There are three important grammatical categories that determine the composition of Neoslavonic nouns (and also pronouns, adjectives and numerals): the case, number, and gender. Please, download and print this from here.
Number is singular and plural. Neoslavonic has the optional dual as well, which is like a special form of plural for exactly two objects. Dual is fully used only in Slovene and Sorbian, but its residua are in almost all Slavic languages. In this tutorial we will not use the dual because it is not absolutely needed for basic communication. We will just to remind paired body parts (eyes, ears), where the dual will be showed.
Unfortunately there is no simple rule to form the plural from the singular like "-s" ending in English or Spanish. As in Latin, each grammatical pattern has its own specific plural endings. You have to learn them together with the case endings.
There are three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. Unlike English, these three genders are assigned to all words.
Remember that the nominative and vocative can never be combined with prepositions. Other cases (genitive, dative, accusative, locative and instrumental) are used with prepositions, but may also be used without them.
The nominative case answers the questions kto, što? = who, what? The NS nominative is the very basic form of any word found in dictionaries. The nominative case is used for the subject of the sentence.
We must point out that in some Slavic sentences the subject in the nominative case is hidden. This is when the subject of a sentence is a personal pronoun in English. In the English, we need to say pronoun in order to express the personal form of the verb, but Slavic verbs themselves carry this information though the personal postfixes.
Example: Čitaju. = (I) read. Čitaje. = (He) reads. Čitajeme. = (We) read. Čitajut. = (They) read. ...
The vocative is used only for calling/addressing someone or something. The vocative is very similar to the nominative. It is the only case, where may occur palatalization of consonants at the end of word stem due to adding vocative ending. Remember that this palatalization is g→ž, h→š, k→č and -ec→-če!.
Example: žena = a woman N, ženo! = (you) woman! V, Bog = the God N, Bože! = Thou God!, Oh God! V
The accusative case designates the object of an action.
Example: Pišu pismo = (I) write (a) letter. Vidim ženu. = (I can) see (a) woman.
The dative case is a grammatical case generally used to indicate the noun to which something is given, as in "John gave Mary a drink". In general, the dative marks the indirect object of a verb.
Example: Pišu pismo svojemu prijatelu. = (I) write (a) letter (to) my friend. or (I) write my friend (a) letter.
Nouns take the locative case when they’re used to refer to a place, or time. It corresponds vaguely to the English prepositions "in", "on", "at", "about". In the ordinary conversation the locative case is always used with some preposition.
Example: v zimě = in Winter, na v'rhu = on (the) top, ...
In general the Slavic instrumental case is used to indicate how something is done or the means by which an action is carried out, usually in English it’s expressed by the prepositions "by, with".
Q: Kako jesi prišel k nam? = How did (You) come to us?
A: Autom. = (With a) car.
The genitive case refers to things (or living beings) belonging to other things (or living beings). Just like when you use "of" or the possessive "-'s" in English.
Example: Kniga mojego brata. = A book of my brother.
animate and inanimate masculine patterns
In all masculine patterns, the accusative (A) is either identical with the genitive (G) or with the nominative (N). This two kinds of masculine declension are called animate declension and inanimate declension. The animate declension (A=G) is intended for those nouns who represent living beings or other subjects able to perform verbal actions (e.g. robots and similar machines, ...). Here the accusative is different from the nominative in order to make clear who is a performer of an action and who is a matter of an action. The inanimate declension (A=N), has the accusative identical with the nominative as it is in neuter patterns.
Example 1: Petr slyši Ivana. (Peter is listening to Ivan) The accusative of Ivan is animate and therefore identical with the genitive, because both Petr and Ivan are able to listen. This is why in this sentence we need to make clear, who is listening to whom.
Example 2: Petr stroji dom. (Peter makes/builds (a) house) The accusative of dom (a house) is inanimate and therefore identical with the nominative of dom, because a house is not able to have something. It this sentence, it is clearly obvious who is a builder and what is built.
Remember that there is one good tool to distinguish animate and inanimate subjects in Neoslavonic: We ask of animate subjects using kto? (who?), but we ask of inanimate subjects using što? (what?). Here you can see that even English distinguishes animate and inanimate subjects as well.
declension of the hard animate masculine pattern brat (a brother) and soft animate masculine pattern muž (a man)
declension of the hard inanimate masculine pattern grad (a town, a city) and soft inanimate masculine pattern kraj (a district, an area, a province)
feminine and neuter patterns
Feminine and neuter patterns do not contain the concept of animation. There are only two regular patterns (hard and soft) for feminine gender and two regular patterns (hard and soft) for neuter gender.
declension of the hard feminine pattern žena (a woman) and soft feminine pattern duša (a soul)
declension of the hard neuter pattern selo (a village) and soft neuter pattern polje (a field)
Majority of Slavic languages still use the remnants of the dual number for the human body parts.
Please remember that oko (an eye), oči (two eyes), oka (eyes) and uho (an ear), uši (two ears), uha (ears) have their singular and plural according to the standard neuter pattern slovo (a word) slova (words), but if we are talking about exactly one pair of eyes and ears of some living being, we need to use a palatalized dual, which is identical with the feminine plural pattern kosti (bones).
declension of the dual by the neutral pattern oko and the feminine irregular pattern kost
Example: Moje oči. (My two eyes, oči as consistent with the pattern kost in plural), Sto ok. (Hundred eyes, ok as consistent with the pattern slovo in plural)
Note: Pattern kost in plural is also used for a lot of feminine words ending by a consonant (myš, myši, .... a mouse, for example) and for plural of words ljudi, ljudij, ljudim, ... (people) and děti, dětij, dětim, ... (children).
The prepositions stand before nouns, pronouns and numerals. They help to create and modify relationships between clause elements in the same way as in English. A preposition itself is not clause member, it becomes only in conjunction with the appropriate expression. Frankly said, the prepositions create adverbial parts of sentences that carry the information about "when?", "where?", "how? or "why?". Please learn them together with prepositions:
Neoslavonic has a lot of miscellaneous prepositions associated with all kinds of cases except the nominative and vocative. Some prepositions (colored in red) are associated with more cases in order to clarify the precise meaning. But for the basic conversation, it would be enough to know just these prepositions and their appropriate cases.
For Your help, please remember that
Idu na veliku goru. (veliku goru is the accusative of velika gora = (a) big hill.)
(I) go at (a) big hill. (I am not not yet there, but I want to be there, I am moving there.)
Jesm na velikej gorě. (velikej gorě is the locative of velika gora = (a) big hill.)
(I) am at (a) big hill. (I am there, this where I am.)
how to learn cases - declension symmetries
We know that this matter is the most difficult issue for the non-Slavic people. Neoslavonic has been designed in the way that from the on the one side it would be most similar to real living languages, but on the other side it would be much better taught. For this reason we created a collection of simplified case patterns and introduces some auxiliary symmetries between these patterns. Please try to find them in the Neoslavonic grammar and learn them:
irregular declension patterns
Although Neoslavonic is an artificial language, but it must be understood by Slavs without the need to learn it. This is why Neoslavonic must contain, at least partially, some popular but unfortunately irregular phenomena that are used in living Slavic languages.
irregular declensions in singular number
děte N, dětete G, děteti D (a child n. , T-pattern), plural: děti (regular plural pattern kosti);
ime N, imene G, imeni D (a name n., N-pattern), plural: imena (regular plural pattern sela);
tele N, telete G, teleti D (a calf n., T-pattern), plural teleta (regular plural pattern sela);
doci N, docere G, doceri D (a daughter f., T-pattern), plural docere (regular plural pattern duše).
If You are familiar in some other indo-european language having cases (e.g. Latin, Greek, German, ...), this information can help You, because Neoslavonic together with the living Slavic languages shares common indo-european declension paradigms as follows: