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Uråvenj 1

Slovianto is a highly simplified form of Interslavic that allows non-Slavic people to express themselves at a very basic level when visiting Slavic countries or maintaining contact with Slavs via the Internet. Grammar is limited to a bare minimum, and forms that are not strictly necessary are not used at all. Because it does not contain anything that cannot be found in the Slavic languages, the result wil not look or sound too awkward to Slavic speakers, but rather remind them of the kind of language used by small children.

Slovianto can also be used as a first step in the process of learning the „real” Interslavic language. It has been constructed in such way that it can gradually be expanded with new bits and pieces that occur in more complex versions. Thus, we distinguish three different levels, each of them adding new elements that bring Slovianto closer to Interslavic:

  • Level 1 – the simplest level: no gender, no cases, only singular/plural, one verb ending per tense
  • {{ link slug='slovianto-2' }}Level 2{{/link}} – introduction to gender, simple model for conjugating verbs (things that can be found in all Slavic languages)
  • Level 3 – introduction to noun declension (a reasonable approximation of the majority of the Slavic languages)

The working title Slovianto is a portmanteau word for „Slavic Esperanto”. This name, albeit somewhat tongue-in-cheek, refers to the simplicity of Slovianto: it has no gender, no cases, no aspect, little conjugation and no irregularity. Yet, that is where the similarity to Esperanto ends, because Slovianto's means of simplification are in fact far more similar to those used by Interlingua.

Alphabet and pronunciation

Slovianto can be written in the Latin alphabet and the Cyrillic alphabet, but we will concentrate on the Latin alphabet here:

{{ svelteComponent name='Alphabet' props='{ "explain": { "A": "as a in English „father”", "B": "as in English", "C": "as ts in English „bits”", "Č": "as ch in English „church”", "D": "as in English", "DŽ": "as j in English „John”", "E": "as e in English „best”", "Ě": "as ye in English „yet”", "F": "as in English", "G": "as g in English „good”", "H": "as ch in Scottish „loch”", "I": "as ea in English „beat”", "J": "as y in English „yard”", "K": "as in English, but without aspiration", "L": "as in English", "LJ": "as li in English „million”", "M": "as in English", "N": "as in English", "NJ": "as ny in English „canyon”", "O": "as o in English „or”", "P": "as in English, but without aspiration", "R": "rolled r", "RJ": "rolled r, followed by ye in English „yet”", "S": "as s in English „spin”", "Š": "as sh in English „shop”", "T": "as in English, but without aspiration", "U": "as oo in English „book”", "V": "as v in English „avoid”", "Y": "as i in English „bit”", "Z": "as in English", "Ž": "as si in English „vision”" } }' options='{}' /}}

In the Interslavic dictionary you will find other characters as well, like ò, ų, å or ť. You can simply ignore the diacritics and read them as o, u, a, t etc. That goes for ě, too. The only characters that keep their diacritics in Latin orthography are č, š and ž. If you find writing them inconvenient, you can always use cz, sz and zs (or cx, sx and zx) as an alternative.

Accentuation is fairly free. What matters more is that you speak slowly and clearly. As a general guideline, it would deserve recommendation to put stress on the antepenultimate syllable.

Grammar

Nouns

  • Nouns can end in a consonant or -a, -o, -e.

  • Slovianto does not have articles. Therefore, žena can mean „a woman“ or „the woman“.

  • The plural is formed by adding -i if the word ends in a consonant, or by replacing the final vowel by -i:

    muž „man“ → muži „men“\ žena „woman“ → ženi „women“\ slovo „word“ → slovi „words“

Adjectives

  • Adjectives usually have the ending -y or -i. They are not inflected and should be placed before the noun.

  • An adjective can be made into an adverb by substituting -y with the ending -o:

    dobry „good“ → dobro „well“

  • Adjectives are compared by means of the words vyše („more“), menje („less“), naj- („most“) and najmenje („least“):

    dobry „good“\ vyše dobry „better“\ naj-dobry „best“\ menje dobry „less good“\ najmenje dobry „least good“

Personal pronouns

  • Unlike nouns, personal pronouns in Slovianto distinguish between the nominative (the subject of the sentence, the agent) and the accusative (the object, patient).

  • The subject forms are: ja „I“, ty „you (sg.), thou“, on „he“, ona „she“, my „we“, vy „you (pl.)“, oni „they“.

  • The object forms are: mene „me“, tebe „you (sg.), thee“, jego „him“, ju „her“, nas „us“, vas „you (pl.)“, jih „them“.

  • Like most natural Slavic languages, Interslavic has T-V distinction, i.e. vy and vas are used not only for the second person plural, but also as a polite form in the singular. Ty/tebe are used to address friends, relatives and children.

  • Slovianto also has a reflexive pronoun, se, meaning „oneself, myself, yourself, ...“. It has no subject form, only an object form.

  • This reflexive pronoun can also be used as a reciprocal pronoun. Oni myt se means: „they are washing themselves“, but can also mean: „they are washing each other“.

  • A preposition is always followed by the accusative:

    s mene „with me“\ bez jego „without him“\ za tebe „behind you“

  • For the indirect object, the preposition k „to, towards“ can be added:

    Dajte k mene ... „Give me ...“

Possessive pronouns

  • The possessive pronouns are: moj „my”, tvoj „your, thy”, jego „his, its”, jej „her”, naš „our”, vaš „your (pl.)”, jih „their”. Like adjectives, possessive pronouns are not inflected.
  • If the possessor is also the subject of the sentence, the reflexive svoj „one's own” is used for all persons.
  • There are also interrogative and indefinite possessive pronouns, like čij „whose”, ničij „nobody's”, něčij „somebody's”, čij-koli „anybody's”.

Demonstrative pronouns

  • The demonstrative pronoun is toj „this, that, these, those”.

  • Whenever it is necessary to make a distinction between here and there, we have it preceded by tu- „here” or tam- „there”: tutoj „this, these”, tamtoj „that, those”.

  • When used independently, use to:

    Čto jest to? „What is this?”\ To jest kniga. „This is a book.”

Relative pronouns

In a simplified language like Slovianto, it is better to avoid subordinate clauses. But if you need a relative pronoun anyway, use ktory „which”.

Interrogative and indefinite pronouns

  • There are two basic pronouns: kto „who” and čto „what”. Just like personal pronouns, kto has an accusative kogo for the direct object.
  • Derived from these are also several indefinite pronouns, e.g. někto „somebody”, kto-koli „anybody”, ničto „nothing”, vsečto „everything” (see the following section).

Pronominal adverbs

  • Every language has a special category of interrelated pronouns, adverbs and adjectives, the so-called correlatives. In short, these are question words and the words that are used to give a general answer to these questions. In English, as well as many other languages, these words are related with each other in a fairly predictable way (for example: where/here/there/somewhere/anywhere/nowhere/everywhere, whence/hence/thence, etc.). This is the case in Slovianto, too.
  • Question words usually start with a k-: kto „who“, kogda „when“, kde „where“, ktory „which“, koliko „how many“
  • If the answer is a specific thing, place etc., the word starts with t-: to „this, that“, togda „then“, toliko „this many“
  • If the answer is something unknown or unspecified, the word starts with ně- (followed by the question word): někto „someone“, někogda „sometime, one day“, někde „somewhere, someplace“
  • If the answer is negative, the word begins with ni- (followed by the question word): nikto „nobody“, nikogda „never“, nigde „nowhere“
  • If the answer is something unimportant, the word ends with -koli, added to the question word: kto-koli „anyone“, kogda-koli „anytime, whenever“, kde-koli „anywhere, whereever“
  • If the answer is all-encompassing, the word begins with vse- or ves-: vsegda „always“, vesde „everywhere“

Numerals

  • The cardinal numbers from 1-10 are:

    1 — jedin, 2 — dva, 3 — tri, 4 — četyri, 5 — pet, 6 — šest, 7 — sedm, 8 — osm, 9 — devet, 10 — deset

  • The „-teens“ (11-19) are formed by adding -nadset:

    11 — jedinnadset, 12 — dvanadset, ...

  • The „-ties“ (20, 30 ... 90) are formed by adding -deset:

    20 — dvadeset, 30 — trideset, ...

  • The „-hundreds“ (200, 300 ... 900) are formed by adding -sto:

    200 — dvasto, 300 — tristo, ...

  • Higher numbers:

    1,000 — tyseč, 1,000,000 — milion, 1,000,000,000 — miliard

  • Combinations of these are always made from high to low:

    5,678 — pet-tyseč šeststo sedmdeset osm

  • Ordinal numbers are formed by adding -y to the corresponding cardinal number, except for the following:

    1st — prvy, 2nd — drugy, 3rd — tretji, 4th — četvrty, 100th — sotny or stoty, 1000th — tysečny

Verbs

  • All verbs have the infinitive ending -ti:

    dělati „to do“\ prositi „to ask“\ nesti „to carry“

  • The stem is obtained by removing the ending -ti from the infinitive:

    děla-\ prosi-\ nes-

  • At this early stage, one ending for the present tense will do. It is formed by adding -t to the stem. If the present tense stem ends in a consonant, -e- is inserted between the stem and the ending:

    ja děla-t „I do“\ vy prosi-t „you ask“\ oni nes-et „they carry“

  • And here's a bit of irregularity that happens so often in Slavic that you might as well learn it now: if the stem ends in k or g, these consonants become č and ž before the inserted e:

    pekti „to bake“ → pečet\ mogti „can“ → možet

  • For the past tense, add -l (singular) or -li (plural) to the stem:

    ja děla-l „I did, I have done“\ on prosi-l „he asked“\ my nes-li „we carried“

  • For the future tense, use bude with the infinitive:

    ja bude dělati „I will do“\ my bude prositi „we will ask“\ oni bude nesti „they will carry“

  • The conditional is formed by using the particle by with the past tense:

    ja by dělal „I would do/I would have done“

  • The imperative has the ending -jte after a vowel or -ite after a consonant:

    děla-jte „do!“\ prosi-jte „ask!“\ nes-ite „carry!“

  • The past passive participle is created by adding -ny to the stem. If the stem ends in a consonant, insert -e- between the stem and the ending. If the stem ends in -i-, then insert -e- and change resulting -ieny to -jeny:

    děla-ny „done“\ nes-eny „carried“\ prosi-enyprosjeny „asked“

  • The verb byti „to be“ is irregular:

    present tense: jest\ past tense: byl, byli\ future tense: bude\ conditional: byl by, byli by\ imperative: budite

  • The passive voice is created as in English, by combining a form of the verb byti „to be“ with the past passive participle:

    ja jest neseny „I am being carried“\ ja byl neseny „I was being carried, I have been carried“, etc.

Syntax

  • The preferred word order is subject — verb — object, like in English. It isn't mandatory, but any other word order might easily make a sentence unclear or ambiguous.

  • Adjectives, possessive pronouns and the like are preferably placed before the noun they modify:

    toj dobry kniga „this good book“

  • Yes-no questions differ from normal indicative sentences only by intonation:

    Otec kupil kniga „Father has bought a book.“\ Otec kupil kniga? „Has father bought a book?“

  • In other questions, the interrogative pronoun or adverb comes first:

    Kaky kniga kupil otec? „What kind of book has father bought?“\ Kde otec kupil toj kniga? „Where did father buy that book?“

  • The easiest way for expressing possession is simply placing the possessor before the possessed. When this is not clear enough, use the preposition od „from, of“:

    moj otec kniga „my father's book“ (lit. „my father book“)\ kniga od moj otec „my father's book“ (lit. „the book of my father“)

  • Likewise, you don't need to use any special accessories for the indirect object. Whenever this is not clear enough, use the preposition k „to“:

    Dajte moj otec toj kniga. „Give that book to my father.“\ Dajte toj kniga k moj otec. „Give that book to my father.“

  • To express the instrument used for something, use the preposition s „with“:

    Ja udaril svoj otec s toj kniga. „I hit my father with that book.“

Sample text: In the restaurant

{{ svelteComponent name='SampleText' props='{"data": [ ["Dobry denj! Restoran jest otvorjeny?", "Good day! Is the restaurant open?"], ["Dobry denj. Da, my jest otvorjeny.", "Good day. Yes, we are open."], ["Možno tu piti něčto?", "Is it possible to have something to drink here?"], ["Očevidno, čto prinesti k vas?", "Of course, what shall I bring you?"], ["Čto vy imat?", "What do you have?"], ["Čaj, kava, pivo, vino, vodka...", "Tea, coffee, beer, wine, vodka..."], ["A vy takože imat něčto hladne?", "Do you also have something cold?"], ["Da, my imat sok, voda, mlěko...", "Yes, we have juice, water, milk..."], ["Togda dajte nam dva soki, prosim.", "Then please give us two juice."], ["Dva soki, dobro. Vy takože hočet jesti něčto?", "Two juice, okay. Would you like to eat something as well?"], ["Može... Vy imat hlěb?", "Maybe... Do you have bread?"], ["Da, očevidno. Hlěb, meso, ryba, vsečto jest.", "Yes, of course. Bread, meat, fish, everything is there."], ["Hvala, samo hlěb s maslo, prosim.", "Thank you, just breat with butter, please."] ]}' options='{}' /}}

Basic vocabulary

{{ columns width='12em' }}

  • a — and, but
  • ako — if
  • ale — but
  • avto — car
  • bez — without
  • běly — white
  • bliz — almost
  • bolje — more
  • brati — to take
  • byti — to be
  • čaj — tea
  • čas — time
  • časina — hour
  • čest — part
  • člověk — person, human being
  • črěz — through
  • črny — black
  • čto — what
  • da — yes
  • dati — to give
  • daže — even
  • denj — day
  • dělati — to do, to make
  • dělo — act, deed
  • děte — child
  • dlja — for
  • do — to, towards, till
  • dobro — well
  • dobry — good
  • dom — house
  • dostati — to get, to receive
  • drugy — second
  • država — state
  • dva — two
  • dveri — door
  • glas — voice
  • glava — head
  • gleděti — to watch
  • god — year
  • govoriti — to say, to speak
  • grad — city, town
  • groši — money
  • hladny — cold
  • hlěb — bread
  • htěti — to want
  • hvala — thanks
  • i — and
  • idti — to go, to walk
  • ih — them; their
  • ili — or
  • imati — to have
  • iz — from, out of
  • ja — I
  • jedin — one
  • jedino — only
  • jego — him; his
  • jej — her
  • jesti — to eat
  • ješče — still
  • k — to, towards
  • kaky — what kind of
  • kako — how; like
  • kava — coffee
  • kde — where
  • kniga — book
  • kogda — when
  • konec — end
  • kto — who
  • ktory — which
  • lice — face
  • ljubiti — to love, to like
  • maly — little, small
  • maslo — butter
  • medžu — between
  • menje — less
  • meso — meat
  • město — place
  • minuta — minute
  • mlěko — milk
  • mnogo — much; very
  • mogti — can, to be able
  • moj — my
  • može — maybe, perhaps
  • možno — it is possible; possibly
  • muž — man, husband
  • my — we
  • mysliti — to think
  • na — on, upon, at
  • nad — above, beyond
  • najbolje — most
  • naš — our
  • ne — no; not
  • nesti — to carry
  • neželi — than
  • něčto — something
  • někaky — some kind of
  • několiko — a few, several
  • ni ... ni ... — neither ... nor ...
  • ničto — nothing
  • nikto — nobody
  • noč — night
  • noga — leg
  • novy — new
  • o, ob — about
  • obči — common, general
  • očevidno — of course
  • od — of, from
  • odgovoriti — to answer
  • oko — eye
  • on — he
  • ona — she
  • oni — they
  • ostati — to stay, to remain
  • otec — father
  • otvoriti — open
  • piti — to drink
  • pivo — beer
  • po — after; in the manner of
  • početi — to begin, to start
  • pod — under
  • pogled — look, sight, view
  • pokoj — peace, quiet
  • poslědny — last
  • potom — after that, then
  • potrěbny — needed, necessary
  • prěd — before
  • pri — by, near
  • prijatelj — friend
  • prijdti — to come
  • prinesti — to bring
  • problem — problem
  • prosim — please
  • prositi — to ask (for sth.), to require
  • prosty — simple, easy
  • prvy — first
  • pytanje — question
  • pytati — to ask (a question)
  • rabota — work, labour
  • rabotati — to work, to labour
  • raz — time (in the sense of: ... times)
  • razuměti — to understand
  • restoran — restaurant
  • ruka — arm
  • ryba — fish
  • s — with
  • směsta — immediately
  • snova — again
  • sam — alone
  • samo — only, merely
  • se, sebe — oneself
  • seděti — to sit
  • sejčas — now
  • sila — power, force
  • slovo — word
  • slučaj — case, instance, event
  • sok — juice
  • sovsěm — entirely, completely
  • spati — to sleep
  • stary — old
  • stati — to become
  • stati se — to happen
  • stojati — to stand
  • stol — table
  • strana — side
  • svět — world
  • svoj — one's own
  • taky — such
  • tako — so, in such way
  • takože — also, too
  • tamo — there
  • teply — warm
  • to — this, that
  • togda — then
  • toj — this, that
  • toliko — this much, that much, only
  • trěba — it is needed, it is necesary
  • tri — three
  • tu — here
  • tvoj — your (sg.)
  • ty — you (sg.)
  • uho — ear
  • uže — already
  • v — in; into
  • vaš — your (pl.)
  • veliky — great, big
  • ves — all, entire
  • vid — aspect, look, vision
  • viděti — to see
  • vino — wine
  • voda — water
  • vojna — war
  • vrěme — time
  • vsaky — every
  • vse — everything
  • vsegda — always
  • vy — you (pl.)
  • vyjdti — exit, quit
  • vysoky — high
  • za — behind
  • začto — why, what for
  • zato — that's why, therefore
  • zemja — earth, ground
  • zly — bad
  • značiti — to mean
  • znati — to know
  • že — that (conjunction)
  • žena — woman, wife
  • žiti — to live {{/columns}}

To practise these words, you can use the Word Learning Tool.