Serbo-Croatian grammar

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Serbo-Croatian is a South Slavic language that has, like most other Slavic languages, an extensive system of inflection. This article deals exclusively with the Neo-Shtokavian dialect, which is a part of the South Slavic dialect continuum[1] and the basis for the Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian standard variants of Serbo-Croatian.[2]

Pronouns, nouns, adjectives, and some numerals decline (change the word ending to reflect case, i.e. grammatical category and function), whereas verbs conjugate for person and tense. As in all other Slavic languages, the basic word order is subject–verb–object (SVO); however, due to the use of declension to show sentence structure, word order is not as important as in languages that tend toward analyticity such as English or Chinese. Deviations from the standard SVO order are stylistically marked and may be employed to convey a particular emphasis, mood or overall tone, according to the intentions of the speaker or writer. Often, such deviations will sound literary, poetical, or archaic.

Nouns have three grammatical genders, masculine, feminine and neuter, that correspond to a certain extent with the word ending, so that most nouns ending in -a are feminine, -o and -e neuter, and the rest mostly masculine with a small but important class of feminines. The grammatical gender of a noun affects the morphology of other parts of speech (adjectives, pronouns, and verbs) attached to it. Nouns are declined into 7 cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative, locative, and instrumental.

Verbs are divided into two broad classes according to their aspect, which can be either perfective (signifying a completed action) or imperfective (action is incomplete or repetitive). There are seven tenses, four of which (present, perfect, future I and II) are used in contemporary Serbo-Croatian, and the other three (aorist, imperfect and plusquamperfect) used much less frequently — the plusquamperfect is generally limited to written language and some more educated speakers, whereas the aorist and imperfect are considered stylistically marked and rather archaic. However, some non-standard dialects make considerable (and thus unmarked) use of those tenses.

All Serbo-Croatian lexemes in this article are spelled in accented form in both scripts (Gaj's Latin and Vuk's Cyrillic), as well as in both accents (Ijekavian and Ekavian, with Ijekavian bracketed) where these differ. (See Serbo-Croatian phonology.) Translations are given as tooltips, and can be seen by hovering the cursor over a marked entry.

Morphology[edit]

Serbo-Croatian makes a distinction among three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter) seven cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative, locative, instrumental) and two numbers (singular and plural).

The category of animacy is important for the choosing of accusative singular of o-stems, and of pronouns. Animate nouns have the accusative case like the genitive, and inanimate nouns have the accusative case like the nominative. This is also important for adjectives and numerals which agree with masculine nouns in case.

Nouns[edit]

Serbo-Croatian has three main declensional types, traditionally called a-type, e-type and i-type respectively, according to their genitive singular ending.

a-type nouns[edit]

This type reflects Proto-Slavic o-stems, and is characterized by the endings (-o • -о), (-e • -е), or zero (-Ø) in the nominative singular, and (-a • -а) in genitive singular. It includes most of the masculine and all of the neuter nouns.

This type has two sets of case endings: one for masculine, and the other for neuter gender:

Masculine nouns[edit]

Masculine nouns belonging to this declensional class are those that are not hypocorisms, and do not end in -a • -а, which undergo e-type declension.

According to the nominative singular forms they are divided in 2 classes:

  1. nouns having the zero ending -Ø in nominative singular (12 declensional patterns)
  2. nouns having the ending -o • -о or -e • -е in nominative singular (2 declensional patterns)
Pattern 4 Nouns ending in -k • -к Nouns ending in -g • -г Nouns ending in -h • -х
Case Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
N vòjnīk • во̀јнӣк vojníc-i • војни́ц-и bùbreg • бу̀брег bùbrez-i • бу̀брез-и tr̀buh • тр̀бух tr̀bus-i • тр̀бус-и
G vojník-a • војни́к-а vojník-ā • војни́к-а̄ bùbreg-a • бу̀брег-а bȕbrēg-ā • бу̏бре̄г-а̄ tr̀buh-a • тр̀бух-а tȑbūh-ā • тр̏бӯх-а̄
D vojník-u • војни́к-у vojníc-ima • војни́ц-има bùbreg-u • бу̀брег-у bùbrez-ima • бу̀брез-има tr̀buh-u • тр̀бух-у tr̀bus-ima • тр̀бус-има
A vojník-a • војни́к-а vojník-e • војни́к-е bùbreg-a • бу̀брег-а bùbreg-e • бу̀брег-е tr̀buh-a • тр̀бух-а tr̀buh-e • тр̀бух-е
V vȍjnīč-e • во̏јнӣч-е vojníc-i • војни́ц-и bùbrež-e • бу̀бреж-е bùbrez-i • бу̀брез-и tr̀buš-e • тр̀буш-е tr̀bus-i • тр̀бус-и
L vojník-u • војни́к-у vojníc-ima • војни́ц-има bùbreg-u • бу̀брег-у bùbrez-ima • бу̀брез-има tr̀buh-u • тр̀бух-у tr̀bus-ima • тр̀бус-има
I vojník-om • војни́к-ом vojníc-ima • војни́ц-има bùbreg-om • бу̀брег-ом bùbrez-ima • бу̀брез-има tr̀buh-om • тр̀бух-ом tr̀bus-ima • тр̀бус-имa
Pattern 5 - Nouns ending in -(a)k • -(а)к
Case Singular Plural
N čvór-a-k • чво́р-а-к čvórc-i • чво́рц-и
G čvórk-a • чво́рк-а čvȏr-ā-k-ā • чво̑р-а̄-к-а̄
D čvórk-u • чво́рк-у čvórc-ima • чво́рц-има
A čvórk-a • чво́рк-а čvórk-e • чво́рк-е
V čvȏrč-e • чво̑рч-е čvórc-i • чво́рц-и
L čvórk-u • чво́рк-у čvórc-ima • чво́рц-има
I čvórk-om • чво́рк-ом čvórc-ima • чво́рц-има
Pattern 6 - Nouns ending in a palatal
Case Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
N pȃnj • па̑њ pánj-ev-i • па́њ-ев-и ráž-a-nj • ра́ж-а-њ rážnj-i • ра́жњ-и prȋšt • при̑шт príšt-ev-i • при́шт-ев-и
G pánj-a • па́њ-а pánj-ēv-ā • па́њ-е̄в-а̄ rážnj-a • ра́жњ-а ráž-ā-nj-ā • ра́ж-а̄-њ-а̄ príšt-a • при́шт-а príšt-ēv-ā • при́шт-е̄в-а̄
D pánj-u • па́њ-у pánj-ev-ima • па́њ-ев-има rážnj-u • ра́жњ-у rážnj-ima • ра́жњ-има príšt-u • при́шт-у príšt-ev-ima • при́шт-ев-има
A pȃnj • па̑њ pánj-ev-e • па́њ-ев-е ráž-a-nj • ра́ж-а-њ rážnj-e • ра́жњ-е prȋšt • при̑шт príšt-ev-e • при́шт-ев-е
V pȃnj-u • па̑њ-у pánj-ev-i • па́њ-ев-и rážnj-u • ра́жњ-у rážnj-i • ра́жњ-и prȋšt-u • при̑шт-у príšt-ev-i • при́шт-ев-и
L pánj-u • па́њ-у pánj-ev-ima • па́њ-ев-има rážnj-u • ра́жњ-у rážnj-ima • ра́жњ-има príšt-u • при́шт-у príšt-ev-ima • при́шт-ев-има
I pánj-em • па́њ-ем pánj-ev-ima • па́њ-ев-има rážnj-em • ра́жњ-ем rážnj-ima • ра́жњ-има príšt-em • при́шт-ем príšt-ev-ima • при́шт-ев-има
Neuter nouns[edit]
  singular plural
Nominative -o/e -a
Genitive -a -a
Dative/Locative -u -ima
Accusative -o/e -a
Vocative -o/e -a
Instrumental -om/em -ima

Some neuter nouns add 'n' or 't' before the declension.

  singular plural
Nominative -e -(n/t)a
Genitive -(n/t)a -(n/t)a
Dative/Locative -(n/t)u -(n/t)ima
Accusative -e -(n/t)a
Vocative -e -(n/t)a
Instrumental -(n/t)om -(n/t)ima

e-type nouns[edit]

This type reflects Proto-Slavic a-stems, and is characterized by the ending -a • -а in nominative singular and -ē • -е̄ in genitive singular. It contains most of the feminine nouns, and a small number of masculines.

  singular plural
Nominative -a -e
Genitive -e -a
Dative/Locative -i -ama
Accusative -u -e
Vocative -o/a -e
Instrumental -om -ama

i-type nouns[edit]

This type reflects Proto-Slavic i-stems, and is characterized by the zero ending in nominative singular and -i • и in genitive singular. It contains the rest of feminine nouns, that are not contained in the e-type nouns (a-stems).

singular plural
Nominative - -i
Genitive -i -i
Dative/Locative -i -ima
Accusative - -i
Vocative -i -i
Instrumental -i/ju -ima

Some nouns appear only in the plural form and do not have a singular variant (see plurale tantum). The gender of these nouns is either feminine (e.g. hlače "trousers", gaće "pants", grudi "chest") or neuter (e.g. kola "car", leđa "back", usta "mouth").[3]

Pronouns[edit]

Serbo-Croatian allows deletion of the subject pronoun (see pro-drop language).[4] Example:

Bojim se. "I am afraid."
Možeš reći što god hoćeš. "You can say whatever you want."

Personal pronouns

Case 1st sg. 2nd sg. 3rd sg. (m/f/n) 1st pl. 2nd pl. 3rd pl.
Nominative ja ti on / ona / ono mi vi oni / one / ona
Genitive mene tebe njega / nje / njega nas vas njih
Dative meni tebi njemu / njoj / njemu nama vama njima
Accusative mene tebe njega / nju / njega nas vas njih
Vocative -- ti -- -- vi --
Locative (o) meni (o) tebi (o) njemu / njoj / njemu (o) nama (o) vama (o) njima
Instrumental (sa) mnom (sa) tobom (sa) njim / njom / njim (sa) nama (sa) vama (sa) njima

Adjectives[edit]

Some of the declensions for adjectives are the same as for nouns, and so they might rhyme: velika kuća (sing. nom.), veliku kuću (sing. acc.). Others differ: jednim klikom ("with one click", sing. masc. instrum.).

  singular plural
  masculine feminine neuter masculine feminine neuter
Nominative -i -a -o -i -e -a
Genitive -og -e -og -ih -ih -ih
Dative/Locative ! -om -oj -om -im -im -im
Accusative -i/-og* -u -o -e -e -a
Vocative -i -a -o -i -e -a
Instrumental -im -om -im -im -im -im

* same as nominative if a word is marking inanimate object; same as genitive if a word is marking animate object.

Singular

Case Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative velik ("big") velika veliko
Genitive velikog velike velikog
Dative velikom velikoj velikom
Accusative velik veliku veliko
Vocative veliki velika veliko
Locative velikom velikoj velikom
Instrumental velikim velikom velikim

Plural

Case Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative veliki ("big") velike velika
Genitive velikih velikih velikih
Dative velikim velikim velikim
Accusative velike velike velika
Vocative veliki velike velika
Locative velikim velikim velikim
Instrumental velikim velikim velikim
  • Note: animate objects (people and animals) are treated differently in the singular masculine accusative. In this case, it is the same as singular masculine genitive. It is considered accusative even though it looks like the genitive. Example: Vidim velikog psa ("I see a big dog").
  • Note: most adjectives ending in consonant-'a'-consonant (for example: dobar, "good"), the 'a' disappears when any letter is added. Dobar becomes, for example, dobri, dobra, dobrog, dobru, dobrim, dobrom, dobre, and dobrih, according to case and number.

Numerals[edit]

Verbs[edit]

Like those of other Slavic languages, Serbo-Croatian verbs have a property of aspect: the perfective and the imperfective. Perfective indicates an action that is completed or sudden, while the imperfective denotes continuous, repeated, or habitual action. Aspect compensates for a relative lack of tenses compared with e.g. Germanic or Romance languages: the verb already contains the information whether the action is completed or lasting, so there is no general distinction between continuous and perfect tenses.

Slavic verbs in general are characterized by a relatively low number of stems, from which a wide variety of meanings is achieved by prefixation.

Tense[edit]

The indicative has seven tenses: present, past, futures I and II, pluperfect, aorist and imperfect. The latter two are not used often in daily speech (more often in Bosnia and Herzegovina than in Croatia and Serbia), especially the imperfect. The present, aorist, and imperfect are inflected, the other tenses are periphrastic:

  • Past uses the present of biti ("to be") plus the perfect participle, e.g. radio sam (or sam radio, order depending on the sentence).
  • Future I uses the (reduced) present of htjeti ("will" or "to want") plus the infinitive, e.g. ćemo kuhati (or kuhat ćemo, in which case the -i of the infinitive marker -ti is elided).
  • Future II uses the perfective future of biti (the only verb with a simple future) plus the perfect participle, e.g. budu išli.
  • Pluperfect, which is not often used, uses the composite past tense of biti plus the perfect participle, e.g. bio sam došao, or (archaic) imperfect of biti plus the participle, e.g. bijah došao

Future tense can also be formed with (reduced) present of хтети plus the conjunction да and the present of the main verb, e.g. ћеш да куваш in Serbian, but this form is incorrect in Croatian. Also, whereas in Croatian it would be "radit ćemo", in Serbian the "t" can be omitted and the verbs merged into "radićemo".

Mood[edit]

Book cover of Snježana Kordić’s Grammar book Serbo-Croatian 1st pub. 1997, 2nd pub. 2006 (Contents)

Besides the indicative, Serbo-Croatian uses the imperative, conditional, and the optative. Imperative forms vary according to the type of the verb, and is formed by adding the appropriate morpheme to a verbal stem. The conditional I (present) uses the aorist of biti plus perfect participle, while conditional II (past) consists of the perfect participle of biti, the aorist of the same verb, and the perfect participle of the main verb. Some grammars classify future II as a conditional tense, or even a mood of its own.

Optative is in its form identical to the perfect participle. It is used by speakers to express a strong wish, e.g. Živio predsjednik! 'Long live the president!', Dabogda ti se sjeme zatrlo! (an archaic and dialectal curse), etc. The optative may be translated into English by an imperative construction, with set phrases (such as the already exemplified 'long live'), or by use of the modal verb may.

Some authors[who?] suggest existence of subjunctive mood, realized as da plus the present of indicative, but most grammars treat it as present indicative.

Aspect[edit]

Verbal aspect is distinguished in English by using the simple or progressive (continuous) forms. 'He washed the dishes' indicates that the action was finished; 'He was washing the dishes' indicates that the action was ongoing (progressive). Serbo-Croatian, like all Slavic languages, has the aspect built into the verbs, rather than expressing it with different tenses.

To compare the meanings of the different aspects with verbal aspect in English, one should know three basic aspects: completed (may be called preterit, aorist, or perfect according to the language in question), progressive (on-going but not completed yet, durative), and iterative (habitual or repeated). English uses one aspect for completed and iterative and another for progressive. Serbo-Croatian uses one for completed and another for iterative and progressive.

Aspect is the most challenging part of Serbo-Croatian grammar. Although aspect exists in all other Slavic languages, learners of Serbo-Croatian who already know even one of several other Slavic languages may never learn to use aspect correctly, though they will be understood with only rare problems. While there are bi-aspectual verbs as well, primarily those derived by adding the suffix -irati or -ovati, the majority of verbs not derived in such a manner are either perfective (svršeni) or imperfective (nesvršeni). Almost all of the single aspectual verbs are part of a perfective–imperfective pair of verbs. When learning a verb, one must learn its verbal aspect, and the other verb for the opposite verbal aspect, e.g., prati ("to wash", imperfective) goes with oprati ("to wash", perfective). The pairing, however, is not always one to one: some verbs simply don't have a counterpart on a semantic level, such as izgledati ("seem") or sadržati ("contain"). In others, there are several perfective alternatives with slightly different meanings.

There are two paradigms concerning formation of verb pairs. In one paradigm, the base verb is imperfective, such as prati ("to wash"). In this case the perfective is formed by adding a prefix, in this case o, as in oprati. In the other paradigm, the root verb is perfective, and the imperfective is formed either by modifying the root: dignutidizati ("to lift") or adding an interfix statistajati ("to stop", "to stand").

A pattern which often arises can be illustrated with pisati, "to write". Pisati is imperfective, so a prefix is needed to make it perfective, in this case na-: napisati. But if other prefixes are added, modifying the meaning, the verb becomes perfective: zapisati ("to write down") or prepisati ("to copy by hand"). Since these basic verbs are perfective, an interfix is needed to make them imperfective: zapisivati and prepisivati. In some cases, this could be continued by adding a prefix: pozapisivati and isprepisivati which are again perfective.

Conjugation of verbs[edit]

There are three conjugations of verbs:

    1. 'a': almost all verbs that have this conjugation end in '-ati'.
    2. 'e': verbs ending in '-nuti' and all irregular verbs (as in the example below). Verbs ending in '-ovati', '-ivati' become 'uje' when conjugated (trovati, "to poison", is trujem, truje etc.)
    3. 'i': almost all verbs ending in '-jeti' or '-iti' use this conjugation.
Person čitati prati (irregular) vidjeti (-jeti or -iti)
singular plural singular plural singular plural
First person čitam čitamo perem peremo vidim vidimo
Second person čitaš čitate pereš perete vidiš vidite
Third person čita čitaju pere peru vidi vide
Auxiliary verbs[edit]

As in most other Indo-European languages including English, the Indo-European copula ('to be') is used as an auxiliary verb. It is universally irregular, because conjugations of two proto-forms *h1es- (>English is) and *bʰuH- (>English be) merged, producing mixed paradigms: the former being used in the present, and the latter in the other tenses. In Serbo-Croatian, however, there are two present forms surviving: jesam ('I am') and budem ('I be'). Because of that dualism, some grammars (chiefly Serbian ones) treat jesam as a defective verb having only present tense. Others treat these forms as two realizations of the same irregular verb biti, jesam being imperfective and budem perfective.[5]

Jesam has the following declension in the present tense. It has long and clitic (short) forms (without leading je), while its negative form is written as one word, unlike other verbs (compare English isisn't). The short and the negative forms are used as auxiliary, while the long form is marked.[5]

Pronoun Present Present (negative forms)
Long (accented) form Short (unaccented) form
(I) jesam sam nisam
ti (you) jesi si nisi
on, ona, ono (he, she, it) јeste je nije
mi (we) jesmo smo nismo
vi (you pl.) jeste ste niste
oni, one, ona (they) јesu su nisu

The copulative use of the verb јеsam matches that of the verb "to be" in English (e.g. He is a student – On је učenik), of course, in the present tense only. The 'true' forms present of the verb biti, (budem) have a limited use (in formation of the future exact tense, or in conditional clauses referring to the future, e.g. ako budemif I am).[5]

Verb biti is conjugated as follows:

Pronoun Present Future Past tense
1st 2nd perfect aorist imperfect pluperfect
(I) budem ću biti / biću budem bio/la sam bio/la; bio/la sam bih bijah / bejah / beh bio/la sam bio/la
ti (you) budeš ćeš biti / bićeš budeš bio/la si bio/la; bio/la si bi bijaše / bejaše / beše bio/la si bio/la
on, ona, ono (he, she, it) bude će biti / biće bude bio/la/lo јe bio/la/lo; bio/la/lo јe bi bijaše / bejaše / beše bio/la/lo јe bio/la/lo
mi (we) budemo ćemo biti / bićemo budemo bili/le smo bili/le; bili/le smo bismo bijasmo / bejasmo / besmo bili/le smo bili/le
vi (you pl.) budete ćete biti / bićete budete bili/le ste bili/le; bili/le ste biste / beste biјaste / bejaste / beste bili/le ste bili/le
oni, one, ona (they) budu će biti / biće budu bili/le su bili/bile/bila; bili/le/la su bi / biše biјahu / bejahu / behu bili/le/la su bili/le/la
Regular verbs[edit]

The conjugation system of regular verbs is rather complex. There are several classes of verbs distinguished according to certain features verbs within a class share.
The verb is raditi (To work)

Pronoun Present Future Past tense
1st 2nd perfect aorist imperfect pluperfect
ja (I) radim ću raditi budem radio/la sam radio/la; radio/la sam rad+ah>rađah bio/la sam radio/la
ti (you) radiš ćeš raditi budeš radio/la si radio/la; radio/la si rad+aše>rađashe bio/la si radio/la
on, ona, ono (he, she, it) radi će raditi bude radio/la/lo јe radio/la/lo; radio/la/lo јe rad+aše>rađashe bio/la/lo јe radio/la/lo
mi (we) radimo ćemo raditi budemo radili/le smo radili/le; radili/le smo rad+asmo>rađasmo bili/le smo radili/le
vi (you pl.) radite ćete raditi budete radili/le ste radili/le; radili/le ste rad+aste>rađaste bili/le ste radili/le
oni, one, ona (they) rade će raditi budu radili/le/la su radili/radile/radila; radili/le/la su rad+ahu>rađahu bili/le/la su radili/le/la

This technique applies to verbs such as:
vidjeti (to see)
hodati (to walk)
pričati (to talk)
morati (must)

Irregular verbs[edit]

Irregular verbs are more complex to conjugate than regular verbs, for example the verb moći (can, to be able to)

Pronoun Present Future Past tense
1st 2nd perfect aorist imperfect pluperfect
ja (I) mogu ću moći budem mogao/la sam mogao/la; mogao/la sam mogoh mogah bio/la sam mogao/la
ti (you) možeš ćeš moći budeš mogao/la si mogao/la; mogao/la si može mogaše bio/la si mogao/la
on, ona, ono (he, she, it) može će moći bude mogao/la/lo јe mogao/la/lo; mogao/la/lo je može mogaše bio/la/lo je mogao/la/lo
mi (we) možemo ćemo moći budemo mogli/le smo mogli/le; mogli/le smo mogosmo mogasmo bili/le smo mogli/le
vi (you pl.) možete ćete moći budete mogli/le ste mogli/le; mogli/le ste mogoste mogaste bili/le ste mogli/le
oni, one, ona (they) mogu će moći budu mogli/le/la su mogli/mogle/mogla; mogli/le/la su mogoše mogahu bili/le/la su mogli/le/la

Adverbs[edit]

Adverbs in Serbo-Croatian are, unlike nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns and numbers, and like prepositions, conjunctions, exclamations and particles, immutable words. Adverbs are, thus, immutable words given to verbs to determine the time, place, manner, cause, point and the amount of the action of the verb. There are seven types of adverbs in Serbo-Croatian:

Place adverbs[edit]

Place adverbs (Serbo-Croatian: mjesni prilozi) answer the questions where? (gdje?), to where? (kamo?), which way? (kuda?), from where? (otkuda?, odakle?) and to where? (dokle?, dokud?).[6] Examples for each type are:

gde/gdje? (where)
ovde/ovdje (here),
negde/negdje (somewhere),
nigde/nigdje (nowhere),
igde/igdje (anywhere),
gore (up),
doe/dolje (down),
odpozadi/straga (from behind),
napolju/vani (outside)
blizu (close by);
kuda/kamo? (to where)
ovamo (to here)
napred/naprijed (forwards)
nazad (backwards);
kuda? (which way)
ovuda (this way),
kojekuda (otišli su kojekuda - they dispersed),
otkuda? (from where)
odavde (from here),
niotkuda (from nowhere),
izdaleka (from far away)
dokle? (to where):
dotle (to here, also used as "in the mean time", dotle su oni čekali),
donekle (up to a point).

Temporal adverbs[edit]

Temporal adverbs, or "vremenski prilozi", answer the questions when? (kada?), from when? (otkad?), until when? (dokad?). Examples are: kada (when) - sada (now), tada (then), nikada (never), ponekad (sometimes),uvijek (always), jučer (yesterday), danas (today), sutra (tomorrow), prekosutra (the day after tomorrow), lani (last year), večeras (tonight), odmah/smjesta (now/at once), zatim (then), uskoro (soon), napokon (at last); otkad (from when) - odsad (from now on), oduvijek (from always - oduvijek sam te volio - I have (from) always loved you); dokad (until when) - dosad (until now), dogodine (next year).

Prepositions[edit]

Conjunctions and particles[edit]

Syntax[edit]

Word order[edit]

Serbo-Croatian has a rich case structure that is reflected in the declension of nouns and adjectives. This makes syntax of little use and allows for a great deal of freedom in word order. In English, for example, the difference between "Man bites dog" and "Dog bites man" is shown by syntax. In Serbo-Croatian, Čovjek grize psa and Čovjeka grize pas have the same word order, but the meanings are shown by the noun endings. Any order of the three words is grammatically correct, and the meaning is clear because of the declensions. However, the usual order is subject–verb–object.

There are certain words that have no accent (enclitics) that must come in a fixed order. They are, in order,

  1. question word (only li),
  2. verbs: clitic forms of "to be" except je (sam, si, smo, ste, su, bih, bi, bismo, biste), and of "will" (ću, ćeš, će, ćemo, and ćete)
  3. dative pronouns (mi, ti, mu, joj, nam, vam, im, si),
  4. accusative pronouns (me, te, ga, je, ju, nas, vas, ih),
  5. the reflexive accusative pronoun (only se),
  6. clitic form of the third-person singular present of "to be" (je).[7]

The enclitics must almost always be at the second position of the declarative and imperative sentence. The first element may be a single word or a noun phrase, e.g. Taj se čovjek vara, "That person deceives himself", or Taj čovjek se vara. When using a combination of several enclitics in a sentence they must be at the second, third and fourth position; in some interrogative forms of sentences or in colloquial speech they can be placed even at the first position.

Relative clauses[edit]

Relative clauses are frequent in the modern Serbo-Croatian since they have expanded as attributes at the expense of the participles performing that function.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alexander, Ronelle (2000). In honor of diversity: the linguistic resources of the Balkans. Kenneth E. Naylor memorial lecture series in South Slavic linguistics ; vol. 2. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University, Dept. of Slavic and East European Languages and Literatures. p. 4. OCLC 47186443. 
  2. ^ Kordić, Snježana (2010). Jezik i nacionalizam [Language and Nationalism]. Rotulus Universitas (in Serbo-Croatian). Zagreb: Durieux. pp. 69–77. ISBN 978-953-188-311-5. LCCN 2011520778. OCLC 729837512. OL 15270636W. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Kordić, Snježana (2005). "Gramatička kategorija broja" [Grammatical category of number]. In Tatarin, Milovan. Zavičajnik: zbornik Stanislava Marijanovića: povodom sedamdesetogodišnjice života i četrdesetpetogodišnjice znanstvenoga rada (in Serbo-Croatian). Osijek: Sveučilište Josipa Jurja Strossmayera, Filozofski fakultet. pp. 192–193. ISBN 953-6456-54-0. OCLC 68777865. Archived from the original on 24 August 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Kordić, Snježana (2002). Riječi na granici punoznačnosti [Words on the Border Between Lexicon and Grammar] (in Serbo-Croatian). Zagreb: Hrvatska sveučilišna naklada. pp. 12–14. ISBN 953-169-073-1. LCCN 2009386657. OCLC 54680648. OL 2863537W. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Mišeska Tomić, Olga (2006). Balkan Sprachbund morpho-syntactic features. Springer. p. 490. ISBN 978-1-4020-4487-8. 
  6. ^ Kordić, Snježana (2004). "Prilozi gd(j)e, kamo, kuda" [Adverbs gd(j)e, kamo, kuda]. In Okuka, Miloš; Schweier, Ulrich. Germano-Slavistische Beiträge: Festschrift für Peter Rehder zum 65. Geburtstag. Die Welt der Slaven, Sammelbände – Sborniki ; vol. 21 (in Serbo-Croatian). Munich: Otto Sagner. pp. 113–120. ISBN 3-87690-874-4. OCLC 55018584. Archived from the original on 24 August 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Kordić, Snježana (2006) [1st pub. 1997]. Serbo-Croatian. Languages of the World/Materials ; 148. Munich & Newcastle: Lincom Europa. p. 46. ISBN 3-89586-161-8. OCLC 37959860. OL 2863538W.  [Grammar book]. Contents. Summary.
  8. ^ Kordić, Snježana (1995). Relativna rečenica [Relative Clauses]. Znanstvena biblioteka Hrvatskog filološkog društva ; 25 (in Serbo-Croatian). Zagreb: Matica hrvatska & Hrvatsko filološko društvo. pp. 277–281. ISBN 953-6050-04-8. LCCN 97154457. OCLC 37606491. OL 2863536W. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Alexander, Ronelle (2006). Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian: A Grammar with Sociolinguistic Commentary. Medison: The University of Wisconsin Press. p. 464. OCLC 67384305. 
  • Barić, Eugenija; Lončarić, Mijo; Malić, Dragica; Znika, Marija; Zečević, Vesna; Pavešić, Slavko; Peti, Mirko (1997). Hrvatska gramatika [Croatian Grammar] (in Serbo-Croatian). Školska knjiga. p. 697. ISBN 953-0-40010-1. 
  • Bibović, Ljiljana (1971). "Some remarks on the factive and non-factive complements in English and Serbo-Croatian". In Filipović, Rudolf. The Yugoslav Serbo-Croatian – English contrastive project. Studies ; vol. 3. Zagreb: Institute of Linguistics, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb. pp. 37–48. OCLC 424957265. 
  • Bujas, Željko (1973). "Demonstratives in Serbo-Croat to English Translational Conversion". In Filipović, Rudolf. The Yugoslav Serbo-Croatian – English contrastive project. Reports ; vol. 8. Zagreb: Institute of Linguistics, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb. pp. 21–51. OCLC 424957282. 
  • Dezső, László (1982). Typological Studies in Old Serbo-Croatian Syntax. Slavistische Forschungen ; vol. 38. Köln: Böhlau. p. 392. ISBN 341202581X. OCLC 239744814. 
  • Feleszko, Kazimierz (1970). Składnia genetiwu i wyrażeń przyimkowych z genetiwem w języku serbsko-chorwackim. Monografie slawistyczne ; vol. 21 (in Polish). Wrocław: Komitet słowianoznawstva Polskiej akademii nauk. p. 186. OCLC 63410897. 
  • Filipović, Luna (2010). "The importance of being a prefix : prefixal morphology and the lexicalization of motion events in Serbo-Croatian". In Hasko, Victoria & Perelmutter, Renee. New Approaches to Slavic Verbs of Motion. Studies in Language Companion Series ; vol. 115. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 247–266. ISBN 978-90-272-0582-7. OCLC 804991090. Lay summary. 
  • Ivir, Vladimir (1983). A contrastive analysis of English adjectives and their Serbo-Croatian correspondents. The Yugoslav Serbo-Croatian – English contrastive project. New studies ; vol. 2. Zagreb: Institute of Linguistics, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb. p. 284. OCLC 11266437. 
  • Laškova, Lili (2001). Sărbo-chărvatska gramatika [Serbo-Croatian Grammar] (in Bulgarian). Sofija: Emas. p. 359. OCLC 635194865. 
  • Ličen, Marina; Dahl, Johannes (1981). "Die Modalpartikeln ja und doch und ihre serbo-kroatischen Entsprechungen". In Weydt, Harald. Partikeln und Deutschunterricht [The modal particles ja and doch and their Serbo-Croatian equivalents] (in German). Heidelberg: Groos. pp. 213–223. OCLC 164627155. 
  • Hamm, Josip (1967). Grammatik der serbokroatischen Sprache [Serbo-Croatian Grammar]. Slavistische Studienbücher ; vol. 5 (in German). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. p. 123. OCLC 7498971. 
  • Magner, Thomas F. (1998). Introduction to the Croatian and Serbian Language. Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 388. OCLC 40859905. 
  • Mihailović, Ljiljana (1985). "Existential Sentences in English and Serbo-Croatian". In Filipović, Rudolf. The Yugoslav Serbo-Croatian – English contrastive project. Studies ; vol. 5. Zagreb: Institute of Linguistics, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb. pp. 453–492. OCLC 424957257. 
  • Mønnesland, Svein (1972). "Semantic factors in the syntax of nominal subordinate clauses in Serbo-Croatian". Scando-Slavica 18: 145–157. ISSN 1600-082X. 
  • Mørk, Henning (2000). Serbokroatisk grammatik: verbets morfologi [Serbo-Croatian Grammar: Verbal Morphology]. Arbejdspapirer ; vol. 1 (in Danish). Århus: Slavisk Institut, Århus Universitet. p. 113. OCLC 48719984. 
  • Mørk, Henning (2002). Serbokroatisk grammatik: substantivets morfologi [Serbo-Croatian Grammar: Noun Morphology]. Arbejdspapirer ; vol. 1 (in Danish). Århus: Slavisk Institut, Århus Universitet. p. 140. OCLC 471591123. 
  • Rathmayr, Renate (1992). "Nominale Anrede im gesprochenen Russischen, Serbokroatischen und Tschechischen" [Nominal address in the spoken Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Czech]. In Reuther, Tilmann. Slavistische Linguistik 1991. Slavistische beiträge ; vol. 292 (in German). Munich: Otto Sagner. pp. 265–309. ISBN 3876905281. OCLC 80022463. 
  • Szybińska, Małgorzata (1991). "Formy adresatywne w języku polskim i serbsko-chorwackim (wybrane zagadnienia)" [Forms of address in Polish and Serbo-Croatian]. Język polski (in Polish) 71 (1): 35–41. ISSN 0021-6941. 
  • Thomas, George (2010). "Serbo-Croatian as a bridge between the Balkan and Central European Sprachbünde". Balkanistica 23: 371–388. ISSN 0360-2206. OCLC 2244309. 
  • Thomas, Paul-Louis; Osipov, Vladimir (2012). Grammaire du bosniaque, croate, monténégrin, serbe [Grammar of Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian]. Collection de grammaires de l'Institut d'études slaves ; vol. 8 (in French). Paris: Institut d'études slaves. p. 624. ISBN 9782720404900. OCLC 805026664. Lay summary.