Croatian/Main Contents/Level 2/Lesson 4
Cases are probably one of the hardest things in Croatian to get used to. It is very important to learn cases because without them you will sound horrible and people might not understand you. Learning them is hard but with a lot of practice you will get used to them.
Cases of the Declension
The Nominative is otherwise known as the subject of a sentence, for example:
I was going home., Išao sam kući.
I is the nominative of the sentence. When nouns are nominative, they do not change. For example, the word student will remain student.
The genitive may denote possession of a place or object, for example:
They are from Pittsburgh. Oni su iz Pittsburgha.
Pittsburgh was the genitive of the sentence. Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh in its nominative form, but because it was used for the genitive, an -a was added onto the end. The same happens for any masculine genitive noun. Feminine nouns such as Hrvatska (in its nominative form) will have an -e replacing the -a on the end of the noun, so Hrvatska in its genitive form is Hrvatske. The genitive is also used after some prepositions, like od (from), bez (without) iza (behind) etc.
The genitive is also used after "here is" (evo), "there is" (eno) and "how many" (koliko) after an adverb of quantity, such as some, a lot, little etc.
Here are some pineapples. Eno nekoliko ananasa.
Indirect objects take the dative. The dative is also used in certain other expressions.
I gave the book to my friend. - Knjigu sam dao prijatelju.
To my friend is the dative. The dative also is used in prepositions such as u (in), na (on), pod (under), pred (in front of) and kroz (through)
The accusative is the object of a sentence. From the earlier sentence, I was going home, I was the nominative, and home is the accusative. Masculine and feminine nouns in the singular accusative endings depend if the object is moving. If the object is inanimate like a town or house, the word doesn't change, it stays as the accusative, but if the object is moving, it will be the same as the genitive, like say that the town was moving, for some strange reason. Grad would then be grada, but since towns moving is not usual, it would usually be just grad.
The vocative is used for calling people or animals.
The locative is used to denote certain locations, such as:
Je li profesor u učionici?
Is the professor in the classroom?
The masculine nouns end with -u when in the locative, and feminine nouns end with -i when in the locative. The main prepositions followed by the locative are "in" and "on".
The instrumental is used to denote actions, such as:
On je pokazao prstom He pointed with his finger
Putting it all together
Below are a few examples of some nouns and how they change with what case, whether they're masculine, feminine, singular or plural. It is very hard to remember the cases and how nouns follow, so this will help to have a clearer picture of it all.
Nouns that have -k as the last letter change to -c before going into the cases.