BCS: number of noun cases

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ALT+F4

New Member
Italian
I've recently read that Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian might have nowadays a 6, and sometimes even 5, case system, contrary to the standard 7 case system that is normally thaught to native and foreign learners. The Locative and Dative cases seem to have completely merged, with only a few nouns having a different accent (tone) in the Dative and Locative singular, a distinction that seems to be ignored by many (especially younger) speakers nowadays. I've also read that many young Croatian speakers don't use the Vocative case anymore, so that the variety of BCS spoken by them posseses only 5 cases. How much of this is true, in your experience?
 
  • Zec

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    Briefly and honestly - this depends on the region. In some places, these mergers are almost accomplished, in some they have only just begun. What is interesting is that, AFAIK, these mergers are rarely totally complete: even in places which rarely use the Vocative, this case is usually not completely gone but is still used for a limited number of nouns (e.g. for names in my village, for insults in Zagreb). The same is true for the Dative and the Locative: there is often a noun or two which still keeps the accentual distinction.

    Edit: here's some more detail.

    Loc = Dat : typical of Štokavian (the most widespread dialect, basis of standard BCMS), the endings have merged long ago but a group of nouns (so-called accent pardigm C) kept an accentual distinction between Dat and Loc singular. This is now in the process of being lost, usually Dat assumes the accent of Loc, rarely the opposite. The only dialect that I know of which has completely merged the two cases is Zagreb dialect: a štokavianized kajkavian dialect. The dialect had earlier lost pitch accent, and when its grammar was thoroughly štokavianized during the last century it imported the merger of Dat and Loc; obviously it couldn't import the accentual distinction!

    Voc = Nom: typical of Kajkavian (northwestern Croatia). I think many dialects have really lost the Vocative without trace, some haven't, though (see above). It's definitely not a productive case anymore: you can't make a Vocative out of everything.
     
    Last edited:

    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    The only dialect that I know of which has completely merged the two cases is Zagreb dialect: a štokavianized kajkavian dialect.
    Can you please give some examples how it is in the dialects which preserved Locative and Dative, and how it is in Zagreb dialect?
     

    Olaszinhok

    Senior Member
    Standard Italian
    The only dialect that I know of which has completely merged the two cases is Zagreb dialect: a štokavianized kajkavian dialect.
    Zagreb is the main city of the country and also the capital. Doesn't the variety of the language spoken in Zagreb have a great impact on the Croatian language as a whole? I suppose most television channels and radio stations broadcast from there?! Are journalists and presenters or speakers accustomed to using a sort of standardised and "neutral" language"?
     

    Zec

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    Zagreb is the main city of the country and also the capital. Doesn't the variety of the language spoken in Zagreb have a great impact on the Croatian language as a whole? I suppose most television channels and radio stations broadcast from there?! Are journalists and presenters or speakers accustomed to using a sort of standardised and "neutral" language"?
    You're right. Although it's not officially the standard language, Zagreb dialect has great prestige as it is spoken in the capital. State TV and radio originally paid great care to make their presenters speak the standard language, Zagreb dialect first crept into media when private TV and radio channels appeared: these are not only local channels, even state-wide channels are broadcast in Zagreb, many presenters are from Zagreb and speak with a Zagreb accent. Reactions are mixed: in northwestern Croatia nobody blinks an eye (Zagreb is the regional capital and its dialect prestigious), in Dalmatia this can be seen as an unfair raising of Zagreb dialect to a de-facto standard. However, presenters from Dalmatia also commonly speak with their native accent on TV. We're getting more and more used to non-standard accents on TV (full-blown non-standard dialects are rarer, but the contemporary Zagreb dialect has become rather close to the standard language so it can pass unnoticed).
     
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