Language Issues

Bosnian is not an easy language. It is a Slavic language, which means it has like a gazillion case endings, meaning I am spending more time memorizing declension tables than learning more vocabulary. Ok, well Bosnian has seven case endings (two are alike, though), but nouns are also classified by gender: masculine, neuter, and feminine. And those all decline differently. AND the plurals of each of those decline differently. Some are alike in some cases, but then I have to memorize which ones are alike and which are different. UGH! And then there are about forty or so prepositions, and they require different case endings for the nouns following them. The same preposition can mean different things depending on the case of the following noun, so it is very important to get them right!

I’m wondering if my textbook is teaching me the things I need to know. Check out this conversation from lesson one:

A: George je profesor, a Mary je profesorica. (George is a professor, and Mary is a professor.)

B: A njihov pas? (And their dog??)

A: Njihov pas nije profesor. Pas nije čovjek! Ali on jeste naš prijatelj. (Their dog is not a professor. The dog isn’t a human! But he is our friend.)

B: Jesu li pas i mačka prijatelji? (Are the dog and cat friends?)

A: I jesu i nisu. (They are and they aren’t)

And I had this sentence in my homework: Ne želim da kupiš psa crvene boje, već zelene boje. (I don’t want you to buy a red dog, but rather a green one.)

Hmm, evidently Bosnia not only has great music, but also multi-colored dogs that could be mistaken for professors!

But I am learning. My reading is improving. When I’m translating a song or reading an email or web page, I no longer have to look up every other word or figure out where the heck that case ending came from. Let’s see how the speaking goes!

Any takers on the questions in the last post?


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