Encyclopedia > Slovenian language

  Article Content

Slovenian language

Table of contents
1 Origin of the language and writing, borrowings, orthography, modern writing, computer writing
2 Dialect (Narečje)
3 Grammatical number (Slovnično število)
4 Verbal genera (Glagolnik)
5 Noun (Samostalnik)
6 Verb (Glagol)
7 Gerund, Verbal noun[?]
8 Participle
9 Imperative (Velelnik)
10 Supine[?] (Namenilnik)
11 Adjective (Pridevnik)
12 Comparative[?] (Primernik)
13 Adverb (Prislov)
14 Adjectival adverb[?]
15 Comparative adverb[?]
16 Comparative adjective[?]
17 Possessive adjective[?]
18 Pronoun (Zaimek)
19 Personal (Subjective) pronoun[?]
20 Possessive pronoun[?]
21 Interrogative pronoun[?]
22 Demonstrative pronoun[?]
23 Relative pronoun[?]
24 Indefinite pronoun[?]
25 Reflexive pronoun[?]
26 Numeral (Števnik)
27 Cardinal numeral[?] (Glavni števnik)
28 Ordinal numeral[?] (Vrstilni števnik)
29 Interjection (Medmet)
30 Sentence (Stavek)
31 Clause (Stavčni člen)
32 External links

Classification and spoken areas

Slovenian, or Slovene (which is rapidly becoming an archaic form) language (= slovenski) jezik (Slovenian (slovenščina)) is the westernmost language in the South Slav branch of the Slavic languages group.

The language is spoken by about 2.2 million people, the Slovenians who live mostly in Central Europe in their native independent land Slovenia (1,727,360), plus the Slovenians in Venetian Slovenia (Beneška Slovenija) in Italy (100,000), in Austrian Carinthia (Avstrijska Koroška) in Austria (50,000), in Croatian Istria (Hrvaška Istra) in Croatia (25,000), in some southern parts of Hungary (6,000) and the Slovenians dispersed across Europe and all over the world (specially German Slovenians[?], American Slovenians[?], or even Kansas' Slovenians, Canadian Slovenians[?], Argentinian Slovenians, Australian Slovenians, South African Slovenians) (300,000). It is one of the rare Slavic languages that have preserved the dual grammatical number (like the Upper and Lower Sorbian language) and it has a very difficult noun case system.

English philologist David Crystal[?] said in a recent interview for the newspaper Delo[?] about Slovenian: No, Slovenian is not convicted to death. At least not in a near future. The number of 2 million speakers is big. Welsh has just 500,000 speakers. Statistically spoken Slovenian with 2 million speakers comes into the upper 10 % of the world's languages. Most languages of the world have very few speakers. Two million is a nice number, magnificent, brilliant. You probably would think this number is not much. But from the point of the whole world, this number has its weight. On the other side about some language no one can be self-satisfied. A language can disappear in just one generation...

Origin of the language and writing, borrowings, orthography, modern writing, computer writing

The earliest manuscripts, written in Slovenian, are the Brižinski spomeniki (Freising manuscripts or Freising monuments, German Freisinger Denkmler) found in the parchment manuscript miscellany, which in 1803 came from the Bavarian city of Freising[?] (translated to Slovenian in 1854 by Slovenian Slavist and grammarian Anton Janežič as Brizno, Brižnik or later adopted Brižinje, Brižine or Brižinj), where there was once a diocese, to State library in Munich. In this manuscript with a liturgic - homiletic content they had found in 1807 three Slovenian records. This miscellany was probably an episcopal manual (pontificals[?]) and Brižinski spomeniki in it were created between 972 and 1093, but most probably before 1000. The main support for this dating is the writing which was used in the centuries after Charlemagne and is named Caroline minuscule[?] or Carolingian minuscule. ([1] (http://www.uvi.si/eng/new/background-information/freising-manuscripts/) [2] (http://www.kortlandt.nl/editions/freis) [3] (http://www.thezaurus.com/sloveniana/freising_manuscripts.htm)).

This language was for a very long time a secondary language, the language of the masses in Slovenia during the period of the Austro-Hungarian empire until 1918, when the German language had primacy and for a short period during the World War II, when Slovenia was divided between the Fascist Italian and the Nazi German hegemony. Because of a strong germanization[?], the Slovenian language retains a lot of Germanisms[?], which are preserved in a special way for example: German das Polster (pillow (blazina)) in Slovenian colloquial language is spoken poušter and German der Schraubenzieher (screwdriver (izvijač)) in technical colloquial jargon is šrauf'ncigr or šrauf'nciger.

Slovenian uses a modified Latin alphabet and its modern alphabet consists of 25 unique small and unique 25 capital letters and thus one-letter characters:

a, b, c, č, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, š, t, u, v, z, ž,

A, B, C, Č, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, Š, T, U, V, Z, Ž.

This alphabet (abeceda) was derived in the mid 1840s from an arrangement of Croatian national regenerator and leader Ljudevit Gaj[?] (1809-1872) for Croatians (alphabet called gajica or Croatian gajica, patterned on the Czech pattern of the 1830s). Before that Š was, for example, written as , ∫∫ or ſ, Č as T∫CH, CZ, T∫CZ or TCZ, I sometimes as Y as a relict from now modern Russian 'yeri' Ы, J as Y, L as LL, V as W, Ž as , ∫∫ or ∫z. In 1825 Franc Serafin Metelko proposed his version of Slovenian alphabet called "metelčica".

5 letters for vowels (A, E, I, O, U) and 20 for the rest consonants. The English and Western ones letters, Q,W,X,Y are excluded from the pure language, as are some Southern Slavic characters, Ć, , Đ, LJ, NJ, but in encyclopedia's and dictionary's listings they are used, because foreign Western proper nouns or toponyms are not translated in full, as they are in some other Slavic languages, such as partly in Russian or entirely in Serbian. Such an encyclopedic listing would have this modified Latin alphabet:

a, b, c, č, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, š, t, u, v, w, x, y, z, ž.
So Newton or Massachusetts remain the same and are not transformed in, for this language strange, Njutn or in Mesečusets. Other names from non-Latin languages are transcribed in similar fashion to that used by other European languages with some adaptations and unwritten rules. Japanese, Indian and Arabic names such as Kajibumi, Djacarta (Djakarta) and Jabar are transcribed as Kadžibumi, Džakarta and Džabar, where j is exchanged with ž. Diacritical marks from other foreign alphabets (e.g. , Å, Æ, , , Ï, Ń, , , Ş, ) do not have influence on the alphabetical order either.

In the original ASCII frame of 1 to 126 characters we can find these examples of writing Slovenian text:

a, b, c, *c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, *s, t, u, v, z, *z
a, b, c, "c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, "s, t, u, v, z, "z
a, b, c, c(, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, s(, t, u, v, z, z(
a, b, c, c^, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, s^, t, u, v, z, z^

In TeX notation č, š, ž become \v c, \v s, \v z, \v{c}, \v{s}, \v{z} or in its macro versions also as above in ASCII frame "c, "s, "z or in other representations as \~, \{, \' for lower-case and \^, \[, \@ for upper-case, where a Slovenian hyphenization[?] is rather different as within the plainTeX.

Many well known global placenames have their own special Slovenian names:



So some names are quite different for sorting from what they are in English.

The writing itself in its pure form does not use any other signs, except, for instance, additional accentual marks, when it is necessary to distinguish between similar words with a different meanings (e.g.:

  • gl (naked) | gl (goal),
  • jsen (ash (tree)) | jesn (autumn),
  • kt (angle, corner) | kot (as, like),
  • kzjak (goat's dung) | kozjk (goat-shed),
  • md (between) | md (brass) | md (honey),
  • pl (pole) | pl (half (of)) | pl (half past (an hour)),
  • prcej (at once) | precj (a great deal (of))),
  • rem (draw) | rmi (rummy (- a card game))).

Basically there are no definite[?] or indefinite articles[?] as in English are (a, the, to (with a verb)) or in German (der, die, das, ein, eine, ein). A whole verb or a noun is described without articles and the grammatical gender is found from the word's ending[?]. It is enough to say barka (a /or the barge) (der Kahn), Noetova barka (a/ the Noah's ark) (die Arche Noah) and the gender is known in this case to be feminine. In declension ending is ordinarily changed. 2nd case: barke, 3rd case: barki, barko, pri barki and z barko for 6th case. If one would like, somehow, to distinguish between definiteness or indefiniteness of the article, one would say for the barge as (prav) tista barka (that exact barge) or for a barge as ena barka (one's barge). A gender can differ from ones of the other languages in many cases of course as in:

  • miza (a table) - feminine)(стол - masculine) (der Tisch- masculine),
  • stol (a chair) - masculine (стул - masculine) (der Stuhl- masculine).

There are very often nouns in neuter gender) as in:

  • gabrje (beech-forest) (or better hornbeam-forest) + singular noun ( грубовый лес - masculine) (der Weibuchenbestand - masculine),
  • vrata (doors) + plural noun (дверь - feminine + plural noun) (die Tr - feminine).

Dialect (Narečje)

If you don't have a dialect, you don't have a language [An old saying]

There are at least 32 main dialects (narečje) dI and speeches (govor) sP of spoken Slovenian language. Main regional groups are:

  1. koroško (Carinthian),
  2. vzhodno (Eastern),
  3. severovzhodno (Northeastern),
  4. zahodno (Western),
  5. osrednje (Central),
  6. gorenjsko (of Upper Carniola),
  7. belokranjsko (of White Carniola),
  8. dolenjsko (of Lower Carniola),
  9. primorsko (Maritime).

There are also local groups and sub-groups sG as:

  1. banjško (sP),
  2. baško (sP),
  3. borjansko,
  4. bovško,
  5. briško,
  6. brkinsko (in Brkini)
  7. bržansko (in Bržanija in Trieste vicinity),
  8. celjsko (in Celje),
  9. cerkljansko (in Cerkljansko),
  10. činžaško,
  11. čiško,
  12. črnovrško,
  13. goričansko,
  14. gradiščansko,
  15. haloško (in Haloze),
  16. horjulsko (in Horjul),
  17. idrijsko (in Idrija),
  18. istrsko, (in Slovenian Istria),
  19. južno belokranjsko (sG)
  20. južno notranjsko (in south of Notranjsko),
  21. južno pohorsko (sG),
  22. kapleško,
  23. kobariško,
  24. kostelsko,
  25. kozjansko - bizeljsko,
  26. kozjaško (sP),
  27. kranjskogorsko (in Kranjska Gora) (sP),
  28. kraško (on Kras (the Karst)),
  29. laško (in Laško) (sP),
  30. logaško,
  31. lovrenško,
  32. ljubljansko (in Ljubljana),
  33. mariborsko (in Maribor),
  34. medijsko,
  35. mešano kočevsko (sP),
  36. mežiško (in Mežica),
  37. nadiško,
  38. notranjsko (in Notranjsko)
  39. obirsko,
  40. obsoško, (along river Soča)
  41. podjunsko (in Podjuna),
  42. pohorsko (on Pohorje),
  43. poljansko,
  44. posavsko,
  45. prekmursko (sG),
  46. prleško (in Prlekija),
  47. puščavsko,
  48. remšniško,
  49. rezijansko (in Rezija), Resianica[?],
  50. ribniško,
  51. rižansko (in Rižana) (sP),
  52. rožansko,
  53. savinjsko (in the valley of Savinja),
  54. sevniško - krško (sP),
  55. solčavsko (in Solčava) (sP),
  56. selško,
  57. severno belokranjsko (sG),
  58. severno pohorsko - remšniško,
  59. srednje beloknjanjsko (sG),
  60. srednje savinjsko (sG),
  61. srednje štajersko (sG),
  62. šavrinsko (sP),
  63. škofjeloško (in Škofja Loka),
  64. šokarsko,
  65. tersko,
  66. trbonsko,
  67. tolminsko (in Tolmin[?]),
  68. trboveljsko (in Trbovlje),
  69. vrtojbensko (in Vrtojba),
  70. vzhodno dolenjsko (sG),
  71. vzhodno gorenjsko (sG),
  72. vzhodno prleško (sG),
  73. zagorsko - trboveljsko (sP),
  74. zasavsko,
  75. ziljsko,
  76. zgornje savinjsko (sG),

We can also talk about spoken American Slovenian, spoken by Slovenian emigrants in the USA (mostly in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois). For example they would usually say in broken Slovenian: Jez prihajam z-Amerik-e (I come from America). For the dialects from the Carinthian region it is known that they, more than in their deep structure, differ from each other in their vocal and lexical image; from literary language, however, they differ no more than the other marginal Slovenian dialects. That is why the dialects in elementary school can be some kind of natural transition towards literary language and written word. We can see the borders of Slovenian dialects on Fran Ramovš's Dialect Map ([4] (http://nl.ijs.si/~stermole/Ramovs/RamovsL2)).

Slovenians gained a national consciousness at the beginning of the 17th century and especially in the 19th century.

France Prešeren[?] is one of the first modern poets of Slovenian literature.

Grammatical number (Slovnično število)

The Future Tense (Prihodnjik)

In the Slovenian language the future tense is made by the verb to be in the future tense plus the past participle of the verb.

For example: the English table of I will see (Jaz bom videl), including gender for he (= on) and she (= ona) without it (= ono) can be transformed as:

Singular Plural Dual (Semi)
I will see We (all) will see We (both) will see
You will see You (all) will see You (both) will see
He will see/She will see They (all) will see They (both) will see

from the Slovenian table:

Singular +M/F gender Plural +M/F gender Dual +M/F gender
Jaz bom videl/Jaz bom videla Mi bomo videli/Me bomo videle Midva bova videla/Midve bova videli
Ti boš videl/Ti boš videla Vi boste videli/Ve boste videle Vidva bosta videla/Vidve bosta videli
On bo videl/Ona bo videla Oni bodo videli/One bodo videle Ona (or onadva) bosta bosta videla/Oni (or onidve) bosta videli

Not only does the language have singular and plural but also dual, which is rendered in English using the word both.

Dual is a feature of the Old Slavic language and from the Old Slavic language the dual has been transmitted to Slovenian. It is a number like singular and plural but it is only used for two subjects and objects. We have:

Ona sta (Both of them are -- two objects or subjects) masculine gender
Oni sta (Both of them are -- two objects or subjects) [feminine gender]

Oni so (All of them are -- more than two objects or subjects) [masculine gender]
One so (All of them are -- more than two objects or subjects) [feminine gender]

Dual is also preserved in gender certainly as the above example clearly shows.

Verbal genera (Glagolnik)

Noun (Samostalnik)

Count noun

Collective noun

Mass noun (Množinski samostalnik)

In the Slovenian language mass nouns can also be seen, similar to English mass nouns with some exceptions, shown below:

  • voda (water),
  • pohištvo (furniture),
  • pesek, (sand),
  • perilo, (laundry),
  • znanje (knowledge) (singular), znanji (two 'knowledge(s)') (dual), znanja (three and more 'knowledge(s)') (plural).

Verb (Glagol)

Inperfectness and perfectness (Dovršnost in nedovršnost)

Verbs have, as in many languages, two main continuance forms:

sedeti (to sit (to be sitting)) [inperfective verb (infinitive)]
sesti (to sit down) [perfective verb (infinitive)]

Continuance is preserved in almost all tenses:

(Jaz) sedim (I am sitting (I am being sitting ?)) [inperfective verb of present tense]
0 ? (I am sitting down ?) [perfective verb of present tense "transformed" to the past simple tense]

Note: The personal pronoun I (Jaz) can be, or better "must" be, omitted, because it is not used as frequently as in the English language. It is a regular form but doesn't sound quite right. Another fact is, from above example, the gender can be extract directly from such sentences as in English.

sem sedl (I sat (I was being sitting ?)) [inperfective verb of past simple tense]
sem sedla (I sat ( ~ ?)) [inperfective verb of past simple tense [+feminine gender]]
sem sdel (I sat down (0 ?)) [perfective verb of past simple tense]
sem sdla (I sat down (0 ?)) [perfective verb of past simple tense [+feminine gender]]

Note: Gender can be seen.

bom sedel (I will sit (I will be sitting ?))[inperfective verb of future (simple ?) tense]
bom sedela ( ~ (~ ?)) [inperfective verb of future (simple) tense[+feminine gender]]
se bom vsedel (I will sit down (I will be sitting)) [perfective verb of future (simple ?) tense]
se bom vsedla ( ~ ( ~ )) [perfective verb of future (simple ?) tense [+feminine gender]]

Active and passive voice (Tvornik in trpnik)

The Slovenian language uses mostly the active voice. So, a typical English sentence, such as he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society, would be better as they elected him a fellow of the Royal Society. This is usually the main error when translating English text to Slovenian. It is also a problem when translating the other way.

Gerund, Verbal noun[?]


Present participle

Past participle

Imperative (Velelnik)

Supine[?] (Namenilnik)

Adjective (Pridevnik)

Comparative[?] (Primernik)

Adverb (Prislov)

Adjectival adverb[?]

Comparative adverb[?]

Comparative adjective[?]

Possessive adjective[?]

Pronoun (Zaimek)

Personal (Subjective) pronoun[?]

Possessive pronoun[?]

Interrogative pronoun[?]

Demonstrative pronoun[?]

Relative pronoun[?]

Indefinite pronoun[?]

Reflexive pronoun[?]

Numeral (Števnik)

Cardinal numeral[?] (Glavni števnik)

Ordinal numeral[?] (Vrstilni števnik)

Interjection (Medmet)

Sentence (Stavek)

Free sentence

Včeraj sem šel domov (I went home last night) (or: Last night (I) went home)
Danes prihajam domov (I am coming home today)
Jutri bom šel od doma (I will leave home tomorrow)

Compound sentence

Res me veseli, da si prišel (I am really glad you came)
Da - tako je bilo, kakor praviš! (Yes - it was, as you say!)

Another beautiful example is first Prešeren's verse from his poem "Zdravljica" ("A toast") now Slovenian national anthem.

Incomplete sentence

This is a sentence which does not have a predicate.

Rana ura zlata ura (Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise; The early bird catches the worm (literary Early hour golden hour))

Inserted sentence

V tistih časih - bil sem še mlad in sem od sveta veliko pričakoval - sem lepega večera srečal starega berača in... (In those times - I was still young and I expected a lot from the world - I met an old beggar one fair evening and...)

Accompanying sentence

"Dobro jutro!" je rekla Lojza ("Good morning! Aloysine said")

Clause (Stavčni člen)

In a sentence there may be only four main clauses:

subject + predicate + object + adverbial phrase[?].

External links

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article

... can refer to: Christiania - the name of Oslo, from 1624 to 1925. The Free State of Christiania - a partially self-governing neighborhood in the city of ...

This page was created in 27.3 ms