All Slavic languages: Nouns with unusual endings

Arath

Senior Member
Bulgarian
I'd like to know how each Slavic language treats nouns with unusual endings such as foreign names, acronyms, abbreviations, etc. Do they decline or not?

For example, it's very unusual for feminine nouns to end in "e" or "i" in the nominative case (Beyoncé, Britney). I've seen "Beyoncén otac" in BCS, but in Russian it seems unchangeable.

Other examples, place names: Miami, Timbuktu; abbreviations: CD, DVD; particles, prepositions and letter names: two yeses/noes/ifs/buts/t's/o's etc.

In Bulgarian, we don't have cases, just plural and definite forms. We can say Бритнито (Britnito), but such forms are reserved for native names ending in "e", "i", "o" or "u". All the other nouns are completely declinable: CD-то (sidito - the CD), CD-та (sidita - CD's), CD-тата (siditata - the CD's), не-то (neto - the no), не-та (neta - noes), не-тата (netata - the noes), т-то (təto - the t), т-та (təta - t's), т-тата (tətata - the t's) etc.
 
  • Brainiac

    Senior Member
    Srpski - Kosovo
    Beyoncén otac ? This is kinda funny :) "Slovenized" English :).
    If you write a text in Cyrillic and you have to translate the name, I mean to (try to) "write like you speak", in Serbian, it would be Bijonsin otac/ Бијонсин отац. So, here we have declination.

    But in order to escape such "situations", I think you'll usually find - Otac pevačive Bijonse/Beyoncé, so the name/label/title is left in the original language. By choosing the certain ways of writing, you may omit declination of foreign words.
     
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    Where BCS is concerned, spelling of foreign names is one of the things where there are major differences between Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian standards. Simply put, Serbian uses "nativized" spelling (sometimes called "po Vuku" referring to Vuk Karadžić and the famous saying Piši kao što govoriš i čitaj kako je napisano "Write as you speak and read the way it is written") in both Latin and Cyrillic (Bijonsin otac/ Бијонсин отац), Croatian uses (adjusted) original spelling or international spelling and only uses Latin, and Bosnian uses (adjusted) original spelling and international spelling when written in Latin alphabet and "nativized" spelling when written in Cyrillic (which is almost never the case).

    Where declension of foreign names is concerned, there are a number of rules in Bosnian, but generally speaking case and other endings are added directly to the name (no dash etc.) and the name is either spelled exactly as in the originating language (or its official Latin representation in Bosnian) or they are minimally changed in some cases. Note that for some languages, most notably Slavic ones that use only the Cyrillic alphabet, we have our own transcription/transliteration rules and we use them (so it's Todor Živkov and not Todor Zhivkov)

    So, "Beyoncén otac" could have been either Croatian or Bosnian, but not Serbian. And I think I would have spelled that Beyoncéin, but I'd have to check with the Bosnian official orthography.

    One more thing to note is that you may find people who do not follow the official orthography, so you may find Bijonsin in Bosnian as well (that would also have been the official spelling in pre-1990s orthography of Serbo-Croatian as used in Bosnia-Herzegovina, I think), and Google gives some hits for Beyoncéin (and Beyoncé-in) on Serbian sites (domain .rs).

    We have discussed this in a previous thread, but I can't remember which one.
     
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    TriglavNationalPark

    Senior Member
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    Slovenian uses Beyoncejin oče (example).



    Female names that do not end in -a, including Beyonce, are indeclinable in Slovenian:


    Nominative
    Marija
    Beyonce
    Accusative
    Marijo
    Beyonce
    Genitive
    Marije
    Beyonce
    Dative
    Mariji
    Beyonce
    Instrumental
    Marijo
    Beyonce
    Locative
    Mariji
    Beyonce





    This, however, does not apply to other feminine nouns that do not end in -a:


    Nominative
    peč
    cerkev
    Accusative
    peč
    cerkev
    Genitive
    peči
    cerkvi
    Dative
    peči
    cerkvi
    Instrumental
    pečjo
    cerkvijo
    Locative
    peči
    cerkvi
     

    Azori

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    In Slovak, some nouns of foreign origin don't change the form (for example loby, finále, alibi, klišé, menu, rely, miss, želé, brandy, Miami, CD, DVD... there are however also some colloquial words with the same meaning which are fully declinable - cédečko, dévedečko, misska etc.), some female names like Britney and Beyoncé don't change with cases either though possessive adjectives are used - Britnin exmanžel (Britney's ex-husband), Britnin otec (Britney's father).
     

    Brainiac

    Senior Member
    Srpski - Kosovo
    Hm... now it makes me think... cliché is kliše in Serbian. If it's left cliché, it's not declined. (the same with Latin words, for example, but they are usually put in italic). Menu is meni, loby is lobi... we've obviously transformed them into our language and then decline them. That has happened with verbs too, for examaple to log in Serbian is ulogovati se. You may hear startuj komjuter, which is actually English verb.

    About Britney... she is Britni in Serbian.
    Nominativ: Britni
    Genitiv: Britni
    Dativ: Britni
    Akuzativ: Britni
    Vokativ: Britni
    Instrumental: Britni
    Lokativ: Britni

    OMG, no changes! :eek: But possesive adjective Britnijin (Britniin -> Britnijin) or Britnin.. I'm not sure... I have to make it up, since the name and this adjective don't exist in Serbian....
     

    Anicetus

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    In short words, most foreign masculine nouns in BCMS have no problem declining regardless of their ending, while most feminine ones can only be declined if they end in -a. Let's take a closer look... Feminine geographical and personal names never take the i-declension (the only declension for feminine nouns ending in a consonant, such as ljubav, ljubavi...) and even loanwords very rarely do. The only example of a borrowed i-noun from the standard language I can think of is the turcism avet (although some linguists claim it was actually inherited from Proto-Slavic) and there are regionalisms such as varoš and rizi (the latter being pluralia tantum). Geographical names ending in a consonant which are feminine in their native language usually become masculine (for example, Sibir and Plzeň) or they may be slightly modified to remain feminine (Belarus is Bjelorusija). Feminine personal names are mostly immutable if they don't end in -a, but they do form possessive adjectives regularly, at least in Croatia. I don't know what exactly orthographies say on this matter, but I'm quite sure the suffix -in shouldn't be lost, so "Beyoncén" can't be correct. I believe the right form is Beyoncéin; Google gives most hits for Beyoncein. I've seen Naokin consistently used for the Japanese name Naoko in an edited translation of a novel, so I guess the final vowel can be dropped to avoid awkward clusters? However, we already have ateljei, so there shouldn't be a problem with Beyoncéin. Anyway, some of these names, such as Ines, Iris, Doris, Dolores, Nives are rather common (at least in Croatia) and the biggest "problem" with them is expressing the dative because there's no fitting preposition for it. Women have the same forms of surnames that men do, so their surnames are indeclinable if they don't end in -a (and they usually don't, most of them end in -ić). Spoken language rejects the notion of immutable nouns, so Miss Ines Nikolić could become Ineska, Nikolićka or Nikolićeva in a relaxed conversation, but this may be considered rude. But... there seems to be a tradition to decline French feminine names ending in mute -e, both geographical and personal, like a-nouns. They lose the -e in cases other than nominative and vocative and get the usual endings: N Delphine, G Delphinē, D Delphini etc. An additional curiosity is that there are common diminutive names with the nominative ending -e in Dalmatia, which are declined regularly. :p They all have two syllables and the long rising accent on the first one: Ane, Kate, Mare... Vocative also gets -e, but is distinguished by the falling accent. The only immutable common nouns I can think of are foreign feminine titles, such as lady/ledi, and miss (winner of a beauty pageant, often misica in colloquial usage). Most foreign nouns not ending in -a become masculine in BCMS. As I have already said, they are always declined, even if that causes some unusual vowel clusters. However, j must be inserted between a vowel pronounced as i and a, e, i or u, but not between i and o. Note that the final -o becomes the nominative (and vocative) ending if it isn't stressed. There are some irregularities with such common nouns; a few of them are masculine in singular but neuter in plural (libreto, mango...), auto is masculine in some regions and neuter in others... Final -e, -i, -u and stressed -o are parts of the noun stem. Vocative is usually the same as nominative for masculine names ending in a vowel or a palatal. Here are some examples:
    NominativeLeeBoccaccioMiamiTimbuktuTokioMilanoGooglesako
    GenitiveLeejaBoccacciaMiamijaTimbuktuaTokijaMilanaGoogleasakoa
    DativeLeejuBoccacciuMiamijuTimbuktuuTokijuMilanuGoogleusakou
    AccusativeLeejaBoccacciaMiamiTimbuktuTokioMilanoGooglesako
    VocativeLeeBoccaccioMiamiTimbuktuTokioMilanoGooglesakoe/sakou
    LocativeLeejuBoccacciuMiamijuTimbuktuuTokijuMilanuGoogleusakou
    InstrumentalLeeom/LeejemBoccacciomMiamijemTimbuktuomTokiom/TokijemMilanomGoogleomsakoom
    Abbreviations are a murky territory. Sometimes they get gender by their final phone, so CD (pronounced cȇ dȇ) is masculine and declined as such: G CD-a (cȇ dȇa), N pl. CD-ovi (cȇ dȇovi) etc, just like SAD (Sjedinjene Američke Države, ȅs ȃ dȇ), sometimes gender is determined by what the abbreviation stands for, so BiH (Bosna i Hercegovina, usually pronounced bȇj hȃ) is feminine and indeclinable. Sometimes each letter stands for a syllable, like in the former examples, but if the abbreviation resembles a common noun, it's pronounced as such: USKOK, USKOK-a (Ured za suzbijanje korupcije i organiziranog kriminaliteta) is usually pronounced as ùskok, ùskoka. NASA is feminine and in the written form the genitive is NASA-e, but it's read as nȁsē. I'm not sure what the orthographies say, but it all seems quite chaotic to me. Particles, prepositions, letter names and such are immutable and of neuter gender as far as I've noticed. We say malo t, pisanje malog t, imati svoje ja, sa svojim ja and so on. I hope I haven't been too confusing. :) EDIT: Why doesn't the forum let me break the text into paragraphs? :eek:
     
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    Anicetus, perhaps it's not on topic, but your examples above reminded me of a problem I have - how is Camusov (from Albert Camus) pronounced in Croatian? Bosnian has the same spelling, but I'm not sure how I should pronounce it; writing Camusov and pronouncing Kamijev seems rather strange.
     
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    Anicetus

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    I don't know, maybe Kamisov? Liaison does occur in French... Or Kamiov? There are apparently many grey areas. There's staggering with feminine names ending in a silent -h too. Sarah, Oprah and Utah should be indeclinable, I guess, but they sound just like our a-nouns when read, so many people seem to say and write Oprin, Opre etc.
     
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    Brainiac

    Senior Member
    Srpski - Kosovo
    In Serbian is Kamijev (Kamijeva filozofija apsurda)
    Words ending in -h:Sarah, becomes Sara, and it could be declined (Sara, Sare, Sari....).

    In Croatian, the locative case goes before instrumental????

    Wiki says:

    1. Nominativ - Tko? Što? (Postoji)
    2. Akuzativ - Koga? Što? (Vidim)
    3. Genitiv - Koga? Čega? (Nema)
    4. Dativ - Komu? Čemu? (Prilazim)
    5. Lokativ - O komu? O čemu? (Razmišljam)
    6. Instrumental - S kim(e)? Čim(e)? (Putujem)
    7. Vokativ - Oj! Ej! (dozivanje)

    I had no idea about this!!!!
     

    Anicetus

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    Traditional order is N, G, D, A, V, L, I and that's the one I learned at school. The new order Wikipedia brings must be quite recent.
     

    Brainiac

    Senior Member
    Srpski - Kosovo
    In Serbian, declinations of sako, Tokio and Milano are same.
    Lee is Li (Bruce Lee is Brus Li), Boccaccio is Bokačo, Google is Gugl, Miami is Majami, all have their declination (the same endings as in Croatian, but the roots are different, as you see)
    For Timbuktu I'm not sure, but I guess it the same too.
    CD, CD-a, the same, but I think it's more correct to write the full name - kompakt disk, and then decline, not an abbreviation of a noun.
     

    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    But it does, albeit it's comparatively rare -- bicikl, monokl. It's quite common in transcription from English: Aplbi, Bartlbi and yes, Gugl.
     

    Brainiac

    Senior Member
    Srpski - Kosovo
    Gugl, gugluj ga, mejl, mejluj me, šibni mejl, potrči program, daunlouduj ga (skini ga).... lots of "Serbanized" Englished words :D
     
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    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Yes, when it comes to loanwords, in Russian only feminine in -a and masculine with zero ending decline. Even neuter in -o/e and feminine in -ь don't, which annoys me. By the way, we treat the syllabic L as part of a consonant cluster.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Do you have an alternative solution?
    We try making the word a qualifier itself: певицу Бейонсе, города Майями (the orthography doesn't make sense, I know). Anyway we don't think of these words as having no cases, but as having all 6 of them identical. In our minds, отец Бейонсе is still Genetive. Бейонсин отец would be strictly colloquial.
     
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