1st Edition

Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian An Essential Grammar

By Željko Vrabec Copyright 2022
    340 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    340 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian: An Essential Grammar is intended for beginners and intermediate students who need a reference that explains grammar in straightforward terms. It covers all the main areas of the modern single BCMS grammatical system in an accessible way, and free from jargon. When linguistic terminology is used, it is explained in layman’s terms, the logic of a rule is presented simply and near parallels are drawn with English. This book covers all the grammar necessary for everyday communication (reaching B1 and B2 of the CEFR, ACTFL Intermediate-Intermediate- Mid).

    The book comprises of extensive chapters on all parts of speech, the creation of different word forms (endings for cases in nouns and adjectives, case forms for pronouns, tenses, verbal modes, verbal aspect etc.) and their uses in sentences. Each rule is illustrated with numerous examples from everyday living language used in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.

    This is a unique reference book in English aimed at the level of language study that treats BCMS as a single grammar system, explaining and highlighting all the small differences between the four variants of this polycentric language.


    How to use this book

    List of abbreviations

    1. The story of "four languages"

    1.1. Ekavian and Iyekavian pronunciations

    1.2. Number of speakers, official language names

    1.3. Brief outline of main grammatical differences

    2. Alphabet, pronunciation, spelling

    2.1. Vowels

    2.2. Consonants

    2.2.1. Voiced/unvoiced consonants

    2.2.2. Soft/hard consonants

    2.3. Consonant and vowel alternations

    2.3.1. Consonant softening before -E (palatalisation)

    2.3.2. Consonant softening before -I (sibilarisation)

    2.3.3. J-changes (yotation)

    2.3.4. Voicing assimilation

    2.3.5. L/O changes

    2.3.6. Fleeting -a-

    2.3.7. Removal of a duplicated consonant

    2.3.8. Multiple alternations

    3. Nouns

    3.1. Gender

    3.1.1. Masculine nouns

    3.1.2. Feminine nouns

    3.1.3. Neuter nouns

    3.2. Plural (nominative plural)

    3.2.1. Masculine nouns

    3.2.2. Feminine nouns

    3.2.3. Neuter nouns

    3.2.4. Neuter collective nouns

    3.3. Cases

    3.3.1. Cases in English and BCMS

    3.3.2. The First and Second Declensions singular

    3.3.3. Nominative

    3.3.4. Genitive

    3.3.5. Dative

    3.3.6. Accusative

    3.3.7. Vocative

    3.3.8. Instrumental

    3.3.9. Locative

    3.3.10. Accusative vs Locative (destination vs location)

    3.3.11. First and Second Declension plural

    3.3.12. Genitive plural

    3.3.13. The Third Declension (Feminine nouns ending in a consonant)

    3.3.14. Frequently used nouns displaying irregularities in declension

    3.3.15. Only plural nouns (Pluralia tantum)

    4. Adjectives

    4.1. Descriptive and relational adjectives

    4.2. Gender

    4.3. Short - long forms

    4.4. Case endings

    4.4.1. Short form cases

    4.5. Possessive adjectives (Markov, Vesnin)

    4.6. Comparison

    4.6.1. Comparative

    4.6.2. Superlative

    4.6.3. How to say "than"?

    5. Pronouns

    5.1. Personal pronouns

    5.2. Possessive pronouns

    5.2.1. Svoj - possessive-reflexive pronoun for all persons

    5.3. Demonstrative pronouns ovaj - taj - onaj, ovakav, ovoliki

    5.4. Interrogative pronouns ko (tko), šta (što), koji, čiji, kakav, koliki

    5.5. Relative pronouns koji, što, čiji, kakav

    5.6. Indefinite pronouns

    5.6.1. Emphasised indefinite pronouns (whatever, whoever)

    5.7. Reflexive pronoun sebe (se)

    5.8. Pronoun sav, sva, sve (all, whole)

    5.9. Pronoun sam, sama, samo

    6. Numerals

    6.1. Cardinal numbers

    6.1.1. Cardinal numbers agreement with nouns, pronouns and adjectives

    6.2. Ordinal numbers

    6.3. Collective numbers -oro (two people, three people)

    6.4. Numerical nouns -ica (two men, three men)

    6.5. Approximate numbers -ak

    6.6. Fractions -ina

    6.7. Numerals acting as a subject

    6.8. Numbers used in dates

    6.8.1. Days of the week

    6.8.2. Months of the year

    6.9. How to tell the time

    6.10. Expressing age

    7. Verbs

    7.1. Infinitives

    7.2. Conjugations

    7.2.1. Present tense stem

    7.2.2. Three Conjugations

    7.3. Types of verbs

    7.3.1. Transitive/intransitive verbs

    7.3.2. Auxiliary verbs

    a) biti

    b) htjeti=hteti

    7.3.3. Regular verbs, pattern verbs, irregular verbs

    7.3.4. Perfective/Imperfective verbs

    7.3.5. Verbs of motion

    7.3.6. Modal verbs

    7.3.7. Reflexive verbs

    7.4. Tenses

    7.4.1. Present tense

    7.4.2. Past tense (Perfect tense)

    7.4.3. Future tense

    7.4.4. Future Exact

    7.5. Moods

    7.5.1. Imperative

    7.5.2. Potential mode

    7.6. Participles

    7.6.1. L-participle

    7.6.2. Passive participle

    7.7. Conditional clauses

    7.7.1. Realistic - ako

    7.7.2. Currently possible - kad(a)

    7.7.3. Unrealistic - da

    7.8. Passive voice

    7.8.1. Present passive

    7.8.2. Past and future passive

    7.9. Verbal adverbs

    7.9.1. Present verbal adverb

    7.9.2. Past verbal adverb

    8. Adverbs

    8.1. -LY adverbs and equivalents in BCMS

    8.2. Comparison

    8.3. As stand-alone words

    8.4. Learning tip: adverb families

    8.4.1. ne-, ni-, -i adverbs

    8.4.2. ov-, t-, on- adverbs

    8.4.3. Emphasised indefinite adverbs (wherever, whenever)

    9. Prepositions

    9.1. Prepositions used with only one case

    9.1.1. Only with the genitive

    9.1.2. Only with the dative

    9.1.3. Only with the accusative

    9.2. Prepositions used with two cases

    9.2.1. Used with the locative or accusative

    9.2.2. Used with the instrumental or accusative

    9.2.3. Learning tip: when to use U, when NA

    9.2.4. Correlation between U - IZ and NA - SA

    9.3. Prepositions with verbs of motion

    10. Conjunctions and particles

    10.1. Simple conjunctions

    10.2. Compound conjunctions

    10.3. Particles

    11. Sentence structure

    11.1. Free word order

    11.2. Enclitics

    11.3. Direct and indirect speech

    11.3.1. Reporting statements

    11.3.2. Reporting questions

    11.4. Predicate-only sentences

    11.4.1. Impersonal predicate-only sentences

    11.4.2. Personalised predicate-only sentences

    11.5. Negative sentences - multiple negatives

    12. Word creation

    12.1. The power of word creation

    12.2. Nouns

    12.2.1. Suffixes for professions, doers, athletes

    12.2.2. Suffixes for ethnicities, city dwellers, regional populations

    12.2.3. -CIJA suffix for adopting foreign words

    12.2.4. Diminutives

    12.2.5. Augmentatives

    12.2.6. Location suffixes

    12.2.7. Suffix naming types of meat

    12.2.8. Suffixes for abstract nouns

    12.2.9. Verbal nouns -NJE

    12.2.10. Negative nouns NE-

    12.3. Adjectives

    12.3.1. Relational adjectives

    12.3.2. Descriptive adjectives

    12.3.3. Adjective prefixes pre-, bez-, ne-

    12.4. Verbs

    12.4.1. Suffixes that change foreign words into verbs

    12.4.2. Prefixes

    13. Croatian/Serbian glossary - most common vocabulary differences

    13.1. Nouns

    13.2. Adjectives

    13.3. Verbs

    13.4. Adverbs

    13.5. Everyday expressions

    14. Verb conjugation tables

    14.1. Irregular verbs

    14.1.1. biti

    14.1.2. moći

    14.1.3. htjeti = hteti

    14.1.4. slati

    14.2. A conjugation (regular)

    14.3. I conjugation (regular)

    14.3.1. I conjugation pattern -eti -im

    14.3.2. I conjugation pattern -ati -im

    14.4. E conjugation patterns

    14.4.1. Pattern -ati -em

    a) stajati - stajem

    b) pisati - pišem

    c) zvati - zovem

    14.4.2. Pattern -ati -anem

    14.4.3. Pattern -avati -ajem

    14.4.4. Pattern -ovati -ujem

    14.4.5. Pattern -ivati -ujem

    14.4.6. Pattern -eti -em

    a) umjeti-umijem

    b) donijeti-donesem

    c) uzeti-uzmem

    14.4.7. Pattern -iti -ijem

    14.4.8. Pattern -uti -ujem

    14.4.9. Pattern -nuti -nem

    14.4.10. -STI infinitives

    a) Pattern -sti -dem

    b) Pattern -sti -dnem or -tnem

    c) Pattern -sti -zem

    d) Pattern -sti -stem

    14.4.11. -ĆI infinitives

    a) Pattern -ći -dem

    b) Pattern -ći -đem

    c) Pattern -ći, -gnem, or -knem

    d) Pattern -ći, -čem





    Željko Vrabec has professional translation experience gained at the BBC and the UN. He is a multilingual specialist with over 25 years of BBC editorial experience in different roles – from copy-editing breaking European stories and writing in-depth political analytical reports to media landscape surveys. Recently he has worked as a dialogue coach and cultural approximation consultant to Oscar-winning actors. In the past few years he has been teaching BCMS at a language school in London.