Treća Lekcija: Imenice i pridevi (II deo)
Lesson 3: Nouns and adjectives (part 2)
In the previous lesson, we learnt the basics of building the plural of the nouns. Unforzunately for you, the things aren't that simple. Today we're going to learn more about some peculiarities of the plural forms in some word.
We've said that masculine nouns ending in a consonant form their plural by adding -i (prijatelj -> prijatelji). This practically means that 'prijatelj-' is the stem for forming plural. But some nouns (that are masculine and end in a consonant), don't add the suffix -i directly, but the broaden the stem with -ov- or -ev- and then add -i. Let's take an example: for the word grad (town, city) you would expect that the plural is gradi. But no, it isn't. Between grad- and -i you must insert -ov-, so the correct plural of grad is gradovi.
Let's look at some of the nouns that have this -ov-/-ev- broadening:
cvet (flower) -> cvetovi (flowers)
stan (flat/appartment) -> stanovi (flats/appartments)
ključ (key) -> ključevi (keys)
muž(husband) -> muževi(husbands)
If you're wondering how you'll know when the noun has an -ov- broadening or when it has an -ev- broadening or when it has no broadening at all, the only advice I can give you is to learn them by heart. Alternatively, if you have a really good dictionary, it will tell you all the peculiarities about the noun.
There are some nouns that have double forms - with and without broadening - and both are corect: lišaj (lichen) -> lišajevi or lišaji (lichens) (more examples below). This practically means that you can use both forms equally. In some dialects one form may be more common than the other but in standard language both forms are correct.
Now let's move on to some on to some "easier" stuff. There is another irregularity concerning the plural of masculine nouns ending in a consonant, this time specifically ending in -k, -g and -h. These 3 are the only velar consonants in the serbian language. The irregularity consists of changing these 3 dental consonants: c, z and s. So, before adding the suffix -i, you will change the final k into c, g into z, and h into s.
učenik (student, pupil) -> učenici
jezik (language) -> jezici
bubreg (kidney) -> bubrezi
kovčeg (coffin) -> kovčezi
orah (nut) -> orasi
This rule does not apply to those nouns that have stem broadening with -ov-/-ev-, k/g/h are left unaltered there:
rak (crab) -> rakovi
strah (fear) -> strahovi
krug (circle) -> krugovi
But for those nouns that have double forms double forms I mentioned above, in the the unbroadened form you will change k/g/h into c/z/s, while in the broadened form k/g/h, will of course alter:
vuk (wolf) -> vukovi or vuci
pauk (spider) -> paukovi or pauci
duh (ghost, spirit) -> duhovi or dusi (though dusi is less common in ordinary speech, both are standard)
Now that we've hopefully processed all that, let's go back to the adjectives. We've said the basic form is the masculine singular (lep), and then we add -a for femenine singular (lepa), -o for neuter singular (lepo), -i for masc.pl (lepi), -e for fem.pl. (lepe), and -a for n.pl. (lepa).
But look at exercise 1B, sentence 6 ("Oni su dobri") and the vocabulary explanation bellow ("dobar = good"). How come dobar has an "a", but dobri doesn't? This has to do with a very common alternation in serbian, which we can call "the disappearing a". It happens that in some words that end in consonant + a + consonant and that have more than one syllable (dobar, kratak, vredan), that a drops out in other forms of the words (mostly when you add a vowel suffix). Let's see how we will make other forms adjectives.
dobar (good) - dobar, dobra, dobro, dobri, dobre, dobra
kratak (short) - kratak, kratka, kratko, kratki, kratke, kratka
vredan (hardworking; valuable) - vredan, vredna, vredno, vredni, vredne, vredna
Note that this doesn't apply to monosyllabic words like mlad (young), star (old), jak (strong) - they keep their a's in all forms.
Why does this alternation happen? Well, long ago the Proto-Slavic language had a semivowel ь (yer), which in serbian developped either into an a or it dropped out. I assume before that happened the forms of the adjective dobar were: добьр, добьра, добьро. In the first case ь became a, and in the next two it dropped out.
It's worth mentioning that this alternation also happens in some nouns when they form plural
lovac (hunter) -> lovci
starac (old man) -> starci
lanac (chain) -> lanci
And at the end of this lesson I'll give you the numbers from 0 to 10:
0 = nula
1 = jedan (jedna, jedno)
2 = dva (dve, dva)
3 = tri
4 = četiri
5 = pet
6 = šest
7 = sedam
8 = osam
9 = devet
10 = deset
The numbers 1 and 2 follow the gender of the noun. (Jedan prijatelj = one friend, jedna žena = one woman, jedno selo = one village; dva prijatelja = two friends, dve žene = two women, dva sela = two villages)
Now the exercises.
[flag=]es[/flag] ➜ C1 (DELE)
[flag=]de[/flag] ➜ B2 (Goethe-Zertifikat) / C1
[flag=]sv[/flag] ➜ B1/B2