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Slovenian Nouns


Native and assimilated nouns in Slovenian obligatorily have a root and an ending (marking number, gender, case); they may also have a one or more prefixes or suffixes, which occur always in the following order: PREFIX + ROOT + SUFFIX + ENDING. Examples are given in the table below. More than one root is also possible, as in the following examples of compounds: ȃvtoindustrîja ‘auto industry’; delodajȃlec ‘employer’ ← delo ‘work’ + dajalec ‘giver’.

Nouns distinguish three genders (Masculine, Feminine and Neuter), six cases (Nominative, Accusative, Genitive, Dative, Locative, Instrumental), and three numbers (Singular, Plural, Dual). With respect to inanimate referents, gender is determined by form class, a property of whole paradigms (prédnost ‘advantage’ = F, ríba ‘fish’ = F, cérkev ‘church’ = F, kozȏlec ‘hayrick’ = M, pojmovȃnje ‘conceptualization’ = N). In terms of grammatical agreement the actual sex of human and animal referents are usually assigned to their respective gender class (e.g., Milȇna Mȏ̡horič = F, Joȃn d’Ȃrc [ˈʒɑ̀ːn ˈdɑ̀ːɾk]= F, gospá ‘Mrs.’ = F, Jánez ‘John’ = M, Žîga ‘Ziggy’ = M, gospȏd ‘Mr.’ = M; kráva ‘cow’ = F, bìk ‘bull’ = M), though there are some rare exceptions, e.g., mlȃdo dekle ‘young girl’ = N.

With only the Nominative-SG form, which is the dictionary entry from (except in the case of nouns that occur only in the plural), the gender cannot always be readily determined without further information. For example, nouns ending in -a are usually feminine (míza ‘table’, vó̡da ‘water’, žé̡na ‘wife’, zémlja ‘earth’, amnestîja ‘amnesty’), but some are masculine (kolȇga ‘colleague’, vȏjvoda ‘duke’, apartmȃ ‘rental apartment’). Words ending in –Ø are usually masculine (kmèt ‘farmer’, mȏž ‘man, husband’, dežník ‘umbrella’, gȏst ‘guest’), though some are feminine (nìt ‘thread’, cérkev ‘church’, kȏst ‘bone’, po̡dlost ‘vileness’). Nouns ending in –o are usually neuter (mesȏ ‘meat’, testȏ ‘dough’, darílo ‘gift’), but some are masculine (Mȃrko ‘Mark’, pîkolo ‘piccolo’, kȏnto ‘account’). Though these statements imply that there is a low degree of grammatical gender predictability, in fact many of the “exceptional” types can be determined by virtue of somewhat heterogeneous rules regarding the properties of stem shapes or suffixes, e.g., nouns with stems ending in –kev are always feminine (cérkev ‘church’, re̡dkev ‘radish’, bȗkev ‘beech’); abstract nouns in –ost are always feminine; most borrowed words in –o are masculine (ȃvto ‘car’, lȏto ‘lottery’, renȃult [rɛˈnòː]).


Prefix Root Suffix Number / Gender / Case marker Gloss
míz a ‘table’ F
vó̡d a ‘water’ F
zé̡mlj a ‘earth’ F
nìt Ø ‘thread’ F
mát i ‘mother’ F
kmèt Ø ‘farmer’ M
jé̡zik Ø ‘tongue, language’ M
ó̡č e Ø ‘father’ Nominative-SG-M
ét a ‘father’ Accusative/Genitive-SG-M
kolȇg a ‘colleague’ M
grîzli Ø ‘grizzly bear’ Nominative-SG-M
grîzli j a ‘grizzly bear’ Accusative/Genitive-SG-M
mést o ‘city’ N
pred mést j e ‘suburb’ Nominative/Accusative-SG-N
tel ‘body’ Nominative/Accusative-SG-N
tel ȇs a ‘body’ Genitive-SG-N
bré̡m e Ø ‘burden’ Nominative/Accusative-SG-N
brem én a ‘burden’ Genitive-SG-N
oblik ovȃnj e ‘shaping, designing’ N
pre oblik ovȃnj e ‘reshaping, redesigning’ N

Feminine paradigms

Singular miza ‘table’ vóda ‘water’
Nominative míza vó̡da
Accusative mízo vó̡do ~ vodȏ
Genitive míze vó̡de ~ vodé
Dative mízi vó̡di
Locative mízi vó̡di
Instrumental mîzo vó̡do ~ vodó
Plural miza ‘table’ vóda ‘water’
Nominative, Accusative míze vó̡de ~ vodé
Genitive mîz vód ~ vodá
Dative mízam vó̡dam ~ vodàm
Locative mízah vó̡dah ~ vodàh
Instrumental mízami vó̡dami ~ vodȃmi
Dual miza ‘table’ vóda ‘water’
Nominative, Accusative mízi vó̡di ~ vodé
Genitive mîz vód ~ vodá
Locative mízah vó̡dah ~ vodàh
Dative, Instrumental mízama vó̡dama ~ vodȃma


Singular nit ‘thread’ kost ‘bone’ breskev ‘peach’
Nominative, Accusative nìt kȏst brȇskev
Genitive níti kostî brȇskve
Dative níti kó̡sti brȇskvi
Locative níti kó̡sti brȇskvi
Instrumental nîtjo kostjó brȇskvijo
Plural nit ‘thread’ kost ‘bone’ breskev ‘peach’
Nominative níti kostî brȇskve
Accusative níti kostî brȇskve
Genitive nīti kostī brȇskev
Dative nītim kostēm brȇskvam
Locative nītih kostéh brȇskvah
Instrumental nītmi kostmí brȇskvami
Dual nit ‘thread’ kost ‘bone’ breskev ‘peach’
Nominative, Accusative nīti kostî brȇskvi
Genitive nīti kostī brȇskev
Locative nītih kostéh brȇskvah
Dative, Instrumental nītma kostēma brȇskvama

Masculine paradigms

Singular kmèt ‘farmer’ mȏž ‘husband, man’ jézik ‘tongue, language’
Nominative kmèt mȏž jé̡zik
Accusative kméta možȃ jé̡zik
Genitive kméta možȃ jezíka
Dative kmétu, h kmȇtu mȏžu jezíku, k jezīku
Locative kmȇtu mȏžu jezīku
Instrumental kmétom mȏžem jezíkom
Plural kmèt ‘farmer’ mȏž ‘husband, man’ jézik ‘tongue, language’
Nominative, Accusative kmétje ~ kméti možjȇ jezíki
Genitive kmȇtov móž jezīkov
Dative kmétom možȇm jezíkom
Locative kmētih možȇh jezīkih
Instrumental kméti možmí jezīki
Dual kmèt ‘farmer’ mȏž ‘husband, man’ jézik ‘tongue, language’
Nominative, Accusative kméta možȃ jezíka
Genitive kmȇtov móž jezīkov
Locative kmētih možȇh jezīkih
Dative, Instrumental kmétoma možȇma jezíkoma


Singular kolȇga ‘colleague’ bȏg ‘god’ óče ‘father’ renault [renȏ] ‘renault car’
Nominative kolȇga bȏg ó̡če renault [renȏ]
Accusative kolȇga bogȃ očéta renault [renȏ] ~ renaulta [renȏja]
Genitive kolȇga bogȃ očéta renaulta [renȏja]
Dative kolȇgu bȏgu očétu, k očētu renaultu [renȏju]
Locative kolȇgu bȏgu očētu renaultu [renȏju]
Instrumental kolȇgom bȏgom očétom renaultom [renȏjem]
Plural kolȇga ‘colleague’ bȏg ‘god’ óče ‘father’ renault [renȏ] ‘renault car’
Nominative, Accusative kolȇgi bogȏvi očétje ~ očéti renaulti [renȏji]
Genitive kolȇgov bogóv očétov renaultov [renȏjev]
Dative kolȇgom bogȏvom očétom renaultom [renȏjem]
Locative kolȇgih bogȏvih očētih renaultih [renȏjih]
Instrumental kolȇgi bogȏvi očéti renaulti [renȏji]
Dual kolȇga ‘colleague’ bȏg ‘god’ óče ‘father’ renault [renȏ] ‘renault car’
Nominative, Accusative kolȇga bogȏva očéta renaulta [renȏja]
Genitive kolȇgov bogóv očétov renaultov [renȏjev]
Locative kolȇgih bogȏvih očētih renaultih [renȏjih]
Dative, Instrumental kolȇgoma bogȏvoma očétoma renaultoma [renȏjema]

Neuter paradigms

Singular jabolko ‘apple’ sonce ‘sun’ breme ‘burden’ dekle ‘girl’ telo ‘body’
Nominative, Accusative jábolko sȏnce bré̡me deklè telȏ
Genitive jábolka sȏnca breména dekléta telȇsa
Dative jábolku sȏncu breménu deklētu telȇsu
Locative jábolku sȏncu breménu deklētu telȇsu
Instrumental jábolkom sȏncem breménom deklétom s telȇsom
Plural jabolko ‘apple’ sonce ‘sun’ breme ‘burden’ dekle ‘girl’ telo ‘body’
Nominative, Accusative jȃbolka sȏnca bremȇna deklȇta telȇsa
Genitive jȃbolk sȏnc bremȇn deklȇt telȇsa
Dative jȃbolko m sȏnce m bremȇnom deklȇtom telȇsom
Locative jȃbolkih sȏncih bremȇnih deklȇtih telȇsih
Instrumental jȃbolki sȏnci bremȇni deklȇti telȇsi
Dual jabolko ‘apple’ sonce ‘sun’ breme ‘burden’ dekle ‘girl’ telo ‘body’
Nominative, Accusative jābolki sȏnci bremȇni deklēti telȇsi
Genitive jȃbolk sȏnc bremȇn deklēt telȇs
Locative jȃbolkih sȏncih bremȇnih deklētih telȇsih
Dative, Instrumental jābolkoma sȏncema bremȇnoma deklētoma telȇsoma


As is clear from the above, Slovenian grammar distinguishes three numbers, SG-PL-DU. Logically, then, PL denotes quantities larger than two. However, it should be noted that items that are normally paired (eyes, hands, legs, etc.) are expressed in the PL and take PL agreement, Imaš lepe oči ‘You have beautiful eyes’, Roke gor! ‘Hands up! However, in marked circumstances, when the pairedness of the items is in focus, the DU can be used: Drži z obema rokama! ‘Hold on with both hands (i.e. not just one)!’


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