Stress, gender and number

Stress

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, člôvek – človèka. A few words have no stress whatsoever.

The stress marks are: ‘ (which signifies at the same time that the vowel is long, with o and e a narrow pronounciation), ^ (which signifies simultaneously long and broad o and e) and ‘ (which means also a short vowel).

Gender

In opposition to English, which has only remnants of gender (e.g. he-she-it) Slovenian distinguishes three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter:

Masculine

Feminine

Neutral

on
he
ona
she
ono
it
brat
brother
sestra
sister
dete
child
oče
father
mati
mother
telo
body
Prešeren
 
Slovenija
 
Visoko
 

stol

chair
miza
table
mesto
city

Male persons and most male animals are masculine gender, female persons and animals feminine gender. The young of animals (in –e) are usually neuter gender. For other things and objects we just have to memorize the gender. The ending in the nominative singular form offers us some help:

words in –a are almost all of feminine gender (lipa)
words in –o and –e are almost all neuter gender (mesto, srce)
words in –i and –u are usually masculine (taksi, emu)
words ending in a consonant are either masculine or feminine
Jaz in ti are of indefinite gender.

Adjectives, participles and most pronouns also have different forms for the different genders:

Masc.

Fem.

Neut.

 

Masc.

Fem.

Neut.

 
lep
lepa
lepo
nice
sedeč
sedeča
sedeče
sitting
slovenski
slovenska
slovensko
Slovenian
náš
naša
naše
our’s
božji
božja
božje
Divine
ves
vsa
vse
all
delal
delala
delalo
worked
on
ona
ono
he,she,it
zaželen
zaželena
zaželeno
desired
mi
me
me
we


Number

Slovenian has, besides the singular and plural, also the dual: miza "table" – mize "tables’ –mizi "(two) tables". The singular and plural are used as in English, but in those cases where two objects are concerned, the dual is used instead of the plural:

Singular Plural Dual

   
ena miza
tri mize
dve mizi
one table
three tables
two tables
en stol
trije stoli
dva stola
one chair
three chairs
two chairs
eno mesto
tri mesta
dve mesti
one town
three towns
two towns

Paired body parts are in Slovenian in the Plural: noge, roke, oči, obrvi, nosnice, etc.,as well čevlji, očala etc. These parts of speech distinguish number:

nouns:

   
miza
mize
mizi
table
tables
two tables
perut
peruti
peruti
wing
wings
two wings
stol
stoli
stola
chair
chairs
two chairs
mesto
mesta
mesti
town
towns
two towns
 
adjectives:    
lep
lepi
lepa
lepa
lepe
lepi
lepo
lepa
lepi
 
pronouns:    
on
oni
onadva
he
they
they two
tak
taki
taka
such
such
such two
 
verbs:    
delam
delamo
delava
I work
we work 
we two work

 

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Aleksandra Ceferin
Aleksandra Ceferin

Aleksandra Ceferin (M.A., B.A., Dip.Ed.) has introduced Slovenian language as a school subject in Australian school system and founded the Slovenian Teachers' Association of Victoria in 1976. She has extensive experience in language education: as teacher, lecturer, curriculum coordinator, course writer, language consultant and manager, VCE State Reviewer and Chief Examiner. Since 1998 she has been the President of ISSV and the manager and chief editor of its projects. Aleksandra visits Slovenian annually, establishing and maintaining contacts with Slovenia, and initiating exchanges and cooperation between organizations. In 2004 she was the recipient of the National Education Award of RS Slovenia.