slovene: "tebe ni tukaj" and "nisi tukaj"

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by billyboh, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. billyboh New Member

    Hello everybody!
    I was listening to a song by Omar Naber, "Le srce ne spi" and, at the end of the refrain, it says: "ker tebe ni"- which I think mean "because you are not (here)". Is this right?
    Then I thought... is it the only away to express presence or absence of someone/something?
    If I say "tebe ni tukaj" or "ti nisi tukaj", which form is correct?
    Thank you very much for your help :)
  2. iezik

    iezik Senior Member


  3. billyboh New Member

    Thank you very much for your answer. Is there a difference in meaning or usage between the two forms?
    Thanks again :)
  4. enzrovt New Member

    Negation yields genitive - so the verification question would be "KOGA ni tukaj", not "KDO ni tukaj".

    Similar pop-singer screwup is with the "tebe sanjam". That's croatism. The correct use would be "sanja SE MI o tebi". But that would screw a rhyme, i guess.

    sadly, many lovenian pop singers as well as younger journalist are notorious with raping the good old language rules.
  5. billyboh New Member

    Thank you, enzrovt. So, if I understand correctly what you're saying, the right way to negate the presence of someone or something is genitive + third singular/plural person of negated "biti":
    "tebe ni"
    "prijateljev niso"
  6. enzrovt New Member

    almost .. "friends aren't here" would translate in "prijateljev ni tu".
    Note "ni" describes passive attitude, whereas "niso" means active. As it's related to the fact of presence (biti tu), it's not something a subject would do - it's more what is the attribute of the subject (no, i'm definitelly not going into the discussion whether the existence is predicate or attribute ;))
  7. billyboh New Member

    Oh, I see! Thank you very much! :)
  8. iezik

    iezik Senior Member

    The verbs of presence/ location (the examples in grammar are biti, nahajati se, vršiti se) can be used with subject in genitive or optionally in nominative.
    So the absence can be expressed with genitive as Tebe ni (tu). When the following text explains the current position, also the negative part can use nominative: Ti nisi tu ampak daleč stran.
  9. billyboh New Member

    That's very interesting and useful. Thank you, iezik (and sorry for the late answer) :)
  10. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Does this apply when the verb is positive, or only when it's negated?

    E.g., could you say

    Včeraj je bilo tu požara. "There was a fire here yesterday."

  11. Prelatin New Member

    Slovene, BCS
    Well, If you want to be grammatically correct, you should say "Včeraj je bil tukaj požar" (i.e. kdo/kaj je bil tukaj), or "Včeraj tukaj ni bilo požara" (koga/česa ni bilo).

    However, none of these two sentences sounds natural in Slovene (though it could be borderline acceptable in colloquial speech).

    The above structure "biti tukaj" is mostly used for living things (včeraj je bil tukaj Janez/poštar/predsednik/sosedov pes), but not for events that occur more or less randomly or accidentally (e.g. a fire).

    What you'd like to say sounds more natural with a verb form goreti (včeraj je tukaj gorelo/je tukaj pogorela hiša), or with a phrase "priti do", meaning that an unexpected event occured: "včeraj je prišlo do požara"
  12. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Thanks for the info and correction, Prelatin.

    So if I understand right, in a negative sentence you can say

    Včeraj ni bil tukaj poštar.
    Včeraj ni bilo tukaj poštara.

    but in a positive sentence, you can only use the nominative (Včeraj je bil tukaj poštar)?
  13. iezik

    iezik Senior Member

    The case selections (nominative vs. genitive) are syntactically correct as you've written, Gavril. Few more remarks.

    The selection in the negative sentences of the nominative for the subject is used when it's implied that the postman was somewhere. This can be done in the next sentence. Or it can be implied in a love poem by some other means. I was not clear on this point in a previous post.

    Most of multi-syllabic masculine nouns ending with -r insert infix -j- before the case ending, if any ending is present. So the second sentence is morphologically correct "Včeraj ni bilo tukaj poštarja." If you want more on -j- insertion, open new thread.

    The word order in the sentences above is marked for time (včeraj) or verb (je bil, ni bil, ni bilo), so either of these parts can receive sentence stress in suitable context.

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