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To the bone: Nouns of Croatian i -declension

Ivan Marković

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 213 Kb

str. 14-36

preuzimanja: 6.970



Croatian has three (basic) noun declensions. Affiliation of a noun to the
a- or the e-declension is mostly prediclable on the basis of its nominative
ending. Affiliation of a noun to the i-declension is predictable only in the
case of nouns derived with suffixes -¯ost and -¯ad. According to data found in
several Croatian grammars, there are about 250 underived Croatian nouns
affiliated to the i-declension whose inflectional type is unpredictable from
their nominative singular ending. However, not even an uncomplete list of
those nouns exists, neither is it fully clear how the number of 250 is reached.
In the present paper a list of 275 such a contemporary nouns is presented.
The vast majority of listed nouns are derived nouns, and only a smaller part
of them is underived. Except for nouns avet ‘apparition’, skerlet ‘scarlet’,
varoˇs ‘(smaller) town’, the nouns in question are native ones. Borrowed
nouns are not incorporated into the i-declension; they either acquire the aor
the e-declension paradigm by transmorphemisation (Fr. la bouteille !
butelja ‘bottle (of vine)’ – G butelje) or change their original gender and
become a-declension nouns (Germ. die Stimmung ! ˇstimung ‘mood’ – G
ˇstimunga). Several nouns of i-declension can have both feminine and masculine
gender, and can be inflected by both i- and a-declension ( bol ‘ache’,
nouns with the suffix -eˇz, and some other, especially those with smaller
frequency; in the case of the former ones the difference in gender has semantical
repercusions), which led some researchers to the conclusion that
the number of nouns affiliated to the i-declension is decreasing.
The author shows that this might just not be so, and that the number of
i-declension nouns might be growing. There are several reasons for such a
claim: i) the suffix -¯ost is very productive, and it easily adjoins borrowed
stems, ii) nouns with suffix -eˇz, when under semantic movement towards
‘collective’, tend to acquire i-declension endings, iii) new nouns can be derived
from existing ‘unpredictable’ ones by prefixation and composition, iv)
it is also possible that some less frequent nouns of the a-declension begin to
show propensity to the i-declension.
On the basis of the available data, the author claims that there are 5000–5500
Croatian nouns affiliated to the i-declension. About 250 of them – mostly
derived! – ‘unpredictably’.

Ključne riječi

Croatian language, nouns, i -declension

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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