In Slovene, nouns are divided into three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. Each gender has their own declensions and exceptions as well. Some Slovene nouns are actually written the same, but of different gender, meanings and of course, declension.
Kap : drip or stroke
If kap means “gutter”, which is the lowest part of the roof that gather rain down a drain, it is masculine and the declension is normal. If kap means “stroke”, it is feminine and the declension is special: “third” second feminine declension.
|KAP (m)(E)||KAP (ž)(E)|
- Sosedov strešni kap je upokravjen (The neighbor’s roof gutter is broken).
- Sosed je imel kap (The neighbor had a stroke).
Klop : bench or tick
If klop means “bench”, it is feminine and declined with the “third” second feminine declension. If klop means “tick”, it is masculine and the declension is normal. Although, even if they are written the same, the accented pronunciation is different.
|KLOP (ž)(E)||KLOP (m)(E)|
- Dedek sedi na klop in čaka svojega vnuka (Grandfather sits on the bench and waits for his grandson).
- Hočem cepljenje proti klopu (I want the vaccine against tick).
Med : brass or honey
If med means “brass”, a metal composed of copper and zinc, it is feminine and declined with “third” second feminine declension (Usually, medenina will be used instead.) If med means “honey”, it is masculine with a little exception: the singular form in second sklon has two endings: -u or -a.
|MED (ž)(E)||MED (m)(E)|
|2||medi||medu / meda|
- Kupil je okvir iz medi (He bought frame made from brass).
- Rad pije čaj z medom (He likes to drink tea with honey).
Pot : path or sweat
If pot means “path”, it is feminine and in the “third” second feminine declension. If pot means “sweat”, it is a masculine exception, where the singular form in second sklon has two endings: -u or -a.
- Marljivost je pot do uspeha (Hardworking is the path to success).
- Majico ima mokro od potu (He has his t-shirt wet from sweat).
|POT (ž)(E)||POT (m)(E)|
|2||poti||potu / pota|
Prst : finger or soft soil
If prst means “finger”, it is masculine with a normal declension. If prst means “soft soil”, it is feminine with a special declension: “third” second feminine declension.
- S prsti je pokazal, da je star pet let (With his finger he showed that he is 5 years old).
- Katere vrste prsti je najboljše za orchidea (Which type of soil is best for an orchid)?
|PRST (m)(E)||PRST (ž)(E)|
Red : order or row
If red means “order”, it is a masculine exception: the ending -ov is added in dual and plural form with all skloni. If red means “row”, like a row of grass, it is feminine and declined with the “third” second feminine declension.
- Ne razumem besednega reda (I don’t understand word order).
- Ljudi so čakali v dolgi redi (People waited in long row).
|RED (m)(E)||RED (ž)(E)|
Fortunately, there are not many nouns that have different meaning AND gender – but it is always interesting to know that they do exist. If you know any other examples, do share them with me!