All Slavic languages: Vocative case

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by Setwale_Charm, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. I know that Ukrainian has it, and Serbian, I think, has it too. Russian doesn`t. What other Slavic languages make use of it? And is it still widely used?
  2. Tolovaj_Mataj Senior Member

    Ljubljana, SI
    Slovene, Slovenia
    In Slovene it disapeared long time ago. The nominative case is used instead.
  3. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    The vocative case is an integral part of the standard Czech language. In colloquial Czech, some people mix the nominative and the vocative if proper names are combined with Mr. etc:
    Nominative: Pan Svoboda
    (Correct) vocative: Pane Svobodo!
    (Colloquial) vocative: Pane Svoboda!

    An army officer or a wicked teacher would say Svoboda! as well. :)

  4. beclija Senior Member

    Boarisch, Österreich (Austria)
    In Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, vocative is well alive for all masculine and feminine nouns, but in plural and on adjectives it is indistinguishable from nominative.
  5. Marga H Senior Member

    In Polish vocative exists but a lot of people use nominative instead(in colloquial language)
  6. papillon Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian (Ukraine)
    Russian indeed has lost the vocative case. But I do wonder what are all these "short" nouns that are sometimes used in addressing people:

    Мам, закрой дверь.
    Вась, дай закурить!
    Наташ, ну не шуми...

    I wonder if this is the... new vocative. (Of course, the phenomenon itself is not new at all. Does anyone know the proper grammatical term for these things?
  7. Yes. In Chechen the final "a" of many words is often omitted in pronunciation. With names this feature was long taken by Russians for Vocative forms:

    So Седа, Мадина, Милана, Элина are pronounced without the final 'A', just like in papillon`s example.
    This is a bit of off-top, of course, since Chechen is not a Slavic language, but while Jana is sleeping:D .
  8. Lemminkäinen

    Lemminkäinen Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    I thought Russian had preserved the vocative case in a few expressions such as боже (not sure if that's correct)?
  9. übermönch

    übermönch Senior Member

    Warum wohne ich bloß in so einem KAFF?
    World - 1.German, 2.Russian, 3.English
    It is correct. Боже appears quite often in prayers, therefore I'd guess it's simply not Russian, but Church Slavonic.
  10. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    For the record, "bože" is a Czech word as well.

  11. papillon Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian (Ukraine)
    I think it's both, Russian just retained the vocative in certain ceremonial expression in words like господи / боже. Note also the archaic/poetic use of vocative in words like
    казаче, though this one is a probably a Ukrainian influence.
  12. übermönch

    übermönch Senior Member

    Warum wohne ich bloß in so einem KAFF?
    World - 1.German, 2.Russian, 3.English
    Well, at least Человече appears quite often in Church Slavonic prayers ("Хотя ясти, человече, тело владычне, страхом приступи, да не опалишься, огнь бо есть. Божественную же пия кровь ко общению, первые примирися тя опечалившим; таже дерзая таинственное бражно яждь";"Дом родителей твоих яко чужд имев, водворился еси в нем нищеобразно: и по преставлении венец прием славы, дивен на земли явился еси, Алексие, человече Божий, Ангелом и человеком радование.") and therefore could also be a borrowing.
  13. papillon Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian (Ukraine)
    I agree that the retention of certain vocative nouns in Russian was a liturgical influence. But I wouldn't say that they were borrowed from Church Slavonic... After all, Church Slavonic, in a way, gave rise to Russian. Not precisely, of course, but I'm sure the dialect on which CS was based was pretty close to what various .. pre-Russian tribes were speaking at the time. Therefore, they, at the time, probably had these vocative forms anyway.

    As the language evolved, most vocatives became obsolete, with the exception of боже and such. These forms survived as a result of their continuous use in liturgy.
  14. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    Russian, (Ukraine)
    I'm afarid this isn't a contribution, but just while we're on the topic, I'm terribly sorry for my ignorance, but what is this ''vocative case''? I'm ashamed to admit, that despite Russian being my native language, I have never ever heard of ''vocative case'' and... I would really like to know what it means, and if it exists in English, French or Spanish. (perhaps then, I could understand it better..)
    Thank you very much for all and any explanations! :)
  15. DrLindenbrock Senior Member

    Italy; Italian & Am. English
    well, generally speaking the vocative case is (even etymologically, from Latin) the declension a noun (so even a person's name) takes when performing a particular grammatical function: being called upon.

    In English and in Romance languages this case no longer exists (but it existed in Latin).
    But look at these two sentences in English:
    a) John came to us and told us about his problem.
    b) John, come here and tell us about your problem!

    In (a) John is just the subject of the sentence.
    In (b), John is the person being called, summoned, or invited to do something, by another speaker.

    In English the word John does not change in form, although it performs two different grammatical functions.
    In many Slavic languages there seems to be a difference even in the shape the word takes....maybe you should try translating the two sentences into Russian and seeing what changes occur.

    PS in English you notice a noun is used in the vocative case because it is often preceded by words like "hey" and the sentence almost always ends with an exclamation mark. E.g.: Hey, John, wait for us!
  16. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Oh, thank you enormously for your wonderful and crystally clear explanation! :) :)
    I understand very well, now. It's much less complicated than I thought it would be. I have understood it, vocative case is simply another way of expressing the ''imperative mood'', right? (повелительное наклонение)
    I mean, the first sentence that you have given - ''John came to us and told us about his problem'' is simply the indicative mood (изъявительное наклонение). But the second sentence is an instruction for John to come and tell us what his problem is. So that's the imperative!
    Let's see how these sentences differ in Russian:
    1. Джон пришел к нам и рассказал нам про свою проблему.
    2. Эй, Джон! Ида- ка ты сюда и расскажи нам, что случилось!

    Okay, I understand very well now. But another question is forming in my mind: why then do we say that the vocative case is instinct in Russian?
    I use it all the time, me! Like: Саш, помоги мне, пожалуйста, с моим домашним заданием? :(
  17. Lemminkäinen

    Lemminkäinen Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    Not quite. The imperative will often be used with vocative (hypothetically), and in that case the noun that is in vocative will change its form.

    Notice how you used Джон for both of the sentences - it's in nominative in both cases (no pun intended). That's how you can say the vocative is (practically) exctinct in Russian.
  18. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Aaahh...*understanding dawns upon her*. Right! I think I understand it better now..
    So, ..okay, this is how I see it: the imperative mood is for the verbs. But, obviously nouns don't have 'moods'. They're not the teenagers verbs are. :p
    So the nouns have adopted the name ''vocative case''.
    And yes - the name John didn't change at all in both of the sentences! And I do now see what you mean when you say the vocative case is extinct in Russian..
    But does that mean it has ever existed?
    It's all crystally clear, maintenant. :D Thanks you so much for your explanation!
  19. übermönch

    übermönch Senior Member

    Warum wohne ich bloß in so einem KAFF?
    World - 1.German, 2.Russian, 3.English
    Well, since it exists both in Ukrainian and Byelorusian(does it? :) cyanista?) the language-that-preceded RU, BR and UA must have had them as well. Unfortunately the people back then wrote in a different language to the one they spoke.
  20. papillon Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian (Ukraine)
    Yes, this is exactly why it's a little difficult to explain in Russian the vocative case (звательный падеж)-- we don't really have it, so the names/nouns don't really change when we use them to address someone, i.e. nominative and what would be vocative are the same.

    But to see what it would be, just look at Ukrainian.
    До мене прийшов кум. Kум - nominative.
    Куме, що ти робиш? Куме - vocative.

    Also, as we have discussed the only remnants of vocative are in words like Боже.
    Бог мне помогает. Бог - nominative.
    Боже, помоги мне. Боже - vocative.
  21. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    And Serbian!!! ;)
  22. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    In Serbian, we have vocative as a standard part of speech. Actually, for a while, I though that we are the only ones that have it... silly me :eek:!
    But not all nouns are subject to change, e.g. ćerko, Majo, Jano (;)), sine, Aleksandre, Miloše, Dragane, Borise... but mama, tata, Ema, Tanja, Nikola (same as nominative).
    However, some people (in colloquial language) use nominative instead or add vocative endings to nouns that have nominative form in vocative (for instance they would say: mamo instead of mama, but Maja instead of Majo and Emo instead of Ema).
    Since Jana and Marga said it is the same in their languages, I found this rather interesting phenomenon!!!
    No. It is simply the case of address. When you're calling or addressing smo.
  23. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    I think it was not meant as a correction but still, let me clarify it: In Czech, if you are addressing God in prayers, "Bože" is appropriate. However, it is a popular interjection as well and it needn't be capitalized.


  24. el_tigre Senior Member

    In croatian-kaykavian it doesn't exist!

    In shtokavian and chakavian does!
  25. MindStorm

    MindStorm Member

    Russia, russian
    Пожалуйста, свежайший пример (хихикс), который по идее все русские должны знать. Пушкин, "Сказка о рыбаке и рыбке". "Чего тебе надобно, страче"-самый что ни на есть пример звательного падежа в русском языке. Сейчас в русском языке этого падежа формально нет, однако в принципе он сохраняеться, особенно в разговорных формах слов и имен. Примеры были выше...
  26. "Старче" to begin with.

    And I have also found a few examples of further mutations in diminutive in Czech: dum- domek, roh - ruzek, zub- zoubek, kus, kousek, stul - stolek, kvet - kvitek.
  27. MindStorm

    MindStorm Member

    Russia, russian
    Yep, you got me =))) Старче, of course.. I've mistyped it....
  28. cyanista

    cyanista законодательница мод

    Sorry to disappoint you, mönch, but the vocative doesn't exist in modern Belarusian.

  29. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English

    отче наш... (in prayers only)
  30. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Простите, в таком случае, каким-же будет именительный падеж слова "отче"?
  31. MindStorm

    MindStorm Member

    Russia, russian
    Отец, вимдимо...
  32. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    Russian, (Ukraine)
    А, ну - в принципе очень может быть! Спасибо! :)
  33. Tolovaj_Mataj Senior Member

    Ljubljana, SI
    Slovene, Slovenia
    We also say "Oče naš,...." in Slovene. Just that "oče" is not vocative but nominative. "Oče naš" is poetic, so it's used in prayers and lyrics, but "naš oče" is from everyday speech.
  34. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Oh, that's like ours: Отче наш! :D But we never tend to say : Наш отче in everyday speech...
  35. Tolovaj_Mataj Senior Member

    Ljubljana, SI
    Slovene, Slovenia
    But our "naš oče" simply means "our father". Example:
    Naš oče je kupil hišo na podeželju. = Our father has bought a house in the countryside.
  36. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Really? :)
    Russian: наш отец, the prayer (vocative): Отче наш
    Czech: náš otec, the prayer (vocative): Otče náš, jenž jsi na nebesích etc.

    The prayer is even called "otčenáš" in Czech and can be declined, like a normal noun.

  37. Irbis Senior Member

    Kamnik, Slovenia
    Slovenian, Slovenia
    The prayer is in Slovene similarly called "očenaš", also a noun that can be declined.
  38. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Analogous to бог - боже.
  39. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    The prayer in Serbian is also called "Оченаш" (Očenaš), but also "Молитва Господња" (Molitva Gospodnja).

    Otac - vocative "o

    Оче наш, Који си на небесима... (Oče naš, Koji si na nebesima...)
    Church Slavonic: Отче наш, Иже јеси на небесјех...
  40. Tolovaj_Mataj Senior Member

    Ljubljana, SI
    Slovene, Slovenia
    Yeah, I was also surprised a couple of years ago when I heard this. It looks like our forfathers started to use proto-Slavic vocative "otče" for nominative instead of "otec". Who knows why? Maybe because it sounded better. :) otče -> oče is just a natural simplification.

    I haven't heard of any other vocative->nominative switch, but I must say I haven't really looked for them.

    (Well, yes.... Oče naš, ki si v nebesih....)
  41. Licorne New Member

    And also друг - друже (други plural), князь - княже, человек - человече... it's used as a stylistical variant (and not always to the point :))
  42. chung Member

    English, ?
    Slovak has lost the vocative for the most part with the nominative as the replacement

    In Slovak, you'll see vocative in old texts, or in connection with using certain names or expressions. E.g. Bože! = O God! (from Boh + -e vocative ending)

    N.B. Because of the old palatalization that was caused by the -e ending for vocative, the -h becomes -ž. Except for masculine animate nouns in nominative plural, this palatalization is also missing for the most part from modern Slovak compared to some other Slavonic languages.

    E.g. Piotr = "Peter" (Polish) | Petr (Czech) | Peter (Slovak)
    Piotrze! = O Peter! | Petře! | Peter!

    noga = "leg" | noha | noha
    o nodzie = "about the leg" | o noze | o nohe (no change for "h" in Slovak)

    Słowak = "Slovak man" | Slovák | Slovák
    Słowacy = "Slovak men" | Slováci | Slováci (change for "k" in Slovak)
  43. ferran

    ferran Member

    croatian also has vocative, but its use is pretty strange.
    for some female names you have it and for some not.
    for ex
    Majo! (Maja-nominative)
    Ivana! (Ivana - nominative)

    male names have vocative, except ones ending with vowel. (correct me if I'm wrong)
    Ivan - Ivane (v)
    Luka - Luka

    it can also depend on a region or dialect.
    for ex- i call my grandma: Bako (baka - nominative)
    but some say: Baka (as nominative).
  44. chernobyl Member

    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Well, that's an interesting question. Bulgarian has lost many of its other cases, but the vocative has remained (although not always used).

    Proper female names, ending in -a, are not declined, because forms like

    Елена -> Елено
    Мария -> Марийо

    are considered a bit rude.
  45. el_tigre Senior Member

    In Croatian we say Bog when we refer to God in Christian/jewish meaning that is specific in monotheistic religions.

    If we talk about any other ''god'' we do not capitalize!

    Npr. Zeus je vrhovni grčki bog.
    Zeus is supreme Greek god.
  46. dec-sev Senior Member


    But I would urge the non-russian not to deepen into the matter in order not to ruin the simplicity of the concept.;)
    Don’t be ashamed. I wouldn’t have learned about vocative case if not for my friend’s son who is a pupil of the sixth form of an ordinary secondary school in Sevastopol.:)
  47. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    Although a bit off-topic, I hope Jana wouldn't mind! :)

    El_tigre, what is the standard, official variant of today's Croatian language?
    It used to be (when it was called Serbo-Croatian) the štokavian dialect (combination of Šumadija/Vojvodina ekavian and Eastern Hercegovina jekavian subdialects).

    However, I've noticed that in your posts, you usually put the three dialects (kajkavian, čakavian and štokavian) in the same plane as if they are three official, literary versions of Croatian language. Is that the case today?
    If not, I think that can really confuse other foreros, especially those who don't speak it!

    I hope you won't take this the wrong way, or as a criticism, but people here usually talk about standard and grammatically correct languages and if they are talking about dialects or some unconventional / colloquial variant, they emphasize so.

    All the best (and hopefully with no hard feelings :D),
  48. mcibor Senior Member

    and vocative for noga (leg) in Polish is

    and here it is:
    Słowaku for one Slovak man
    Słowacy for many Slovak men.

    To say the truth all nouns have vocative case in Polish, just sometimes it looks the same as nominative. However it is used less and less nowadays
  49. Mac_Linguist Senior Member

    English and Macedonian
    Macedonian still preserves the vocative case, and the forming of vocative nouns is fairly consistent.

    Feminine nouns (usually ending in an "а") change their ending to "".

    Masculine nouns (usually ending in a consonant) change their ending to:
    • "" when monosyllabic, and to
    • "" when polysyllabic.
    The vocative is used almost only for singular masculine and feminine nouns. I don't know of any neuter nouns that can be used in this way.

    Though as mentioned in some other posts, its use can be considered colloquial and even rude. And instead of using vocative forms when calling someone, it's more common to use diminutives ― for example, "Зоран" and "Зоки".

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