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Thread: "It answers the question: ..."

  1. #1
    Подающий надежды оратор
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    "It answers the question: ..."

    Whenever I get the case wrong for a word, I receive responses like "It's 'туда', not 'там', because it answers the question 'куда?'", but they mean nothing to me. Surely if you don't know the case, then you don't know which "question" to ask, so what am I missing?

    What does this mean exactly?
    What are these questions and how should I know what to ask myself?
    Does anyone have a link that explains the use of this technique?

    No one seems to know, they all say similar things like "It's the way we learnt it", so I'm guessing it's extremely important and overlooked by all websites, books and audio CDs.

  2. #2
    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    This technique with questions works only for the native Russians. We (natives) know natively what question is suitable for a situation. After the question we (Russians) can identify the case of a noun. It is really the way we (natives) learnt our own language in a school. It will never work for a non native.
    The way natives learn their own language is quite different to way non natives learn it as a foreign language.
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

  3. #3
    Властелин
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    This technique is totally useless for learning grammar. It's useful, however, for mad school teachers who lust for giving everyone an "F" for not picking the right question a part of the sentence "answers".

  4. #4
    Подающий надежды оратор grammatica's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Russian grammar can be quite complex. For a quick overview of how Russian cases function I would suggest checking out this link: Russian Cases

    It has a relatively detailed, yet concise description of various Russian cases.

    You might also be interested in checking out the link in my sig. Our application should be able to help you understand how cases function, the role of prepositions, how to approach endings. etc.

    Best of luck!

  5. #5
    Подающий надежды оратор
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    I see, so it's a shame that people answer a problem with "It answers the question "____?".

    Is there any way I can send a memo to all Russian speakers, to stop them doing this? :P

  6. #6
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markhemstead View Post
    I see, so it's a shame that people answer a problem with "It answers the question "____?".

    Is there any way I can send a memo to all Russian speakers, to stop them doing this? :P
    You can put it in your signature.

    Yes, it's a quite common assumption that these 'questions' should be obvious to a non-native speaker. It seems natural to native speakers since they remember how they learnt Russian grammar in school (it helps enormously when you teach Russian children, but doesn't help at all with foreigners). It's not their fault, they really want to help. )))
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  7. #7
    Почтенный гражданин Demonic_Duck's Avatar
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    In the example in your original post, I don't think it's to do with cases, as «куда» is an entirely different question word from «где». «Где» = where, but «куда» = to where. If you know the archaic English words "whither" and "whence", it will make this distinction easier...

    «куда?» «туда.» ("whither?" "thither.")
    «где?» «там.» ("where?" "there.")
    «откуда?» «оттуда.» ("whence?" "thence.")

    I think that asking the correct question could be somewhat useful to non-native speakers, even in the case of cases (no pun intended)... just remember what each question really means. For example, «чего» = of what, «кому» = to whom, «чем» = with what, etc.
    Демоническая Утка
    Носитель английского языка, учу русский язык.
    Пожалуйста, исправьте мои сообщения!

  8. #8
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demonic_Duck View Post
    I think that asking the correct question could be somewhat useful to non-native speakers, even in the case of cases (no pun intended)... just remember what each question really means. For example, «чего» = of what, «кому» = to whom, «чем» = with what, etc.
    Yes, it can be useful. Though the straightforward translation is usually looks very strange, it may help to get the way of language thinking.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  9. #9
    Старший оракул
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    Natives don't have to memorize the complex rules and endings for different declensions. We use them intuitively. If we want to know which case we have used, we, effectively, replace the noun by "кто" or "что". "The questions" is a common way to do this substitution. This way we just need to remember the case endings for these two pronouns. The method doesn't work in the opposite direction and it is useless for foreigners.
    Налево пойдёшь - коня потеряешь, направо пойдёшь - сам голову сложишь.
    Прямой путь не предлагать!

  10. #10
    Увлечённый спикер
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    Cases in the Russian language, make or break what you are trying to say. In this situation, you're looking at three different cases: Genetive, Accusative, and Preposition (i'll use the same words that Duck has)

    -- куда (where), туда (there), сюда (here) -- Are associated with the Accusative case, which indicates a sense of motion. «Куда ты идёшь?» -> Where are you going?
    -- откуда (from where), оттуда (from there), отсюда (from here) -- Are associated with the Genetive case, which indicates an origin (in this situation) «откуда вы?» -> Where are you from?
    -- где (Where), там (there), тут (here) -- Are associated with the Preposition case, which indicates location (in this situation) «Там парк.» -> There is the park.

  11. #11
    Почтенный гражданин Demonic_Duck's Avatar
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    Seems I was wrong and it is about cases. But my point still stands that it can help non-native speakers somewhat
    Демоническая Утка
    Носитель английского языка, учу русский язык.
    Пожалуйста, исправьте мои сообщения!

  12. #12
    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krwright13
    Cases in the Russian language, make or break what you are trying to say. In this situation, you're looking at three different cases: Genetive, Accusative, and Preposition (i'll use the same words that Duck has)
    -- куда (where), туда (there), сюда (here) -- Are associated with the Accusative case, which indicates a sense of motion. «Куда ты идёшь?» -> Where are you going?
    -- где (Where), там (there), тут (here) -- Are associated with the Preposition case, which indicates location (in this situation) «Там парк.» -> There is the park.
    "парк" here is in the Nominative case, not the Prepositional case. - "Парк находится там."
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

  13. #13
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    Скорей:
    Где
    мы? Мы в парке.
    Куда мы идём? Мы идём в парк.
    Откуда мы идём? Мы идём из парка.

  14. #14
    Увлечённый спикер
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    Thank you for correcting that! I should have proof-read it

  15. #15
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    Asking that question has certainly helped me. On my last test, I nearly wrote "Он переехал за границей" but I realized the question is куда, which is in accusative, so I said за границу instead. By knowing which cases verbs take, it can be very helpful.
    But I apparently made a mistake with this one, which my professor was a bit stumped on. "Куда ты повесил картину?" I answered: "Над стол" because I figured Куда was the question so it should be in accusative, but the answer was "Над столом." She asked someone and said it had something to do with "displacement," can anyone elaborate on this for me?

  16. #16
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    Над and перед are exception, you never say над что или перед что. But with за and под the general rule goes on:
    Поставь щётку за дверь. Щётка стоит за дверью.
    Ключ упал под стол. Ключ лежит под столом.

  17. #17
    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kybarry
    Asking that question has certainly helped me. On my last test, I nearly wrote "Он переехал за границей" but I realized the question is куда, which is in accusative, so I said за границу instead. By knowing which cases verbs take, it can be very helpful.
    But I apparently made a mistake with this one, which my professor was a bit stumped on. "Куда ты повесил картину?" I answered: "Над стол" because I figured Куда was the question so it should be in accusative, but the answer was "Над столом." She asked someone and said it had something to do with "displacement," can anyone elaborate on this for me?
    This is why the question technique will not work for non Russians. You are trying to ask wrong questions. The questions "куда", "где" and "откуда" have nothing related to the cases. The questions related to the cases are "кто" and "что" only ("what" and "who").

    Он переехал за границу. - Он переехал за что? (за кого?) - Accusative case.
    Он повесил картину над столом. - Он повесил картину над чем? (над кем?) - Instrumental case.
    Он повесил картину около окна. - Он повесил картину около чего? (около кого?) - Genitive case.
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeCup View Post
    The questions "куда", "где" and "откуда" have nothing related to the cases.
    They ARE related to the grammatical cases, you just need to know how.

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