What is the genitive plural and nominative plural of
My search returned a lot of contradicting information. Is there any authoritative source with a single concrete answer?
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башка is originally not Russian word. It comes from Turkish baš which means head. And it is really used in common language, rather than in literature.
In plural башка may have 2 valid forms: башки́ and another one that changes letter in the root to бо́шки (with accent on the о́).
In genitive those will respectively be башки́ (singular) and башо́к or бо́шек (plural). Both variants are considered valid, even though I prefer the last one :).
Nominative plural is башки.
Wiktionary says the genitive plural is башок.
Yet I've never heard this word. Usually, one would find a synonym in this case.
Of course, the correct original spelling of this word borrowed from a Turkic (?Tatar) language is "башка". The spelling "бошка" may refer to northern-eastern dialects of Russian, which are located closer to the modern area of the Tatar language. The northern dialects tend to pronounce unstressed "a" as "o" (sorry for the absence of phonetic signs). That's why we can consider Genitive Plural "бОшек" as the form of "бошка" (where shift of accent is another question), and G. Pl. "башОк" as the one of "башка" (the same model кишок - кишка). Though the word "башок" is surely extinct in the modern language. So, I think, we can't talk about the form G. Pl. of "башка" at all, and such pair as "башкА" - "бОшек" is only reconsideration of paradigm because of the absence of "башок".
offtopic: It is interesting, that, according to the research of Vladimir Belikov, Acc.Sg. "башкУ" is more frequently used by male respondents, while "бОшку" is more popular with the female:)