A very interesting part of learning a new language, is to know how to make sentences that make sense. Sentence structure in Slovene follows a few guidelines, but I think that it might offer more freedom than English.
The concept of sentence syntax can be quite complex to explain, so we will go one thing at the time to avoid confusion. We will start by the elements of a sentence – stavčni člen.
Elements of a Phrase
In Slovene, there are mainly 4 elements in a sentence: subject – osebek, predicate – povedek, object – predmet and adverb clause – prislovno določilo.
By themselves, the elements of a sentence don’t mean much, but once put together… TADAMM!! The magic of forming a sentence happens.
A subject, osebek, is a noun or phrase in the First Sklon (kdo1, kaj1)that controls the verb in the clause. In a more complex sentence, it can have more than one subject.
A predicate, povedek, is the part of the sentence that contains a verb (glagol) that is controlled by a subject, describing what a subject is doing. It can be in present tense, past tense, future tense and more. (To learn more, check out the Slovene Verbs.)
An object, predmet, is influenced by the subject and it can be direct (Fourth Sklon), indirect (Third Sklon) or introduced by a preposition (Check Slovene Nouns & Pronouns to learn more about the preposition related with skloni).
In Slovene, the object answers to different question words that are skloni related: koga2, česa2 | komu3, čemu3 | koga4, kaj4 | o kom5, o čem5 | s kom6, s čim6.
An adverb clause, prislovno določilo, adds information to sentence by asking questions for time (kdaj), place (kje, kam, kod), cause (zakaj) or ways (kako). There are more situation, but learning those will be a good start.
Now that we have covered the main elements of a sentence, we can start playing around with them.
|Please note: Subject (osebek), predicate (povedek), object (predmet) and adverb clause (prislovno določilo).
For example, “The cat plays with a mouse outside.” → Maček se igra z mišjo6 zunaj. In English, there would only one version, but in Slovene, we could also say:
- Maček se zunaj igra z mišjo6.
- Zunaj se maček igra z mišjo6.
Is there a rule? That would be another lesson.
The concept of phrase structure can sometimes be quite confusing and I hope that I didn’t confuse you even more. But I think that by going step-by-step and listening to Slovenians, we can learn a lot from it.
If you have any questions, comments or tricks, don’t forget to let me know!
Discover more Slovene “lessons” that might interest you: Slovene Numbers & Numerals, Slovene Nouns & Pronouns, Slovene Verbs, Slovene Adjectives, Slovene Syntax, Slovenian Idioms.