Thursday, 18 November 2010

Day 3: some word formation, verb conjugation

It's now day 3. Skimming through the grammar yesterday I found the section on word derivation to be particularly interesting so let's see if I can find any examples of interesting derivation in the dictionary. The Latin-like derivations (nevtralni, telivizijni, tradicijni, etc.) don't need to be included since as an English speaker those are already easy....except -ovati I suppose. Let's look for examples of -ovati (English -ate, -ize, etc.):

accept - akceptovati
bloc - blok (m. noun), becomes blokovati (to block)
cancel - anulovati...

A search reveals 220+ entries that end in -ovati so looks like this suffix is crucial to remember.

Diminutives are formed by either -ok or -ik for masculine nouns (the former if they end in a hard consonant), -ka for feminine, and -ko for neuter. This is from the word stem though and not the word itself, so kniga becomes knižka and not knigaka for booklet.

I recognize the formation bez-(noun)-nik from the former Soviet magazine called Bezbožnik (atheist/Godless person), so I guess technically bezknižnik would be a bookless person too. Headless person would be bezglovnik.

Verb to noun - a person doing something is -tel', formed from a verb. Naučiti (to teach) becomes naučitel' (teacher). Let's look for some others:

abductor - pohititel', from pohititi.
buyer - kupovatel', from kupovati.
donor - daritel', from dariti.
follower - posledovatel', from sledovati.
judge - suditel', from suditi.

Okay, that's enough of that for now. Let's get back to verb conjugation.

Past tense looks to be really easy, just -l on the stem, and add -a, -o, -i to that if you are feminine, neuter or plural. I'm a guy so that's just -l when I do things in the past tense.

Drink - piti, so ja pil is I drank.
Ponder - dumati, so ja dumal is I pondered.
Travel - putovati, so ja putoval is I travelled. I see an example of that on the Slovianski forum too.


Now I want to travel with a plane (samolet, m.) in the past tense. Ja dumal samoletom.

Future tense is easy, and just uses biti in the future with the infinitive. For me that becomes ja budu (I will be) and the other forms are ti budeš, on/ona/ono bude, mi budemo, vi budete, oni budut.

My cat will sleep - moj kot bude nočovati.
Your girlfriend will not die - tvoja prijatel'ka ne bude umirati.
Our countries will not disappear - naše deržavi ne budut izčezati.

Imperative looks like fun, it's just -j (or -ij) after the stem, and add an extra -mo to that for let's, and -te for second person plural.

So...use! becomes... koristaj! or koristajte! and let's use! becomes koristajmo! All from koristati.

I may write some more later on today, but that's it for this morning.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Day 2: looking at frequent verbs and nouns

Since my Slovianski vocabulary is pretty much near zero, I think I'll take a look at some words in the dictionary to familiarize myself with them, as well as their declination. I'll use this English frequency list as a base, but will stick with either nouns, verbs, or adjectives.

First is to be and that's easy, biti. Conjugates in the present as jesem, jesi, je, jesmo, jeste, sut.

Next is have, and that's imeti. I have is ja imam.

Next is to say...govoriti, among others including kazati (ja kažu) which I remember from the bit of Bulgarian I learned before. I'll stick with govoriti for the time being:

ja govorim, ti govoriš, on/ona/ono govori, mi govorimo, vi govorite, oni govorijut.

The word for that is čo so Ja govorim čo... is I say that...

Next is look - gledeti. Present tense 1st person singular is ja gledu. I see a related word in the dictionary: to say disregarding one says ne gleduč na... (accusative).

Next is like, and we'll go with the verb. l'ubiti/льубити. That one's easy. So let's get to the next one:

go - hoditi, idti. Second one is irregular, and I go is ja idu and I went is ja šel.

know - znati.

get - lots of results for this one, as one might expect. The first is dobivati. I see the word for livestock is dobitok and I wonder if that's related (like how the English word fee is related to cattle).

Next up is can and could, which is mogti, as in Bulgarian and feels like German (and English might) too. Here we note that because the stem is mog- (ends with a consonant) the g becomes ž if an e follows, so you can would be ti možeš.

Next is ask, which is prositi. Right below we also see sprošivati for ask (a question), and some other related words: please is prosim, question is vopros, request is prosba, require is also prositi. Interesting note for prositi and other verbs with an i-stem: for 3rd person plural you can go with -et instead of -ijut, so "they ask" would be oni proset.

And now our first noun: time. Time is čas, raz, or vremeno, and the first two are masculine while the last is neuter. Let's decline vremeno for the...dative plural. vremenam! I have time would be ja imam vremeno. Not sure if it implies free time as the English word does though..

Next is eye, and I remember that being irregular. oko. Plural was the irregular oči.

Next one isn't a noun, verb or adjective but I'm curious so let's check: now is tutčas. Ah, this+time. That one's easy.

Next up is think, which is mneti. Present tense 1st person singular is ja mnim. This word resembles German a bit too so easy to remember. Some related words are opinion (mnenje, like German Meinung), undoubtedly (nesumnenno), and believe (mnevati), as in to have an opinion about something.

Next is see and that's easy - videti, ja vidim.

Next word is hand. That's ruka. My hands would be moje ruki. And "with my hands" would then be moje rukami. On my hands, moje rukah, to my hands, moje rukam.

Next word is head, and it's glova. My head would then be moja glova, of my head moja glovi, to my head moja glove, on my head moja glove.

Next verb is turn, which not surprisingly has a lot of entries. First is obročati. Hm, that one won't be easy to remember.

Next up is come, which is prihoditi. Since go is hoditi and a lot of other verbs with motion have hoditi in them this one's easy. Go around is obhoditi, go away is odhoditi, precede is predhoditi and so on. Great.

Smile is usmeh, and to smile is usmehati se. I remember the Bulgarian word here for laughter (smyah) so not too hard. It turns out the Slovianski word for laughter is also nearly the same, smeh. To mock is vismehati.

The next word is way (or road), which is droga.

Next up is face: obliče.

And finally (at #100 now), the word for right. As a noun that's pravo. Human (l'udski) rights would then be... l'udske prava. And...yes! l'udske prava looks to be exactly the same as Slovak as it turns up a lot of results for that.

That's enough for this morning. I might write another post tonight.

Day 1: playing around with nouns

The first thing I will do to learn Slovianski is go over the grammar bit by bit, creating examples and notes as I go in order to try to fill out the experience. The first part of the grammar talks about nouns.

Masculine nouns: it looks like masculine nouns tend to end with a consonant. The three examples given are dom (house), pes (dog), muž (man). Masculine plural looks to always be -i. Let's check the dictionary for some random masculine nouns:

angel - angel/ангел, plural would be angeli/ангели
answer - odpoved'/одповедь, plural would be odpovedi/одповеди from what I can tell from other examples with a ' or ь on the end. Not sure why it disappears in other cases.
face - obliče/обличе, so here's a masculine noun that doesn't end in a consonant. Plural here would be obliči/обличи.

There are surely exceptions for these too, but neuter nouns tend to end with -o and feminine with -a. Good, let's have some fun with cases. First we'll go with the word angel.

(an) angel - angel
(I saw the) angel - angela (this receives -a because it's animate; otherwise it would be the same as nominative)
(the) angel's - angela
(give this to the) angel - angelu
(with the) angel - angelom
(on the) angel - angele

Now plural:

angels - angeli
(I saw the) angels - angelov
(the) angels' - angelov
(give this to the) angels - angelam
(with the) angels - angelami
(on the) angels - angelah

Okay, not too bad so far. I want to see some context though so let's skip ahead for a second and find some verbs. I'll deal with conjugation later on but in the meantime let's use these:

dekovati (to thank), ja dekuju (I thank).
nesti (to carry), ja nesu (I carry). Let's assume that uses the dative (we'll carry something to something else).
and finally, pisati (to write) becomes ja pišu (I write).

Ready! Back to angels for a second:

(Ja) dekuju angelov - I thank (the) angel.
(Ja) nesu angelu - I carry to (the) angel.
(Ja) pišu angelom - I write with an angel. That probably looks weird, so let's write with something else. Pišu mečom, I write with a sword. And now we can write:
Angela meč angele. - The angel's sword is on the angel. I remember reading that one can ignore the verb to be in Russian if it's obvious so I haven't checked that verb yet. Let's check it now though:

Ah, it's je. So I assume it would be angela meč je angele if we wanted to put it in there.

All right, let's get back to some declination. I want a few neuter and feminine nouns.

boyhood - hlopstvo/хлопство
cooperation - surobotničvo/суроботничво
copy - kopija/копија
pig - sviňa/свиньа

Now give me the plural! It's -a for neuter and -i for feminine. Feminine has a second declension for nouns with a soft consonant at the end but I don't feel like doing that yet. So:
Boyhoods, cooperations (if such a word existed): - hlopstva, surobotničva
copies, pigs - kopiji, sviňi

accusative - neuter stays the same so that's easy. Hit that hlopstvo! I see surobotničva! All the same as nominative. For the feminine it's the same in the plural (I hit kopiji, I see sviňi) but in the singular it's -u. I have a kopiju, I see a sviňu.

And now the rest:

Neuter dative: hlopstvu, surobotničvu, plural hlopstvam, surobotničvam
Feminine dative: kopije, sviňe, plural kopijam, sviňam

Neuter instrumental: hlopstvom, surobotničvom, plural hlopstvami, surobotničvami
Feminine instrumental: kopiju, sviňu, plural kopijami, sviňami

And finally...

Neuter locative: hlopstve, surobotničve, plural hlopstvah, surobotničvah
Feminine locative: kopije, sviňe, plural kopijah, sviňah

Great! My first impression so far of Slovianski: it feels exactly the way it is marketed. Just like a natural language, but with enough tweaking here and there that I'm not scared away just yet.

Let's end this with a sentence:

Jesem muž. Jesi žena. Jesem ženi muž. Angela žene davam. Angeli davajut mužev žene.
I am a man. You are a woman. I am the woman's man. I give an angel to the woman. The angels give men to the woman.

See you tomorrow!