Word – How many? – fixed


Since Baya is sleeping and told me not to wake her up until eleven (alas, I did, since the post-it note was under my phone and my phone was on the table, nowhere close to the bed), maybe it`s time to get on with our schooling project. So for today, something really simple. The duality.

You see, unlike the majority of languages, Slovene are making it hard for themselves once again by using a dual form. We don`t just have A DOG and multiple DOGS, we also have a special form when we want to specify there were exactly TWO DOGS. And no, we are not using numerals. To complicate stuff even further, there is a different form for each and every of the sexes genders. Fun stuff really.

For male noun
1. PES (a dog)
2. PSA (two dogs)
3. PSI (three or more dogs)

For female noun
1. ROŽA (a flower)
2. ROŽI (two flowers)
3. ROŽE (three or more flowers)

For neutro noun
1. MORJE (a sea)
2. MORJI (two seas)
3. MORJA (three or more seas)

The secret again, lies in the ending of the word, howerer there is more than one form for every sex gender and there is ample of exclusions. Welcome to simplicity!

For male nouns, it goes something like this

If the word ends on anything else but I, E, O U or A, the dual form ends on A and the plural form ends on I. Examples:

1. Zvočnik (a speaker)
2. Zvočnika (two speakers)
3. Zvočniki (three or more speakers)

1. Avtobus (a bus)
2. Avtobusa (two buses)
3. Avtobusi (three or more buses)

1. Policaj (a police officer)
2. Policaja (two police officers)
3. Policaji (three or more police officers)

Howewer, if the word ends on A,E,I,O,U new rules apply.

1. Marko
2. Markota
3. Markoti

1. Tine
2. Tineta
3. Tineti

…you get the principle.

For female nouns, the principle is again simpler and has no exceptions (or at least, none I can recall right now so if there are any, please, fill me in).

For neuter nouns, the same goes as for female nouns. The simpler the endings, the easier the formation.


Put these babies into the correct formation

Pajek (a spider)
Metulj (a butterfly)
Jetra (liver)
Vojak (a soldier)
Svetilka (a lamp)
Lonček (a cup)
Številka (a numeral, a number)
Kača (a snake)
Dež (rain)
Cesta (a road)


5 komentarjev na “Word – How many? – fixed

  1. ill-advised

    Please, for the love of all that is decent:

    – It’s “gender“, not “sex”.

    – It’s “neuter”, not “neutro”.

    – “Markota”, “Markoti” is an abomination that may be common in informal spoken language, but I very much doubt that any good grammar-book will refuse to seriously frown upon attempts to use it in formal written language. The -t extension of the root is simply wrong for nouns like this one.

    I realize that my pedantic complaints may be annoying and/or unwelcome. If so, don’t hesitate to delete this comment of mine and I’ll do my best to refrain from further comments on language-related matters on your blog.

    Incidentally, perhaps it would also be good to point out that the inflection pattern does not depend simply on the gender alone, but also on declension. In practical terms, the most significant aspect of this is probably the difference between 1st- and 2nd-declension feminine nouns (e.g. “perut” vs. “roža”), because it effectively requires the learner to memorize an additional set of inflections.

  2. domen

    The thing with Marko – Markota has been debated over and over again and I have to side with the people which say that the form Marko-Markota has to be used for the sake of Mark – Marka, to distinguish between the two. That is my opinion. I also think it help to simplify the language and the rules.

    Your comments are a valuable addition to this “torture chamber of tongue” so please, if you do not feel that they are taking too much of your time, please continue.

  3. ill-advised

    Well, although I personally am not in favour of simplifying the language rules, I admit that the ambiguity of “Marka” (i.e. whether it comes from “Mark” or from “Marko”) is unfortunate, and that “Markota” is a nice way of avoiding the ambiguity.

    However, in your post you seem to propose it as a general rule for masculine nouns ending in “-o”, rather than as an exception. That is, from your post it seems that you would suggest e.g. “Lovro” -> “Lovrota” instead of “Lovra”, where the excuse of avoiding ambiguity does not apply.

    I can accept the fact that different people use the language in different ways, or may hold different opinions as to whether a particular form is suitable in a particular context or not. However, from the point of view of writing a guide to the language, I think it would be reasonable to also acknowledge that there exists such a thing as a language “standard” and that it frowns upon “Lovrota” and “Markota”. That is to say, I personally would find it regrettable if people went away from your torture-chamber with the mistaken impression that some form is standard language whereas it is in fact nonstandard and reflects some other variety of language (such as some version of colloquial language or your personal idiolect).

    P.S. I tried to post a comment to your post about the movie poll, but it doesn’t appear there. I guess the system is rejecting it because of some perceived syntax error in the comment (but there weren’t any exotic tags or anything of the sort in my comment). Is there some way of making your blogging software show an explanation of why exactly it’s rejecting a comment?

  4. Domen

    the current limit is 3 links per comment. Spambots usually use tons of links in its comments and this is one way of preventing it. I approved your comments and you should have no problems from now on. Nothing gets deleted, it just falls into “moderate” category.

  5. plav trg

    Hej Domen,

    Welcome back. Due to pressure of work I won’t be able to get my homework done for a couple of days


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