Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian : An Essential Grammar book cover
1st Edition

Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian
An Essential Grammar

ISBN 9780367723637
Published September 22, 2021 by Routledge
340 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents


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




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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.