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Не слишком у меня много памятных вещей из детства.

It seems to me that "не слишком" and "не ... много" both mean more or less the same thing. Which makes me wonder what is the function of this seemingly redundant adverb "слишком"?

Can you say just as well:

Не у меня много памятных вещей из детства.

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    the difference between these words is the same as the difference between the English many/much and too, they're not interchangeable or synonymous, they each have their own distinctive meaning which is attested to in general purpose dictionaries... it must be the same in the rest of the languages you're familiar with as well, at least Indo-European... i still encourage you to do more independent learning – Баян Купи-ка Jan 13 '18 at 8:16
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It's neither necessary nor redundant: не (слишком) много = not (too) many. It just softens the expression не много (not many). However, you can't just remove слишком from the original sentence due to particular word order: in your suggested version, the meaning has changed dramatically into: It's not me (it's somebody else) who has many things keeping memories of childhood. To keep the correct meaning without слишком, you need to change the word order. e.g.:

Не (слишком) много у меня памятных вещей из детства.

Памятных вещей из детства у меня не (слишком) много.

A similar Russian phrase which could replace не слишком много: не так уж много.

Не (так уж) много у меня памятных вещей из детства.

Памятных вещей из детства у меня не (так уж) много.

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    Hi. Three months into learning Russian, I'm glad to say that I've now reached a point where I can fully appreciate this answer to my very first question. So I've got a question: if "не много" is 10%, is "не слишком много" like 20-40%? That is, given that it softens the emphatic "слишком много"? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Apr 24 '18 at 21:26
  • That is terrific to come to such nuancing after just three months. "Метод погружения" must be a cruel path, but the speed is amazing! – Arioch Apr 25 '18 at 8:08
  • When I was a child I was asking adults how exactly many is "несколько", that drove them mad. I don't think one can make universal quantitative assessment about "не слишком много", it rather is about the context again. "Слишком много" implies that few of them can be without blinking an eye given away, or dumped, or destroyed. Some pretext about redundant things have little value if any. "Не слишком много" conveys the opposite. That while they are not critically small amount, and while for a good cause some can be sacrificed, still it would be noticeable loss and without that good cause – Arioch Apr 25 '18 at 8:12
  • ...they won't be wasted. And if they would be given away - they still would be missed. If the context does not imply getting parted with those things, it would still go about stressing importance of those things. They are not absolute treasures, but they are important, because losing any would be a noticeable loss. Now I can ask, where are universal, once for ever, set numerical values for "important thing", "dear thing" and "treasure"? Don't think there can be a universal answer. But if you can assign some values for those, then perhaps they would answer your q as well – Arioch Apr 25 '18 at 8:15
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No, you cannot. Не у меня много памятных вечеров из детства means It is not me who has many memorable childhood evenings. You could say не много у меня памятных вечеров из детства.

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