Lesson 2 Grammar: Adjectives and Genders
You just learned how to order a meal in a Slovak restaurant. You also learned how to describe nouns with adjectives. Let’s go over this new grammar in more details. With couple adjectives, the verb to be, and some pronouns under your belt, you will be ready to make a ton of new sentences!
Slovak word for hungry is hladný. The underlined part is the fixed root, while the -ý at the end forms the stem. This stem changes based on both the gender and the case of the subject. We’ll go over cases in more detail in the future. For now, you just need to know that cases indicate what role a noun plays in a sentence. There are seven cases in Slovak. So far, you have encountered mainly the basic one called nominative. This is the case which is used when the noun you are referring to is the subject of the sentence. A noun is in the nominative case if you can use it to answer a who? or a what? question. For instance: The girl is pretty. Who is pretty? The girl. See, English has cases just like Slovak! It’s just that in English the word endings do not change with the cases. This is also why when Lucia orders her dinner, she says dám si kapustnicu a Kofolu instead of dám si kapustnica a Kofola. In this sentence, the soup and the drink are no longer in the nominative case (the omitted ja is the subject) and hence the endings changed. We’ll go over this particular case in another lesson.
Enough rambling, let’s get back to the adjectives. Here is an example of how the endings change:
on je hladný (he is hungry)
ona je hladná (she is hungry)
ono je hladné (it is hungry)
Now what about the other forms such as I or you? Well, these also depend on the gender of the person you are referring to and follow the rules from above. Ja som hladný but my sister says ja som hladná. Similarly, when addressing somebody using the familiar you, you say ty si hladný to your guy friend, but ty si hladná to your girl friend. In the plural form, the ending is -í if you are dealing with living masculine subjects. Otherwise, it is -é.
Let’s review, this time with the word pretty:
ja som pekný (I am pretty, masculine), ja som pekná (feminine)
ty si pekný (you are pretty, masculine), ty si pekná (feminine)
on je pekný (he is pretty)
ona je pekná (she is pretty)
ono je pekné (it is pretty)
my sme pekní (we guys are pretty), my sme pekné (we girls are pretty)
vy ste pekní (you guys are pretty), vy ste pekné (you girls are pretty)
oni sú pekní (those guys are pretty), ony sú pekné (those girls are pretty)
The word pekný is one of the “model” words used to describe how the stems change. Adjectives that end with ý (the hard i) follow this model. Adjectives that end in the soft í are inflected according to the word cudzí (foreign). The endings are:
on je cudzí
ona je cudzia
ono je cudzie
my sme cudzí (living masculine)
my sme cudzie (others)
Here are few more examples. Don’t forget to check back in few days for the vocabulary section which will give you couple more new adjectives to play with.
ja som smädný (I am thirsty, masc.)
ty si smädná (you are thirsty, fem.)
ona je pekná (she is pretty)
ja som starý (I am old, masc.)
ona je teplá (she (the soup) is warm)
ono je studené (it (the beer) is cold)
my sme cudzí (we are foreign, masc.)
vy ste hladné (you are hungry, fem.)