An Introduction to Slovenian Language

Slovenian language is the national language of the Republic of Slovenia and adjacent enclaves in Austria (Carynthia), Italy (Friuli, Venezia Giulia) and Hungary (the Raba River basin). It is the native language of nearly 2 million Slovenes and is further spoken by emigrant groups of approximately 400,000 speakers in the United States of America, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Germany and France. Belonging to the Slavic family of languages, Slovenian is most closely related to Croatian and Serbian and is usually grouped with the South-Slavic languages.

Letters and sounds

The Slovene literary language has 25 letters. The alphabet looks like this: A a B b C c Čč D d E e F f G g H h I I K k L l M m N n O o P p R r S s Š š T t U u V v Z z Žž

Stress, gender and number

As in English, stress in Slovenian can fall on any syllable of a word : máti(mother); govorìti (to speak); zakaj (why). In the vocabularies the stress is always marked. In diferent forms of the same word, the stress occurs quite on different syllables: nosìti – nósim, móž – možá, člôvek – človèka. A few words have no stress whatsoever.

Declension

Slovenian expresses with its endings not only number and gender, but also relationships between the different words in the sentences (which in English are expressed by means of prepositions). There are a total of six forms for these relationships – which are called cases.

Comparison

As English,  Slovenian forms comparatives in two ways: with the use of word bolj (more), and superlative             with najbolj (most); or with the use of suffixes, which are -ejši - si and -ji. The superlative is formed by adding the prefix naj- onto the comparative. Polysyllabic adjectives form the comparative by means of -ejši (ljubezniv - ljubeznivejši).

Numerals

Slovene has cardinal, ordinal, disjunctive and multiplicative numbers.

Verb

The main verbal forms are the infinitive (which ends in -ti or či) and the present tense (first person singular ends in -m). We can form all other forms from the infinitive and the present tense.

Adverb and prepositions

Adverbs are formed from adjectives by means of -o: Lepo govori! (He speaks beautifully!) Formation with po is also quite common: Po slovensko govori, (He speaks Slovene).  Of great importance are the adverbs from the pronouns: kdaj- "when"; sedaj- "now", tedaj - "then", kam - "where", sém - "here", tja’ - "there", etc.

Conjunctions and miscellaneous

Slovene distinguishes two main types of conjunctions: subordinate and coordinate.