Slovenian as a South Slavic language...

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by OBrasilo, Dec 3, 2007.

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  1. OBrasilo

    OBrasilo Senior Member

    Koper, Slovenia, Central Europe
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    Well, here, I'm going to talk about something, that has been bugging me for ages.

    When will the Slovenian language finally stop being classified as a South Slavic language? It clearly has more features in common with Czech and Slovak, and the serbo-croatian features were only first imported into Slovenian in the late 19th century.

    Also, Slovenian clearly doesn't fit in the South Slavic evolution tables. Some examples: Old South Slavic vš- evolved into sv- in the West South Slavic languages, but into vs- in the East South Slavic Language. Slovenian is supposed to be a West Slavic Lanauge, but yet, it has vs- and not sv-. Then the ćr- becoming cr- in the West, but čr- in the East.

    Once again, Slovenian is in the West, but this feature evolved as in the East. Interestingly, this matches the other West Slavic languages - vš- and č(i)er- in Czech and Slovak, and wsz- and czar- in Polish (if written using the Czecz ortography, they would be written as vš- and čar-).

    Also, Slovenian has a lot of vocabulary in common with the other West Slavic languages - Old Slovenian stek vs. Czech/Slovak vztek and the Polish root wsciek- in wsciekłość (meaning the same as vztek in Czech/Slovak), ogenj vs. Czech/Slovak ohieň (sp?), pogoltniti vs. Czech/Slovak pohltnít/pohltníť, dokler vs. Slovak dokiaľ, tedaj vs. Czech tedy, Slovak teda, kdo vs. Czech kdo, Slovak/Polish kto, kje vs. Czech kdě, Slovak kde, and even kdaj vs. Polish kiedy.

    And the future tense in Slovenian is formed exactlz, as in Czech, Slovak, and Polish, but nowhere near the way it's formed in the South Slavic languages.

    So, how in this world, can Slovenian be a South Slavic language? I don't know. In my opinion, Slovenian is a West Slavic language, and this is further proven by the research done by the Slovenian organization Hervardi, who even stated, that according to some older researchers, Slovenian and Slovak were originally dialects of the same language. They also stated, that the Kajkavian Croatian dialect is nothing, but Croatianized Pannonic Slovenian, which is proven by not only books published in Zagreb, that refer to themselves as Slovenian, but also by the fact that the region of Slavonia was originally called Slovenijeh, or SLOVENIA, and it was only renamed to Slavonia later on, by the Croatians, who came with the name Slavonia from the Latin name of Slovenijeh, which was Sclavonia - and Sclavonia was never called Slavonija or Slavonijeh by its original inhabitants, but always Slovenijeh, and occasionally Slovinje, both names meaning essentially Slovenia, since in modern Czech and Slovak, the word slovinský still means Slovenian.

    There is a lot of useful information on this subject in some of the sections of the official home page of the Slovenian organization Hervardi (located at hervardi dot com) - believe me, it's more, than worth a thorough read, and explains a lot of things.

    Well, that would be it for now. ;)
  2. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    As soon as those pesky Austrians and Hungarians move out of the way so that Slovenian can join a dialect continuum with Czech and Slovak. Unfortunately, I don't see a convenient way to break its present dialect continuum with Croatian. :D

    (UPDATE: having read the bottom part of your post, now I see that it does address the latter "problem", so please see my reply below.)

    I don't care about the formal classification of Slovenian one way or the other, but this claim strikes me as absurdly exaggerated, even if we ignore all the mutual influences between Slovenian and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (I'll write BCS from now on) in recent history and the fact that the overwhelming majority of speakers on both sides have had at least some (and often a lot) of exposure to each other's languages.

    I'm a hard-core Shtokavian speaker (and thus definitely not speaking anything particularly close to Slovenian!), and I've never learned Slovenian or been exposed to it in practice on more than a handful of occasions. Yet, I find written Slovenian pretty easy to read even without a dictionary, and even spoken communication with younger Slovenians who have never been exposed to BCS much is not a big problem if you allow for some rephrasing, slower speech, etc. For comparison, I can recognize only occasional words and phrases in written Czech, barely enough to figure out what the topic of the text is about at all, and spoken Czech is almost totally incomprehensible to me. Ditto for Polish. I find Slovak more understandable than Czech or Polish, but still far less than Slovenian. Just ask some average Slovenians how much they understand of any West Slavic languages, and you'll get a similar answer about them versus BCS -- even the generations born in mid-1980s and later, who grew up in independent Slovenia.

    And yet, Slovenian phonology is more similar to BCS than to any West Slavic language. Please don't tell me that an average Slovenian finds it easier to discern clear words when listening to Czech or Polish than to Croatian or Serbian speech. :D

    You can "prove" anything by cherry-picking word lists like this. For example, here is a similar proof that standard Austrian German is more similar to Serbian than to the standard German used in Germany. :D

    This is completely false.

    Slovenian future tense is formed exactly the same way as Future II in BCS. Using Future II instead of Future I sounds strange to most BCS speakers (except Kajkavians), but it doesn't impede understanding much in practice. On the other hand, there are major differences between the way future is formed in Slovenian and West Slavic languages.

    First and foremost, West Slavic languages form the composite future using to be + infinitive, whereas Slovenian uses to be + past active participle, exactly as BCS does for Future II:
    BCS Future II: budem pisala
    Slovenian: bom pisala
    Slovak: budem písať
    Czech: budu psát
    Polish: będę pisać
    Furthermore, Slovenian can use the composite form of the future tense for all verbs, both perfective and imperfective, whereas East and West Slavic languages use the morphological form of the present tense with future meaning for perfective verbs. Compare Slovenian bom napisal with Czech napíšu. Slovenian can also use the morphological present with future meaning for perfective verbs, just like BCS can use it instead of Future II, but as far as I know, West Slavic languages never use the composite future for perfective verbs.

    Well, there is the little inconvenient fact about a (more or less) unbroken dialect continuum from the border of Slovenia and Austria all the way down to the Bulgarian Black Sea coast and the Macedonian-Greek border. :D Not that this is supposed to have any political implications, of course, but we're talking linguistics here.

    Did you know that some people even claim this for Slavic languages in general? :D

    Oh, so this is the part addressing the issue about the Slovenian dialect continuum with Croatian. Normally, I'd let a paragraph such as the one above speak for itself, but since, judging from the post to which I'm replying, there are people who buy this kind of stuff, I'll strongly advise you and anyone else interested in the history of South Slavs to do some reading from sources other than Slovenian (or any other) extreme nationalists.

    From what I've read about Hervardi in Slovenian press (without a dictionary -- what a polyglot I am! :D), it's a club of extreme nationalists who are struggling hard to build a public image of a cool-headed, non-extremist organization. However, with "historical" and "linguistic" arguments such as those displayed in this thread, they'll have a hard time differentiating themselves from other nationalist nutcases in the eyes of anyone with a slight modicum of knowledge on the relevant topics.

    (EDIT: I changed some parts of the post when I realized that I'm replying to someone who innocently bought the said nationalist propaganda, rather than someone peddling it aggressively.)
  3. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Just to give some idea of what actual linguists (Slovenian as well as others) have to say about the issue, here is an excerpt from a paper by an American linguist published in Slovene Linguistic Studies, a journal issued by the Institute of the Slovenian Language at the Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences (emphasis mine):
    Grant H. Lundberg (Brigham Young University): A Preliminary Report on Dialectological Fieldwork in Northwestern Croatia: Brezova Gora and the Croatian-Slovene Dialect Continuum

    One of the more interesting questions in Western South Slavic dialectology is the relationship, both historical and modern, between the dialects of the Slovene and the Kajkavian Croatian speech territories. [...] Contemporary Slavic linguists agree that the dialects of the Slovene and Kajkavian speech territories are part of a dialect continuum with almost all of the isoglosses which unite them being archaisms rather than shared innovations. Although it is clear that this is a dialect continuum, the political border between Slovenia and Croatia has had an important influence on dialect development in this area.

  4. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    At the very moment when Croatia finally stops being classified as a Balkan country, Bosniaks as a South Slavic people (they're Illyrians, y'know), Macedonians as Slavs (they originate from Alexander the Great, y'know), Kosovo returns under the righeous Serbian rule, and Macedonian language as a language of its own (it's a dialect of Bulgarian as everyone knows).

    Well, it does turn out as sarcastic, I gather, but I'm rather leery of such discourses, which I ascribe to national(istic) frustrations rather to scientific methods. At least, we don't wage war for them anymore.
  5. _Tasha_ Member

    Slov. Bistrica
    Slovenia, Slovenian
    Slovak and Slovenian are both Slavic languages, so of course they will have certain features in common. But it is a little too far fetched to say that Slovak is Slovenian dialect. Marko Snoj (author of Slovenian etymological dictionary) defines Slovenian as a South-West Slavic language together with Croatian and Serbian, which means that the closest to Slovenian are kajkavščina, čakavščina and štokavščina. And as Athaulf said, you don't have to study either of those languages/dialects to understand it. On the other hand, Slovenians have a lot of trouble understading Slovak or Czech (not to mention Polish) and visa versa. The features that Slovenian has in common with West Slavic languages derive from times when West Slavs and our ancestors were still neighbours; that was before Hungarians and German Bavarians populated the land in between.
  6. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Będę (na)pisał(a) is possible in Polish, though.
  7. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Hm.. interesting, I didn't know this. :) What about Czech and Slovak?

    EDIT: Having done some googling, I now see that I was wrong: West Slavic languages can indeed use to be + past active participle (or whatever it's called in each individual language) to express future. I had thought that they were in this regard similar to Russian, which uses only to be + infinitive. There's a nice summary of this issue for several Slavic languages here (see Section D).

    However, it is true that Slovenian doesn't have anything similar to the to be + infinitive future used in West and East Slavic languages, and it's also true that its future tense is analogous to the Future II of BCS. Therefore, the above poster's claim that "the future tense in Slovenian is formed exactly as in Czech, Slovak, and Polish, but nowhere near the way it's formed in the South Slavic languages" is still absurd on its face.
  8. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    You're mixing up here something.
    Though it's true that Slovene is clearly linked to Czech and even more to Slovak and though it is very likely that once there was a dialect continuum from Slovene up to Slovak, this continuum long ago has been broken apart and both languages have developed apart from each other.

    (There's, by the way, even more links to Western Slavic if you look at Carinthian Slovene, but that just for the record.)

    Slovene is rather more conservative and closer to the common Slavic roots except concerning the tenses where Slovene has abandoned aorist and imperfect, but in one dialect considered Slovene (the one of the Resia valley in Friuli - though the villagers sometimes did refer to themselves as 'Russian': popular ethymology, obviously) there do exist some residual forms of aorist.

    And of course Slovene is much easier to understand if you speak Serbian or Croatian, no matter wether your dialect is Shtokavian or Kajkavian (although similarities are even greater with Kajkavian).
    It is rather that Shtokavian has developed away from common Slavic, very much so, e. g. with change of 'vse' into 'sve' and cr/čr. Similarly, 'kdo' is common Slavic and 'tko' just a Shtokavian innovation (and so on). Sloven just wasn't involved in Sthokavian innovations, that's what makes some wordings of Slovene look rather Western Slavic.

    Future tense, too, is in Slovenian not exactly the same as in Western Slavic as in Slovene it is not so that present tense + perfective verb automatically means 'future tense' but rather a 'nearer future' and not future tense exactly (so things about to happen, like the English progressive form with '-ing'): similar to Serbian/Croatian, but unlike Western Slavic where:
    - present tense + perfective = future tense (although 'nearer' future too, but see explanation below)
    - future tense + imperfective = future tense
    In Western (and Eastern) Slavic (I think in all of them but have no way of being sure about that one) it is not possible to form perfective verbs with future as present tense + perfective already is considered being future tense. (Or probably perfective + future form would mean futurum exactum, there I'm not sure.)
    But in Slovene (and Southern Slavic) future tense exists with perfective verbs, too. (Though certainly perfective meaning 'transcends' into future tense too, of course.)

    (At least, I hope I've got this right; I have to confess that I'm constantly fighting with ever getting a grip on Slavic aspect system - so forgive any faults if there were some here, concerning future tense.)
    That the form of future tense is similar is not too strong an argument - these future tense form anyway are newer developments

    And there the Hervardi touch a very delicate topic:
    Well, this is not proven at all.
    Historicians of both Slovenia and Croatia constantly tried and try to proof that Kajkavian is rather a Slovene dialect or that Slovene is rather a Kajkavian (and therefore Croatian) dialect.
    This is just making politics with (supposedly) linguistics and isn't scientific at all.
    'Slovene' as a name is rather the old Slavic terminus and just means 'Slav' ethymologically, so 'Slovene' is a perfectly neutral term for 'Slav' and was, in various phonetic forms, with different suffixes (Slavonia, Slovakia, etc.). This is absolutely insignificant.
    It's rather that Slovenes did not change their name during their history, while most (but not all) other Slavic peoples did, for whatever reasons.

    No linguist nowadays would dare to say that Slovenia is a Western Slavic language. It's clearly Southern Slavic - though, similarly clearly, showing links and letting imagine a (now disturbed) dialect continuum up and over to the Western Slavic tongues.
  9. Tolovaj_Mataj Senior Member

    Ljubljana, SI
    Slovene, Slovenia
    Not villagers sometimes but some villagers always.
    This is politics. If they feel being Russian, let them be. :D
    Otherwise it is the very same issue like those Carinthian Slovene-(none)-speakers, who call themselves Windischer. But both groups are in decline.

    This is not really the whole truth. Slovenian historians, at least not the officially recognized historians, do not try to proof anything about Slavonians to be connected in any way to Slovenes. Slavonia has never been a Slovene speaking region like parts of Koroška and Furlanija - Julijska krajina and region around Monošter in HU.
    When talking about Kajkavian dialect of Croatian, we have Hrvatsko Zagorje around Zagreb in mind. Their speech is close to Slovene or better to Štajerska dialect of Slovene.

    An internal Slavic issue: Slovaks also want to be Slovenci. Ni govora, bratje Slovaki, mi smo pravi Slovenci! :D

    Btw, Hervards are partly right in their way of working. They would like to make Slovenes more partiotic, not nationalistic, but more homeland orientied. I like their pages about national heroes.

    But sometimes they really exaggerate in talking nonesence.
  10. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Yes, of course ;) - although it's a tiny little bit different with die Windischen, as these don't want to be differentiated from their German speaking Carinthian neighbours (which slowly leads to their assimilation), whereas the Resian 'Russians' clearly define themselves consciously different from their Friulian and Italian neighbours.
    I didn't know, by the way, that there are still Resians around calling themselves 'Russians'.
    Yes, I know I should have been more specific about that.
    In the past there certainly were some Slovenes romanticizing about Kajkavians being rather their 'brothers' (not the Shtokavian Slavonia); and there too were Slovenians as well (not only Croatians) romanticizing about a great 'Illyric' language, but this is history.

    Certainly, yes. I did, when in Ljubljana some 9 years ago, some research into Slovenian and Croatian/Serbian dialectology - I read some of the most important work in Slovenian, Croatian and Serbian (by the way, in my opinion the best ones were Asim Peco & Pavle Ivić; most Slovene and Croatian authors, unfortunately, though they had a lot to say, couldn't distance them enough from their language policy).

    I'm quite happy they didn't - would have complicated matters enormously, especially now that both languages have their independence and are EU-members. :D

    I didn't ever read Hervards' works.

    But with your name, I guess, you couldn't be someone other than a real Slovene patriot. :)
    [For the benefit of other readers, Tolovaj Mataj is a hero in Slovene literature - and much more, e. g. a Folk band.]

  11. OBrasilo

    OBrasilo Senior Member

    Koper, Slovenia, Central Europe
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    I think it's actually three dialect continua. One is, what I call the Central Continuum, and from it, modern Slovenian, and Slovak, emerged. The second one is the Croato-Serbian Continuum, from which, Croatian, and Serbian, emerged. And the third one is the South-Eastern Continuum, from which, Bulgarian, and Macedonian, emerged. The three continua at least partially merged, starting from the period of Illyrism, and finally culminating in the 20th century.

    And here it's all shown. Here in Slovenia, even the latest generations of Slovenians are hugely exposed to the Croato-Serbian languages - from the Croato-Serbian music, broadcast on national radio, and TV stations, to the Croato-Serbian movies being screened in the cinemas, and aired on TV, to the Croato-Serbian TV series, that are aired on Slovenian TV, and even the Croatian, and Serbian, TV stations being available from the local Cable TV providers, and the Croatian HRT also being visible with a normal aerial antenna, the exposure of the people here to the Croato-Serbian languages here is ENORMOUS, and with the arrival of new TV stations, such as MTV Adria (it has always bugged me, how come Slovania couldn't make their own MTV, but had to make one with Croatians, and Serbians, instead), it's only increasing.

    And the Government isn't doing anything, in order to prevent that. Actually, the Government seems to find the prevention of the prenetration of any kind of Italian TV signal to the Slovenian territory more important.

    So obviously, there's the almost mutual intelligiblity between Slovenian and the Croato-Serbian languages, but it's not, because they're so similar - it's because not only the enormous exposure of the Slovenian language to the other three languages, but also because the colloquial Slovenian usually doesn't follow the vowels of the litterary language (mostly because they're not written, so people don't even know, where to put the, and where not), but instead, uses a more simple system, much closer to that of the Croato-Serbian languages.

    As for whether Slovenians understand Slovak, well, I can say, that I played the Slovak version of "Hey, Slavs" in front of some Slovenians (from Ljubljana), and they understood it, as if it was Slovenian. In fact, they even thought it was some kind of Slovenian.

    Yeah, exactly. Your quote exactly proved one of my points.
    As proved by: www dot hervardi dot com/kronika dot php, Anton Vramec, from Zagreb, was speaking Pannonic Slovenian. His book Kronika (Chronicle) is introduced on the first page with: Kronika vezda znovič spravljena kratka slovenskim jezikom po D. Antolu Pope Vramece, kanoniku Zagrebečkom. - The chronicle "vezda" (what does this mean?) again made short in the Slovenian language, after D. Antol Pop Vramec, canonic of Zagreb.
    So, in the year of 1578, a canonic of Zagreb was speaking the Slovenian language (slovenski jezik, szlouenski iezik). It was Pannonic Slovenian.

    So it's obvious, that Pannonic Slovenian became Kajkavian Croatian only at some point later, and your quote futher proves that.

    Well, you could actually regard the South Slavic future, that is vidjet ću in Croatian, and videti čem in some variants of Slovenian (but warning: apparently only since the Illyrian period), as a variant of that, only with the clitic bo(de)m, budu, replaced with (ho)čem, (ho)ću. In fact, the clitic is the only difference between them.

    I agree with all of that.

    But according to what Anton Vramec wrote in 1578, the people, that lived in present day Slavonia, were Slovenians. Let me quote something: In jasno je, da v »Slovenijeh« živijo »Szlouenci« (Slovenci), na »Horuatskem« pa Horuati (Hrvati), kar avtor večkrat zapiše. Očitno Vramec ne pozna izraza Slavonija, ker takrat ni bil poznan!
    And here you have the English translation: And it's clear, that in "Slovenijeh", the "Szlouenci" (Slovenci/Slovenians) live, and on "Horuatsko", the "Horuati" (Hrvati/Croatians) lives, what the author writes a lot of times. Clearly, Vramec doesn't know the expression Slavonia, because it wasn't known then!

    I think this says a lot of things.

    Well, since it's extremely late right now, and I have to go to sleep, I'm going to stop here for now. ;)
  12. vput Member

    Shangri-La, English
    Why are you so keen on deemphasizing the strong link between Slovenian and BCS? Likewise why are you so keen on emphasizing the faded link between Slovenian and Slovak? As others have pointed out, modern Slovenian IS a South Slavonic language. Is there something outside linguistics that you're alluding to?

    Off the top of my head, Slovenian has some traits that make it strange for Slovaks.

    1) Slovenian still uses the dual
    2) It uses the supine instead of the infinitive after verbs of motion
    3) It conjugates 'iti' (to go) in the present tense with the stem of "gre-" Slovak uses "idem", "ideš", "ide" etc. which is more familiar to other Slavs.
    4) It still uses mobile stress and pitch-accent like BCS.

    It's true that the ancestors of the Slovenes and Slovaks spoke mutually intelligible dialects about 1300 years ago. Then again, the ancestors of ALL Slavs spoke mutually intelligible dialects and if you go a little further back, they all spoke Proto-Slavonic. The linguistic connection between Slovenes and Slovaks at that time is no more special than that between the ancestors of the Croats and Poles for example.

    Judging by the comments of athaulf and tolovaj_matej about Hervardi, I would discount certain parts of Hervardi's information. I used to soak up similar sites made by Hungarian nationalists and for a while I held Hungarians in greater esteem than Slavs and Germans. Then I grew up and made friends with Slovaks, Germans, Romanians and Croats (all traditional enemies/rivals of Hungarians). I now view Hungarian nationalists with the same mistrust as nationalists anywhere else (including Slovenian ones).
  13. _Tasha_ Member

    Slov. Bistrica
    Slovenia, Slovenian
    The features of Slovene that vput mentioned only prove that Slovenian language has not developed as much as the rest of Slavic languages throughout the centuries. Maybe that is beacuse we were small and always under foreign rule. Old Church Slavic is considered one of the evolutional stages of Slovenian as well as the rest of South Slavic languages. And while most of these languages have evolved and symplified, Slovenian has presereved many old language features, such as dual, mobile stress, 6 declinations out of the original 7, ect. And if you try to read Old Church Slavic you'd be surprised at how much you can understand.
  14. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Yes, this is the core of the problem - and the fact, as Tasha mentions, that Slovene didn't develop away so much from Old Church Slavonic than Slovak and Croatian/Serbian:
    However, during the 19th century Slovene nationalists discovered that there were indeed some links to Western Slavic (and indeed there are - especially if you take Carinthian Slovene dialects).
    When the modern Slovene standard language came into being (after the greater 'Illyric' movement failed - well, more precisely, what came of it was srpski ili hrvatski jezik, and it never really got a food on the ground in Slovenia though some Slovenians were in favor of 'Illyrian') some lending and loan translations from Czech were introduced.

    It seems this affinity to Western Slavic still is alive in Slovenia, it's just a way of standing one's ground against Croatian/Serbian influence.
    At OBrasilo: I was in Slovenia in 1998, so some time ago, but then I don't think that the situation there did change fundamentally.
    To say that the government would do nothing against Serbian/Croatian influence simply is not true. True, the influence is heavy, especially on the youth. But there is a rather strict concept of language culture (which Slovenes have learnt from Czech structuralism & the Pražský lingvistický kroužek - Circle of Linguists of Prague: again, the Western Slavic connection, very deliberatly introduced in Slovenia), and a rather strict 'father' of modern Slovene standard language (Jože Toporišič), and many Slovenes accept all this even though in everyday communication hardly anyone speaks the standard language - they do so because they know that a small language like theirs always will have to fight for it's very existence.
    (Take Finland, or Island, it's different there, yes, but then not so different at all if you look closely.)

    So, government and Slovenian intellectuals are indeed doing something against it - more than Austrians would ever accept in order to preserve their dialects (the situation here is a little bit reversed as dialects in Austria are more significant for the nation than the standard language).
    But it would be censorship and restriction of human rights to go very much further. You could (should!) only do so much and not more - there's a limit to what is acceptable, in language politics too.
    (If the government would go too far it would loose the support of its people.)

    But that's already a little bit off topic, I fear.
    What was very clear to me, to come to a conclusion, was that it is so much more easier to learn Croatian if you already know Slovenian (and I did only learn Slovenian in the beginning, without being exposed to Croatian at all).
    I still have huge problems if trying to read Czech or Slovak - I can manage, but only just: both these languages are and always were much more difficult for me.
  15. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    You are trying to prove a complete absurdity, which runs counter to the experiences of everyone I've ever known. Just last night I met a Slovenian guy who was born and raised here in Canada, and speaks only some basic Slovenian that he picked from his parents at home, with virtually zero exposure to BCS in his life. This was enough for establishing basic communication (we both speak English, of course, but I wanted to see if he would understand my Croatian just for fun -- and I didn't make any effort to use Slovenian words myself). There's no chance that this guy would be able to communicate with a Czech or Pole, or even a Slovak, unless they spoke English.

    Also, has it ever occurred to you that the causation might actually exist in the other direction too, namely that Slovenians enjoy Croatian and Serbian TV and movies because they understand the language in the first place, and not the other way around? :)

    Now you've silently switched the discussion from the similarity between Slovenian and West vs. South Slavic languages in general to the similarity between Slovenian and Slovak vs. BCS. (Obviously, even with the most strained arguments you couldn't argue that Slovenian is mutually intelligible with Czech or Polish to any reasonable degree.) Slovenian is indeed much more mutually intelligible with Slovak than Czech or Polish, but this is because out of West Slavic languages, Slovak is by far the most similar one to South Slavic languages in general. BCS speakers also understand Slovak far, far better than Czech or Polish.

    Oh come on. You are continuing to peddle ultra-nationalist garbage of the most absurd kind, even though you've been warned about it already. Even a Slovenian poster has agreed that this stuff is complete nonsense in one of the above posts, even though his opinion about this organization is generally better than mine. I can easily give you links to websites of similar Croatian or Serbian ultra-nationalists "proving" that their respective countries have historically encompassed anything from Nepal to the Bay of Biscay, and that all Slavs from Lusatia to Vladivostok (and possibly some non-Slavs as well) are speaking just corrupted versions of the original Croatian/Serbian/whatever. Of course, with some googling you'll easily find similar "historical" and "linguistic" "proofs" by extremists from dozens of other nationalities across the world.

    This Hervardi stuff is just rubbish in the same league. I won't even bother to refute it in detail. I'll just note that they're trying to reinterpret some old texts by assuming that various words derived from "Slav" supposedly all in fact mean "Slovenian". And voila -- suddenly any Slavs can be proclaimed to be strayed Slovenians if necessary. :D

    Yes, it does, but not those you would like it to say.

    And about this Hervardi organization -- a picture says more than a thousand words (well, the dude in the front row has ruined the shot by dressing in lousy sweatpants instead of army gear :D). Oh, and as someone who knows quite a lot about extremist movements of this sort, I would make an educated guess that the choice of the internationally (in)famous red-white-black pattern for their flag is by no means a coincidence (this color pattern certainly doesn't correspond to any historical flags of Slovenia or any of its provinces; on their website they present some pretty lame excuses for the design).
  16. Tolovaj_Mataj Senior Member

    Ljubljana, SI
    Slovene, Slovenia
    Oh, yes. I don't know if you are aware about the minority politics in FVG. In the last three months there was a lot of noise around when the minority law was introducing on the land level. The law talks about the visible bilinguism /Italian-Slovene/ in some particular towns and villages. There exist people in Resija who don't feel themselves being of Slovene origine and also don't let other Resians to feel this way. They hate to think their dialect could be a dialect of Slovene, so they prefer to be 'Russians'. Honestly, this would be so hillarious, if it isn't tragic. Unfortunately I cannot find really good articles which were published in different newspapers in those days, for example in Primorski dnevnik ( or Dnevnik (
    Maybe it is not worth mentioning these people belong to the right-wing politics as it was clearly seen in the FVG regional parliament.

    Yes, but these Slovenes who joined the Illyrian movement are treated like national traitors.

    Foreigners do not see this. Slovaks had just bad luck they couldn't force others to use their internal naming.
  17. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Not any more, no - since I've moved away from Graz to Vienna I've lost contact. Interesting to hear that there is a split in Resian valley with the minority, at the time I did my researches (late 90ies) this didn't sound so dramatic. (Probably not yet very active minority politics at all at the time in FVG - and then I've concentrated at the time more on Sauris/Zahre, a few kilometres to the west of Resia.)

    Don't be so hard on them. :D
    But I can understand it - we here in Austria too don't worship Pangermanic Nationalists from that era (except, some right wing exremists just do that, but that's another story).
  18. Tolovaj_Mataj Senior Member

    Ljubljana, SI
    Slovene, Slovenia
    quote=sokol;4124896]Not any more, no - since I've moved away from Graz to Vienna I've lost contact. Interesting to hear that there is a split in Resian valley with the minority, at the time I did my researches (late 90ies) this didn't sound so dramatic. (Probably not yet very active minority politics at all at the time in FVG - and then I've concentrated at the time more on Sauris/Zahre, a few kilometres to the west of Resia.)[/QUOTE]
    I cannot agree with you. The minority has been very active there in FVG since... 1918 when they became a minority in Italy. Maybe they shoul try with bombs like south Tirolians did in '70ies. But recently I've heard why Tirolians could use boms, but why Slovenes may not. :rolleyes:
    Here is a bit of history of the news about our minority in Italy:
    Just to get an impression what's going on accross the border.

    I didn't know this. Who on earth would like to throw away his own independance and join the bigger whose-ever state? And drag hundreds of millions "other racial" nations with him? :rolleyes:
  19. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)

    The topic of this post is Slovenian as a South Slavic language. The posts dealing with politics were enlightening and clarifying to a certain extent, but it should not become the main topic of this thread.

    Moderator EHL
  20. Diaspora Senior Member

    Serbocroatian, English
    Moderator note: merged with the previous thread (sokol).

    I never understood why Slovene was classified as a South Slavic tongue?
    As a Serbo-Croatian speaker, I have a fair understanding of Bulgarian and Macedonian but not Slovene! Here are the key differences that in my opinion makes Slovene West Slavic, feel free to correct my mistakes

    Future tense is marked with the verb "to be+conjuagted infinitive" versus BCS "to want+infinitive" or "to want+subjunctive+conjugated present"

    Definiteness is not marked in Slovene as far as I know while in BCS they are marked through adjectives
    crn kaput: a black coat
    crni kaput: the black coat
    z'elena jabuka vs. zelen'a jabuka, a green apple, the green apple

    Verb tenses: Slovene hasn't perserved the Aorist and Imperfect, and to some degree the Past Perfect. BCS perserved all and contary to popular belief the Aorist and the Past Perfect are still used in modern speech.

    EX. Vidi onog kretena, zatvori čovjeku vrata ispred nosa.
    Look that idiot slammed the door right infront of that man's face.

    Accent: BCS has an involved tone system use to differentiate noun cases. I haven't seen this in Slovene and West Slavic.

    Vocab: Slovene has German influence, while BCS has Greek (drum, hiljada) and Turkish (murija, hajvan, tavan, carape, papuce, corav, avlija)

    Three way distinction demonstrative pronouns: Ovaj (this), taj (that one, serves as primitive article), onaj (yonder, that one over there)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2009
  21. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    First and foremost, you are wrong concerning:

    - Future tense is a quite new development in all Slavic languages; Slovene future tense in fact is closer to the system of South Slavic languages except that it uses a different auxiliary; and it is by the way auxiliary + past participle (bomo preživeli).

    - Definiteness: Slovenian has this too: nov avto = a new car, novi auto = the new car.

    - Tenses:
    Resia dialect still has preserved a few aorist forms; also as far as I know Croatian Kajkavian dialects have no longer aorist. We have already discussed the use of aorist and imperfect (in BCS) in separate threads, and what was established there is that native speakers can't quite agree on how much those still are used.

    - Accent:
    The BCS accent system (with four tonemic accents) is an innovation which sets BCS standard language apart from other South Slavic languages: so this is not an argument at all.
    What is typical for South Slavic is that a tonal accent exists - as is the case in Slovenian: short = /`/ long = /´/ and /^/ only with /e/ and /o/ where /ê/ and /ô/ also correspond with a more open vowel, contrary to more closed /é/ and /ó/. The accent also has a tonal curve, but I leave it to native speakers to explain about that - I never managed to pronounce it correctly.
    Certainly Slovene accents aren't nearly as important and distinctive as they are in BCS - but what about Bulgarian and Macedonian? I don't know much about those but I think I would know if they had an accent system similar to BCS.

    - Vocabulary: I don't really see what kind of argument this should be; it is well-known that German also had some impact on BCS (not only on Croatian but, it seems, also on Serbian), and there is of course no doubt that Italian had an impact on coastal dialects of BCS.

    - Three demonstrative pronouns: Now have you got an argument here? I don't have a good Bulgarian dictionary here, but the tiny one I have only lists там = here as well as there.

    To conclude, I don't see a single convincing argument.
    Which is a pity because there are some: especially Carinthian Slovene dialects show some features which link them clearly to Western Slavic (like Western Slavic prefix "vy-" instead of "iz-").
    Nevertheless, despite the fact that there indeed are links between Slovene and Western Slavic (for the most part not the ones you mention, but there exist others) I don't think that there can be any doubt about Slovene being a South Slavic language.

    To that I'd like to add that I have learned Slovene before I learned my first words in BCS and I found it quite easy to get a basic understanding of BCS - while it is much more difficult for me to understand Czech or Slovak.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  22. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    I know that chat is discouraged here, but I would like to commend Sokol for his wonderful post!

    If Slovenian is difficult for some BCS speakers to understand, this has more to do with the Slovenian language's isolation and separate development in medieval times than the few grammatical and lexical elements that are transitional to West Slavic (some of which Sokol mentioned above). Unlike many other Slavic languages, Slovenian has no "intimate" linguistic relatives, either lexically or grammatically; in other words, even BCS is substantially different from it in many respects.

    BTW, not only is definiteness marked through adjectives in Slovenian, it's sometimes marked rather strikingly:

    majhen avto = a small car
    mali avto = the small car

    @Sokol: I always thought that the West Slavic / regional Slovenian "vy-" corresponds to the South Slavic / standard Slovenian "iz-", rather than "do-". :confused:
  23. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Oh right - thanks for mentioning this! :eek:
    Sloppy of me, I should have taken more care. :)
  24. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    No problem, Sokol! I was wondering, which language is the closest South Slavic relative of Slovenian -- BCS or Old Church Slavonic (OCS), which is also a South Slavic language? Can one even attempt to answer such a question, especially since OCS survives only as a liturgical language?

    Grammatically speaking, Kajkavian and to a lesser extent Chakavian have a lot in common with Slovenian, but if we leave out dialects, Slovenian seems to have more in common with OCS (a full case system, the dual, etc.) than with standard BCS, whose case system, for instance, is substantially simplified.
  25. Transatlantic Member

    srpskohrvatski; English
    By the way, there is a parallel construction to the Slovene future tense in Serbo-Croatian. It is called the exact future, or the second future, and is used in adverbial clauses (conditional, time):

    conditional: Javiću ti se ako budem izlazio/izašao. (I'll call you if I go out).
    time: Javiću ti se kad budem izašao/izlazio. (I'll call you when I go out/am going out)

    This tense is constructed in exactly the same way the Slovene one is: "biti" in the present tense + the -l participle (radni glagolski pridev). It does have a different (more restricted) meaning than its Slovene counterpart, though.


    Determining relatedness between languages on the basis of vocabulary is a very tricky business indeed and is full of pitfalls. If you were to look at English vocabulary (even if you gave it more than just a cursory look), you might be tempted to say that English is a Romance language. However, when you look at its phonology, morphology, syntax, and particularly its history and core vocabulary, it becomes very clear that it can't be a Romance language.
  26. dudasd

    dudasd Senior Member

    I can only give my personal vision of a very average learner - though Slovenian has kept some features of OCS that have been lost in BCS, I must note that learning Old Church Slavonic helped me to understand Russian and Bulgarian very well even before I began learning them at all, but in spite of my good will, it didn't make me an inch closer to understanding Slovenian. So I'd say it's not the grammar itself, more probably it's because of very different forms of the words, of the vocabulary itself. I don't mean loanwords, but words of Slavic origin, that's what's strange.
  27. Ayazid Senior Member


    First, I would like to point out that there was already one thread about the same topic, you can find it here:

    Slovenian as a South Slavic language...

    Second, as I haven't studied any of these languages I can't add anything really substantial to the discussion except my personal impression and in my opinion Slovene is undoubtedly a South Slavic language, very similar to standard BSC (and certainly even more to Kajkavian dialects which I don't know).

    Of course, there are some things which put it closer to West Slavic languages but overall it's really very much closer to other South Slavic tongues, no matter how perfectly their speakers understand it. Actually, even after having read a lot of texts written in Slovene and BCS I can't always immediately recognize in which one of them is the text written in! It's also possible to find some things in which Slovene differs more from West Slavic languages (at least Czech and Slovak) than BCS does (for example the way how it forms the future tense, dual..)

    I am also unsure why Diaspora disputed the belonging of Slovene to South Slavic languages on the basis of certain grammatical differences, because from this point of view Bulgarian and Macedonian form an independent Slavic subgroup and actually have more common with non-Slavic Balkan languages in some points (the loss of cases, postposed article, complex system of tenses).
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  28. Diaspora Senior Member

    Serbocroatian, English
    Regardless, as a native BCS speaker I can't follow a conversation in Slovene! (I think other native speakers would agree). Considering the future tense, Sokol I still think Slovenian is closer to West Slavic, look at
    these examples: (I'm not sure if my Slovene and Czech are right)

    I will sleep
    Slovenian: Bom spal.
    Czech: Budu spát.
    BCS-West: Spavat ću/Ja ću spavati
    BCS-East: Ja ću da spavam/Ја ћу да спавам

    In casual speech we also say things like "Ima da jedeš"
    Literal translation "Have that you eat"
    I'm not sure if Slovenian has anything like that.​

    As for Kajkavian, it is practically a foreign language for me, you will never hear it in Croatian parliament or state television. ​

    As for case simplification I don't see it. Some foreigners say that the locative and dative are merged, that is true only orthographically but they are pronounced differently (stress on the same syllable but there is a "gliding up and down sound" on some vowels which are subtle to foreigners but meaningful to native speakers).​

    So, Slovene is probably a South Slavic language but with some perks.​
  29. Diaspora Senior Member

    Serbocroatian, English
    Moreover during the times of the Yugoslav kingdom (1918-1941) the official language was SerboCroatoSlovenian. Maybe Slovenian imported BCS characteristics?
  30. Ayazid Senior Member

    Let me to say that your Czech example is correct (in Slovak it would be budem spať), but the literal translation of the Slovene sentence - "budu spal" - wouldn't make any sense in Czech, since the verb must be always in the infinitive form, never as a perfect participle. So, the Croatian form is more similar, although it uses a different auxiliary verb, which is related to the Czech chtít - to want ("I want to sleep" would be chci spát in Czech and chcem spať in Slovak). Nevertheless, I have to admit that the Serbian version looks even more different from Czech than the Slovene one (I guess that in Bulgarian it would be probably rendered similarly).
  31. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)

    I would say BCS is simplified somewhat compared to Slovenian, especially in relation to the plural case endings and the loss of the dual grammatical number, for instance. In any case (no pun intended), Slovenian seems to have retained far more of OCS-era syntax.

    Let's decline nož, for instance, in Old Church Slavonic, Slovenian, and BCS (nom., gen., dat., acc., loc., instr.):

    Old Church Slavonic:

    SG: nož, nož-a, nož-u, nož, nož-i, nož-emь
    DU: nož-a, nož-u, nož-ema, nož-a, nož-u, nož-ema
    PL: nož-i, nož, nož-emь, nož, nož-ihъ, nož-i

    Slovenian (note the similarities to Old Church Slavonic):

    SG: nož, nož-a, nož-u, nož, nož-u, nož-em
    DU: nož-a, nož-ev, nož-ema, nož-a, nož-ih, nož-ema
    PL: nož-i, nož-ev, nož-em, nož-e, nož-ih, nož-i

    BCS (note the absence of the dual and the completely different plural case endings, despite the identical singular case endings):

    SG: nož, nož-a, nož-u, nož, nož-u, nož-em
    nož-evi, nož-eva, nož-evima, nož-eve, nož-evima, nož-evima

    Note: Based in part on grammatical information from Wikipedia. Any corrections are welcome!

    I would say that this is a fair assessment.

    Thank you for starting a fascinating thread, BTW!
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  32. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    Slovenian did import some BCS characteristics, although I would say that most were imported at the height of the pan-Slavic and Illyrian movements in the 19th century. Some of these late imports, primarily but not exclusively lexical borrowings, were purged after World War II under the influence of more purist linguists.

    "Serbo-Croato-Slovenian" was a political fantasy in pre-World War II Yugoslavia; it only existed on paper.
  33. dudasd

    dudasd Senior Member


    Though I think that nož/nožь is not quite a happy example; a good number of monosyllabic words and a smaller number of dysillabic words in BCS suffered "transport" to another declension group (type: volъ, sъlnъ), but many of them have both declensions even now (vukovi/vuci, golubovi/golubi). This one is also grammaticaly correct, though a bit archaic in this particular case:​

    SG: nož, nož-a, nož-u, nož, nož-u, nož-em
    PL: nož-i, nož-â, nož-ima, nož-e, nož-ima, nož-ima
  34. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    BTW, in Slovenian, "I want to sleep" (with the verb hoteti) is hočem spati (or hočem spat in colloquial Slovenian).
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  35. phosphore Senior Member

    Actually, BCS-East: Spavaću/Ja ću spavati; Ja ću da spavam is less common and is slightly different in meaning. So, the difference is orthographic only, since it's pronounced the same (if you don't look at the difference between ć's in the East and in the West.
  36. Diaspora Senior Member

    Serbocroatian, English
    Interesting, in Slovenian it is pretty clear what one is talking about when using "hoteti" but since the verb "to want" is used in BCS for future; there is ambiguity as to whether it expresses desire or definite future.

    Spavat ću
    I will sleep

    Hoću spavati
    ambiguous, it can mean "I will sleep" or "I want to sleep"

    Hoću da spavam*
    I want to sleep

    *This is one of the few cases where the so called "Serbian standard" is
    prefered in Croatian even though da+present constructions are stigmatized because of political reasons
    Doesn't BCS retain the dual for some nouns such as vuk (wolf), oko (eye), noga (leg)? I'm not sure since I never went to school in Ex-YU.
    Phosphore, I personally know of small villages in Nis area of Serbia that do not use the infinitive.
  37. phosphore Senior Member

    Serbian (BCS):

    SG: nož-Ø, nož-a, nož-u, nož-u, nož-em
    PL: nož-ev-i, nož-ev-a, nož-ev-ima, nož-ev-e, nož-ev-ima, nož-ev-ima

    So, -ev- is just an infix and affixes are the same in Slovenian and Serbian in plural in nominative and accusative.
  38. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    I believe there are a few remnants of the dual in many if not most Slavic languages, but the true grammatical dual is preserved in only two Slavic languages: Slovenian, a South Slavic language, and (Lusatian) Sorbian, a West Slavic language*. Coincidentally, these two are also the only Indo-European languages in which the full dual grammatical number survives.

    * Old Church Slavonic has it as well, but outside of Orthodox liturgy, it's not really a living language.
  39. phosphore Senior Member

    I have also heard of that, but I was talking about standardised forms.

    About the difference between "I shall sleep" and "I want to sleep", I would say that "I shall sleep" is "spavaću" or "ću spavati"; "I want to sleep" is "hoću da spavam" and hardly ever "hoću spavati" in Serbian.

    I do not know anything about the dual in Serbian; there is paucal, used with numbers 2, 3 and 4 which is often misinterpreted as genitive singular.
    Actually, I remember now that there are some dual forms like "gledaj svoja posla".
  40. dudasd

    dudasd Senior Member

    In BCS, dual can be recognized in genitive of plural as well: noktiju (vs regular PL nokata), ušiju (vs ušesâ), očiju (vs očesa - this plural is not in use any more, only the dual form remained), nogu (vs. nogâ - which is considered a dialectal form nowadays), slugu (vs. slugâ), etc.
  41. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    You should keep the general use of future tense in South Slavic languages in focus (where both with perfective and imperfective verbs a future tense is formed while in West and East Slavic there's only future tense with imperfective verbs).
    But this was discussed here and here and here, to quote only a few.

    Nor has Croatian - or to formulate better: in Croatian literary language it is considered bad style to avoid infinitives with this construction.

    To avoid infinitives with "have-that-you-eat"-constructions is a typical Balkansprachbund feature.

    I cannot see what kind of argument this should be; it seems like you were claiming that Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian standard language were the benchmark for qualifying as South Slavic - which is just unscientific.

    All Slavic languages once had dual besides plural - that much is a well-established fact. Only Sorbian and Slovenian retained full dual paradigms, and quite some other Slavic languages retained a so-called paral (old, frozen dual forms are used for words which come in natural pairs - like eyes and ears).
    As confirmed by dudasd this also is the case for BCS.

    So anyway dual is not an argument for classifying a language as Western, Southern or Eastern Slavic: it is clear that dual survived in those languages which were set apart from other Slavic languages - politically and geographically.

    So I still haven't seen any convincing arguments at all for not classifying Slovenian as South Slavic.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  42. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Short answer: languages are classified according to their historical development, not their present similarities. Discussing which languages are presently more similar according to various criteria can be fun, but at the end of the day, it will just lead to endless bickering without any practical usefulness.

    That depends on whether you've had some exposure to Croatian Kajkavian dialects. If you've lived in Northwestern Croatia for a few years and picked up some common Kajkavian vocabulary and grammar that's different from standard BCS, Slovenian suddenly becomes much more understandable.

    I'm a hard-core Shtokavian speaker from Bosnia and I've never spent any time learning Slovenian, but after a few years of living in Zagreb, I started understanding Slovenian much better. Nowadays I don't have much trouble watching news and broadcasts on Slovenian TV, and I don't find communication with non-BCS-speaking Slovenians too terribly difficult either.
  43. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    (my bolding)

    I realize that these are just your personal impressions, but I would argue that you are overstating the similarity between Slovenian and standard BCS. As T.M.S. Priestly writes in Comrie and Corbett's The Slavonic Languages (Routledge), "Slovene managed to develop its native vocabulary in ways that mark it as very different from its closest relative, Serbo-Croat" (my bolding).

    Here's some sample text in BCS:

    And the same text in Slovenian:

    Sample text source (both languages):
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  44. phosphore Senior Member

    These are the words I would not understand: obiskovalcem, sprostitev, oddih, zunanjih, curkom; and I don't speak a word of Slovene. However, I think the same text in Slovak would be completely unintelligible to me.
  45. trance0 Senior Member

    Well, Slovene is a South Slavic language, no doubt about that. I just feel I have to say a few things about the case system of nouns in Slovene and BCS. Slovene noun declensions ARE more archaic and show less "symplification" in form than BCS nouns. This is generally true and one can see this quite well on the following examples:

    Example 1: declension of Slovene noun "man" = "človek":

    singular: človek, človeka, človeku, človeka, o človeku, s človekom
    dual: človeka, ljudi, človekoma, človeka, o ljudeh, s človekoma
    plural: ljudje, ljudi, ljudem, ljudi, o ljudeh, z ljudmi

    BCS declension of noun "čov(j)ek":

    čovjek, čovjeka, čovjeku, čovjeka, čovječe, na čovjeku, čovjekom
    ljudi, ljudi, ljudima, ljudi, o ljudima, ljudima

    Observe the plural, only two forms exist orthographically in Standard BCS whereas there are 5 distinct plural forms in Standard Slovene.

    Another example 2 of an even more conservative noun in Slovene in plural:

    zobje, zob-, zobem, zobe, o zobeh, z zobmi

    And the same noun in BCS:

    zubi, zuba/(-i(ju)??), zubima, zube, o zubima, zubima

    Only 4 forms exist in BCS of which genetive plural is orthographically and in many dialects also pronounced the same as genitive singular, while in Slovene all 6 cases have distinct forms which are also fully different from singular forms.

    Furthermore, declension of noun "dan" in Slovene, example 3:

    singular: dan, dneva/dne, dnevu, dan-, o dnevu, z dnevom/dnem
    dual: dneva, dni, dnevoma, dneva/dni, o dnevih/dneh, z dnevoma
    plural: dnevi, dni, dnevom/dnem, dneve/dni, o dnevih/dneh, z dnevi/dnemi

    Watch the diversity in declension.

    And more, nouns with movable(non-fixed, variable) accent in declension(accent marked with capital letters), example 4 noun "kost":


    singular: kOst-, kostI, kOsti, kOst-, o kOsti, s kostjO
    dual: kostI, kostI, kostEma, kostI, o kostEh, s kostEma
    plural: kostI, kostI, kostEm, kostI, o kostEh, s kostmI


    singular: kOst, kOsti, kOsti, kOst-, kOsti, o kOsti, sa kOšću/kOsti
    plural: kOsti, kOsti(ju), kOstima, kOsti, o kOstima, kOstima

    Considering the variable accent in singular in Slovene and more distinct plural forms it is clear that the declension in Slovene is more diverse. Especially if one takes into account the fact, that in spoken BCS the "-i" ending is prevailing even in cases where other forms are possible(namely in instrumental singular and genetive plural), which contributes to even less diversity in the so called "feminine consonant declension".

    Also, there are many exceptions in noun declensions in Slovene, more than in BCS, and these exceptions are a testament of an even more elaborate declension system, which existed in Old Slovene.

    P.S.: Correct me if I am wrong, but beside the ending "-ju" with some nouns(like oćiju etc.), the "-ima" and "-ama" endings come from dual and were not originally plural endings in BCS.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  46. phosphore Senior Member

    I've never heard košću, though it is perfectly fine to say vešću or mišlju; and I'm not sure that the genitive plural form kosti exists. Zubiju does not exist, I am quite sure about that; and the accusative plural form of čovek/čovjek is ljude.

    In any case, Serbian (BCS) declension is simpler than Slovene one.
  47. trance0 Senior Member

    Thanks for the corrections, I haven`t taken the time to make sure all the BCS declension forms are correct, they are however correct for the most part! ;) The Slovene declensions are correct in all cases.
  48. WannaBeMe

    WannaBeMe Senior Member

    Serbian (ijekavian)
    I have heard : košću and "kosti" (with a long end-i) and "zubiju and zubi" although "zuba" is more usual. Its normal for Serbian in Bosnia and Croatia.
  49. trance0 Senior Member

    Ha, so I guess I was right after all. :D
  50. phosphore Senior Member

    It seems so. You know Serbian better than I do. :D
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