Slovianski is a Slavic interlanguage created in 2006 as the collaborative effort of a group of people from several countries, gathered in the Slovianski Forum. It can be a great help for travellers and a very useful tool for anyone who is interested in addressing the entire Slavic world via websites, fora, mailing lists, etc., without having to translate a text into several languages. Knowledge of the language will enable a person to make himself reasonably understandable to any Slavic speaker and to understand more than just the basics of a text in any Slavic language. Slovianski is also an excellent method for those who want to start learning their first Slavic language.
Slovjanski je slovjanski medžujezyk iztvořeny v gode 2006 kak sutrudnično usilje grupy ľudi iz različnyh krajev, sobranyh na Slovjanskom Fore. On može byti velika pomoč dľa putujučih i mnogo upotrebimo orudje dľa kogo-buď, kotory by hotel adresovati cely slovjanski svet posredstvom vebsajtov, forov, spisov e-mejľskih i.t.d., bez potrebovanja prevoditi tekst v razne jezyki. Znanje togo jezyka pozvaľa človeku byti razumemy dľa vsakogo govoriteľa slovjanskogo jezyka i razumeti večej, než jedyno osnovu teksta v kotorom-buď slovjanskom jezyke. Slovjanski takože je mnogo dobra metoda dľa tyh, kotore hočut načeti učiti se svojego prvogo slovjanskogo jezyka.
Словјански је словјански меджујезык изтворьены в годе 2006 как сутруднично усилье групы льуди из различных крајев, собраных на Словјанском Форе. Он може быти велика помоч дльа путујучих и много употребимо орудје дльа кого-будь, которы бы хотел адресовати целы словјански свет посредством вебсајтов, форов, списов е-мејльских и.т.д., без потребованја преводити текст в разне језыки. Знанје того језыка позвальа чловеку быти разумемы дльа всакого говорительа словјанского језыка и разумети вечеј, неж једыно основу текста в котором-будь словјанском језыке. Словјански такоже је много добра метода дльа тых, которе хочут начети учити се својего првого словјанского језыка.
On these pages you will find the basics of Slovianski: a short grammar, a dictionary, text samples, various tools, links and more. In the nearest future, there will be a language course as well. If you like to see Slovianski in action, you are invited to visit our wiki.
Na tyh stranicah vy nahodite osnovy slovjanskogo jezyka: kratku gramatiku, slovnik, prikladne teksty, različne orudja, linki i inu informaciju. V najblizkoj budučosti takože bude kurs jezyka. Jesli vy hočete uvideti slovjanski v akcije, zovemo vas posetiti našu viki.
На тых страницах вы находите основы словјанского језыка: кратку граматику, словник, прикладне тексты, различне орудја, линки и ину информацију. В најблизкој будучости такоже буде курс језыка. Јесли вы хочете увидети словјански в акције, зовемо вас посетити нашу вики.
We wish you a pleasant and, hopefully, useful stay!
My želamo vam prijemnogo i, imajmo nadeju, upotrebimogo pobytja!
Мы желамо вам пријемного и, имајмо надеју, употребимого побытја!
Sdržanje ~ Сдржанје ~ Contents
Slovianski is neither a national language, nor does it try to emulate one. Instead, it is based on some fifteen national languages, each of them having its own phonology and its own corresponding orthography, tailored to fit. In general, it can be said that the further South you go, the smaller the phoneme (sound) inventory becomes. Slovianski tries to be in the very middle of them as much as possible, and so its phonology is based on sounds that occur in all or most Slavic languages. The question is only: how rich should it be? If the number of phonemes is high, writing Slovianski intuitively becomes harder for those who are used to little phonemes, but if it is low, it becomes harder to read for those whose own language has a richer phonology. To give an example, the ideal pronunciation of the word for "five" (East Slavic pjať, Polish pięć, Czech pět, Slovak päť, South Slavic pet, Common Slavic pętь) would be something like [pʲætʲ]. If we write this as pęť, a Russian will only need to know that he should read ę as his own ja, a Serb as his own e. But for a Serb, there is no way of knowing when his own e and t become ę and ť. On the other hand, in a simplified scheme pet could also be understood as Russian peť "to sing" or Polish pet "cigarette butt". Another problem is of course that the more phonemes there are, the harder it becomes to write Slovianski on a normal keyboard. Therefore, the easier we make it for the speaker/writer, the harder it becomes for the listener/reader, and vice versa. Both options have their pros and cons, and which option is best depends very much on the questions how, where, by whom and for what purpose Slovianski is used.
Slovianski offers a practical solution to this problem: diacritical marks. Instead of making an ultimate choice, those marks may or may not be used as a means to add phonological and etymological detail. Any user can choose for himself how far he wants to go in being faithful to the correct pronunciation, or how far he wants to go in simplifying its representation. Thus, instead of having one closed system of phonology and orthography, Slovianski covers the entire range between a faithful representation of the most correct pronunciation (Naučny Medžuslovjanski = "Scientific Interslavic") and an highly simplified representation in which many different phonemes merge into one (provisionally called Slovianto); the difference between those extremes is merely a matter of adding/removing diacritical marks. This enables us to use one grammar and one dictionary on all levels. Solutions between them are possible as well. Slovianski Plus is close to Naučny Medžuslovjanski, but diacritics that do not really needed to improve understandability are omitted. Traditional Slovianski is the most commonly used form of Slovianski; it is fairly simplified and does not distinguish between, for example, i and y, but still retains a set of five soft consonants. How it works can be seen in the following table:
This grammar is based on traditional Slovianski. Click here for the same grammar in Naučny Slovjanski orthography.
Traditional Slovianski has 6 vowel and 27 consonant phonemes (unlike Naučny Medžuslovjanski, which has no less than 19 vowels and 32 consonants). They are displayed in the following charts; variations in Naučny Medžuslovjanski are shown in gray:
|Front||Near- front||Central||Near- back||Back|
|Voiceles stops||p [p]||t [t]||ť [c], [tʲ]||k [k]|
|Voiced stops||b [b]||d [d]||ď [ɟ], [dʲ]||g [g]|
|Voiceless fricatives||f [f]||s [s]||š [ʃ], [ʂ]||ś [ɕ], [sʲ]||h [x]|
|Voiced fricatives||v [v]||z [z]||ž [ʒ], [ʐ]||ź [ʑ], [zʲ]|
|Voiceless affricates||c [ʦ]||č [ʧ]||ć [ʨ]|
|Voiced affricates||dz [ʣ]||dž [ʤ]||đ [ʥ]|
|Nasals||m [m]||n [n]||ň [ɲ], [nʲ]|
|Trills||r [r]||ř [r̝], [rʲ]|
|Laterals||l [l], [ɫ]||ľ [ʎ], [lʲ]|
|Approximants||ù [w]||j [j]|
The letter r can be syllabic as well. This is the case when it is preceded by a consonant and not followed by a vowel. It should be pronounced with a schwa before it: trg [tərg], mrtvy [mərtvɪ], cukr [ʦukər].
Pronouncing a huge number of phonemes is one thing, writing them is another issue. The more phonemes we distinguish, the harder it become to represent them on an ordinary Slavic or non-Slavic keyboard. One of our main design criteria is that Slovianski can be written on any Slavic keyboard, but there is one problem: they correspond with a language's national orthography, which was tailored to fit the needs of that particular language. About one half of the Slavic languages uses the Latin alphabet, whereas the other half is written in Cyrillic. Furthermore, both alphabets exist in two mutually exclusive versions. Thus, we have: a Latin alphabet with v, š, ž etc., used for Czech, Slovak, Slovene and Croatian; a Latin alphabet with w, sz, ż etc,., used for Polish, Kashubian and Silesian (Sorbian and Belarusian Łacinka use a mix of those two systems); a Cyrillic alphabet with й, ь, ю etc., used for Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian and Bulgarian; and a Cyrillic alphabet with ј, љ and њ, used for Serbian and Macedonian. Because Slovianski is a generic Slavic language, it cannot be said that one way is "better" or "more Slavic" than the other. Besides, any Slav should feel comfortable writing Slovianski, so we have to live with the fact that Slovianski can be written in many different ways. One possible way of dealing with this problem is having four or more different "official" alphabets. Not a very practical solution: to be fair to all of them, we would also have to represent texts in all of them, have dictionaries in all of them, etc. This requires a lot of maintenance, complex transliteration systems, and – as we know by experience – it doesn't really work anyway, because users of Slovianski tend to use their own variations anyway. Therefore, we have decided to choose a different approach.
Because końe, koňe, konje, konie and kone all occur naturally in the Slavic languages, all representing the very same thing, there is not much point in debating which version should be "official", as any such choice would automatically imply that other solutions become "inofficial" and therefore "wrong" or at least "non-standard". Therefore, we abandon the idea of Slovianski having an official orthography altogether. Instead, we assume that all possible ways of writing a word or sound derive from a prototype, and that this prototype is the basis for the orthography we consider best for representing Slovianski. Since we are dealing with two entirely different alphabets (Latin and Cyrillic), we can't avoid having one prototype orthography for each of them. Ideally, both should have the following characteristics:
– they must be intuitively understandable to anyone who can read the alphabet in question
– they must be logical and consistent
– they must give a decent impression of the right pronunciation; if possible, one sound (phoneme) = one character
– they should be compatible (simple transliteration, preferably one a 1:1 basis)
– they should not include unnatural elements
– they should not be ugly or otherwise offensive (like for instance йа or łi), but neither should they be limited to the specifics of national languages
- they are displayed correctly on the average computer screen, therefore characters from unusual character sets, combining diacritics and the like should be avoided.
Obviously, neither Latin nor Cyrillic are able to fulfill all these requirements in such way that every Slav could write and understand the final result. Therefore, we use 23 letters from the Latin alphabet (all except q, w and x), while soft and/or palatalised consonants are marked with a haček. For the Cyrillic alphabet we use all characters that the various Cyrillic orthographies have in common, with additional ј from Serbian and Macedonian as the equivalent of Latin j (й is too restrictive regarding its surrounding vowels and consonants), and ь from Russian, Ukrainian etc. as the Cyrillic equivalent of the haček. It should be remembered that both alphabets are prototypes: those who cannot write a character on their own keyboard are offered several alternatives. But let's first take a look at the prototype:
If your are able to write a characer from the prototype alphabets on your own keyboard, then we suggest you to do that. If your keyboard provides a similar alternative (like ż instead of ž, or ń instead of ň), then by all means use it as a substitute. But what happens if both are absent in your own orthography? Here are a few recommendations:Latin Č Š Ž
These are very important letters in Cyrillic. In SMS language the haček is often omitted, but this has a negative impact on understandability. Poles can of course use cz sz ż. The best asciification is cz sz zs. Alternatively, you can also use cx sx zx, which has the advantage of being consistent but the disadvantage of being unnatural. If you happen to be an esperantist with easy access to Esperanto characters, you can use ĉ ŝ, but the problem with that is that Esperanto lacks ẑ. Other solutions are to be avoided. For example, ch sh zh has the disadvantage that West Slavs would understand ch as h [x], while c^ s^ z^ would be considered ugly by most people.The soft vowels Ď Ľ Ň Ř Ť
The easiest way of simplifying these is simply removing the haček (which in many fonts look like an apostrophe in f.ex. ľ), which gives d l n r t. This is a perfectly acceptable form of simplification, but it decreases understandability for West and East Slavs. It can be applied easily on ď ť ř, much less so in the case of ľ ň, because these two phonemes are almost universal in Slavic. Therefore, please consider a few guidelines:
To illustrate the above, here are a few examples (in order of preferability):
Serbians and Macedonians are probably not able to write the soft sign ь on their own keyboard. The best alternative is to substitute ль нь with љ њ. Simply removing ь is acceptable, but it has the same disadvantage as removing the haček from ľ ň. For the remaining cases (дь рь ть) we suggest the following (taking ть as an example again):
On the other hand, Russian, Ukrainians, Belarussians and Bulgarians do not have ј. The logical substitute here is й (syllable-initially/finally) or ь (after a consonant). However, that is not the end of the story, because Cyrillic is not very supportive of sequences where these are followed by a vowel. Instead, in most cases digraphs are used:
All this is demonstated in the following table:
|Vowel (syllable-initially)||(V)V||a u o e i||а у о е и||а у о е и||а у о э и||а у о е и||а у о е и|
|Vowel (after a consonant)||CV||a u o e i/y||а у о е и/ы||а у о е и/ы|
|J (syllable-initially)||(V)jV||ja ju jo je ji||ја ју јо је ји||ја ју јо је ји||я ю йо е и||я ю йо є ї||я ю йо (й)е и|
|J (after a consonant)||CjV||я ю ьо (ь)е и||я ю ьо (ь)е и||я ю ьо (ь)е и|
This character, non-existent in South Slavic and Ukrainian, is not mandatory in Slovianski. Those who do not have these characters on their keyboard, as well as those who are targeting a predominantly South Slavic audience, are advised to use i / и instead.Naučny Medžuslovjanski
Most other characters from Naučny Medžuslovjanski can't easily be transliterated into Cyrillic without resorting to antique (ѣ ѧ ѫ) or otherwise uncommon (ѝ ә ԃ) characters and without resorting to diacritics (something Cyrillic tolerates a lot worse than Latin). Do not try to rework them into Cyrillic. Of course, a Cyrillic version of Naučny Medžuslovjanski is possible, but not without sacrificing the idea that simplification can be achieved by removing diacritics. Instead, such an orthography would have to contain lots of archaic characters, which would hardly make the result more understandable for anybody. Therefore, before transliterating characters like á ć ě ė ę è ò ų etc. into Cyrillic, one should first remove the diacritics. The only possible exceptions here are ś ź (сь зь).Guidelines
As can be seen from the above, there are many possibilities for writing the same word. Each of those can be used. The general guideline is: as long as it is understandable, it is okay. However, a few things in particular are to be avoided:
The Slovianski Transliterator makes it possible to transliterate between several versions.
The pronunciation rules for natlangs are determined by their native speakers. Slovianski's purpose is not to serve as some kind of standard language or Dachsprache for Slavs, but still, it is intended to be equally "native" for all Slavs, and for that reason any Slavic pronunciation of it cannot be considered wrong. As a result, pronunciation in Slovianski is fairly free. That is to say, Slovianski pronounced "the Russian way" is by no means better or worse than Slovianski pronounced the Polish or the Serbian way. Any recommended pronunciation is not more than an approximation. That does not mean, however, that Slovianski cannot have an "ideal" pronunciation for every phoneme. The closest approximation is provided by Naučny Medžuslovjanski. For example, the vowel in TorT sequences affected by liquid metathesis is represented by å as in kråva. Because this vowel becomes o in Polish, Sorbian and East Slavic (krova, korova), and a in Czech, Slovak and South Slavic (krava), the best pronunciation would be somewhere in between: [ɒ]. The same goes for Proto-Slavic ę, which usually becomes [jɛ̃] or [jɔ̃] in Polish, [jɛ] in Czech, [ja] in East Slavic and [ɛ] in South Slavic. If we take the most "average" pronunciation, we end up with something like [jæ]. In traditional Slovianski, many of these phonemes merge, and we also have to take this into account when dealing with pronunciation.
The consonants p, t, k, b, d, f, s, z, m, n and r are pronounced identically in all Slavic languages. They all match their corresponding IPA value. Speakers of languages like English and German should be aware that any type of aspiration (as in the word "posh") must be avoided. Also c [ʦ] and h [x] have a unitary pronunciation.
In the case of other consonants, pronunciation tends to be more variable, depending on the nationality of the speaker:
g [g] ~ [ɦ]
v [v] ~ [ʋ]
š [ʃ] ~ [ʂ]
ž [ʒ] ~ [ʐ]
č [ʧ] ~ [tʂ]
l [l] ~ [ɫ] ("thick" l)
Even larger discrepancies happen in the case of the softened consonants. They can be realised either by having a hard consonant followed by a j-like sound, by softening or by palatalising it. In a more simplified form of Slovianski the soft vowels ť ď ř can be also pronounced hard (ň ľ much less so), especially at the end of syllables.
ň [nj] ~ [nʲ] ~ [ɲ]
ľ [lj] ~ [lʲ] ~ [ʎ]
ť [tj] ~ [tʲ] ~ [c] ~ [t]
ď [dj] ~ [dʲ] ~ [ɟ] ~ [d]
ř [rj] ~ [rʲ] ~ [r̝] (raised alveolar trill) ~ [r]
The same liberal approach goes for devoicing voiced consonants at the end of a word, or voicing unvoiced consonants before voiced consonants. Anybody can use the pronunciation he feels most comfortable with. Thus, Bog [bɔk] and prosba [prɔzbɑ] are both correct. However, it deserves recommendation to follow a pronunciation that is as close as possible to how it is written.
As for the vowels, there tends to be some variation on the scale of open/closed and front/back. Only u is always [u].
a [ɑ] ~ [a]
e [ɛ] ~ [e]
i [i] ~ [ɪ]
y [i] ~ [ɨ]
o [ɔ] ~ [o]
To avoid fuzziness, forms of akanje (pronouncing unstressed vowels as [ɑ] or [ə]) should be avoided.
Of particular interest is the pronunciation of e, because it incorporates several different phonemes present in Naučny Medžuslovjanski. Following majority rule, e and é should be pronounced as a hard [ɛ], ě as [ʲɛ] (softening the preceding consonant), ę as [ʲæ], and è as [ə] or [ʲə]. The truth is, however, that in many languages these sounds merge: in Russian and Polish, they all soften or palatalise their preceding consonant, in Slovene, Serbian and standard Bulgarian they usually don't. In any more simplified form of Slovianski they merge as well (making Slovianski essentially an ekavian language) into something that can both be pronounced [ʲɛ] or [ɛ]. What goes for e goes for i as well: it may cause a softening of the preceding consonant, but this pronunciation is not mandatory.
When a consonant is followed by j, this causes some kind of "double softening" in the form of soft consonant + j. In general, it is recommended to make an audible distinction between f.ex. te [tɛ], [tʲɛ], [cɛ], [tjɛ] and tje [tʲɛ], [tjɛ], [tʲjɛ], [cjɛ]. Note that softening/palatalisation occurs only after t d n r l, possibly also after s z. After other consonants, it is better to produce a clearly audible j: slovjanski [sɫɔvjanski].
One last remark. When it comes to speaking, one has always to remember that communication is not just a matter of language. The non-verbal part is equally important. When you use Slovianski in a conversation, always make sure that the person you are talking to actually understands you. Speak slowly, keep eye-contact, articulate well, and always be a good listener.
Accentuation is free. However, if you want to stay on the safe side, it would deserve recommendation to follow as guidelines:
Inflection is kept as regular as possible. Yet, the following rule should be applied to achieve maximum naturality:
After a soft consonant (j, č, š, ž, ť, ď, ň, ř, ľ), as well as after c:
– in endings beginning with y, this vowel is replaced with i
– in endings beginning with o, this vowel is replaced with e
Thus, while the basic adjectival and pronominal endings are -y, -ogo, -ym, -om etc., some adjectives and pronouns have -i, -ego, -im, -em instead. Likewise, compare žen-y with zemj-i, okn-o with moř-e, grod-ov with kraj-ev, and so on.
The y/i rule should be applied after k, g and h as well: legk-y, drug-y and suh-y become legk-i, drug-i and suh-i. This does not necessarily mean that the preceding velar consonant is softened.
The Slavic languages differ as to the degree in which the o/e rule is applied. For example, in Russian soft consonant + o sequences are a rarity, while Polish has only some lexicalised remnants of the rule (f.ex. królewski, but: królowa). In Slovianski, it is recommended to apply the o/e rule in case endings, although svežo/svežogo, s mužom or dňov cannot be considered incorrect either. Suffixes are better left intact, for reasons of transparency: svežosť, nočovati.
The y/i rule, on the other hand, applies in all possible situations. It is the only additional rule that should be learned when applying the orthography of Naučny Medžuslovjanskí on Slovianski grammar. When applying it, one should follow these two guidelines:
- y can never follow a soft consonant
- any consonant preceding i (except k, g, h) is soft by definition; therefore we write ti, li, ri, si etc. instead of ťi, ľi, ři, śi.
As in all natural Slavic languages, nouns in Slovianski have three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, neuter) and two numbers (singular, plural). All Slavic languages, except Bulgarian and Macedonian, have six or seven cases. These cases are fairly consistent with one another. Therefore, Slovianski has six cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, instrumental, locative. Some Slavic languages also have a vocative, which, if desired can also be used in Slovianski. Because the vocative is not a real case, it will be treated separately.
A simplified form of Slovianski, Slovianski-P, has no declension at all, and replaces all grammatical cases by means of prepositions or word order.
Long and complicated paradigms are to be avoided, but we cannot escape distinguishing between a few different word classes.
These are the basic endings in Slovianski. The forms between brackets are used after soft stems (in most cases, this is a matter of applying the o/e and y/i rules):
1 When a masculine noun is inanimate, the accusative has the same form as the nominative; when it is animate, the genitive is used instead.
2 In words with the ending -ija, it deserves recommendation to shorten the ending to -u: s Srbiju instead of s Srbijeju.
Below follow a few examples of each declension:
One declension will do here. After a soft vowel, the endings -om and -ov are preferably changed to -em/-ev. For animals and male persons the accusative is identical to the genitive, while in the case of inanimate objects the accusative is identical to the nominative. Three examples: dom „house”, pes „dog”, muž „man”.
|Nom||dom, pes, muž||domy, psy, muži|
|Acc||dom, psa, muža||domy, psov, mužev|
|Gen||doma, psa, muža||domov, psov, mužev|
|Dat||domu, psu, mužu||domam, psam, mužam|
|Ins||domom, psom, mužem||domami, psami, mužami|
|Loc||dome, pse, mužu||domah, psah, mužah|
Neuter nouns end in -o (-e after a soft consonant), but this difference does hardly affect declension. Declension is always regular; it includes the ancient Slavic -mę/-men- and -tę/-tęt- declensions (regularised into -meno and -tetko). The nominative and instrumental singular are affected by the o/e and y/i rules. Also, when the noun ends in -e, use -u in the locative singular instead of -e. Again, three examples: slovo „word”, imeno „name”, and moře „sea”.
|Nom||slovo, imeno, moře||slova, imena, mořa|
|Gen||slova, imena, mořa||slov, imen, moř|
|Dat||slovu, imenu, mořu||slovam, imenam, mořam|
|Ins||slovom, imenom, mořem||slovami, imenami, mořami|
|Loc||slove, imene, mořu||slovah, imenah, mořah|
Here we can't avoid introducing two different declensions: one for words on -a, one for words ending in a soft consonant. Note that the declensions of nouns on -a and nouns on -ja are identical, except that the latter are affected by the o/e and y/i rules. Besides, nouns with a soft stem have -i instead of -e in the dative and locative singular. Examples: žena „woman”, zemja „earth”, jednosť „unit(y)”.
|Nom||žena, zemja, jednosť||ženy, zemji, jednosti|
|Acc||ženu, zemju, jednosť|
|Gen||ženy, zemji, jednosti||žen, zem(ej), jednosti|
|Dat||žene, zemji, jednosti||ženam, zemjam, jednosťam|
|Ins||ženoju, zemjeju, jednostju||ženami, zemjami, jednosťami|
|Loc||žene, zemji, jednosti||ženah, zemjah, jednosťah|
Although we have done our very best to avoid any kind of irregularity in Slovianski, in a few cases it cannot be avoided without defying naturalism. The following nouns have an irregular plural (in all four cases declined as a feminine noun of the jednosť type):
Regular plurals (človeki, oka etc.) can be used as well, but they sound very strange to the Slavic ear, even though they will be understood anyway.
The word dete is irregular in another respect as well: it is inflected as if the nominative singular were *deteto, thus: gen. deteta, dat. detetu, etc.
Apart from the six regular cases, some Slavic languages also have a vocative, used for addressing a person or object directly. Although it is often listed as one, the vocative is not a real case, and it behaves significantly different from other cases: it does not have a plural, it never affects neuter nouns, adjectives or pronouns, and it has nothing to do with the syntactic structure of the sentence.
Several Slavic languages have no vocative at all or preserved only some fossilised remnants of it. This goes for Russian, Belarussian, Slovak, Lower Sorbian, Slovene and Polabian. Some other languages do have vocatives, but show an increasing tendency towards replacing it with the nominative (Cashubian, Macedonian, Bulgarian). In Upper Sorbian the vocative is used only for masculine words. The only languages where the vocative is really in full use are Ukrainian, Polish, Czech and Serbo-Croatian.
For this reason, the nominative can always be used instead of the vocative in Slovianski. However, if you prefer to use a real vocative anyway, then the following forms are recommended:
Adjectives match with the noun they modify in gender, case and number. Declension is always regular, but heavily affected by the o/e and y/i rules. The basic endings (applying not only to adjectives, but also to possessive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns and the like) are:
|Acc||-y / -ogo1||-u||-e / -yh1|
1 Just like in the case of nouns, the accusative has the same form as the nominative when the corresponding noun is masculine and inanimate, and the same form as the genitive when the corresponding noun is masculine and animate.
Here follow an example of a hard and an example of a soft adjective (in the case of masculine words, it is assumed that the subject is inanimate): dobry „good” and sveži „fresh”.
Adverbs can be derived from adjectives by using the ending -o (-e after a soft consonant). In other words, they are similar to the neuter form: dobro „well”, svěže „freshly”.
Comparatives and superlatives can be made in two ways: a simple form and a more complex form. The simple form uses the words više- (more), mene- (less), naj- (most) and najmene- (least), preceding the adjective and preferably connected to it with a hyphen. The complex form replaces the ending -y/-i with -ejši for the comparative, which in turn can be turned into a superlative by adding the prefix naj-.
When changed into an adverb, instead of *-ejše we simply use -ej.
There is also another superlative with the prefix pre-, meaning „very” or „too”. An adjective can be turned into the opposite by the prefix ne-.
Here is again the word dobri as an example:
Personal pronouns have the same six cases as the nouns. Because even the Slavic languages that got rid of most declension kept dative and accussative forms of personal pronouns besides the nominative ones, Slovianski-P has got them, too.
|1st person||2nd person||3rd person||1st person||2nd person||3rd person|
|Acc||mene (me)||tebe (te)||jego||ju||nas||vas||ih|
|Dat||mne (mi)||tobe (ti)||jemu||jej||nam||vam||im|
And a few notes regarding usage:
The reflexive pronoun is sebe. It is inflected like ty, tebe, ..., the only difference being that it does not have a nominative.
There is also a shorter form, almost always used in reflexive verbs: se. For example: „Ja myju se” „I'm washing myself”.
The reflexive pronoun can also be used as a reciprocal pronoun: „Oni bijut se” can mean „They are hitting themselves”, but would rather have the meaning: „They are hitting each other”. To be more explicit about the meaning „each other”, you can add the formula jedin drugogo: „Oni bijut se jedin drugogo”.
The possessive pronouns are inflected like adjectives, except for the zero ending in the masculine singular. The forms are:
In the third person, it is most common to use the genitive of the corresponding personal pronoun: jego, jej, ih. These forms are not inflected. Alternatively, one can also use the following forms, which are declined like adjectives:
Whenever the possessor is also the subject of the sentence, the reflexive svoj is used, no matter whether this subject is in the third person or not: Ja myju svoje avto „I am washing my car”.
There are also interrogative, definite and indefinite possessive pronouns: čij „whose”, ničij „nobody's”, etc. They are inflected like moj. For more forms, see section 4.3.7.
Just like adjectives, possessive pronouns correspond with the noun they modify in gender, number and case. Here is an example of their declension:
|Nom||moj, naš||moje, naše||moja, naša||moje, naše|
|Gen||mojego, našego||mojej, našej||mojih, naših|
|Dat||mojemu, našemu||mojej, našej||mojim, našim|
|Ins||mojim, našim||mojeju, našeju||mojimi, našimi|
|Loc||mojem, našem||mojej, našej||mojih, naših|
The primary demonstrative pronoun in Slovianski is toj „this, that”. When it is necessary to distinguish between this one over here and that one over there, we have two options: either we use sej for „this” and toj for „that, yonder”, or we use tu-toj „this” and tam-toj „that, yonder”. Except for the nominative, sej, toj, tu-toj, and tam-toj are declined like adjectives.
The relative pronouns are kotory and koji. Their meanings are identical and they can be used interchangably. Both are declined like an ordinary adjective.
The basic forms are kto „who” and čo (or što) „what”. Derived from these are also several indefinite pronouns, e.g. nekto „somebody”, kto-buď „anybody”, ničo „nothing”, vsečo „everything”. For more forms, see section 4.3.7. They are inflected as follows:
One of Zamenhof's best inventions was his table of correlatives, a group of interrelated pronouns, adverbs and adjectives. There words have been kept as regular as possible in Slovianski, but not at the expense of recognisability for speakers of Slavic languages. A few virtually impossible words have been left out, and a few other regular forms have been replaced by forms that are common in the natural languages.
|what kind of?||kaki3||taki||nekaki3||kaki-buď3||nikaki3||vsekaki3||inokaki3|
1 In all cases when kotory appears, koji can be used interchangeably.
2 In all cases when čo appears, što can be used interchangeably.
3 In all cases when kak or kaki appears, jak/jaki can be used interchangeably.
4 In all cases when kogda or -gda appears, kogdy (-gdy) can be used interchangeably.
In the table above, adverbs are in black , adjectives in blue , demonstrative and possessive pronouns in green , interrogative and indefinite pronouns in red . Irregular forms (i.e. not looking the way they should according to the table) are in italics.
The cardinal numbers are:
|jedin (jedna, jedno)|
Combinations of these are always made from high to low: tri-tyseč četyristo peťdeseť šesť „3,456”.
Just like ordinary adjectives, ordinal numbers match with the noun they modify in gender, case and number. As a rule, they are formed by hardening the last consonant of the corresponding cardinal number and adding the ending -ý (f.ex. pęť > pętý). Except for the following:
1st — prvy
2nd — drugi
3rd — treti
4rd — četvrty
100th — sotny or stoty
1000th — tysečny
When a higher number forms a string, only the last member is modified to create an ordinal number: v tyseč deveťsto osmdeseť četvrtom gode „in the year 1984”.
Verbal conjugation is one of the nightmares of people learning a Slavic language. Verbs are conjugated for three persons in two (sometimes three) numbers, sometimes also for gender as well. Dependent on the language there are numerous tenses, moods, participles and other forms. Perhaps the hardest thing to get used to is aspect: most verbs exist in two different forms („aspects”), perfective and imperfective. Most perfective verbs have an imperfective counterpart and vice versa. Usually, they need to be learned separately. In addition to that, verbs are conjugated according to numerous classes.
In Slovianski, verbal conjugation is simplified to the highest possible extent, but without sacrificing naturalism. As a result:
In Slovianski, infinitives always have the ending -ti. The infinitive stem is created by simply removing this ending. The result serves as a starting point for the infinitive, the past tense, the conditional, the past passive participle, and the verbal noun.
For most verbs goes that the present tense stem (used for the present tense, the imperative and the present active participle) can be derived regularly from the infinitive, so that the infinitive is enough to establish the entire conjugation of a verb. Usually, the present tense stem it is identical to the infinitive stem: it can be derived by simply removing the ending -ti from the infinitive: delati > dela-, prositi > prosi-, nesti > nes-. There are, however, a few exceptions:
In these cases conjugation is simply a matter of regularly establishing the present tense stem and adding the correct endings to it. A number of verbs, however, use a separate root in the present tense. In most cases, these are verbs of the mixed a/j, a/i and ě/i classes in Slavic. An active user of Slovianski will have to learn both forms. He will notice, however, that in most cases the formation of this second root happens in a predictable way. Whenever the present-tense stem cannot be derived from the infinitive by applying the rules above, it will be given in the dictionary. A few examples: pisati (piš-) „to write”, plakati (plač-) „to cry, weep”, hoteti (hoč-) „to want”, spati (spi-) „to sleep”, videti (vidi-) „to see”, zvati (zov-) „to call”, brati (ber-) „to take (impf.)”, vzeti (vozm-) „to take (pf.)”.
This system gives a fairly accurate approximation of verbal conjugation in the Slavic languages. We are of course aware that it will still generate a few forms that may come across as unnatural and that it is, on the other hand, a lot more complicated than in a language with a fully regular grammar like Esperanto. However, any further simplification would be impossible without creating a greater distance to the natural Slavic languages, and any further naturalisation could not be achieved without subdividing verbs into classes and the like.
All infinitives have the ending -ti: delati „do, make”, umeti „can, to be able”, prositi „to ask”, nesti „to carry”, pisati „to write”, čuti „to feel”, dekovati „to thank”, tegnuti „to pull”.
In general, infinitives regular, so that the ending -ti does not alter the infinitive stem. As a result, Slovianski has mogti „can”, pekti „to bake”, begti „to run” etc. instead of moči, peči and beči. The only exceptions are verbs on d and t, which have infinitives on -sti: klasti „to lay, to put”, pasti „to fall”, gnesti „to crush” etc. To distinguish these verbs from nesti and the like, they are represented in the dictionary as follows: klasti (klad-ti), gnesti (gnet-ti).
The present-tense endings are:
|present-tense root||on a vowel||on a consonant|
Explanation of our choice for the forms:
The past tense in formed by adding the ending -l (masculine singular), -la (feminine singular), -lo (neuter singular), -li (plural) to the infinitive stem. Examples:
One verb has an irregular past tense: the verb idti „to go” has šel, šla, šlo, šli „went”. This goes for its compounds as well.
These forms may be accompanied by a form of the verb byti „to be”, but it may as well be omitted: ja jesm delal "I did" means exactly the same thing as ja delal.
The future tense is formed by combining the future tense of the verb byti „to be” with the infinitive. The forms are the same as if a verb with the stem bud- were conjugated in the present tense.
|delati||ja budu delati, ty budeš delati, on/ona/ono bude delati, my budemo delati, vy budete delati, oni budut delati|
|umeti||ja budu umeti, ty budeš umeti, ...|
Instead of the infinitive, one might also encounter the same form that is also used in the past tense (actually a participle): ja budu delal.
Using the present tense of a perfective verb for the future is to be avoided: this can easily be misunderstood by South Slavs.
The conditional is formed by adding the particle by to the past tense: ja by delal(a) „I would do/I would have done”.
If really needed, a past conditional can be formed by inserting the paste tense of the verb „to be” into the normal conditional form:
The imperative has forms for the 2nd person singular, the 1st person plural and the 2nd person plural: delaj „do!” (to one person), delajmo „let's do!”, delajte „do!” (to more persons). The imperative can always be recognised by the letter -j, added to the present tense stem. If the stem already ends in -j, it is not added again. If the stem ends in another consonant, -i- is inserted. Examples:
|present tense stem||dela-||ume-||prosi-||nes-||piš-||čuj-||dekuj-||tegn-|
There are two participles: the present active participle and the past passive participle.
|present-tense root||on a vowel||on a consonant|
The passive voice is created as in English, by combinating a form of the verb byti „to be” with the past passive participle:
Now, a sentence like: „Pica je delana” „Pizza is being made” is grammatically completely correct. It is, however, recommended to avoid such constructions because they sound clumsy to those Slavs who are not accustomed to using the verb „to be” very often, especially in the present tense. Besides, while this construction is perfectly natural for part of the Slavic speakers, for others the past passive participle cannot be used for a present-tense construction. Therefore, if the subject is known, it is better to utilise a normal active sentence. And if the subject isn't known, as in the case of our pizza, it is possible to use third person plural form without the subject: „Delajut picu” „They make pizza, one makes pizza, pizza is being made”. Even more common is a reflexive construction: Pica dela se, which literally means „Pizza is making itself” and should be translated as „One makes pizza, pizza is being made”.
Slovianski has only one irregular verb: byti „to be”. It is conjugated as follows:
|1sg||jesm||byl, byla, bylo||budu|
|infinitive||byti||present active participle||suč(i), jesuč(i)||verbal noun||bytje|
|future active participle||buduč(i)|
Words are created in accordance with the living Slavic languages, and when they are not in agreement with each other, we basically follow the majority. However, merely counting „votes” does not always give the desired result. To avoid inconsistencies, we have to assume that words using the same root always use that root in the same form. Besides, since all Slavic languages derive their forms from Common Slavic in a fairly predictable way, it would be helpful if Slovianski follows a model for simple derivation from Common Slavic as well (although Slovianski is by no means intended to be directly based on it). This will make the language easier to recognise for everybody, if he knows how a given sound in his own language is represented in Slovianski – something he will learn very quickly and automatically while reading a few texts.
|y||ESl., WSl. y, SSl. i||y||byti, syr|
|ě||RU/BE je, UK i, PL ie/ia, CZ i/ě, SK ie, HR ije/je, SL/SR/MK e, BG ja/e||e||bely, svet|
|ę||ESl. ja, PL ią/ię, CZ ě, SK ä/ia, SSl. e||e||jezyk, svety|
|ǫ||PL ą/ę, SL o, MK a, BG ъ/a, otherwise u||u||puť, ruka|
|initial ǫ-||RU/CZ/SK u-, PL wą-, SB wu-; other languages tend to be less consequent||vu-||vutroby|
|ESl. -oro-/-olo-, PL -ro-/-ło-, SSl., CZ/SK -ra-/-la-||-ra-
|ESl. -ere-/-olo-, PL -rze-/-le-, SSl., CZ/SK -ra-/-la-||-re-
|syllabic r||ESl. -or-, PL -ar-, BG -ъr-, otherwise -r-||-r-||trg, brzo, grlo, krčma|
|syllabic ŕ||ESl. -er-, PL -ar-/-ierz-, BG -ъr-, otherwise -r-||-r-||brloga, držati, mrkati, mrtvy, prvy, srp, vrba, vrh|
|syllabic l||RU/SL/MK -ol-, BE/UK -ou-, PL -oł-/-łu-/-eł, CZ/SK -l-, BCMS -u-, BG -ъl-||-ol-||dolg, kolbasa, molva, polk, solnce, stolp, holm|
|syllabic ĺ||RU/SL/MK -ol-, BE/UK -ou-, PL -oł-/-łu-/-eł/-il-, CZ/SK -l-, BCMS -u-, BG -ъl-||-ol-||žolč, čoln, polny, tolsty, volk, žolty|
|tj, kt||ESl., SL č, WSl. c, BCMS ć, MK kj, BG št||č||sveča „candle”, noč „night”|
|dj, gd||ESl. ž, PL dz, CZ/SK z, SL d/j, BCMS đ, MK gj, BG žd||dž||medžu „between”|
|tl, dl||ESl., SSl. l, WSl. tl/dl||l||moliti, selo|
|g||UK/BY/CZ/SK h, otherwise g||g||glava|
|šč||CZ/SK, SSl. št, otherwise šč||šč||ščetka|
Words derived from Latin or other Western languages should have predictable forms as well:
Otče naš, koji jesi v nebah,
Отче наш, који јеси в небах,