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There was a small discussion between texnic and me about the appropriate way to denote tights - a classical question on forums related to Russian linguistics. As I do not consider myself an expert in Russian language, I would like to ask the community for their opinion, preferably documented. Maybe I was wrong?

So my reasons to prefer колготки over колготы are:

  • childhood stereotypes: at school I was taught that the word колготы doesn't exist; however, sad experience showed me later that not every teacher knows their matter perfectly;

  • stylistical prejudices: in my family and kindergarden (yes, again childhood =) )this word was used frequently, but with different stress - колготЫ (sometimes even колготУшки to rhyme with my name); this gave it а vernacular and stylistically colloquial tone - just like it happens with "inner" words that are made up inside a family and don't sound appropriate when you pronounce them in public;

  • frequency in dictionaries: as I am not a linguist, I mostly refer to dictionaries written by Ожегов, Ушаков, or Даль (the latter certainly doesn't fit for this question). None of them shows the word колготы; maybe somebody here has the Big Academic Dictionary? On the internet while searching for occurence in dictionaries I have also found this, while texnic found opposite information (i.e. this word can be found in modern dictionaries);

  • Google and StackExchange underline колготы with red;

If I come up with more arguments, I'll add them.

Well, to sum it up, is this strange word колготы:

  • dependent on geographical/cultural/demographic aspects;
  • stylistically neutral;
  • a common grammatical mistake that almost turned into a norm (like infamous coffee gender or stress in заиндевелый, фольга );
  • absolutely wrong (like сосули instead of сосульки);
  • just another topic where linguists can't come to a consensus?
  • Don't take it too severe, but I have a rhyme for you, about Goths (Ru. Готы): Гóты, гóты, На руках Колгóты. – Yellow Sky Jan 22 '13 at 19:47
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    A good musing about сосули and similar words can be found here. – farfareast Jan 30 '13 at 22:40
  • Hehe, @farfareast, I know this poem as I am from Saint-Petersburg =) A good example of how state authorities think they can do anything with our language. – petajamaja Jan 30 '13 at 22:51
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Хотя "колготки" имеют больше сторонников в академических кругах, "колготы" не должны отчаиваться. Возникновение страшных "ботин" и "перчат" уже много раз увенчивалось успехом и образованные таким образом слова прочно входили в литературный язык.

Такова история слов "зонт" и "фляга". Зонт пришел в русский язык как "зонтик" (нем. sonnetag), фляга как "фляшка" (польск.). Со временем окончания этих слов были переосмыслены как уменьшительные суффиксы и были созданы несуществовавшие "фляга" и "зонт".

Кстати о "сосулях". Поищите в Национальном корпусе сосули - будете удивлены. Примеров не много, но когда-то их употребляли Набоков, Горький и Андрей Белый в обычном, не комическом смысле.

Вот Набоков:

Песком, будто рыжей корицей, усыпан был ледок, облепивший ступени крыльца, а с выступа крыши, остриями вниз, свисали толстые сосули, сквозящие зеленоватой синевой. [В. В. Набоков. Рождество (1925)]

Максим Горький:

Уже была пятница страстной недели, а капель к ночи намерзала синими сосулями в пол-аршина длиною; лед на реке, оголенной от снега, тоже был синеватый, как зимние облака. [Максим Горький. Ледоход (1912-1915)]

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A brief search of the national corpus shows that the word "колготы" has been used as a genitive of "колгота" (a synonym of "суета") until the eighties, when the meaning of "колготы" as a synonym of "колготки" started to appear:

А для той колготы и начальников много понаставили. (1924)

Кстати, черные, темные чулки (или колготы) не худят полных ног. (1988)

The word "колготки" has appeared in the corpus more than a decade earlier, so your teacher was right: for a while, only "колготки" was a real word, and "колготы" did not exist.

Here are the search results:

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  • Wow, this national corpus is such a good resource! Thanks for giving a link! – petajamaja Jan 22 '13 at 3:43
  • Your answer is great! I'll just wait a bit more for other responds, but so far I am ready to accept it. =) – petajamaja Jan 22 '13 at 3:45
  • @Umari: The answer is good and it shows interesting aspect but it does not make a final statement if колготы is a fine word now or is it a dialect. – farfareast Jan 22 '13 at 4:25
  • @farfareast, I don't think it could be a dialect. I mentioned geography only because I wanted to get info about it in the answers (e.g. "I'm from Moscow and we speak so") - curiosity. The question is more about whether it is a neutral word, a common grammatical mistake almost turning into norm (like that with coffee or stress in заиндеветь), a colloquial word, or probably it is absolutely wrong (like the word сосули instead of сосульки). – petajamaja Jan 22 '13 at 4:41
  • I edited the question so that it is clearer what I am actually asking. – petajamaja Jan 22 '13 at 4:58
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I asked my mother. Yes, it turned out to be that simple =) After all she graduated from The Herzen University and Russian language was her specialization.

Kолготы is a wrong form, often shows lack of culture and/or education. And this is my final decision.

If anybody needs more proof, I can also mention that - long ago - in some comment a person that I respect very much (professor of biblical studies at the Saint Petersburg State University Татьяна Ткачeва) noted that this word is not correct.

Колготы, марш к сосулям!

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