Oproščena gramatika

«Slovianto»

Slovianto is a highly simplified form of Interslavic, mostly intended for non-Slavic people to express themselves at a very basic level, for example when visiting multiple Slavic countries or maintaining contact with Slavs via the Internet. It could also be an attractive solution for auxlang enthousiasts, who care much about simplicity. It consists only the most basic Slavic material. Grammatical gender does not play a role, and inflection of nouns, pronouns, adjectives and verbs remains limited to a bare minimum. Unnecessary forms, like vocatives, present participles and the like, are not used at all.

Still, Slovianto does not contain any forms that are unfamiliar to Slavs, and every form can also be found in more complex versions of Interslavic. The difference is that Slovianto is aimed at maximal simplicity, and therefore it follows a simple, primitive, pidginesque grammar model that is characterised by regularity, minimalism and the absence of anything that is not really needed on the most basic level of communication. It has been constructed in such way that it does not look or sound too awkward to Slavic speakers, but rather like the kind of language used by children.

Slovianto can be useful for the following purposes:

There is no need for a separate Slovianto dictionary: it uses the Interslavic dictionary, with the only difference that "funny characters", gender information and endings can be disregarded.

The working title Slovianto is a portmanteau word for „Slavic Esperanto” – or „esperantized Slovianski”, if you like. This name, albeit somewhat tongue-in-cheek, refers to the simplicity of Slovianto: it has no gender, no cases, no aspect, little conjugation and no irregularity. Yet, that is where the similarity to Esperanto ends, because Slovianto's means of simplification are in fact far more similar to those used by Interlingua.

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Phonology, orthography and pronunciation

Phonology and orthography are identical to those of Slovianski, but most of the diacritics that convey precise information about etymology and pronunciation are omitted. This places Slovianto at the lower end of the scale that has Naučny Medžuslovjanski as its other extreme. If you find characters like ě, ų or ť in the dictionary, just ignore the marks and read them as e, u and t. Likewise, read every occurrence of y as i. The only characters that keep their diacritics in Latin orthography are š, ž and č.

Because many phonemes are merged, pronunciation is fairly free and more like an approximation. For example, e and i can be pronounced [ɛ], [e], [jɛ], [ʲɛ], and [ɪ], [i], [ɨ], [jɪ], [ʲi] etc. respectively, dependent on what the speaker feels most comfortable with. Likewise, Slovianto does not distinguish between hard and soft consonants, as for many non-Slavs, the difference between l and ľ or between t and ť is too subtle anyway. Thus, NMS měřeňje is simply written merenje and pronounced as anything between [mɛrɛnjə] and [mjɛrʲeɲjɛ].

Slovianto uses both the Latin alphabet and the Cyrillic alphabet. Because it is required that Slovianto can be written on any keyboard, some letters have multiple variants:

Latin A B C Č
CZ
CX
D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S Š
SZ
SX
T U V Z Ž
ZS
ZX
Ż
Cyrillic А Б Ц Ч Д Е Ф Г Х И Ј
Й
К Л М Н О П Р С Ш Т У В З Ж
Pronunciation [ɑ]
[a]
[b] [ʦ] [ʧ] [d] [ɛ]
[ʲɛ]
[f] [g]
[ɦ]
[x] [ɪ]
[i]
[ɨ]
[j] [k] [l] [m] [n] [o]
[ɔ]
[p] [r] [s] [ʂ]
[ʃ]
[t] [u] [v]
[ʋ]
[z] [ʐ]
[ʒ]

Accentuation is free as well. However, if you want to stay on the safe side, it would deserve recommendation to follow as guidelines: when a word has two syllables, stress falls on the first syllable; when a word has three syllables, stress falls on the first or second syllable; when a word has four syllables, stress falls on the second or third syllable. Stress should not be affected by inflection; if the singular is glávnik, the plural is glávniki.

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Nouns

Nouns can have the endings (= consonant), -a, -o and -e. In the Slavic languages they convey information about gender and declension, but in Slovianto gender doesn't play a role. All you need to know is that the plural is formed by replacing the final vowel by -i: muž - muži "man", žena - ženi "woman", jednost - jednosti "unit(y)", slovo - slovi "word". To make it feel a bit more natural, nouns on -o/-e (neuter nouns in Slavic) can have the plural -a instead of -i: slovo - slova.

When a word ends in a consonant, it can happen that the vowel preceding it dropped in the plural: pes - psi "dog", spisok - spiski "list". This is of course not mandatory.

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Adjectives

Adjectives always have the ending -i. They are not inflected and should be placed before the noun.

An adjective can be made into an adverb by substituting -i with the ending -o: dobri "good" - dobro "well".

Adjectives are compared by means of the words više (more), menje (less), naj- (most) and najmenje (least). These words can best be connected to the adjective with a hyphen: dobri "good" - više-dobri "better" - naj-dobri "best", etc.

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Pronouns

Personal pronouns

Unlike nouns, personal pronouns in Slovianto distinguish between the nominative (subject of the sentence) and the accusative (object). They are displayed in the following table:

Singular Plural Reflexive
1st person2nd person3rd person
masc.
3rd person
neut.
3rd person
fem.
1st person2nd person3rd personall persons
Nom. ja "I" ti "you, thou" on "he" ono "it" ona "she" mi "we" vi "you" oni "they"
Acc. mene "me" tebe "you, thee" jego "him, it" ju "her" nas "us" vas "you" ih "them" sebe (se) "myself, yourself etc."

Notes:

Possessive pronouns

The possessive pronouns are: moj „my”, tvoj „your, thy”, jego ”his, its”, jej „her”, naš „our”, vaš „your (pl.)”, ih „their”. If the possessor is also the subject of the sentence, the reflexive svoj „one's own” is used for all persons. There are also interrogative and indefinite possessive pronouns: čij „whose”, ničij „nobody's” nečij „somebody's”, čij-nebud „anybody's”, vsečij „everybody's”, inočij „somebody else's”.

Like adjectives, possessive pronouns are never inflected.

Demonstrative pronouns

The demonstrative pronoun is to „this, that”. Whenever it is necessary to make a distinction between here and there, we have it preceded by tu- „here” or tam- „there”: tu-to „this, these”, tam-to „that, those”. It can also be used independently: to jest kniga „this is a book”.

Relative pronouns

In a simplified language, it is better to avoid subordinate clauses. But if you need a relative pronoun anyway, use either koj or kotori.

Interrogative and indefinite pronouns

There are two basic pronouns: kto „who” and čto (or što, čo) „what”. Just like personal pronouns, kto has an accusative kogo for the direct object. Derived from these are also several indefinite pronouns, e.g. nekto „somebody”, kto-nebud „anybody”, ničto „nothing”, vsečto „everything” (see the following section).

Pronominal adverbs

Every language has a special category of interrelated pronouns, adverbs and adjectives, the so-called correlatives. These words are related to each other in a fairly regular way. In the table below, adverbs are in  black , adjectives in  blue  and pronouns in  red . Irregular forms (i.e. not looking the way they should according to the table) are in italics.

question here there some any no every else
which? kotori (tu-)to (tam-)to nekotori kotori-nebud nijedin vsaki ini
who? kto nekto kto-nebud nikto vsekto inokto
what? čto nečto čto-nebud ničto vsečto inočto
how much? koliko toliko nekoliko koliko-nebud
whose? čij nečij čij-nebud ničij vsečij inočij
what kind of? kaki taki nekaki kaki-nebud nikaki vsekaki inokaki
how? kako tako nekako kako-nebud nikako vsekako inokako
where? gde tu tam negde gde-nebud nigde vsegde inogde
when? kogda sejčas togda ne(ko)gda kogda-nebud ni(ko)gda vse(ko)gda ino(ko)gda
whither? kudi tudi nekudi kudi-nebud nikudi vsekudi inokudi
whence? odkudi odtudi odnekudi odkudi-nebud odnikudi odvsekudi odinokudi
why? (reason) čemu tomu nečemu čemu-nebud ničemu
why? (purpose) za čto za to za nečto za čto-nebud za ničto

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Numerals

The cardinal numbers are:

Ordinal numbers are formed by adding -i to the corresponding cardinal number, except for the following: prvi "1st", drugi "2nd", treti "3rd", četvrti "4th", sotni or stoti "100th", tisečni "1000th".

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Verbs

Verbs in Slovianto are conjugated for three persons, but not for number. There are three tenses: present tense, past tense and future tense. Furthermore, there are participles, imperatives and verbal nouns. Aspect does not play a role; from the dictionary we take the simplest form (usually the perfective form when a verb has a prefix and the imperfective form when it does not).

There is only one regular conjugation. Irregularity is allowed only when it really cannot be avoided. Endings are unitary, so that every form will be instantly recognisable.

Stem

The stem is formed by removing the ending -ti from the infinitive.

Present tense

infinitive dela-ti prosi-ti nes-ti
ja dela-m prosi-m nes-em
ti dela-š prosi-š nes-eš
on/ona/ono dela prosi nes-e
mi dela-mo prosi-mo nes-emo
vi dela-te prosi-te nes-ete
oni dela-jut prosi-jut nes-ut

The present tense can be obtained by using the ending -t to the stem. If the present tense stem ends in a consonant, -e- is inserted between the stem and the ending. For example: ja delat "I do", vi prosit "you ask", oni neset "they carry".

To the Slavic ear, however, this sounds clumsy. To prevent that from happening, it would be worth the effort to learn a few personal endings as well: instead of the ending -t mentioned above, these endings are: -m, , (no ending) in the first, second and third person singular, and -mo, -te, -jut in the first, second and third person plural. Instead of -jut, use -ut when the stem ends in a consonant. See the table to the right for some examples.

The ending with the personal pronoun ti should be used only for family, friends, children etc.

Past tense

infinitive dela-ti prosi-ti nes-ti
ja, ti, on/ona/ono dela-l prosi-l nes-l
mi, vi, oni dela-li prosi-li nes-li

The past tense in formed by replacing the -ti of the infinitive by the ending -l (singular) or -li (plural).


Future tense

The future tense is formed by combining the future tense of the verb biti „to be” with the infinitive. The forms are the same as if a verb *bud-ti were conjugated in the present tense: ja budem delati, ti budeš delati, on bude delati, etc.

Conditional

The conditional is formed by adding the particle bi to the past tense: ja bi delal „I would do/I would have done”.

Imperative

infinitive dela-ti prosi-ti nes-ti
2nd ("Do!") dela-jte prosi-jte nes-ite
1st ("Let's do!") dela-jmo prosi-jmo nes-imo

The imperative has the ending -jte after a vowel and -ite after a consonant. There is also an imperative of the first person, meaning "Let's do something".


Participle

infinitive dela-ti prosi-ti nes-ti
past passive dela-ni prosi-e-ni nes-e-ni

The past passive participle is created by adding -ni to the infinitive stem: dela-ni "done". If the stem ends in -i- or a consonant, then add -e- between the stem and the ending: govori-eni "spoken".

The passive voice

The passive voice is created as in English, by combining a form of the verb biti „to be” with the past passive participle:

present past future imperative
ja jesm bil budem
ti jesi budeš bud(te)
on/ona/ono jest bude
mi jesmo bili budemo budmo
vi jeste budete budte
oni (je)sut budut

The verb biti „to be”

The only irregular verb in Slovianto is biti "to be". It is conjugated as follows:

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Syntax

The preferred word order is subject – verb – object. It isn't mandatory, but because of the lack of cases in Slovianto any other word order might easily make a sentence unclear or ambiguous. Word order can be altered more easily when the subject or object of the sentence is a personal pronoun or a pronoun like kto, because they have separate accusative forms, so the meaning is always clear.

There are two types of questions:

The easiest way for expressing possession (expressed by most natural Slavic languages with the genitive) is simply placing the possessor before the possessed: moj otec kniga "my father's book". When this is not clear enough, use the preposition od "from, of": kniga od moj otec.
Likewise, you don't have to use any special accessories for the indirect object (the Slavic languages use the dative): Dajte moj otec to kniga "Give that book to my father". Whenever this is not clear enough, use the preposition k "to": Dajte to kniga k moj otec.
Where the Slavic languages use the instrumental, you can use s "with" or posredstvom "by means of": Ja udaril svoj otec s to kniga "I hit my father with that book".

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Examples

Babel text

I celi zemja imal jedin jezik i podobni slova. Ale kogda ludi premestili se iz vozhod, oni nahodili ravnina v kraj Šinar i tam osadili se. I oni govorili jedin k drugi: "Hodijte, delajmo cegli i dobro palijmo ih!" I cegli služili za ih kako kameni, a smola služila za ih kako cement. I oni govorili: "Hodijte, budovajmo grad i veža, kotori bude dosegati k nebo, i delajmo za sebe ime, že bi mi ne razsipali se na celi zemja."
Togda Bog shodil v dol, že bi videl grad i veža, kotori ludi deti budovali. I Bog govoril: "Vidijte! Jedin narod i jedin jezik za vsi, a vidijte čto oni načeli delati. I sejčas ničto ne bude za ih nemožlivi, čto oni ne hoteli bi delati. Vidijte! Mi shodimo i razmešimo ih jezik, abi oni ne razumeli se."
I Bog razsipal ih na celi zemja, a oni obstanovili budovati grad. Za to on nazivat se Babel, za to že tam Bog razmešil jezik od celi zemja i odtudi Bog razsipal ih na celi zemja.

И цели земја имал једин језик и подобни слова. Але когда луди преместили се из возход, они находили равнина в крај Шинар и там осадили се. И они говорили једин к други: "Ходијте, делајмо цегли и добро палијмо их!" И цегли служили за их како камени, а смола служила за их како цемент. И они говорили: "Ходијте, будовајмо град и вежа, котори буде досегати к небо, и делајмо за себе име, же би ми не разсипали се на цели земја."
Тогда Бог сходил в дол, же би видел град и вежа, котори луди дети будовали. И Бог говорил: "Видијте! Једин народ и једин језик за вси, а видијте что они начели делати. И сејчас ничто не буде за их неможливи, что они не хотели би делати. Видијте! Ми сходимо и размешимо их језик, аби они не разумели се."
И Бог разсипал их на цели земја, а они обстановили будовати град. За то он називат се Бабел, за то же там Бог размешил језик од цели земја и одтуди Бог разсипал их на цели земја.

Our village

Naš selo

Iz vsi možlivi mesta, gde živut ludi, ja naj-mnogo lubim mali selo, daleko od šumni grad, s jego mali společnost. Ono ne ima prepolnieni bloki, jedino mali drevenni budinki. Jest to prosti i malovatelni mesto dla žitje, s žiteli, čij lica jest ravno znani kak cveti v naš sad. To jest zatvorieni svet s nemnogo ludi, blizko sjedinieni kak mravki v mravski kopa, pčeli v pčelnik, ovci v ovčarnija, mniški v konvent, ili morniki na korabja, gde vsekto zna vsekogo i vsekto jest znani od vsekogo, gde vsekto interesova se v vsekogo i vsekto može imati nadeja, že nekto interesova se v jego.
Kak milo bilo bi zanuriti se v to serdečni čutje od lubienje i neznani običaji, sobrati se i biti prijateli s to vsi jedinstveni ludi okolo nas! Tak, že mi budemo znati vsi zakutki i povrati od tenki ulici i solnečni luki, kotori mi prohodimo vsaki den. Mali socialni grupa, kotori jest selski společnost, jest to, za čto poezija i proza blagodarijut naj-mnogo. Dolgi, raztegnieni draga, kotori bludi se v mili, tepli den i prehodi črez veliki, široki draga, polni od avta i tiri. Vi ne hočete putovati s mene, dragi čitateli? Put ne bude dolgi. Mi načinamo na dolina konec i odtude mi pohodimo v vrh.

Наш село

Из вси можливи места, где живут луди, ја нај-много лубим мали село, далеко од шумни град, с јего мали сполечност. Оно не има преполниени блоки, једино мали древенни будинки. Јест то прости и малователни место дла житје, с жители, чиј лица јест равно знани как цвети в наш сад. То јест затвориени свет с немного луди, близко сјединиени как мравки в мравски копа, пчели в пчелник, овци в овчарнија, мнишки в конвент, или морники на корабја, где всекто зна всекого и всекто јест знани од всекого, где всекто интересова се в всекого и всекто може имати надеја, же некто интересова се в јего.
Как мило било би занурити се в то сердечни чутје од лубиенје и незнани обичаји, собрати се и бити пријатели с то вси јединствени луди около нас! Так, же ми будемо знати вси закутки и поврати од тенки улици и солнечни луки, котори ми проходимо всаки ден. Мали социални група, котори јест селски сполечност, јест то, за что поезија и проза благодаријут нај-много. Долги, разтегниени дрaга, котори блуди се в мили, тепли ден и преходи чрез велики, широки драга, полни од авта и тири. Ви не хочете путовати с мене, драги читатели? Пут не буде долги. Ми начинамо на долина конец и одтуде ми походимо в врх.