Wednesday, 17 November 2010

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!

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