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I've seen неделю, but I don't know of when the transformation occurs. Could somebody explain it to me?

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Неделю is the accusative singular. The ending comes from a Proto-Slavic nasal — *neděljǫ — which is a cognate of the accusative ending -am of the Latin first declension, e. g. agricolam vidi "I saw a farmer [agricola]". The ancient Slavs kind of Frenchified that [am] to a twangy [oⁿ], which then lost its twang and became a clear [u] in Russian.

And that Latin example shows you the basic usage of accusative: it's the direct object case. E. g. Вот как я провёл эту неделю "That's how I've spent this week."

The accusative is also the case used with certain prepositions; the logic of which prepositions take which cases is old and often unclear, so no examples, to keep this simple. You'll come to that eventually.

Finally, since неделя is a word for a period of time, its accusative has another important usage — it means "for [the duration of] a week". Just like минуту can mean "for a minute", and год means "year" but can also mean "for a year" (since its accusative happens to have the same form as its nominative.)

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  • This was very helpful. Could you provide to me an example in which the accusative case is used with certain prepositions? – ShadowMecc Aug 31 '15 at 0:50
  • @ShadowMecc If we stick with the word: два раза в неделю "twice a week", за неделю до отъезда "a week before departure", отправиться на неделю в Кострому "to go to Kostroma for a week" (two prepositioned accusatives there). – Nikolay Ershov Aug 31 '15 at 8:51
  • I understand what you mean, but I do not know of how to figure out when the object of the preposition should be in the accusative form. Could you explain this? – ShadowMecc Sep 5 '15 at 0:46
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    @ShadowMecc generally, it's used with prepositions of location, replacing their usual case, when talking about motion towards or into that location. but with notions of time, it's often used for no intuitively discernible reason. – Nikolay Ershov Sep 5 '15 at 9:43
  • I thank you for your help. You have allowed for me to gain new insight into the matter. – ShadowMecc Sep 12 '15 at 0:49
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"Неделю" is simply the accusative case of "неделя" (week), unless you mean "не делю" which stands for "[I] don't divide". The accusative case itself has too many applications to list it here.

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  • I understand. If I were to say "I have already studied Russian for two weeks", should I say "Я уже учу русский язык две неделе"? – ShadowMecc Aug 20 '15 at 19:07
  • "Я учу русский язык уже две неделИ (целую неделЮ)." – Alex_ander Aug 20 '15 at 19:27
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    @ShadowMecc Plural differs from singular. Both nominative and accusative plural are "недели". Thus "for one week" = "одну неделю" and "for two weeks" = "две недели". But note that for numbers 5..20 genitive case must be used: "for five weeks" = "пять недель". This is due to the older singular-dual-plural system. – Matt Aug 20 '15 at 20:07
  • @Alex_ander, which one is correct? I have referenced the prepositional case in Russian and have found that the proper ending-change for feminine nouns that end in "я" is "е" – ShadowMecc Aug 31 '15 at 0:49
  • @ShadowMecc There's no Prepositional here. Singular "Неделю" vs Plural(Dual) "Недели" vs Plural "Недель". – Matt Aug 31 '15 at 6:35

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