The general concept of reflexive verbs in grammar refers to a verb whose direct object is its subject. In Slovene, it is better to interpret it as a verb that “reflects” back to its subject (or part of its subject).
As we know, Slovene is a very precise language and skloni seems to be everywhere. with nouns, “direct object” is associated with the Fourth Sklon – Accusative, while “indirect object” is related to the Third Sklon – Dative. No need to say that reflexive pronouns are used with reflexive verbs. And reflexive pronouns are affected by skloni, but in a different way than with nouns.
Reflexive Pronouns: “Se” and “Si”
Reflexive verbs in Slovene can easily be recognized by the short word “se” or “si“, which are reflexive pronouns.
“Se” is in the fourth sklon.
“Si“ is in the third sklon.
|Bonus: In Slovene, some pronouns have a “short” and a “long” version.
“Sebe” is the longer version of “se“.
“Sebi” is the longer version of “si“.
In Slovene, not all verbs are reflexive. Some are always non-reflexive, some are always reflexive and some can be either. For example:
- ukvarjati se4 z risanjem6– to occupy yourself with drawing
- zapomniti si3 sklone4– to memorize declensions
- bati se4 pajkov2 – to be afraid of spiders
- učiti se4 slovenščino4 – to learn Slovene
učiti slovenščino4 – to teach Slovene
- obleči se4 – to dress myself up
obleči Anno4 – to dress up Anna
As you can see, the sklon used for the reflexive pronouns is not always the same as the sklon used for the noun. PLEASE, DO NOT PANIC!!! If you understand when to use a certain sklon, then you shouldn’t have too much trouble figuring it out.
For example, the verb umiti (to wash) has few versions: umiti, ne umiti, umiti se4and umiti si3.
- umiti koga4/kaj4 – to wash
The direct object is who/what ∴ the noun is in fourth sklon.
- ne umiti (koga2/česa2) – to not wash
The direct object is who/what, even if it’s negative ∴ the noun is in second sklon.
- umiti se4– to wash myself
The direct object of the verb is directly the subject ∴ the reflexive pronoun is in fourth sklon.
- umiti si3 lase4 – to wash my hair
The direct object of the verb is not directly the subject ∴ the reflexive pronoun is in third sklon.
The direct object is part of the subject ∴ the noun is in fourth sklon.
It might seems a lot at once, but do not be discourage as learning Slovene takes time and practice. Also, I believe that the best way to learn Slovene is not by memorizing everything by heart (because those you will usually forget), but to understand how to use the skloni, verbs, nouns… and how they “work” together.
I hope I didn’t confuse you too much :). If you have any questions or comments, please leave me a message!
Discover more Slovene “lessons” that might interest you: Slovene Numbers & Numerals, Slovene Nouns & Pronouns, Slovene Verbs, Slovene Adjectives, Slovene Syntax, Slovenian Idioms, Slovene Adverbs.
8 thoughts on “Reflexive Verbs and Pronouns in Slovene”
Just wanted to correct sth: “I hope I didn’t ‘confuse’ you too much” is the correct way to use past tense in a negative verb. So, “I cleaned the room” but “I didn’t clean the room.”
I hope you keep writing about your language.
Hey Evrim, thanks for pointing out the typo 🙂 Slovene is not my mother tongue (far from it). Life is a bit busy at the moment, but I will keep writing about Slovene whenever I can! Thanks for reading 😉
I just want to ask you about negation form.
It says ne unmiti (kom2/čim2) but isn’t kom and čim 6 skoln?
Hey Jiwon, yea, I made a typo with the questions, it is koga2/česa2, Thanks for letting me know, I made the correction 🙂
🙂 your blog is super helpful to me. Thanks for all the slovene teaching posts!
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You are very welcomed!
Would you please explain that what is the meaning of se before the verbs
…Se učim …
A se lahko…
“se” is the reflexive pronoun in fourth sklon. The verb učiti means to teach, and učiti se means to learn (like teaching yourself?) and as for “a se lahko…” some following verb should be missing? But remember that “se” is used to “reflect” back to the subject.