BCS - Adjective forms (short vs long)

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by Tassos, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. Tassos

    Tassos Senior Member

    So, moving to adjectives now.
    Here my main concern is about the various forms.

    First, the "classic" distinction between definite and indefinite forms.
    I have read from various sources that this distinction is not so prominent anymore, or almost nonexistent (so much that R. Alexander uses the term short forms and long forms).
    Does this hold equally in all the BCS republics?
    This means that if I say
    Kupio sam nov kaput or Kupio sam novi kaput is virtually the same everywhere?

    In general, can you give me examples (general or specific) when it's more preferable to use the short form than the long form?

    Thank you.
  2. VelikiMag Senior Member

    Serbian - Montenegro
    The rule is that whenever an adjective is part of a predicate, it has indefinite (short) form. So it would be: Kaput je nov.

    In your example, the adjective should be in the long form. Kupio sam nov kaput somehow sounds wrong. At least with that particular adjective.
  3. DenisBiH

    DenisBiH Senior Member

    I still feel there's a difference between those two.

    • Kupio sam nov kaput = I bought a new coat i.e. the coat is new. Since people usually buy new rather than second-hand stuff these days, it might sound a bit odd. As an expanded example, consider: Kupio sam nov kaput, a feler na njemu.
    • Kupio sam novi kaput = I bought another coat i.e. my wardrobe has one more coat in it. Also: Kupio sam (onaj) novi kaput iz njihove zimske linije = I bought that/the new coat from their winter line.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2012
  4. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    While, on second thought, I sense the same difference as Denis, the utterance kupio sam nov kaput probably would not catch my attention if I heard it. So yes, I'd say that the difference is often slight. As Mag said, short form is mandatory in predicative position, and it would be perceived as an error if you'd use a long one.
  5. DenisBiH

    DenisBiH Senior Member

    How about the example below?

    Koji je Duyin iPhone?
    Duyin iPhone je bijeli. - "Duya's iPhone is the white one"

    Or perhaps this isn't really the predicative position you and VelikiMag are talking about (bijeli being the subject with the sentence order reversed)?
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
  6. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    Thus spoke Zaraduya (about (in)definite forms of adjectives): :cool:
    Tassos, please see the whole thread, and maybe even this one.

    So yes, I agree with Denis, definite (long) form may signify "the one", i.e. one from a limited set of choices, and indefinite (short) form is just a plain descriptive adjective. Though it's questionable if the "Duyin iPhone je bijeli" is really a predicate adjective, because there is an implied "Duyin iPhone je [onaj] bijeli"; foreros who are more into grammar could provide us with a more strict definition. So I stand corrected -- it wouldn't "be perceived as an error if you'd use a long one", but a different semantics.
  7. DenisBiH

    DenisBiH Senior Member

    Now there is an example where I do use the short form of adjective in cases other than nominative - the phrase u žutu kaputu. As in Može, al' u žutu kaputu. :D

    Very interesting stuff by the way, Duya. :)

    Could we try to make this observation of yours about the difference in accent into a table of sorts? This is my first attempt, if anyone is willing to correct any mistakes, I'd be very much obliged.

    Case Indefinite, Croatian and archaic BS Indefinite, BS Definite, BCS
    N žȗt žȗt žȗtī
    G žúta žútōg žȗtōg
    D žútu žútōm žȗtōm
    A žúta, žȗt žútōg, žȗt žȗtōg, žȗtī
    V žȗtī žȗtī žȗtī
    I žútīm žútīm žȗtīm
    L žútu žútōm žȗtōm

    If this is ok, then it would seem that while indefinite forms borrowed definite declension endings, they kept their original indefinite accent/tone pattern.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
  8. el_tigre Senior Member

    Kupio sam nov kaput -I bought a new coat
    Kupio sam novi kaput-I bought the new coat

  9. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    "indefinite BS" ?! :rolleyes:

    The table looks accurate to me -- that is, it reflects my pronunciation* :).

    Those two different declensions are known as "imenička" (noun) and "pridjevska" (adjective) and yes, the former one is in retreat. Note that the noun declension of is žȗt almost the same as for pȗt, with the exception of instrumental and vocative (I'm not sure if the vocative is žȗtī or žȗt, and how much sense does a vocative make to address something that is undetermined yet).

    *) I've learned to be very careful in presumptions that my own accentuation matches the "standard" one, particularly for Serbian standard, which is largely based on ekavian prosody from western Serbia and ijekavian prosody from Montenegro-Herzegovina area, e.g. mlijèko.
  10. DenisBiH

    DenisBiH Senior Member

    Indefinite forms, Bosnian and Serbian. I'm unsure about the status these forms have in Croatian.

    That (pȗt) actually crossed my mind. :) As for the vocative, I had the same question, but since both HJP and phosphore's post here have that -ī for vocative of indefinite forms, I went with žȗtī.
  11. Tassos

    Tassos Senior Member

    I saw it. I was sure there must have been another thread on the subject. I just didn't do the search well.
    Btw, nice memory after 1200 posts!
    The thing that struck me the most is when Natasha says that in mlad/mlada/mlado vs mladi/mlada/mlado the feminine and neuter are pronounced differently. And then you write: The difference is preserved in accent, however weak or volatile it is with many people's pronunciation. I do discern it, for onе.
    What Natasha is saying here is that in the definite mlada/mlado the a is longer, right? But do you think that a foreigner talking to a native could discern the difference? Does it depend on the region?

    Let's see if I got this right:
    My phone is white requires the short form
    My phone is the white one can also take the long form. But if it was another case, it could also take the longer form... That means depending on the meaning you want to convey this construction can use all three forms?
  12. DenisBiH

    DenisBiH Senior Member

    In my speech at least, there is a difference in both the tone on the accented syllable (long rising vs. long falling) and the post-accentual length.

    young f. indef. = mláda
    young f. def. = mlȃdā
    young n. indef = mládo
    young n. def = mlȃdō

    Here's corroboration:
    The young (mlȃdā, def) bride (mlȃda) is still not young (mláda, indef) enough. Although I think I use mlȃdā rather than mlȃda for "bride" (Bosnian dictionaries give both forms).

    The perception and realization of tones and, especially, lengths, seems to depend on the region.

    From what I have gathered so far on this forum and elsewhere, people in Kajkavian (and possibly Chakavian) areas of Croatia and Torlakian areas of Serbia might not perceive and/or articulate the tones as is usually required in the standard(s). Also, people in some Shtokavian areas where the dialectal basis is not fully (or at all) Neo-Shtokavian might have different accentuation in at least some words.

    As for post-accentual lengths, from what I have gathered, generally they are best preserved in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro (and possibly some adjoining regions of Serbia and Croatia); in large parts of Serbia and Croatia they have been partially or completely lost. Other foreros please correct me if I'm wrong.

    So, since even native speakers don't all follow these accentuation and length rules (although they are usually given in dictionaries and grammar books and considered a part of the standard language), foreigners can get away with not pronouncing them entirely correctly also, IMHO. As for whether foreigners can generally discern those differences, with enough practice, exposure and willingness to learn everything is possible. Foreigners learn Mandarin Chinese and in it you have to know and use the tones. For some inspiration, I would recommend searching for "Mary Sherhart" (an American sevdah performer) on YouTube. I am particularly partial to her interpretation of "Karanfile cvijeće moje". :)

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  13. Brainiac Senior Member

    Srpski - Kosovo
    Ja sam čula i dugo i kratko A u mlada, u raznim sredinama i situacijama, ne bih rekla da se svi drže pravila niti da su ona striktna, u svakodnevnom govoru. Konfuzije nema, razume se iz konteksta značenje. Mene, na primer, nije trglo mlada mlada jedno pored drugog, već ovo nije dosta mlada - valjda nije dosta stara (not old enough.... to be a bride, for example). Translation- still not young enough - sounds somehow illogical, or even wrong. I would translate - (she is) not that young.

    Ja bih ovu rečenicu radije sročila: Mlada mlada nije (baš) tako mlada.
    Može i Mlada mlada nije baš mlada, mada ovaj drugi primer može da znači da je
    a. malo stara za mladu, ili (mlada pridev)
    b. da ne liči na mladu - ženu koja se udaje (mlada imenica), ili nije za mladu jer joj ne priliči, ili nije ništa posebno lepotom/izgledom.[=Mlada mlada i nije neka mlada].
    (U takvoj rečenici, recimo, nije sasvim jasno da li se misli na pridev ili imenicu, ali prva pomisao je da je pod a.)

    Konstrukcija rečenice zna više da zbuni od sličnosti reči, dužini samoglasnika u rečima, razlike u tonovima, akcentima i sl.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  14. DenisBiH

    DenisBiH Senior Member

    Brainiac :thumbsup:

    The example I quoted does seem a bit confusing. I like your examples much better. :)
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  15. Brainiac Senior Member

    Srpski - Kosovo
    Denis, then I'm proud :cool:

    About Duya's ipod:

    Duja ima beli ipod. Dujin ipod je beo. (statement, fact)
    Na stolu su dva ipoda. Dujin je [onaj] beli (I think beo fits too). Beo/beli je Dujin. (when there are two or more items of the same kind)
  16. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    Beo doesn't work for me here.

    Side note: beo/beli are ekavian short/long forms, and bijel/bijeli ijekavian forms of the same adjective (white), from common Slavic *běl. L-vocalization took place in beo, but not in bijel (in which case, it would read *bio, still present in some dialects). However, in near-identical adjective *cěl (whole), ekavian forms are ceo/celi, but ijekavian are cio/cijeli; standards permit rarer cijel. So much for consistency. :cool:
  17. Tassos

    Tassos Senior Member

    How about not at all? :D

    If you didn't know how to pronounce the tones you would have 50 syllables with which to cover a language that consists almost entirely of one-syllable or two-syllable words.

    Speaking of songs... There is a song by Idoli called Čokolada. There the lyric goes: Ti si moja čokolada, ja sam tvoja čokolada, i da nisi tako mlada, ja bih te ljubio.

    First here the short form must be used as it is a predicate, right?
    Now, if you have heard the song, how would you say that Vlada Divljan pronounces the word mlada ?
  18. DenisBiH

    DenisBiH Senior Member

    Well, songs aren't necessarily the best source for learning the tones, but I hear the long rising tone there, as should be for the indefinite form. If you don't mind, I'd rather refer to the form as indefinite form rather than short form.
  19. Brainiac Senior Member

    Srpski - Kosovo
    Beo [=telefon] je Dujin. (The white phone belongs to Duya)
    Beli je Dujin. (The white, not the black one belongs to Duya)

    If this doesn't work for you or you find it wrong, then explain to me please how you feel the difference.
  20. VelikiMag Senior Member

    Serbian - Montenegro
    The full sentence would be: Duyin iPhone je bijeli iPhone. But for obvious reasons we can omit the second iPhone, although bijeli remains, no matter that it refers to a word which isn't there anymore. Or we can just say: Duyin je bijeli iPhone and then things are clear.

    One thing which I didn't mention about this rule, but it turns out to be important, is that an adjective has to be without a noun. Here is the citation from Serbian Grammar by Ivan Klajn:
  21. VelikiMag Senior Member

    Serbian - Montenegro
    Try not to forget that only adjectives in masculine gender have so called short and long forms. Adjectives in feminine, neuter and plural have definite forms with long last vowel, but there isn't any difference in orthography, so you shouldn't be worried about it.
  22. bovcic New Member

    Chicago IL USA
    Duyin iPhone je bijeli. - "Duya's iPhone is the white one.
    Dujinova iPhone je beli. "Duja is a hard name to convert to possessive."

    Croatian - od Istre (Kvarner area) dialect goes like this:
    Nada's cat is white, but her cow is black.
    Nadinova macka je bela, ali njezina (njezinova) krava je crna.

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