Demonstrative Pronouns in Slovene – This and That

Demonstrative pronouns, also known as kazalni zaimki, are pronouns that show or point at something. In general, there are “three levels” of demonstrative pronouns in Slovene – which are sorted depending on the distance, both in time and space, between the object that is pointed at and the speaker.

“This” (tam) and “that” (tistim and onim) are the same as in English, but instead of having just a singular and plural form, the Slovene form is “fully” declined. This means:

It might seems like a lot, but please do not panic. Keep reading.

This – Ta

The demonstrative pronouns “ta” is used to points at objects that is directly in the vicinity of the speaker or something that is close to the speaker. It can also be used to refer to something that has just been mentioned.

For example,

  • Ta teden ima dopust (This week I have holidays).
  • Vidite, ta punca, ki se sedi pred vami, je Petrova hčerka (You see, this girl sitting in front of you, is Peter’s daughter).
  • Fiona rada ima to mavrično torto (Fiona likes this rainbow cake).

Tisti – That

The demonstrative pronoun “tisti” is used to indicate something that is relatively distant from the speaker. It can also be used with something that had been previously mentioned.

For example,

  • Tisti tam je naš nov sosed (That one there is our new neighbor).
  • Lani sem rodila hčerko, tistega dne ne bom nikoli pozabila (Last year I gave birth to my daughter, that day I will never forget).
  • Hodil je v tisto šolo na drugi strani parka (He went to that school on the other side of park).

Oni – That

The demonstrative pronoun “oni” is used to indicate something that is very distant from the speaker. It is also use to point at something that is unknown, unnamed or unspecific.

For example,

  • Ta skupina otrok se igra v igralnici, oni pa bere pod drevesom (This group of kids plays in the playground, that one reads under the tree).
  • Ona stran gozda je porasla z grmovjem (That side of the forest has grown with bushes).
  • V parku vedno srečaš tega ali onega znanca (You always meet this or that acquaintance in the store).

Table for “Ta

1ta – ta – tota – ti – titi – te – ta
2tega – te – tegatehteh
3temu – tej – temutematem
4ta/tega – to – tota – ti – tite – te -ta
5pri tem – pri tej – pri tempri tehpri teh
6s tem – s to – s tems temas temi

Table for “Tisti

1tisti – tista – tistotista – tisti – tistitisti – tiste – tista
2tistega – tiste – tistegatistihtistih
3tistemu – tisti – tistemutistimatistim
4tisti/tistega – tisto – tistotista – tisti – tistitiste – tiste –tista
5pri tistem – pri tisti – pri tistempri tistihpri tistih
6s tistim – s tisto – s tistims tistimas tistimi

Table for “Oni

1oni – ona – onoona – oni – onioni – one – ona
2onega –one – onegaonihonih
3onemu – oni – onemuonimaonim
4oni/onega – ono – onoona – oni – onione – one –ona
5pri onem – pri oni – pri onempri onihpri onih
6s onim – s ono – s onims onimas onimi
Reminder:  (Eednina/singular, (Ddvojina/dual, (Mmnožina/plural and (mmoški/masculine, (žženski/feminine, (ssrednji/neutral.

As you can see, there are a lot of similarities through all three demonstratives pronouns:

  • marked in blue are -e instead of the usual -i,
  • marked in bold are the same for all three genders,
  • marked in red are the same in dual and plural forms and
  • tisti and oni, they are basically the same thing: just replace “tist-” with “on-.

So, the demonstrative pronouns in Slovene go from nearest to farthest: tatistioni. For example,

  • To knjigo, ki jo imam v roki, berem zdaj (This book, that I have in my hand, I am reading now).
  • Tiste, ki so na polici, bom brala otrokom zvečer. (Those, that are on the shelf, I will read to my kids in the evening).
  • Ne vem, kdaj bom dobila one, ki sem jih naročila v knjižnici (I don’t know when I will get those, that I ordered from the library).

Demonstrative pronouns in Slovene have a lot more “forms” that in English, but don’t worry – it’s all about endings that you probably already know, and if not, just take it slow. Practice makes perfect! If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate and ask me!

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