Croatian/Main Contents/Level 2/Lesson 9

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Nominative is a grammatical case that tells us who or what performs the action in the sentence. It isn't hard to learn Nominative case, in fact, it has no endings nor sound changes. When you learn a new noun, it is actually already in Nominative.

  • Dječak čita knjigu.

Translation: The boy reads a book.

Noun in bold, the boy, indicates Nominative, the one who (or even what) does the action. More examples:

  • Kiša pada. (lit. Rain falls; tran. It is raining.)
  • Jedan od njih je otišao. (One of them left.)
  • Najljepši je izabran. (The most beautiful was chosen.)
  • Visok čovjek šeće ulicom. (A tall man walks down the street.)

Plural form[edit]

Croatian nouns are divided in three types: first or a-declination, second or e-declination and third or i-declination.

First or a-declination[edit]

Most masculine nouns and all neuter nouns belong to this declination. Nominative plural of masculine nouns is created by adding -i to noun. Examples:
glagol (m, verb) = glagoli
plesač (m, dancer) = plesači
Nominative plural of neuter nouns is created by adding -a to noun.
selo (n, village) = sela
nebo (n, sky) = neba

Masculine nouns[edit]

Sound changes[edit]

1) "a" doesn't appears ("nepostojano a")
pas (dog) - psi
2) vocalization (l is replaced with o)
anđeo (angel) - anđeli
3) sibilarization (k, g and h in front of i change to c, z, s [k,g,h->c,z,s/_i])
junak (hero) - junaci
vrag (devil) - vrazi
orah (walnut) - orasi
4) assimilation (because of "nepostojano a")
vrabac (sparrow) -> vrabac + i -> vrab ci (b is voiced, but c is unvoiced, so b must be changed to unvoiced - this is p) -> vrapci
5) because of "nepostojano a", appears that one consonant disappears ("gubljenje suglasnika"):
otac (father) -> otac + i -> ot ci (here will t disappear) -> oci
More about sound changes will be in separated lessons.

Other plural forms (short,long and shortened)[edit]

1) short plural form - mostly disyllabic and polysyllabic words
potok (brook) - potoci
potomak (descendant) - potomci
dan (day) - dani
prst (finger) - prsti
gost (guest) - gosti
mrav (ant) - mravi
zub (tooth) - zubi
2) long plural form - mostly monosyllabic and some disyllabic words
a) ev (if word ends with palatal: č,ć,dž,đ,š,ž,lj,nj,j):
broj (number) - broj + ev + i -> brojevi
jež (hedgehog) - jež + ev + i -> ježevi
puž (snail) - puž + ev + i -> puževi
vrč (pitcher) - vrč + ev + i -> vrčevi

  • also nouns that in N. sg. ends with c, št or žd
    • example: očevi (otac - father), prinčevi (princ - prince), stričevi (stric - uncle {your father's brother}), plaštevi (plašt - mantle)...

b) ov (if word doesn't end with palatal):
trag (track) - trag + ov + i -> tragovi
vlak (train) - vlak + ov + i -> vlakovi
val (wave, billow) - val + ov + i -> valovi
snijeg (snow) - snijeg + ov + i -> snjegovi

  • monosyllabic words can also have short plural form, although it's not used very often
    • example: snijezi, brijezi, trazi, vali...
  • but there are also some monosyllabic words that can use both short and long plural form (both forms are used)
    • examples: brkovi/brci (brk - moustache), kraci/krakovi (krak - leg {like octopus's leg}), sni/snovi (san - dream), zvuci/zvukovi (zvuk - sound)

3) shortened plural form - mostly words that in N. sg. ends with -in (nation, religious...)
građanin (citizen) - građanin + i -> građani (not građanini)
pučanin (plebeian) - pučanin + i -> pučani (not pučanini)
kršćanin (Christian) - kršćanin + i -> kršćani (not kršćanini)
Islanđanin (Icelander) - Islanđanin + i -> Islanđani (not Islandanini)

Nouns of foreign origin[edit]

1) words ending with o (short o): auto (car), kakao (cocoa), flamenko (flamenco), tornado, rodeo, tempo
auto (car) - auti
2) others (ends with i): hobi (hobby), studio, alibi, martini, poni (pony), reli (rally), viski (whiskey), hipi (hippie)
hobi - hobiji
studio - studiji

Neuter nouns[edit]

1) the same syllable (it isn't changed)
selo (village) - sela
polje (field) - polja
2) syllable's changed with et or en
ime (name) - imena
djete (child) - djeca {but other forms use djetet-}
vrijeme (time) - vremena

Second or e-declination[edit]

Most feminine nouns and masculine nouns that ends with a belong to this declination. Nominative plural of masculine nouns is created by adding -e (replacing a with e) to noun.
sluga (servant) - sluge
vođa (leader) - vođe
Nominative plural of feminine nouns is created by adding -e (replacing a with e) to noun.
žena (woman, wife) - žene
olovka (pencil) - olovke

Third or i-declination[edit]

Feminine nouns that ends with consonant. Nominative plural of feminine nouns is created by adding -i to noun.
laž (lie) - laži
noć (night) - noći