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Myrtonos

General guide to learning Latin based languages

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Myrtonos
5 minutes ago, Nesf said:

They can be any gender.

They don't differ in any way other than that they are neuter.

But Romanian apparently doesn't work like that. Neuter counts nouns are the same as masculine ones in the singular, and as feminine in the plural. But the distinction between singular and plural doesn't apply to mass nouns, in any language. So that raises the question of how a mass noun could be neuter in Romanian.

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Nesf

There is no contradiction, or any reason why an uncountable noun can be neuter. For example, lemn, meaning wood (the material). Whether or not it has a plural does not affect its gender.

Some nouns can be either a count noun or an uncountable noun. Take 'lemn' (wood) for example. When referring to a material, it is a count noun. But it does have a plural form, lemne. Lemne means 'pieces of wood' rather than material; it has a slightly different meaning.

Feminine nouns must also have a plural form, regardless whether they are cound nouns or not. For example, apă (water). Apă is normally a count noun and doesn't have a plural form. However, it does have a genitive form: the genitive of feminine nouns is formed by taking the plural for of the noun and adding -i, so ape (plural form) + i = apei.

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Myrtonos
27 minutes ago, Nesf said:

There is no contradiction, or any reason why an uncountable noun can be neuter. For example, lemn, meaning wood (the material). Whether or not it has a plural does not affect its gender.

2

But since the difference between masculine and neuter nouns is in the plural and the difference between masculine and feminine nouns is in the singular, it doesn't seem possible for nouns that don't have plurals to be neuter. A count noun is a noun that can have a number right before it. Mass nouns are nouns that can have 'much' directly in front of them.

29 minutes ago, Nesf said:

Some nouns can be either a count noun or an uncountable noun. Take 'lemn' (wood) for example. When referring to a material, it is a count noun. But it does have a plural form, lemne. Lemne means 'pieces of wood' rather than material; it has a slightly different meaning.

3

Certainly in English, 'wood' is always a mass noun, and we say 'some pieces of wood', not 'some woods' and 'a piece of wood' not just 'a wood'.

32 minutes ago, Nesf said:

Feminine nouns must also have a plural form, regardless whether they are cound nouns or not. For example, apă (water). Apă is normally a count noun and doesn't have a plural form. However, it does have a genitive form: the genitive of feminine nouns is formed by taking the plural for of the noun and adding -i, so ape (plural form) + i = apei.

4

I thought count nouns did not have a plural form. Certainly 'water' in English is normally a mass noun.

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Nesf
1 hour ago, Myrtonos said:

Mass nouns are nouns that can have 'much' directly in front of them.

Well, you can say 'mult lemn', and lemn is neuter, so it must be possible.

1 hour ago, Myrtonos said:

I thought count nouns did not have a plural form.

They can't, or not usually have one. So in the case of the feminine count words, it's not a plural, but the genitive form. But for words that do have a plural, that's how you form the genitive - take the plural form and add -i.

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Myrtonos
8 minutes ago, Nesf said:

They can't, or not usually have one. So in the case of the feminine count words, it's not a plural, but the genitive form. But for words that do have a plural, that's how you form the genitive - take the plural form and add -i.

In that case, what about the genitive of neuter mass nouns?

Edited by Myrtonos

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Nesf

The genitive of all neuter nouns, including mass nouns, is formed by adding -ului to the noun. For example, lemn - lemnului. Calitatea lemnului - quality of the wood.

Edited by Nesf

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Myrtonos

Is this different from masculine nouns, whether count nouns or mass ones?

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Nesf

No, it's the same.

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Myrtonos

So how do you test the gender of a mass noun then? Where this all started is with a way to test the gender of a count noun, to see which form of the word for two can go directly in front of it. Obviously the test only works for nouns that can come right after a number. So in order for nouns that never come right after a number to be any gender, there must be another test for mass nouns.

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Nesf
3 hours ago, Myrtonos said:

So how do you test the gender of a mass noun then?

You don't. I mean, why would you need to, since you aren't going to use it in the plural, and since it ends in a consonent, you know it's not going to be feminine. Since masculine and neuter nouns have the same forms in the singular, it really doesn't matter - it only really matters if you want to form the plural, which for a mass noun, you're not going to do.

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