I have been using Wiktionary to get conjugation & declension details, as well as a sense of pronunciation, and there is a nuance that is not explained. For example, дівчина has two nominative plural options, ді́вчата & дівча́та where the difference is only the emphasis (as shown by the accent). And the links both go to the same place. There is a similar distinction for every possible declension, and no explanation that I can find for what this difference signifies. And when I search other resources it doesn't seem to get mentioned at all. Can someone explain to me what is going on here?


1 Answer 1


Дівча́та is correct, ді́вчата is dubious

I personally have no doubt that дівчина allows two emphases: ді́вчина and дівчи́на – still ді́вчина is more common. Some references:

  • Both R2U and E2U online dictionary collections mention both emphases. However ді́вчина is mentioned much more often.
  • 20-volume explanatory “Dictionary of the Ukrainian language” (since 2010, work in progress) has separate entries for ді́вчина and дівчи́на. However the latter is marked as folkloric/poetic.

However I've always heard only дівча́та (not ді́вчата). Some indirect proofs:

Source of information in Wiktionary

Let's look:

  • Both articles in Wiktionary (дівчина and дівчата; archived versions: дівчина, дівчата) refer to “Словозміна” dictionary in “Горох” online dictionary collection. (Also they refer to 11-volume explanatory “Dictionary of the Ukrainian language” (1970–1980), but the one doesn't support their claims, so it's irrelevant.)

  • The correspondent entries in “Горох – Словозміна” (дівчина, дівчата) refer to “Словники України online” online dictionary.

  • The correspondent entries in “Словники України online” (sorry, I can't provide direct links to the entries, because that's not implemented in “Словники України online”) contain the same (partially self-contradictory) info as Wiktionary (the дівчина entry states that singular is ді́вчи́на and plural is ді́вча́та, while the дівчата entry states that plural is дівча́та and there is no singular). That's the primary source.

On the one hand, the maintainer of “Словники України online” is Ukrainian Lingua-Information Foundation, NAS of Ukraine; a certain level of trust is deserved. On the other hand, this online dictionary was somewhat infamous for typos; the maintainers make an effort to correct mistakes, but there's no guarantee they all are already corrected now.

Deeper immersion into morphology

Technically, дівчата isn't plural for дівчина. Дівчина belongs to the 1st declension (as кішка, особа, etc; and especially as дитина, дружина, людина, тварина; it's interesting that relatively high percent of -ина nouns have no plural / unusual plural), while дівчата belongs to the 4th declension and technically is plural for дівча (compare with other 4th-declension nouns: ведмежа́ведмежата, кошенякошенята, etc; and especially to -ча ones: дитинчадитинчата, курчакурчата).

Singular Plural
дівча (non-neutral) дівчата
дівчина дівчини (extremely rare)
дівчинка дівчинки (rare)

Practically, дівчата acts as plural for all three words: дівча, дівчина and дівчинка.


Дівчата is mentioned in “Словники України online” on three pages: дівча, дівчата and дівчина. Two of them provide emphasis дівча́та and only one page allow multiple emphases: дівча́та and ді́вчата. Most probably, the last one is just a typo, which got then spread to other dictionaries (“Горох” and Wiktionary); I'll try to inform “Словники України online” maintainers.

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