s share several characteristics common to other well-known inflectional languages of the Indo-European
group such as Russian
, and Greek
. Unlike the adjectives of English
which do not change form no matter what kind of noun they are modifying or under what circumstances they are substantive
, Slovenian adjectives carry vital information about the case, number, gender, and animacy of the nouns the modify or substantively represent. This makes them more difficult to use than adjectives of English, but far more informative. Slovenian adjectives can be divided into two distinct types: qualitative
adjectives and possessive
Qualitative and Relational Adjectives
Adjectives always preceed the nouns that they modify in Slovenian except for poetic or emphatic purposes. All native adjectives are declined through the full six cases of Slovenian nouns, however adjectives borrowed from foreign languages such as séksi, róza, or šík do not decline. Stress, an important feature of the Slovenian language that is vital to pronunciation, is almost universally fixed.
Although Contemporary Standard Slovene, the written language, does not have an equivalent to English articles 'a/an' or 'the', adjectives modifying masculine singular nouns in the Nominative case do make this distinction. By attatching an -i inflection to the root stem of an adjective, it can be rendered definite instead of indefinite. For example, poštèn pótnik translates as "(an) honest traveller," however poštèni pótnik translates as "the honest traveller." This distinction only exists in the Nominative case and singular number, nowhere else in declension is a difference between 'a/an' and 'the' made. Neither feminine nor neuter nouns possess the distinction either.
That's for standard Slovenian, however the modern spoken language has evolved since the written language was crafted. Following the trend of other Indo-European languages, Slovenian has made a transition from an non-definite to definite language by beginning to make use of definite and indefinite articles. The word èn, "one", is used as the uninflected indefinite article, while ta is used as the definite. When prefecing an adjective modifying a singular, masculine, Nominative noun, the adjectives takes its indefinite form. In effect, the -i definite inflectional ending has disappeared from spoken language, however it is still used extensively in formal writing.
Comparitive and Superlative Degrees
Slovenian, like English, uses two methods for forming the comparitive degree of adjectives. The first method is by the attatching of a suffix that can morph slightly depending on the root stem's pronunciation and the gender of the modified noun. When the adjective being cast into comparitive degree ends in -d, -p, -b and is monosyllabic; the suffixes ši (m.), ša (f.), or še (n.) are attatched. Monosyllabic adjectives ending in -g, -k, or -h have the endings ji, ja, or je attatched. Monosyllabic adjectives ending in any other consonant or polysyllabic adjectives have the endings ejši, ejša, or ejše.
A raft of exceptions use the comparitive qualifier bôlj, "more," to form the comparitive. These include adjectives with no indefinite Nom. masc. sing. form, adjectives derived from verbs or nouns, and colors.
Superlative adjectives are very easily formed by simply taking the comparitive form, whatever it is, and attatching the suffix nàj-. There, done!
Adjectives, like nouns, follow set declension tables according to case that function pretty regularly. The only difficulty is to recognize the two possible accusative endings, which will either mirror the nominative if the noun modified is inanimate, or the genitive if the noun modified is animate.
Sg. Dl. Pl.
Nom| --/-i | -a | -i |
Gen| -ega | -ih | -ih |
Dat| -emu | -ima| -im |
Acc| --/-i, -ega| -a | -e |
Loc| -em | -ih | -ih |
Ins| -im | -ima| -imi|
Sg. Dl. Pl.
Nom| -a| -i | -e
Gen| -e| -ih | -ih
Dat| -i| -ima| -im
Acc| -o| -i | -e
Loc| -i| -ih | -ih
Ins| -o| -ima| -imi
Sg. Dl. Pl.
Nom| -o | -i | -a
Gen| -ega| -ih | -ih
Dat| -emu| -ima| -im
Acc| -o | -i | -a
Loc| -em | -ih | -ih
Ins| -im | -ima| -imi
Adjectives in substantive form (like how beautiful
is a substantive adjective in the sentence "She is beautiful.") must agree with their subject in case, number, and gender.
In contrast with other languages of the Indo-European group, Slovenian does not use a genitive case (English, German) or preposition (Spanish, French) to mark possession. Rather, it transforms nouns into adjectives of a special quality. Think of the manner in which German accomplishes possession with pronouns (how pronouns like mein, Ihr, sein, and dein all function exactly like adjectives), abstract that to all nouns, and you'll have Slovenian possessive adjectives. The process is fairly simple. Masculine and neuter nouns attatch the suffix -ev if they end in the consonants c, j, č, ž, or š; in any other circumstance they attatch the suffix -ov (the reason for this distinction is because palatized consonants cause umlaut, so a closed o phoneme becomes a closed e). Feminine nouns attatch the suffix -in. Either way, the adjective does not decline.
Herrity, Peter. Slovene: A Comprehensive Grammar. London: Routledge, 2000.