Nouns

Imenniky

Contents:

Masculine nouns   •   Neuter nouns   •   Feminine nouns   •   Athematic declension   •   Irregular nouns

Like most Slavic languages, nouns in Interslavic have three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, neuter), two numbers (singular, plural) and seven cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, instrumental, locative, vocative). The vocative, used for addressing a person or object directly, is actually not a real case, as it behaves significantly different from other cases: it exists only in the singular of masculine and feminine nouns, it never affects adjectives or pronouns, and it has nothing to do with the syntactic structure of the sentence.

Long and complicated paradigms are to be avoided, but we cannot escape distinguishing between a few different word classes. Basically, Interslavic has three declensions:

Within the first declension, we distinguish between three types. This difference affects only the nominative, the accusative and the vocative:

Another distinction is made between hard and soft declension patterns. Soft stems are stems ending in š, ž, č, c, j, lj or nj. As a rule, after a soft stem the -o and -y of the ending become -e, the becomes -i.

The basic endings are displayed in the table below. The forms between brackets are used after soft stems:

I II III
masc.anim.sg.1 masc.inanim.sg. neut.sg. fem.sg.
Nom -o (-e) -a
Acc -a -u
Gen -a -y (-e) -i
Dat -u -ě (-i) -i
Ins -om (-em) -oju (-eju) -ju
Loc -u -ě (-i) -i
Voc -e (-u) -o (-e) -o -i
masc.anim.pl. masc.inanim.pl. neut.pl. fem.pl.
Nom -i -y (-e) -a -y (-e) -i
Acc -ov (-ev)
Gen -ov (-ev) -ij
Dat -am -jam
Ins -ami -jami
Loc -ah -jah

In the dictionary, only the gender of words is given. For that reason the examples below are grouped by gender and not by declension.


Declension of masculine nouns (Sklanjanje imennikov mužskogo roda)

Virtually all masculine nouns end in a consonant. Basically, there is only one declensional pattern for masculine nouns, but a few things need to be remembered:

Five examples: brat „brother”, dom „house”, muž „man”, kraj „country”.

animate, hard animate, soft inanimate, hard inanimate, soft
singular
Nom brat muž dom kraj
Acc brata muža dom kraj
Gen brata muža doma kraja
Dat bratu mužu domu kraju
Ins bratom mužem domom krajem
Loc bratu mužu domu kraju
Voc brate mužu dome kraju
plural
Nom brati muži domy kraje
Acc bratov mužev domy kraje
Gen bratov mužev domov krajev
Dat bratam mužam domam krajam
Ins bratami mužami domami krajami
Loc bratah mužah domah krajah

Notes:


Declension of neuter nouns (Sklanjanje imennikov srědnjego roda)

Neuter nouns end in -o (hard stems) or -e (soft stems). Except for the nominative/accusative and the genitive plural, their inflection is identical to that of inanimate masculine nouns. Please note:

There is also special group of neuter nouns with the ending -e (in scientific orthography: ), for example ime „name” (stem: imen-) and tele „calf” (stem: telęt-). It also includes a few words on -o, for example nebo „heaven” (stem: nebes-). In Old Church Slavonic they belonged to a special declension, which nowadays has vanished in most languages. They can be inflected as ordinary neuter nouns (as if their nominatives were imeno and teleto), they can also be declined according to the more archaic athematic declension.

Because we usually do not distinguish between ę and e, it is useful to remember that a noun ending in -e is always neuter, and as a rule of thumb, when this -e is preceded by:

For the rest, declension is always regular. Three examples: slovo „word”, morje „sea”, ime „name”.

hard soft (ę)
singular
Nom slovo morje ime
Acc slovo morje ime
Gen slova morja imena
Dat slovu morju imenu
Ins slovom morjem imenom
Loc slovu morju imenu
plural
Nom slova morja imena
Acc slova morja imena
Gen slov morj imen
Dat slovam morjam imenam
Ins slovami morjami imenami
Loc slovah morjah imenah


Declension of feminine nouns (Sklanjanje imennikov ženskogo roda)

Most feminine nouns have the ending -a and therefore belong to the second declension. Again, we distinguish between hard and soft stems. In the case of feminine nouns the differences between hard and soft declension are not merely a matter of applying the o/e rule. As a rule, the endings -y and after a hard consonant become -e and -i after a soft consonant (in other words, they are „reversed”).

A few words on -i belong to this group as well (for example bogynji, which is inflected as if the nominative singular were *bogynja).

The -a declension also includes a few masculine nouns with the ending -a referring to male persons, like sluga „servant” and sudja „judge”. They are inflected like žena or zemja in the singular, but in the plural they follow the pattern of masculine animate nouns: nom.sg. sluga, gen.sg. slugy, nom.pl. slugi, gen.pl. slugov, etc.

Another group of feminine nouns are those ending in a consonant. They form the third declension. Most nouns of this category end in -ost.

Examples: žena „woman”, zemja „earth”, kost „bone”.

hard soft
singular
Nom žena zemja kost
Acc ženu zemju kost
Gen ženy zemje kosti
Dat ženě zemji kosti
Ins ženoju zemjeju kostju
Loc ženě zemji kosti
Loc ženo zemjo kosti
plural
Nom ženy zemje kosti
Acc ženy zemje kosti
Gen žen zem(ej) kostij
Dat ženam zemjam kostjam
Ins ženami zemjami kostjami
Loc ženah zemjah kostjah


Athematic declension (Atematično sklonjenje)

Except for the regular declensions listed above, Old Church Slavonic also had another declension type, the so-called athematic declension. Nouns of this type have gone various ways in the modern Slavic languages, mostly merging into one or more of the regular declension types. Interslavic projects choose various approaches to this group, but some of them preserve it.

This declension type includes nouns of all three genders, but most numerous among them are neuter nouns. The following subtypes can be distinguished:

m. (-en-) n. (-men-) n. (-et-) n. (-es-) f. (-v-) f. (-r-)
singular
Nom kamenj ime tele nebo crkov mati
Acc kamenj ime tele nebo crkov mati
Gen kamene imene telete nebese crkve matere
Dat kameni imeni teleti nebesi crkvi materi
Ins kamenem imenem teletem nebesem crkovju materju
Loc kameni imeni teleti nebesi crkvi materi
Voc kameni ime tele nebo crkov mati
plural
Nom kameni imena teleta nebesa crkvi materi
Acc kameni imena teleta nebesa crkvi materi
Gen kamenev imen telet nebes crkvij materij
Dat kamenam imenam teletam nebesam crkvam materam
Ins kamenami imenami teletami nebesami crkvami materami
Loc kamenah imenah teletah nebesah crkvah materah

The entire athematic declension can be avoided by inflecting these words according to the regular declensions, as most other Slavic languages do. In that case:


Irregular nouns (Neregularne imenniky)

Interslavic is kept as regular as possible, but a few cases of irregularity cannot be avoided without defying naturalism. The following nouns have an irregular plural (all four inflected like a feminine noun of the kost type):

Regular plurals (člověki, oka etc.) can be used as well, but some of them sound very strange to the Slavic ear, even though they will be understood anyway.