A Basic Reference Grammar of Slovene

William W. Derbyshire

This work is the first reference grammar of its kind and describes the contemporary Slovene language in a concise and easily comprehensible way. It is intended for speakers of English who are studying Slovene at the elementary through the intermediate levels, but it will also serve as a handy source of quick reference for others wishing to review basic questions of Slovene grammar and syntax. Potential users may include university students, researchers in a diverse number of fields, persons of Slovene descent as well as scholars of Slavic linguistics. Knowledge of another Slavic language is not a prerequisite, although some comparative data from Serbo-Croatian and Russian appear when deemed helpful. After a brief description of Slovene, its dialects and its place among the Slavic and Indo-European languages, the student is introduced to the alphabet, sounds and spelling rules. This is followed by separate chapters on each major grammatical category, accompanied by copious examples of contemporary usage: nouns, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, numerals, prepositions, with case governance explained for the two latter categories. By far the longest part of the work is devoted to verbs, and there are sub-sections which are devoted to topics such as their organization and classification, irregular conjugations (e.g. the verbs `to be,' `to have,' `to want') and verbs of motion. Throughout the reference grammar the author supplies information on stress patterns, especially useful for nouns and verbs. Unique in this book are the extensive notes on special problems such as the use of the dual, special uses of the genitive case, including examples of the "orphan" genitive, modal expressions (e.g. `may,' `prefer,' `should') and time expressions. A separate chapter treats word order, the placing of clitics, and the relation between theme and rheme in deciding word order. Particularly valuable is the chapter providing hints on enriching the learner's vocabulary through an understanding of prefixes, suffixes and the derivational process. An additional attractive feature of Derbyshire's book is the inclusion of word and subject indices which enable the reader to locate individual vocabulary items discussed throughout the text, as well as specific points of grammar and syntax. This work may easily be used with existing grammars of Slovene (a bibliography of textbooks and dictionaries is provided), most of which are monolingual in Slovene and do not present grammar in a systematic way. To that end Derbyshire's reference grammar provides a list of grammatical terminology in Slovene as well as easy to read charts presenting declensions and conjugations, each followed by lists of commonly encountered exceptions. Anyone interested in Slovene will want to own this indispensible volume. "Overall, however, this is an excellent book that fills a real need." (SEEJ) "...an indispensable help to students and teachers alike." (SR) "...the most comprehensive treatment in English of Slovene grammar that has appeared to date." (MLJ) "...a book in which the material of Slovene grammar is clearly set out, free of cant and obfuscation, and well indexed to boot." (Word) "...a clear and well organised, indexed and structured account of most of what the beginner and intermediate learner needs." (ASEES) "... most welcome ... it has a clear layout ... Explanations and comments are lucid ..." (SEER)