Nouns and Nominative
Nouns are parts of speech defined by three categories :
Gender and number of nouns
In the Montenegrin language, each noun can be masculine(m), feminine(n) or neuter(n) and most have forms for singular(sg) and plural(pl). Gender is indicated by the suffix in the nominative sg. case form.
1) Masculine gender nouns in the nominative sg. do not have a suffix (-Ø) while in nom. pl. they end in -i.
2) Some masculine gender nouns in the nominative sg. end in -a and have the same declension as feminine gender nouns, thus they have the suffix -e in nom. pl.
3) Feminine gender nouns in the nominative sg. end in -a, and in nom. pl. in -e.
4) There are also feminine gender nouns which do not have a suffix in the nominative sg. (-Ø). They end in -i in the nominative pl.
5) Neuter gender nouns in the nominative sg. usually end in -o or -e, and in nom. pl. in -a.
The cases of nouns
There are seven cases both in the singular and the plural. They are Nominative (Nom.), Genitive (Gen.), Dative (Dat.), Accusative (Acc.), Vocative (Voc.), Instrumental (Instr.) and Prepositional/Locative (Loc.). We can divide nouns into three groups / declensions according to their suffix in the genitive singular case:
I type – the declension has masculine (ending in -Ø, -e, -o) and neuter gender nouns (ending in -Ø, -o, -e)
e.g. Nom.: dečak-Ø, Mark-o, Đorđ-e, ime-Ø, pism-o, polj-e
Gen.: dečak-a, Mark-a, Đorđ-a, ime-n-a, pism-a, polj-a
II type – the declension has both feminine and masculine gender nouns ending in -a
e.g.. Nom.: žen-a, tat-a
Gen.: žen-e, tat-e
III type – the declension has feminine gender nouns ending in -Ø
e.g. Nom.: ljubav-Ø
The nominative case of nouns, adjectives, pronouns and numbers is also the default form of these parts of speech. This is the form found in dictionaries.
|-Ø: bulevar-Ø, momak-Ø||-i: bulevar-i, momc-i|
|-o/-e: Mark-o, Đorđ-e|
|-a: žen-a, devojk-a||-e: žen-e, devojk-e|
|-Ø: reč-Ø||-i: reč-i|
|-o/-e: pism-o, polj-e
|-a: pism-a, polj-a
Some nouns have the singular form only (singularia tantum), e.g. :
proper nouns (Dragana, Nataša, Jelena)
material nouns (med, šećer, brašno, voda)
abstract nouns (ljubav, mladost)
Some nouns have the plural form only (pluralia tantum), e.g. :
pantalone, makaze, naočare, novine, vrata, leđa
Some nouns in the plural have an irregularity of a different kind (change of gender, suppletive stem, etc.), e.g. :
dete – deca, brat – braća, gospodin – gospoda, cvet – cveće, drvo – drveće, pile – pilad – pilići, dugme – dugmad, čovek – ljudi, oko – oči, uho – uši
The nominative case has two functions:
– the subject of the sentence, and this answers the question
Ko? (for animate nouns) or Šta? (for inanimate nouns)
e.g. Ko peva? Ana peva. Šta je zeleno? Stolica je zelena.
– or a part of the predicate (after the verb jesam) and this answers the question Šta?
e.g. Šta je Ana? Ana je pevačica.