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Slovenian Verbs Print

Slovenian verb distinguishes the categories of tense (present, past, future); person (in the present, past, future indicative and imperative); number; aspect; mood; voice. Note that the future, past, pluperfect, and conditionals are made with an auxiliary + the L-participle, which distinguishes gender and number. The infinitive and supine forms distinguish aspect and mood; additionally, the supine marks intentionality.

The following tense / mood / voice complexes are distinguished:

Paradigm Perfective Imperfective
Infinitive kúpiti ‘to buy something’ kupováti ‘to buy things’
Supine kúpit ‘go with the intention of buying something’ kupovàt ‘go with the intention of buying things’
Present tense kúpim ‘I buy’ kupȗjem ‘I am buying’
Future tense kúpil bom ‘I shall buy’ kupovàl bom ‘I shall be buying’
Past tense kúpil sem ‘I bought’ kupovàl sem ‘I was buying’
Pluperfect sem bîl kúpil ‘I had bought’ sem bîl kupovàl ‘I had bought’
Conditional kúpil bi ‘I would buy’ kupovàl bi ‘I would be buying’
Imperative kúpi ‘buy’ kupȗj ‘keep buying’
Present active participle - kupujȏč ‘buying’
Past passive participle kúpljen ‘bought’ kupován ‘having been bought’
Verbal noun nakȗp ‘purchase’ kupovȃnje ‘the act of buying’

Formally, Slovenian verbs have the following structure, where the optional morphemes are given in parentheses: (prefix) + root + (suffix[es]) + grammatical ending Some examples:

Prefix Root Suffix: form-class Suffix: categorial formant Gramm. ending Meaning
kȗh a m ‘I cook (IMPF)’
s kúh a ti ‘to cook (PF)’
s kuh a l i ‘they cooked (PF)’
kúp i m ‘I buy (PF)’
kúp i ti ‘to buy (PF)’
kup ov-á ti ‘to buy (IMPF)’
kup ȗj-e m ‘I buy (IMPF)’
na kup ov-á ti ‘to go shopping (IMPF)’
na kup ov-á l i ‘they went shopping (IMPF)’

In addition, verbs may have satellites, such as reflexive particles, which are distributed at the clause level, e.g., Zapomnila si je številko registrske tablice ‘She remembered the license-plate number’; nje se strašno bojim ‘I’m terribly afraid of her’. Reflexive par ticles may be lexically assigned, e.g., bati se ‘to be afraid’, jeziti se ‘to be angry’, or may be constructed in order to effect passivization, mutuality, or middle voice/impersonal meanings, e.g., Kupujejo čevlje ‘People are buying the shoes’ vs. Čevlji se kupujejo ‘The shoes are being bought’; Pretepel ga je ‘He beat him up’ vs. Pretepla sta se ‘They beat each other up’; Berem knjigo ‘I’m reading the book’ vs. Knjiga se lepo bere ‘The book reads well/is a nice read’ (Speakers will also produce Knjigo se lepo bere, though the construction is deprecated in standard speech). Reflexive particles may also change the lexical meaning of a verb, e.g., rediti ‘to breed, raise animals’ vs. rediti se ‘to get fat’. With a small number of verbs, usually with a colloquial flavor, semantically empty clitics are lexically assigned, e.g., lomiti ga ‘to goof off, to kid around’; odkuriti jo ‘to take off in a flash’; Lani jo je popihala z nekim vajencem in našel sem jo šele v Zagrebu ‘Last year she ran off with some apprentice and I finally caught up with her in Zagreb’.


The present-tense forms have desinences distinguishing number (singular : plural : dual), person (1 : 2 : 3) in the following pattern (for most verbs):

Singular Plural Dual
1 -m -m o -va
2 -te -ta
3 -jo -ta

A slightly different set of endings is used for a small number of frequently used verbs, e.g., bíti/bȏm ‘to be’/‘I will’, dáti/dám ‘to give’, íti/grèm ‘to go’/‘I go’, jésti/jém ‘to eat’/‘I eat’ védeti/vém ‘to know’/‘I know’:

Singular Plural Dual
1 -m -mo -va
2 -ste -sta
3 -do ~ -jo -sta

The unstressed present-tense forms of bíti serve as the auxiliary in the formation of past tense. This verb has the following conjugation:

Singular Plural Dual
1 sem [səm] sm o sva
2 si ste sta
3 je so sta

When used as the verb ‘exist, be’, the above-cited forms are short-stressed.

Imperative/ Hortative

The imperative is formed by adding –i-to the final present-tense-stem consonant (né̡sem → nési! nésite! ‘carry!’; píš-em ‘I write’ → píši! píšite! ‘write!’ 2-SG, PL), except when the present-tense stem ends in –j, in which case the imperative formant is –Ø-(nadaljȗjem ‘I continue’ → nadaljȗj! nadaljȗjte! ‘continue!’ 2-SG, PL; píj-em ‘I drink’ → pîj! pîjte! ‘drink!’ 2-SG, PL), followed by the person-number-marking desinences. Verbs that have the theme vowel –a-in the present-tense add the imperative formant –j directly to the stem, including the theme vowel (e.g., končam ‘I finish’→ končȃj! končȃjte! ‘finish!’ 2-SG, PL). The person-number-marking desinences are summarized in the chart below.

Singular Plural Dual
1 -m o -v a
2 -te -ta

Examples: né̡s-i ‘carry!’ 2-SG, nés-i-mo ‘let’s carry!’, nés-i-te ‘carry!’ 2-PL or honorific; dȇlaj ‘work!’ 2-SG, dȇlaj-mo ‘let’s work!’, dȇlaj-te ‘carry!’ 2-PL or honorific. Velar-stem verbs display stem allomorphy g ~ z and k ~ c in the imperative, e.g., *leg-i → lézi ‘lie down!’, *tek-i → té̡ci ‘run!’. In colloquial speech, the alternations are instead g ~ ž and k ~ č (léž, té̡č).

For the 3-PL hortatives/jussives the naj + finite verb construction is used.

Infinitive and Supine

Infinitives are formed by the addition of the desinence –ti to the verbal stem. In verbs with vocalic suffixes or with stems ending in –s or -z, the desinence is added without modification, e.g., br-á-ti ‘read’, víd-e-ti ‘see’, dél-a-ti ‘do, make’, né̡*molz-ti → mólsti s-ti ‘carry’, ‘milk’. Note that the orthography requires the writing of the allomorphic z as s before -ti, which reflects the voiceless pronunciation. Unsuffixed stems ending in -d or -t have allomorphs in which the stem-final consonant mutates to –s-: *bred-ti →bre̡sti ‘wade’, *met-ti → mésti ‘sweep’. Stems ending in labial stops display an epenthetic –s-between the stem and desinence, e.g., *skub-ti → skúbsti ‘pluck fowl, take sby to the cleaners’, *tep-ti → te̡psti ‘beat sby’. With stems ending in a velar consonant (g, k), the stem truncates and the desinence mutates to – či: *mog-ti → mo̡či ‘be able’, *tek-ti → te̡či ‘run’. With regard to segmental allomorphy, the supine is formed in exactly the same way as the infinitive, except that the desinence is –t/-č (delat, te̡č). Some supines also differ prosodically from infinitives, e.g., spáti vs. spȃt ‘sleep’.

In all but the most formal spoken Slovenian, the final –i of the infinitive is normally dropped (the “short infinitive”) and, concomitantly, if the preceding vowel is normatively marked for low stress, then the short infinitive has short stress (kupováti → kupovàt ‘buy’, spáti → spàt ‘sleep’, píti → pìt ‘drink’). In substandard speech, the –t marker of the infinitive has spread to the velar-stem type in –č, viz. te̡čt ‘run’, to̡lčt ‘hit, beat’.


The L-participle formed historically as an adjectival form of the verb, hence it agrees in gender and number with its subject, though it is never declined for case. It is formed by adding the formant –l-to the stem plus number/gender desinences. The following chart gives the desinences.

Singular Plural Dual
M -i -a
F -a -e -i
N -o -a -i

All of the –i-ti and –a-ti verbs, as well as e-theme verbs with a vocalic suffix in the INF add the –l-formant directly to the infinitival stem, e.g., misli-l-a ‘she thought’, dela-l-i ‘they worked’, vrni-l-i ‘they returned sth’, vrel-o ‘it boiled’.

With regard to unsuffixed e-themed verbs, the consonantal stems ending in b, p, d, t, g, k, z, s are followed by an epenthetic schwa (written e) between the stem and the –l-formant in the M-SG, but otherwise do not have stem truncation or mutation. In the M-SG form, the –l-formant is pronounced [u̯]. With the other gender/number desinences, the stems, formant, and desinences are concatenated straightforwardly, without changes to the elements: pomé̡tel ‘he swept’, pométla ‘she swept’; grizel ‘he bit’, grizla ‘she bit’; mȏgel ‘he could’, mó̡gla ‘she could’; nesel ‘he carried’, né̡sla ‘she carried’; rȇkel ‘he said’, rékla ‘she said’; sedel ‘he sat’, sedli ‘they sat’; tepel ‘he beat’, té̡pla ‘she beat’. To this group also belongs jȇdel ‘he ate’, jédla ‘she ate’; and the exceptional š[ə̀]l ‘he went’, šlà ‘she went’ (present grèm ‘I go’).

E-themed unsuffixed verbs ending in sonorants truncate the consonant before the –l-formant, e.g., del ‘he put’, dela ‘she put’; pîl ‘he drank’, pîli ‘they drank’.


Of the participial forms, the past passive participle and the present active participle are much more common and productive than the marginal past active participle, though none are used today primarily as a subordinate-clause forming participles. An erstwhile present passive participle can be traced in the history of a very small number of words, e.g., krȃdoma ‘stealthily’ ← krásti ‘steal’; vȇdoma ‘cognizantly, knowingly, on-purpose’, védomec ‘type of spirit’ ← védeti ‘know’.

The present active participle forms are typically found as adverbs (*gledéti → gledē tega problema ‘with regard to this problem’), adjectives (sivéti ‘become gray’ → siveča brada ‘a graying beard’) or as substantivized adjectives (nosíti → noseča ‘pregnant woman’; žalováti ‘to mourn’ → žalujoči ‘mourners’); past active participle forms have also become lexicalized as adjectives (bíti → bivši ‘former’) and substantivized adjectives (to je moja bivša ‘this is my ex [wife]’). Native grammarians view the distinction functionally, whereby those forms that are adjectival and decline as such are considered deležniki and those that are invariant are deležja (-e, -aje, -e/oč, -[v]ši), following Toporišič, regardless of whether the adjectival forms serve as clause-forming entities (i.e., participles proprie dictu), as attributes, or substantives.

The distribution of voice and tense are inherent in the participles, with the following distribution:

Present Past
ACTIVE Subject is agent. Expresses event or state simultaneous with main event or state. Normally IMPF. Subject is agent. Expresses event or state occuring or completed prior to main event or state. Normally PF.
PASSIVE Subject is patient. Expresses event or state occuring or completed prior to main event or state. Normally PF.

Present (active) adverb

A small number of lexemes preserve the older form of the adverbial participle (properly speaking, the indefinite masculine nominative singular adjectival form, which became reanalyzed as an adverbial participle), e.g., molčáti ‘be silent’ → molčȇ ‘silently’, gred-→ gredē ‘going’, mîmogredȇ ‘in passing, by the way’. A small number of adverbs based on the historical accusative and oblique stem are also attested, ré̡či ‘say’ → rekȏč ‘saying’. More productive are the innovative adverbs in –ȃje, which are formed on the basis of infinitives in –ati, e.g., kazáti ‘show’ → kazȃje ‘showing’; občudováti ‘be amazed’ → občudovȃje ‘being amazed’; meketáti ‘bleat’ → meketȃje ‘bleating’. All of these forms are bookish, though the phrase takȏ rekȏč ‘so to speak’ has caught on in everyday speech.

Present (active) participle

Present active participles are constructed with the formants –oč and -eč-(and marking number, gender, and case as in the adjective declension, on which see adjectives: – oč-Ø, –oč-a, –oč-e; –eč-Ø, –eč-a, –eč-e, etc.), the latter from i-theme verbs (goréti ‘burn’ → gorèč ‘burning’; mísliti ‘think’→ mislèč ‘thinking’) and some unsuffixed e-theme verbs (plúti ‘sail’ → plovèč ‘sailing’; čúti ‘hear, feel’ → čujèč ‘hearing, sentient, awake’), the former from some unsuffixed e-theme verbs (ne̡sti ‘carry’ → nesȏč ‘carrying’; bráti → berōč ‘reading’). Verbs in –ovati/-evati form the participle with –ujoč-(delováti ‘function’ → delujōč ‘functioning’; zastraševáti ‘frighten’ → zastrašujōč ‘frightening’). Historically, the adjectives vròč, vróča ‘hot’ (← vréti ‘boil’); rdèč, rdéča ‘red’ (← rdéti ‘be red’); and probably also všȇč ‘like sth’ (← voščīti ‘wish’, after a historical vowel reduction) belong to the present active participle formation, though the first two are now lexicalized as adjectives, the third an adverb in the idiomatic construction ‘to like sth’.

Past active

Like the present active participle adverb, the formation of the past active participle is restricted to a relatively small number of verbs, and the use of them is bookish. The adverb is homophonous with the Nominative-SG-M form of the adjectival past active participle (which form is given in the examples following). With unsuffixed e-theme verbs, the past active participle consists of the past-tense (or “infinitive”) stem + -ši, e.g., rek-‘say’ → rȇkši ‘having said’; nasal-stems of this type behave idiosyncratically: izvzéti ‘except’ → izvzȇmši ‘with the exception of, excepting’; začéti ‘begin’ → začȇnši ‘having begun’. Verbs with the INF in – a-ti, –e-ti and –i-ti (of those few that form them) build the present active participle by substituting the INF ending –ti with –vši, e.g., bíti ‘be’ → bîvši ‘having been, former(ly)’; spoznáti ‘get acquainted with’ → spoznȃvši ‘having become acquainted with’; (u)vídeti ‘see’ → (u)vidȇvši ‘having seen’.

Past passive

Unlike the stylistic caveats for the other participial forms, the past passive participle is productive and frequently used both in speech and writing.

A small number of monosyllabic-stem unsuffixed verbs (e-theme) with roots ending in sonorants are created with the suffix –t-attached directly to the infinitive stem, e.g., ubí-ti ‘kill’ → ubî-t, -a, -o ‘killed’; prevzé-ti ‘to overtake’ → prevzȇ-t, -a, -o ‘overtaken’; zaklá-ti ‘slaughter’ → zaklá-n, -a, -o ‘slaughtered’; zaklé-ti ‘curse’ → zaklȇ-t, -a, -o ‘cursed’;

Obstruent stems are formed with –en-, e.g., preté̡psti ‘beat up’ → pretepèn, pretepé̡-o ‘beaten up’; zaplésti ‘entangle’ → zapletèn, zapleté̡na, -o ‘entangled, complicated’; velar-stems mutate, e.g., péči → pečèn, pečé̡na, -o ‘baked’.

The remainder are formed with –n-attached to the infinitive stem (déla-ti ‘make’ → dȇla-n, -a, -o ‘made’) and, in the case of i-theme verbs,–en-, in which case the –i-theme is truncated and the stem-final consonant mutates (nosí-ti ‘carry’ → nóš-en, -a, -o ‘carried’).

Verbal noun

The formation of the verbal noun follows the distribution of formants described above for the past passive participle; in effect, the M-SG form of the past passive participle + the suffix –j-and the desinence –e form the verbal noun in the majority of verbs, e.g., prevzȇtje ‘acceptance, borrowing (of words from one language to another)’, zaklȇtje ‘cursing’, nóšenje ‘wearing’, délanje ‘the making of something’, spoznánje ‘acquaintance, becoming acquainted’. A large number of verbs in –iti also form the verbal nouns with the suffix –it[ə]v, often with alternative meanings, e.g., delíti ‘divide, apportion’ → deljé̡nje ‘dividing (numbers), passing out (gifts)’, → delîtev ‘apportioning, dividing (cells)’. Many verbs in –ati derive the verbal noun with –ava, again with alternative meanings, e.g., ménjati ‘change’ → ménjanje ‘changing’ (menjanje pnevmatike ‘changing the tires’), → menjȃva ‘exchange’ (menjava mnenj ‘an exchange of opinions’).

Not all formally possible verbal nouns are realized and, instead, other word formations often fill the gap, e.g., nakȗp ‘purchase’; pretèp ‘fight’, zaplèt ‘complication’. Some verbal nouns are formed idiosyncratically, e.g., živéti ‘live’ → življé̡nje ‘life’; preživéti ‘survive’ → preživȇtje ‘survival’.

Athematic stems

For each verb two stems need be considered, an infinitive stem and a present-tense stem, from which virtually all the sub-paradigms can be predicted by the concatenation of stem + (suffix) + ending. For this reason, the relationship between the shape of the infinitive and the present tense is of central importance and these are the two forms that will receive the focus in the following exposition. In a relatively small number of instances there is mismatch between the form of the infinitive and present-tense stems, e.g., íti ‘to go’ and grèm ‘I go’; bíti ‘to go’, sèm ‘I am’, jè ‘s/he is’. With some verbs the suppletion is only partial, e.g., iméti ‘to have’ and imȃm ‘I have’, védeti ‘to know’ and vém ‘I know’. These exceptional types relate mostly to the historical Slavic athematic verb conjugations and need to be learned individually (though not in the case of partial suppletion, such as bráti, bé̡rem ‘to read’).


Singular Plural Dual
1 sèm [sə̀m] sm ò svà
2 stè stà
3 stà


Singular Plural Dual
1 bȏm bȏmo bȏva
2 bȏš bȏste bȏsta
3 bȏ bȏjo ~ bȏdo bȏsta


Singular Plural Dual
1 grèm gré̡mo ~ gremò gré̡va ~ grevà
2 grèš gré̡ste ~ grestè gré̡sta ~ grestà
3 grè gré̡jo ~ gredò gré̡sta ~ grestà


Singular Plural Dual
1 dám dámo dáva
2 dáš dáste dásta
3 dájo dásta


Singular Plural Dual
1 imȃm imȃmo imȃva
2 imȃš imȃte imȃta
3 imȃ imȃjo imȃta


Singular Plural Dual
1 jém jémo jéva
2 jéš jéste jésta
3 jéjo ~ jedò jésta


Singular Plural Dual
1 vém vémo véva
2 véš véste vésta
3 véjo ~ vedò vésta

The verb povédati, povém ‘say (PF)’ follows the present-tense pattern of védeti. Aside from the historical athematics, three regular conjugation classes pertain to the present-tense stems, which may be organized according to theme vowel: -e-, -i-, and –a-.

Unsuffixed Verbal Stems

Bare consonantal stems without stem allomorphy

A closed set of e-stem verbs pertaining to many of the most basic verbal expressions concatenate the stem directly to the theme vowel in present-tense and to the infinitival suffix in the case of the infinitive. The simplest of this type has no allomorphic variation with regard to the segmental shape of the stem, except for the minor (phonetic and orthographic) adjustment for regressive voicing assimilation griz-ti ⇢ gristi. The verb né̡sti provides straightfoward example (further examples: grísti, grízem ‘bit’; lesti, lȇzem ‘crawl’; mólsti, mólzem ‘milk (a cow, a goat)’; pásti, pásem ‘graze’; tré̡sti, trésem ‘shake’, vézti, vézem ‘embroider’.


Singular Plural Dual
1 né̡sem né̡semo né̡seva
2 né̡seš né̡sete né̡seta
3 né̡se né̡sejo (arch.) ~ nesó né̡seta

Verbs with suffixes in the infinitive (but absent this suffix in the present tense) also belong to this type, e.g., bráti ‘read’ (further examples: dréti, dé̡rem ‘flay’; mréti, mrèm ‘die’; odpréti, odprèm ‘open’; práti, pé̡rem ‘launder, wash’; umréti, umrèm ‘die’; cvréti, cvrèm ‘fry’; iskáti, íščem ‘seek’; stréti, strèm ‘crush, break’; vréti, vrè ‘boil’; zréti, zrèm ‘look at’; tkáti, tkèm ‘weave’; žgáti, žgèm ‘burn’). Note that the types tkati, žgati do not have the typically allomorphy of velar-stem verbs presumably because this allomorphic variation is blocked by the consonant cluster structure in the root. Note also that the Velar Alternation I occurs in the present tense of the root in gnáti, žé̡nem ‘drive, propel sth’.


Singular Plural Dual
1 bé̡rem be̡remo be̡reva
2 bé̡reš be̡rete be̡reta
3 be̡re be̡rejo ~ bero (arch.) be̡reta

Velar stems

In the case of velar stems, the morphology is complicated by morphophonemic alternations. In the infinitive form the concatenation of *-kti or *-gti results in -či. In the case of a verb such as té̡či, téčem ‘run’ 1-SG, INF, the underlying velar termination in the stem can be seen only in the L-participle forms tékel ‘he ran’, té̡kla ‘she ran’; in the present tense, the stem allomorph of tek-is teč-. The infinitive form of séči (séžem) ‘to reach’ is homophonic with séči (séčem) ‘to cut down’ and the underlying stem termination is seen only in the L-participle, viz. ségel, ségla ‘reached’ and consequently, mutatis mutandis, the present-tense allomorph is seč-vs. sež-.


Singular Plural Dual
1 séčem séčemo séčeva
2 séčeš séčete séčeta
3 séče séčejo séčeta


Singular Plural Dual
1 séžem séžemo séževa
2 séžeš séžete séžeta
3 séže séžejo séžeta

Further examples: leči, lȇžem ‘lie down’; pé̡či, péčem ‘bake’; réči, réčem ‘say’; té̡či, téčem ‘run’; tólči, tólčem ‘whip, beat’; vléči, vléčem ‘drag’.

Verbs moči, morem

A singular, although in terms of frequency of usage important, exception to the pattern just mentioned is the verb mó̡či (and its prefixed derivatives, e.g., pomó̡či ‘to help’, premóči ‘to manage to accomplish sth’), which has the allomorph mog- in the L-participle and mor- in the present tense.


Singular Plural Dual
1 mórem móremo móreva
2 móreš mórete móreta
3 móre mórejo móreta

Stems ending in dental stops

Stems ending in dental stops have the allomorphy CVd/t-(PRES) ~ -CVsti (INF), owing to a historical dissimilation, as in sesti, sȇdem ‘sit’ (further examples: bó̡sti, bódem ‘stab, prick’; cvésti, cvéte ‘bloom’; gné̡sti, gnétem ‘knead’; gósti, gódem ‘play fiddle’; mésti, médem ~ mé̡tem ‘sweep’; pasti, pȃdem ‘fall’; plésti, plétem ‘braid’; vésti, védem ‘lead’).


Singular Plural Dual
1 sȇdem sȇdemo sȇdeva
2 sȇdeš sȇdete sȇdeta
3 sȇde sȇdejo sȇdeta

Stems ending in labial stops

Stems ending in a labial stop pattern just as the nesti type except that the infinitive is formed with the addition of –s-between the stem and ending, e.g., gré̡bsti, grébem ‘dig, scratch, rake’; só̡psti, sópem ‘breathe hard, pant’; skúbsti, skúbem ‘pluck, fleece’; tépsti, té̡pem ‘beat’; zébsti, zébe ‘to grow cold’.


Singular Plural Dual
1 té̡pem te̡pemo te̡peva
2 te̡peš te̡pete te̡peta
3 te̡pe te̡pejo te̡peta

Stems ending in sonorants

Stems ending in sonorants -n, –j or –v elide the final consonant in the infinitive (as in the L-participle), e.g., čuti, čȗjem ‘feel’; déti, dénem ‘put’; duti, dȗjem ‘blow’; péti, pó̡jem ‘sing’; píti, píjem ‘drink’; pléti, plévem ‘pull weeds’; plúti, plújem ‘float’; rjúti, rjújem ‘roar’; sezuti, sezȗjem ‘take one’s shoes off’; suti, sȗjem ‘scatter, pour’; šteti, štȇjem ‘count’.

The verbs plúti and rjúti also optionally have the (more archaic) present-tense variants pló̡vem, rjóvem.


Singular Plural Dual
1 píjem píjemo píjeva
2 píješ píjete píjeta
3 píje píjejo píjeta

Stems ending in historical nasals

A small subclass is formed by those verbs that have a root allomorph ending in –e-in the infinitive and a nasal consonant in the present tense, allomorphy which goes back historically to an alternation between a nasal vowel (before a consonant) and a V + nasal consonant (before a vowel). Some of these exhibit vowel alternations between the present-tense forms (vzám-e) and forms related to the INF (vzé-ti) Examples: méti, mánem ‘rub’; počéti, počnèm ‘be busy with sth’; prijéti, prímem ‘grasp’, snéti, snámem ‘remove’; vzéti, vzámem ‘take’; začéti, začnèm ‘start’, zapéti, zapnèm ‘fasten’.

Suffixed Verbal Stems

Verbs in -n-i-ti, -n–e-

The previous class should not be confused with the much larger, though unproductive, group of PF semelfactive verbs and IMPF processual verbs with the structure CV(CC)-n-i-ti (owing to suffixation with *-n-) in the INF and CV(CC)-n–e-in the present tense. (These in turn are separate from verbs in –iti, -im that happen to have roots ending in -n.) The semelfactive verbs denote instantaneous, momentary actions, e.g., ganīti, gánem ‘move, stir sth’; prekucniti, prekȗcnem ‘turn sth over’. IMPF verbs of this type usually denote processes culminating in a changed state, e.g., gasniti, gȃsnem ‘die out, flicker out’; plahnīti, pláhnem ‘subside’. Further examples (PF unless otherwise noted): bruhniti, brȗhnem ‘burst out’; dr̂gniti, ‘scrape’; kíhniti, kîhnem ‘sneeze’; lúskniti,

gnem lȗsknem ‘peel the husk from’; makníti, máknem ‘move sth’; obrníti, obrr nem ‘turn (over)’; okrr niti, okr̂

nem ‘clip sth’; pahníti, páhnem ‘knock (over), push’; ríniti, rînem ‘push (IMPF)’, sahníti, sáhnem ‘dry up’ (IMPF); vrníti, vrr nem ‘return sth’; vtakníti, vtáknem ‘stick sth into sth’.

Verbs in –a-ti, Č-e-

A many e-theme verbs have stem allomorphy owing to the prehistoric loss of a non-syllabic –i-(“jot”) suffix in the present-tense form, which resulted in the Velar Alternations I and the “Jot” Alternations discussed above. Of these, only the -ov-a-ti, -uj-e type remains productive.

plati, mleti, etc.

A small number of verbs in this class come historically from unsuffixed stems with the structure *Co/eR-ti in the infinitive, the disinctiveness of which is obscured synchronically, giving rise to anomalous vowel gradations in the verbs in question, e.g., pláti, póljem ‘winnow’, kláti, kóljem ‘slaughter’, mléti, méljem ‘grind, mill’; variant forms of (u)mréti, (u)mrjèm also belong here. These came from prehistoric *pol-ti, *pol-ie-; *mel-ti, *mel-i-e-, etc.

C-a-ti, Č-e

česáti, čéšem ‘comb’; dájati, dájem ‘give (IMPF)’; drémati, drémljem ‘doze'; gíbati, gîbljem ‘move sth’; jahati, jȃšem ‘ride (on a horse)’; jemáti, jé̡mljem ‘take (IMPF)’; jokáti, jóčem (~ jókam) ‘cry’; kázati, kážem ‘show’; klepáti, klépljem ‘hammer’; klícati, klîčem ‘call’; lagáti, lážem ‘lie’; mázati, mȃžem ‘smear’; písati, píšem ‘write’; metáti, méčem ‘throw’; oráti, ó̡rjem/órjem ‘plow’; peljati, pȇljem ‘lead, drive’; phati, pšem/phȃm ‘pound, churn’; rezati, rȇžem ‘cut’; sijáti, sîje ‘shine’; plesáti, pléšem ‘dance’; posláti, póšljem ‘send (PF)’; skákati, skáčem ‘jump’; stlati, stȇljem ‘spread out (e.g., straw for animals) (IMPF)’; ščebetáti, ščebéčem ‘chirp’; ščegetáti, ščegéčem (~ ščegetȃm) ‘tickle’; vézati, véžem ‘tie’; zíbati, zíbljem ‘rock’.

e/ov-a-ti, uj-e-

The oldest layer of these verbs has the alternation –ov-~ -uj-in the root, e.g., kováti, kújem 'forge', rováti, rújem ‘dig’, snováti, snújem ‘plan’. Roots extended with the alternating –ov-/-uj-suffix (-ev- ~ -ujafter roots ending in č, š, ž, j) make up a very large and highly productive class, e.g., IMPF: gostovati, gostȗjem ‘be a guest’; imenovati, imenȗjem ‘name’; krščevati, krščȗjem ‘christen’; martinovati, martinȗjem ‘celebrate St. Martin’s day’; ocenjevati, ocenjȗjem ‘evaluate’; oglaševati, oglašȗjem ‘advertize’; péstovati, péstujem ‘hold a child in one’s arms’; poniževáti, ponižȗjem ‘denigrate’; psováti, psújem ‘cuss’; reševati, rešȗjem ‘solve’; tekmovati, tekmȗjem ‘compete’; potujčevati, potujčȗjem ‘to go native in another culture’; usklajevati, usklajȗjem ‘coordinate’; varovati, varȗjem ‘defend, protect’; vasovati, vasȗjem ‘court by going to a village’, zadostovati, zadostȗjem ‘be sufficient’, zavojevati, zavojȗjem ‘conquer’; zmanjkovati, zmanjkȗjem ‘run out of sth’; PF verbs are usually prefixed forms of IMPFs: dopotovati, dopotȗjem ‘reach a destination’, preimenovati, preimenȗjem ‘rename’, zavarovati, zavarȗjem ‘insure’. In some instances the verbs are bi-aspectual: nasledovati, nasledȗjem ‘inherit’; svetovati, svetȗjem ‘advise’; tlakovati, tlakȗjem ‘put down paving stones’; točkovati, točkȗjem ‘get points for sth’.

i-stem verbs (INF in –i-ti, -e-ti)

Verbs extended in the PRES by –i-have two types of INF, one in –eti (mostly intransitive) and one in –i-ti (transitives and intransitives), the latter being productive. The 3rd PL form in writing sometimes has the ending –e, which is marked for high style.


Singular Plural Dual
1 trdím trdímo trdíva
2 trdíš trdíte trdíta
3 trdí trdíjo ~ trdé trdíta

Examples: (-e-ti) bedéti, bedím ‘keep an eye on’, bledéti, bledím ‘become pale’, boléti, bolím ‘hurt’; prdéti, prdím ‘fart’, rdečéti, rdečím ‘become red’, slabéti, slabím ‘become weak’; vídeti, vîdim ‘see’, želéti, želím ‘desire’; (-i-ti) buljiti, bȗljim ‘stare’, carīniti, carîniti ‘impose duty on sth’, dojīti, dojím ‘suckle’, jasnīti, jasním ‘clarify sth’, prevériti, prevȇrim ‘affirm, check’, točīti, tóčim ‘pour’, slíniti, slînim ‘drool’, storīti, storím ‘do sth’. In verbs with stems ending in č, š, and ž, the suffix –e-ti is realized as –a-ti: klečáti, klečím ‘kneel’, ležáti, ležím ‘be in a lying position’, slíšati, slîšim ‘hear’, tiščáti, tiščím ‘squeeze’.

In the spoken language in Ljubljana and central dialects, the archaic –e ending in the 3 PL has been reinterpreted as a non-singular marker and is thus extended in theme-stressed verbs to the PL and DU forms along with the generalization of the –jo ending in the 3 PL (which historically originated outside of this class). This pattern, though widespread, is substandard:


Singular Plural Dual
1 trdím trdémo trdéva
2 trdíš trdéte trdéta
3 trdí trdéjo trdéta

a-stem verbs

Stems in –ati, -am are very productive and produce both PF and IMPF verbs, the latter typically simplex (unprefixed). Examples: brkljáti, brkljȃm ‘putter around’, centrîrati, centrîram ‘center sth’, cȗfati, cȗfam ‘fray’, delati, dȇlam ‘do, make’, díhati, dîham ‘breathe’, gledati, glȇdam ‘look at sth’, glódati, glódam ‘gnaw’, kídati, kîdam ‘shovel snow, manure’, lektorîrati, lektorîram ‘proofread’,omȃgati, omȃgam ‘become exhausted’, píhati, píham ‘blow on’, pȇšati, pȇšam ‘go into decline’, pláčati, pláčam ‘pay’, slovenizîrati, slovenizîram ‘make sth Slovenian’, uporábljati, uporábljam ‘use’, vȃgati, vȃgam ‘weigh’, vijūgati, vijūgam ‘curve around’.

Motion verbs

As in other Slavic languages, Slovenian distinguishes a special set of motion verbs that behaves as a subset of the broader category of aspect, having a distinction in the unprefixed IMPF between verbs denoting unidirectional motion (determinate) and non-unidirectional motion or manner of motion (indeterminate). In each of the pairs below, the determinate verb means ‘X in one direction’ (grem v Zagreb ‘I’m going to Zagreb’; letim v Zagreb ‘I’m flying to Zagreb’) and the corresponding indeterminate means ‘move in the manner of X’ (Noga se je zacelila in zdaj hodi brez težav ‘Her/His leg has healed and now s/he can walk without difficulty’; Perut se je zacelila in zdaj lahko leta ‘Its wing has healed so now it can fly’) or ‘X around’ (Hodi po Tivoliju ‘S/he is walking around Tivoli Park’; Ta mesec leta po Južni Ameriki ‘This month s/he is flying around South America’) or ‘X in round trips’ (Več let že hodi v Zagreb ‘S/he has been going to Zagreb for several years’; Več let že leta v Zagreb ‘S/he has been flying to Zagreb for several years’).

Determinate Indeterminate Secondary stem Gloss
íti, grèm hodīti, hódim -hȃjati, -hȃjam ‘go’, ‘walk’
né̡sti, né̡sem nosīti, nósim -nȃšati, -nȃšam ‘carry sth/sby’
peljáti, péljem vozīti, vózim -vȃžati, -vȃžam ‘drive sth/sby’
letéti, letím létati, létam ‘fly’
té̡či, té̡čem tȇkati, tȇkam ‘run’
jahati, jȃham jezditi, jȇzdim ‘ride a horse’
lesti, lȇzem laziti, lȃzim ‘crawl’

Prefixation not only changes the lexical meaning of these verbs, but also removes the special aspectual distinction of determinacy within the IMPF. Straight prefixation of the determinate and indeterminate stems results in PF verbs, whereby the prefixed indeterminates normally preserve only an abstract or no connection with motion per se, e.g., izhodīti ‘wear sth in (boots, path)’; shodīti ‘begin to walk (after an injury, as a toddler’), zanosīti ‘get pregnant’, uvozīti ‘import’. Prefixed determinate verbs typically have motion meanings, e.g., preíti ‘cross over’; zaíti ‘go the wrong way’, zané̡sti ‘move, carry off in another direction’. The resulting PF verbs require secondary stems to form the IMPF partner for some of the verbs of motion, e.g., prehȃjati ‘cross over’, zahȃjati ‘go the wrong way’, zanȃšati ‘move, carry off in another direction’. The secondary stem also forms the IMPF partner to a verb formed with the prefixed indeterminate stem, e.g., uvȃžati ‘import’.

With the negated imperative the indeterminate is called for: Ne hodi čez progo—je smrtno nevarno (public sign at railway stations) ‘Do not walk across the railroad track—it is life endangering’; the corresponding positive imperative calls for the determinate: Le pojdi čez progo—kaj me briga, če te bo vlak povozil? ‘Go ahead and walk across the track—what do I care if a train runs you over?’


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