lessons‎ > ‎

3. definite and indefinite articles

In the Neoslavonic language (as well as in all Slavic languages, Latin and Greek, for example) there is no indefinite article (a, an). In normal situations, we speak without any indefinite article. In special cases, when we strongly need to express our unfamiliarity to an object, it is possible to use the standard numeral "one" (m. jedin, f. jedna, n. jedno) or the indefinite pronoun "some, any" (m. někaky, f. někaka, n. někake).

In limited circumstances, the English definite
article "the" can be translated in Neoslavonic by using the demonstrative pronouns m. toj, f. ta, n. to and pl. ti. This demonstrative pronoun declines in 7 cases and 3 numbers, as you will see later in Lesson 7. However, please note that these Neoslavonic definite articles are used only in clauses where one is referring to something already "existing" or "referred to" in a previous clause (in this sense, they are similar to the English pronouns "this, that, these & those"). In all other situations, the definite article is not used at all (* see Appendix below).  

The demonstrative pronoun m. toj, f. ta, n. to can be supplemented by more detail as:
  • m. tutoj, f. tuta, n. tuto (this here)
  • m. tamtoj, f. tamta, n. tamto (that there)

example 1

(dialogue between two persons)

A: Moj brat imaje veliky dom.
A: My brother has (3 sg.) (a) big house.     (dom = a house, moj brat = my brother)

B: Jako stary je toj dom?      
B: How old is that house?     (toj dom = the house, that house)

example 2

(dialogue between two persons)

A: Tu jest dom mojego brata.
A: Here is (a) house of my brother.     (dom = a house, mojego brata = of my brother)

B: Kako stary je toj/tutoj dom?      
B: How old is this house?     (tutoj dom = this house here)


Bulgarian and (Slavo)Macedonian are exceptions to the absence of a distinctive "definite article" among the natural Slavic languages.  They both use their definite article in (almost) the same way as in English - with one big difference:  it is spoken AFTER the noun - moreover, it is written together with the noun:  "a woman" = žena, "the woman" = ženata.  Interestingly, it should be noted that both the Bulgarian and (Slavo)Macedonian languages, unlike all of the other natural Slavic languages, have "lost" their original noun declension system - as has English - and, like English, they have replaced this structure through the use of "prepositions" and the "definite article".

Of further note in this regard is that the Bulgarian and (Slavo)Macedonian "definite article" structure is very similar to the word order used in archaic Slavic: noun-article-adjective - versus the modern Slavic word order: article-adjective-noun. (e.g. modern ta dobra žena = the/this good women, versus Old Church Slavonic: žena ta dobra).  Even here an exception exists in the Polish language, where word order is far more flexible than in the other modern Slavic languages.

Moreover, for appendix purposes, we note that the Southern Slavic languages ​​and Czech have yet another special way to convey a sense of the "definite" and "indefinite" in speech, through the existence of definite and indefinite adjectives, which is manifested by different suffix forms - derived from Old Slavonic formations.  This is not incorporated into Neoslavonic.