Slovene grammar is divided into 6 grammatical cases – called skloni. Depending on the situation, you will use a specific sklon. Each sklon has its own ending for the masculine, feminine and neutral form (if you’re not sure what’s that about, check How to Determine the Gender of a Noun in Slovene) as well as the singular, dual and plural form. So, with some calculations, one noun can be written in 18 different ways.
It may seems a lot at first, but once you understand how it works, it’s not that difficult!
First Sklon – Nominative
The first sklon is also known as imenovalnik in Slovene and it is the “Nominative” case. The imenovalnik sklon is the “original” form of the noun, meaning, the form you will find in the dictionary.
In Slovene, everything has to match: the adjective, the noun (subject) as well as the conjugation of the verb.
Here’s an table with an example of an adjective with its noun:
|SKLON 1||(m) STAR_ TELEFON_||(ž) NOVA TORBA||(s) VELIKO LETALO|
|(E) To je||star_ telefon_||nova torba||veliko letalo
|(D) To sta||stara telefona||novi torbi||veliki letali|
|(M) To so||stari telefoni||nove torbe||velika letala|
|Reminder: (E) ednina/singular, (D) dvojina/dual, (M) množina/plural and (m) moški/masculine, (ž) ženski/feminine, (s) srednji/neutral.|
❤ A simplified version of the ending that you need to remember:
|(E)||-Ø -Ø||-A -A||-O/E* -O/E|
|(D)||-A -A||-I -I||-I -I|
|(M)||-I -I||-E -E||-A -A|
|Reminder: * is the famous bracket (c, č, š, ž, j) where the o changes into e.|
As you can see,
- the ending of the dual masculine form (marked in blue) is the same as the plural neutral form and
- the ending of the plural masculine form (marked in orange) is the same as the dual neutral form.
Once you’ve learn the ending of the first sklon, all you need to know is when to apply it.
When to use the first sklon
- the noun is the subject.
For example, the telephone is blue → telefon je moder.
- the noun is used with specific “pre-made” phrases:
- všeč mi je […] → I like […] | i.e. všeč mi je čokolada (I like chocolate),
- boli me […] → […] hurts me and
- zanima me […] → […] interest me.
- the noun is used with specific verbs:
- biti (to be) with its positive and negative form | i.e. to je/ni torba (this is/is not a bag),
- postati (to become), ostati (to remain) and imenovati (to name).
There are more, but knowing those above is already a great start!
Learning a new language is sometimes challenging but it should be fun at the same time 🙂 – we all have to start somewhere and memorizing the first sklon is not only a good start but also a needed step to properly learn Slovene!
If you have any questions or more tricks you would like to share, please leave me a comment and I will get back at you – we are all here to refine our Slovene!
Update – here is my Cheat sheet “Table of Skloni “. More can be found under Learning Materials.
Discover more Slovene “lessons” that might interest you: Slovene Numbers & Numerals, Slovene Nouns & Pronouns, Slovene Verbs, Slovene Adjectives, Slovene Syntax, Slovenian Idioms, Slovene Adverbs.