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Slovenian Adjectives Print

Native and nativized adjectives agree in number, case and grammatical gender and normally precede the nouns that they modify or to which they implicitly refer (majhna zakotna trgovina ‘small remote store’; lepo mlado dekle ‘beautiful young girl’; bosanskemu državljanu ‘to the Bosnian citizen’; seldžuških sultanov ‘of the Seljuk sultans’; Peter je miren in razgledan ‘Peter is calm and worldly’). Moreover, in the Nominative-SG-M form, most adjectives distinguish between indefinite and definite forms (dober pesnik mora kruh zaslužiti ‘a good poet has to earn a living’ vs. dobri pesnik mora kruh zaslužiti ‘the good poet has to earn a living’). The variation in definiteness in Nominative-SG-M is lacking in adjectives with stems ending in consonant clusters (except if a V ~ Ø alternation appears in the stem termination, e.g., krátek ‘short’ INDEF/krȃtki ‘short’ DEF), thus only anglȇški ‘English’, slovénski ‘Slovenian’, nikȏgaršnji ‘nobody’s’, žȃbji ‘frog’s’.

A small number of native or nativized adjectives have invariant forms, e.g., drȃp blagȏ ‘beige material’, pocéni parkîranje ‘cheap parking’, rȏza pas ‘pink belt’. Adjectives borrowed from other languages and that do not comform to the structure of inherited adjectives are also indeclinable, e.g., tȇj fȇjst pȗnci ‘to this fine girl’, zrȃven sȃvna pȃrka ‘next to the sauna park’, v kȃmp híšici ‘in a camp cottage’, obmȏčje Escȃmbia Cȏuntyja ‘the territory of Escambia County’. The phenomenon is not limited to recent borrowings, however, e.g., žálik žé̡na ‘type of a nymph’, borrowed before 1300 AD form Old High German sȃlig.

 

Prefix Root Suffix Desinence (number, gender, case) Gloss
rdèč Ø ‘red’ Nominative-SG-MINDEF
rdéč i ‘red’ Nominative-SG-MDEF
rdéč ega ‘red’ Genitive-SG-M
rdéč a ‘red’ Nominative-SG-F
mást [ə]n Ø ‘greasy’ Nominative-SGM-INDEF
mást n i ‘greasy’ Nominative-SGM-DEF
slové n sk i ‘Slovenian’ Nominative-PL-M
žȃb j i ‘frog’s’ Nominative-SG-M
dé̡bel Ø ‘fat’ Nominative-SG-MINDEF
debél i ‘fat’ Nominative-SG-M-DEF
pre debél i ‘too fat’ Nominative-SGM-DEF
debel ȇjš i ‘fatter’ Nominative-SG-M-DEF
nàj debel ȇjš i ‘fattest’ Nominative-SGM-DEF

Comparatives and superlatives

Gradient adjectives and related adverbs can form comparative and superlative degrees in two ways—in an older, unproductive layer of the lexicon by means of prefixation and suffixation (lȇp ‘pretty’—lȇpši ‘prettier’—nàjlȇpši ‘prettiest’; dé̡bel ‘fat’—debelȇjši ‘fatter’—nàjdebelȇjši ‘fattest’) and productively with the addition of analytic forms (znàn ‘known’—bòlj znàn ‘better known’—nàjbòlj znàn ‘best known’). The latter pattern, mutatis mutandis, also forms an inferior degree (znàn ‘known’— mànj znàn ‘less known’—nàjmànj znàn ‘least known’). The older types are divided into two groups. The first of these is a small group formed by the addition of a suffix –š-or –j-to the stem (minus suffix) (lȇp ‘pretty’— lȇpši ‘prettier’) or to a suppletive stem (dóber ‘good’—boljši ‘better’), which, though small, make up some of the most commonly used comparatives. The second group forms the comparative with the longer suffix –ejš-, e.g., bogàt—bogatȇjši ‘rich—richer’, čîst—čistȇjši ‘clean—cleaner’, močen—močnȇjši ‘strong—stronger’. Some variation occurs in usage, e.g., pámeten ‘smart’ may form both pametnȇjši and bòlj pámeten.

The analytic constructions are productive, e.g., Daleč najbolj radikalen je bil v podcenjevanju Jugoslovanov ekspert za kolonialna vprašanja Louis Beer ‘By far the most radical in underestimating the Yugoslavs was the expert for colonial matters, Louis Beer’. Under some circumstances (i.e., metaphorical extensions) even non-gradient adjectives may occur with superlatives, e.g., Bolj papeški od papeža ‘More papal than the Pope’.

The construction kàr se dá ‘as much as possible’ is used as an attenuated superlative: Trgovec s hmeljem si je prizadeval biti kar se da odkritosrčen, ko je požugal ženi s prstom ‘The hop-trader endeavored to be as forthright as possible as he was wagging his finger at his wife in reproach’.

The unproductive type, mostly monosyllabic stems in the positive, are formed as in the following chart:

Positive Comparative Gloss
dóber bȏljši ‘good’—‘better’
dáleč dȃljši ‘far’—‘farther’
globòk glȏblji ‘deep’—‘deeper’
krátek krȃjši ‘short’—‘shorter’
láhek lȃžji ‘easy’—‘easier’
mȃjhen mȃnjši ‘small’—‘smaller’
mlȃd mlȃjši ‘young’—‘younger’
nízek nîžji ‘low’—‘lower’
ràd rȃjši ‘glad’—‘gladder’
slàb slȃbši ‘bad’—‘worse’
sládek slȃjši ‘sweet’—‘sweeter’
vé̡lik vȇčji ‘big’—‘bigger’


Items are compared by one of two syntactic strategies, either X kot Y or X od Y, e.g., letos je bil dohodek večji kot lani ‘income was larger than last year’; letošnji dohodek je bil večji od lanskega ‘this year’s income was larger than last year’s’.

Possessive adjectives

Possessive adjectives are formed from nouns referring to individuals and proper nouns by means of a small number of suffixes. These form a supplementary strategy for relating nouns within NPs (for which the Genitive case is typically used). Masculine and neuter stems are suffixed with –ov/-ev: bràt ‘brother’ → brátov, -a, -o ‘brother’s’; Janša ‘(surname)’ → Janšev ‘Janša’s’ Delo ‘(name of a Ljubljana-based daily newspaper)’ → Delov, -a, -o ‘Delo’s’ (Delova nagradna križanka ‘Delo’s crossword-puzzle contest’). Feminine stems are suffixed with -in: teta ‘aunt’ → tetin ‘aunt’s’; Marija → Marijin, -a, -o (Marijino vnebozetje ‘The Assumption of Mary’). F names with stems ending in –icmutate before this suffix: Dragica → Dragičin (note that velar stems do not, e.g., Anka → Ankin, Aga → Agin). Names with more than one element are typically not adjectivized—rather, an adnominal construction is preferred (stališče Janeza Janše ‘Janez Janša’s position’)—though speakers sometime produce adjectives from the last element, e.g., teta Majdina hiša ‘Aunt Majda’s house’. Surnames may be suffixed in –ov to indicate family affiliation, e.g., in the colloquial usage Pirnatova Marta ‘Marta from the Pirnat family’, or standard and neutrally with feminine surnames when they are used together with titles, e.g., doktor Cerarjeva ‘Dr. Cerar’. Feminitive surnames are used neutrally in texts, especially in journalistic style, as anaphoric references to individuals named fully earlier in the text. Otherwise, the use of feminitive surnames without professional titles is becoming archaic, though with prominent figures born before World War II and with historical figures, with which the feminitives were in common use, they are still considered neutral, e.g., (the writer) Zofka Kvedrova, (the actress) Štefka Drolčeva, (the actress) Ivanka Mežanova. When the feminitive surname is used alone, it is also felt as neutral, e.g., Marija Gimbutasova → Gimbutasova.

Another class of possessives is formed with –j-, which is added to the theonym and to classes of animate beings. These also have broader meanings than possession, including general attribution, e.g., bȏg → bó̡žji (božja volja ‘God’s will’, božji sin ‘Son of God’); žába ‘frog’→ žȃbji ‘frog’s’ (žabji kraki ‘frogs’ legs’); govédo ‘bovine animal’ → gové̡ja (goveja muzika ‘beef music’ [derogatory term for Alpine-style music]); otròk ‘child’ → otróčji ‘child’s/childish’ (otročje obnašanje ‘childish behavior’).

Interrogative and pronominal adjectives

Interrogative adjectives decline just as other adjectives:

Semantic field Adjective/meaning Examples
Quality kākšen, kākšna, kākšno ‘what kind?’ Kakšna bo korist zame? ‘What do I get out of it?’ lit.: ‘What kind of benefit will be for me?’; S kakšnimi težavami se največkrat ukvarjaš? ‘What sort of difficulties do you usually deal with?’
Quantity kōlikšen, kōlikšna, kōlikšno ‘how many?’ Kolikšen inteligenčni kvocient imaš? ‘What’s your IQ?’ Kolikšno pokojnino bom imel? How big a pension will I get?
Individuation katēri, katēra, katēro ‘which (among alternatives)?’ Kateri elementi tržništva vplivajo na logistiko? ‘Which elements of commerce have an influence on logistics? S katero firmo imamo opravka? ‘Which company are we dealing with? Katere barve nam je zmanjkalo? Which color (of paint) did we run out of?
Possessive čigáv, čigáva, čigávo ‘whose?’ Čigava roka je na sliki? ‘Whose hand is in the picture?’; Čigavim interesom to služi? ‘Whose interests does this serve?


The corresponding response forms are tákšen, tákšna, tákšno ‘such’; tȏlikšen, tȏlikšna, tȏlikšno ‘so much’; nēkakšen, nēkakšna, nēkakšno ‘some sort of (often with a derogatory flavor)’; nikȃkršen, nikȃkršna, nikȃkršno ‘no such’; nikȏgaršnji, -a, -o ‘nobody’s’; vsȃkogaršnji, -a, -o ‘anybody’s’. The relative forms are kȃkršen, kȃkršna, kȃkršno and kȏlikršen, kȏlikršna, kȏlikršno.

Examples: Lloyd George je ... zavzel zlato sredino in zato na konferenci postal nekakšen neuradni posrednik ‘Lloyd George ... assumed the golden mean and thus at the conference became a kind of unofficial mediator’; Tista velika živina ima mastno plačo za skoraj nikakršno delo ‘That bigwig has a fat salary for almost no work’; Kakršen oče, takšen sin ‘As the father, so the son; a chip off the old block’; Kolikršen je delež glasov, tolikšen je delež v parlamentu ‘As many a share of votes (one has), such is the share (of participation) in parliament’; Predsednika Wilsona, ki je takrat užival tolikšen sloves kot malokateri državnik v zgodovini, so po vojni obtoževali, da je bil med konferenco preveč tog ‘President Wilson, who had at that time enjoyed a high degree of fame accorded few statesmen in history, was accused after the war of having been too rigid’. Kateri corresponds to a range of demonstrative pronouns and čigav to possessive pronouns.

Demonstrative pronouns

Slovenian distinguishes three spatial/temporal demonstrative pronouns oriented around the point of view of the narrator or the locus of a narrative, tȃ ‘this’—tîsti ‘that’—ȏni ‘that (distal)’. Examples: Razlika med temi poboji in tistimi v zahodni Evropi, ki so bili veliko bolj množični, je v tem, da za temi poboji stoji oblast’ ‘The difference between these massacres and those in Western Europe, which involved many more people, lies in the fact that these were massacres that the authorities stood behind’; Vsem sodelavcem, tistim iz dosedanje SKB banke in onim iz pridružene francoske podružnice, želiva veselo praznovanje ob prihodu novega leta’ ‘To all our co-workers, both those from SKB Bank and those from our associated French branch, the two of us wish a happy holiday upon the coming of the new year’. The paradigms for these are given below.

Morphologically similar are ták, táka, táko ‘such’; vsȃk, vsȃka, vsȃko ‘each, every, any’; drȗg, drȗga, drȗgo ‘other’, nēk, nēka, nēko ‘a kind of’; enák, enāka, enāko ‘identical’; îsti, îsta, îsto ‘same’, all of which decline (with the necessary adjustments for the N-SG-M-DEF/INDEF) just as tîsti.

tȃ ‘this’

Singular M F N
Nominative tȃ tȃ tȏ
Accusative tȃ/tȇga tȏ tȏ
Genitive tȇga tȇga
Dative tȇmu tȇj tȇmu
Locative tȇm tȇj tȇm
Instrumental tȇm tȏ tȇm
Plural M F N
Nominative tȇ tȃ
Accusative tȇ tȇ tȃ
Genitive tȇh tȇh tȇh
Dative tȇm tȇm tȇm
Locative tȇh tȇh tȇh
Instrumental tȇmi tȇmi tȇmi
Dual M F N
Nominative tȃ
Accusative tȃ
Genitive tȇh tȇh tȇh
Dative tȇma tȇma tȇma
Locative tȇh tȇh tȇh
Instrumental tȇma tȇma tȇma

tîsti ‘that’

Singular M F N
Nominative tîsti tîsta tîsto
Accusative tîsti/tîstega tîsto tîsto
Genitive tîstega tîste tîstega
Dative tîstemu tîsti tîstemu
Locative tîstem tîsti tîstem
Instrumental tîstim tîsto tîstim
Plural M F N
Nominative tîsti tîste tîsta
Accusative tîste tîste tîsta
Genitive tîstih tîstih tîstih
Dative tîstim tîstim tîstim
Locative tîstih tîstih tîstih
Instrumental tîstimi tîstimi tîstimi
Dual M F N
Nominative tîstȃ tîsti tîsti
Accusative tîstȃ tîsti tîsti
Genitive tîstih tîstih tîstih
Dative tîstima tîstima tîstima
Locative tîstih tîstih tîstih
Instrumental tîstima tîstima tîstima

ȏni ‘that (distal)’

Singular M F N
Nominative ȏni ȏna ȏno
Accusative ȏni/ȏnega ȏno ȏno
Genitive ȏnega ȏne ȏnega
Dative ȏnemu ȏni ȏnemu
Locative ȏnem ȏni ȏnem
Instrumental ȏnim ȏno ȏnim
Plural M F N
Nominative ȏni ȏne ȏna
Accusative ȏne ȏne ȏna
Genitive ȏnih ȏnih ȏnih
Dative ȏnim ȏnim ȏnim
Locative ȏnih ȏnih ȏnih
Instrumental ȏnimi ȏnimi ȏnimi
Dual M F N
Nominative ȏna ȏni ȏni
Accusative ȏna ȏni ȏni
Genitive ȏnih ȏnih ȏnih
Dative ȏnima ȏnima ȏnima
Locative ȏnih ȏnih ȏnih
Instrumental ȏnima ȏnima ȏnima

vès ‘all’

M F N
Nominative vès vsà vsè
Accusative vès/vsèga vsò vsè
Genitive vsèga vsè vsèga
Dative vsèmu vsèj vsèmu
Locative vsèm vsèj vsèm
Instrumental vsèm vsò vsèm

Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns agree, as other adjectives, with their head noun (moj lepi beli konj ‘my beautiful white horse’). The chart below gives the pattern for mój, for which the distinction between the closed ó in the N-SG-M and open ó̡ in the remaining forms should be noted. The exact same pattern applies also to tvój, tvó̡ja (etc.) ‘your’ (SG and familiar) and svój, svó̡ja (etc.) ‘one’s one’. The pattern for njegòv ~ njegóv, njegóva (etc.) is also identical with the exception of the variation just noted for the N-SG-M form.

mój ‘my’

Singular M F N
Nominative mój mó̡ja mó̡je
Accusative mo̡j/mo̡jega mo̡jo mo̡jo
Genitive mo̡jega mo̡je mo̡jega
Dative mo̡jemu mo̡ji mo̡jemu
Locative mo̡jem mo̡ji mo̡jem
Instrumental mo̡jim mo̡jo mo̡jim
Plural M F N
Nominative mo̡ji mo̡je mo̡ja
Accusative mo̡je mo̡je mo̡ja
Genitive mo̡jih mo̡jih mo̡jih
Dative mo̡jim mo̡jim mo̡jim
Locative mo̡jih mo̡jih mo̡jih
Instrumental mo̡jimi mo̡jimi mo̡jimi
Dual M F N
Nominative mo̡ja mo̡ji mo̡ji
Accusative mo̡ja mo̡ji mo̡ji
Genitive mo̡jih mo̡jih mo̡jih
Dative mo̡jima mo̡jima mo̡jima
Locative mo̡jih mo̡jih mo̡jih
Instrumental mo̡jima mo̡jima mo̡jima


The pattern for the 2-PL and formal (vàš ‘your’) and 1-PL (nàš ‘our’) possessive adjectives is given below (where only the first consonant need be changed). The 3-SG-F (njȇn, njȇna, njȇno ‘her’) and 3-DU (njȗn, njȗna, njȗno ‘both of their’) follow this pattern as well, with the exception that the N-SG-M does not have a stress difference and the N-SG-N form ends in –o rather than –e.

vàš ‘your’ (PL and formal)

Singular M F N
Nominative vàš váša váše
Accusative váši/vášega vášo váše
Genitive vášega váše vášega
Dative vášemu váši vášemu
Locative vášem váši vášem
Instrumental vášim vášo vášim
Plural M F N
Nominative váši váše váša
Accusative váše váše váša
Genitive váših váših váših
Dative vášim vášim vášim
Locative váših váših váših
Instrumental vášimi vášimi vášimi
Dual M F N
Nominative váša váši váši
Accusative váša váši váši
Genitive váših váših váših
Dative vášima vášima vášima
Locative váših váših váših
Instrumental vášima vášima vášima
 

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