification in English and Russian languages ​​belongs to different structural types of fields. In English, this is a monocentric type field based on the grammatical category of a number, while in Russian it is a polycentric field that relies not only on the grammatical category of a number but also on the lexical-grammatical class of numerals, as well as on the quantitative- nominal combinations [3, 194].

Therefore in the English language the core of the quantitative field is represented by the grammatical category of the number; derivational, phonetic, lexical and syntactic means are peripheral. In the Russian language, lexical means also belong to the nuclear, in addition to the grammatical category of the number; word-formation, phonetic and syntactic means constitute a peripheral zone [4, 66].

Despite the above differences, it should be noted that in both English and Russian, the quantitative category is represented by multilevel language tools - morphological, lexical, word-formative, syntactic and phonetic. In both languages, this phenomenon breaks down into two micro fields - the micro field of unity and the micro field of multiplicity; however, the distribution of constituents within each micro field in the languages ​​being compared is different.

Thus, our analysis proves that the quantitative category is a linguistic universality that is inherent in all levels of both English and Russian. Different-level means of expression form a category of quantitative, the constituents of which, due to their large number, are widely represented in the texts of fiction.


The list of used literature:

  1. Арустамян Л.Л. Словообразовательная система и деривационные связи наименований поля количества. // Вопросы русского и общего языкознания. – Самарканд: СамГУ, 1994. – С. 71-73.

  2. Берман И.М. Грамматика английского языка. - Москва: Высшая школа, 1994. – 321 с.  

  3. Качалова К.Н., Израилевич Е.Е. Практическая грамматика английского языка. - Кыргызский филиал Калифорнийской Международной Академии Наук, 2001. – 487 с.

  4. Ariel Mira. Referring and accessibility. // Journal of Linguistics, 2003. – № 24(1). – Р. 65–87.



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