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Interrogative pronouns

Most forms of interrogative pronouns (and adverbs) begin in k-, having the same etymological source as the corresponding wh-forms in English (both originating in I.E. *k-).


Animate (M) ‘who’ Inanimate (N) ‘what’
Nominative kdō kāj (coll. kogá)
Accusative kóga kāj (coll. kogá)
Genitive kóga čésa
Dative kómu čému
Locative kóm čém
Instrumental kóm čīm

The interrogative pronouns may be modified with the following prefixes:

Prefix Gloss Example
ne ‘a certain’ Poznam nekoga, ki bi ti utegnil pomagati ‘I know someone who might be able to help you’; Našel sem nekaj, kar ti bo ublažilo bolečino ‘I found something to ease the pain’
màrsi ‘quite a few’ Marsikdo bi rad imel takšno nadarjenost ‘Many a person would like to have such a talent’; Lahko je marsikaj izrečeno, ni pa res, da je vse to tudi zanimivo ‘All sorts of things can be stated, but it’s not true that all of it is interesting’
málo ‘few’ Bolečinam v hrbtu uide le malokdo ‘Few are able to escape back pain’
rédko (written separately) ‘scarcely a person/thing’ Redko kdo obvlada 19 jezikov ‘There’s hardly anyone who has mastered 19 languages’; Le redko komu uspe končati študij v štirih letih ‘Hardly any one is able to finish his studies in four years’

The negated pronouns are formed with the prefix ni-and in the oblique cases the suffix –(e)r, according to the table below. This suffix is formally related to the relativizing suffix (see below), and it was included in the diachronic formation of the the Nominative-SG-ANIM form, nihče (< *nikъtъ-že).


Animate (M) ‘Nobody’ Inanimate (N) ‘nothing’
Nominative nihčè (arch. nikdō) nìč
Accusative nikȏgar nìč
Genitive nikȏgar ničȇsar
Dative nikȏmur ničȇmur
Locative nikȏmer ničȇmer
Instrumental nikȏmer ničîmer

Relative pronouns

Formally similar to the negated forms of the interrogative pronouns are the relative pronouns, which are derived with the suffix –r:

Animate (M) ‘who, which’ Inanimate (N) ‘what, that which’
Nominative kdȏr kàr
Accusative kȏgar kàr
Genitive kȏgar čȇsar
Dative kȏmur čȇmur
Locative kȏmer čȇmer
Instrumental kȏmer čîmer

The homophonic particle kàr is also used as an intensifier, e.g., Film je bil kar v redu ‘The movie was quite good’; Kar nadaljuj ‘Just keep on going’; Nevihta je trajala kar dve uri ‘The storm lasted a good two hours’.

The bound suffix kȏli, usually written separately, ‘any-’, ‘-ever’ is added to the right of the relative pronoun for the indefinite pronominal meanings ‘anyone’, ‘anything’ / ‘whoever’, ‘whatever’, e.g., Kar koli poskusim, nič ne pomaga ‘No matter what I try, nothing helps’. In gnomic expressions the plain relative pronoun yields the same indefinite meaning, e.g., Kdor ne dela, naj ne jé ‘He who does not work should not eat’; Naj ga pokaže, kdor ga ima ‘Flaunt it if you’ve got it’, lit. ‘(s/he) should show it, who has it’.

Personal pronouns

Slovenian personal pronouns distinguish three persons with respect to the speech act (1st = speaker/narrator, 2nd = addressee, 3rd = referent outside of the speech act proper); three numbers (singular, plural, dual); and case. Moreover, the 2nd person plural form functions both as a marker of plural addressees and as an honorific. “Vi ste, kajpada, župan v teh krajih?” ‘You are, presumably, the mayor in these parts?’. At least until World War II, honorific forms were used at least in some families by children with their parents, a usage that was also reflected in third-person narration (i.e., outside of direct address) encompassing this relationship, where plural agreement is used with otherwise singular referents, e.g., Naš rajnki oče bi se v grobu obrnili. Ob treh so šli orat ‘Our late father would turn over (PL) in his grave. At three o’clock he (PL) would go to plow’.

In the following chart, clitic forms are given in parentheses; where a clitic form is available, the longer form is used without a preposition only for emphasis:

1st SG 2nd SG 1st PL 2nd PL 1st DU 2nd DU
Nominative jàz mî (F mȇ) vî (F vȇ) mîdva (F mȇdve) vîdva (F vȇdve)
Accusative mé̡ne (me) té̡be (te) nàs (nas) vàs (vas) náju (naju) váju (vaju)
Genitive mé̡ne té̡be nàs (nas) vàs (vas) náju (naju) váju (vaju)
Dative mé̡ni (mi) té̡bi (ti) nàm (nam) vàm (vam) náma (nama) váma (vama)
Locative mé̡ni té̡bi nàs vàm náju váju
Instrumental menój ~ mȃno tebój ~ tȃbo nȃmi vȃmi náma váma

The ambiguity of reference in the 1st PL and 1st DU—whether it refers to I + you or I + other(s)—is resolved with the constrution (Midva/Mi) + z + Instrumental + verb agreeing with the actual number of the subject, e.g., Z Miranom greva v Lendavo or Midva z Miranom greva v Lendavo ‘Miran and I are going to Lendava’.

A reflexive pronoun is required if within a clause the subject in the Nominative case and the object, in whatever other case, refers to the same referent, e.g., Kupila si je nov zvezek ‘She bought herself a new notebook’. Žalila sva se, zmerjala sva se, kričala drug na drugega... ‘We insulted each other, called each other names, yelled at one another...’. In instances where self and reciprocity among plural subject/objects leads to ambiguity as to who is doing what to whom (to oneselves? to others?), the ambiguity can be resolved by the addition of a further reflexive phrase such as med seboj ‘among themselves’: Ljudje se skušajo ... med seboj uničiti ‘People try to destroy each other’.


1st SG
Nominative --
Accusative sé̡be (se)
Genitive sé̡be
Dative sé̡bi (si)
Locative sé̡bi
Instrumental seboj ~ sȃbo

Third person pronouns in Slovenian agree with the grammatical gender of the referent. E.g., Videl sem ga may be understood as ‘I saw him’ if the referent is Ivan, or ‘I saw it’ if the referent is tovornjak ‘truck’:

3rd SG 3rd PL 3rd DU
Nominative òn (M), ó̡na (F), ó̡no (N) ó̡ni (M), ó̡ne (F), ó̡na (N) ó̡nadva (M), ó̡nidve (F, N)
Accusative njé̡ga (ga) (M, N); njō (jo, njo) (F) njìh (jih) ~ njé njíju (ju ~ jih, nju)
Genitive njé̡ga (M, N); njé (F) njìh (jih) njíju (ju ~ jih)
Dative njé̡mu (mu) (M, N); njēj (ji) (F) njìm (jim) njíma (jima)
Locative njé̡m (M, N); njēj (F) njìh njíju
Instrumental njím (M, N); njó njími njíma

Sandhi phenomena with pronouns

With the prepositions v, na, and za, the Accusative-SG enclitic forms are combined in the following way: vȃme ‘into me’, nȃme ‘onto me’, zȃme ‘for me’; vȃse ‘into oneself’, nȃse ‘onto oneself’, zȃse ‘for oneself’, etc.

The 3rd-person pronouns take special forms after prepositions: vȃnj ‘into him’, nȃnj ‘onto him’, zȃnj ‘for him’, pȏdenj ‘under him’, prȇdenj ‘before him’, čȇzenj ‘across/over him’; zȃnje ‘for them’, vȃnje ‘into them’.

After prepositions (and under stress) the nj-forms of the 3rd person pronouns are used, e.g., brez njìh ‘without them’, od njíju ‘from the two of them’, zoper njega ‘against him’, zoper njo ‘against her’; otherwise the enclitic j-forms (and ga, mu) are used, Videli smo jo/ga ‘We saw her/him’, Dali smo ji/mu karto ‘We gave her/him the ticket’. The shorter j-forms do not exist for the Locative and Instrumental cases as these cases obligatorily occur with prepositions.


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