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Charles Wukasch (A Practical Gramm…): Abbreviations: N = nominative case, A = accusative case, G = genitive case, D = dative case, P = pre…
Charles Wukasch (A Practical Gramm…): Instrumental Case We have one more case to discuss, with the exception of the uncommon vocative ca…
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A Practical Grammar of Upper Sorbian (Wendish), 2nd Edition, by Dr Charles Wukasch

Monday 16 May 2016 at 3:40 pm.


 In the preface to the first edition, I stated that I hoped the grammar would serve at least two purposes: 1) as a self-teaching grammar for those people of Sorbian (Wendish) descent who wished to learn something about the language; 2) as a grammar for a continuing education course in Upper Sorbian or for a course in Upper Sorbian given in a department of Slavic languages. I also added the caveat that my introductory grammar was not intended to substitute for any of the more detailed grammars by native speakers of Upper Sorbian.

The English equivalents which are the equivalent of the Upper Sorbian letters of the alphabet are sometimes rough equivalents. The best thing, of course, is to ask a native speaker how to pronounce a word. However, given that that is not always feasible, an approximation of a sound is better than nothing.

 I was flattered that the first edition was favorably reviewed in 1994 by the Slavic and East European Journal, one of the leading journals devoted to Slavic and Eastern European studies. I hope that this edition will also be a contribution to the field of Sorbian studies.

 If anyone has questions about the book, notices typos, etc., please feel free to contact me at accprof@att.net or through the Texas Wendish Heritage Society Press, 1011 County Road 212, Giddings, TX 78942.

 I wish to dedicate this work to the Texas Wends with whom I did field work on various occasions years ago: Carl and Martin Miertschin, Herman Bigon, and Ben Mitschke. They had pride in their Wendish background and continued to use the Wendish language until their death.


Charles Wukasch

Wendish Salutations, Valedictions

When one of you asked me yesterday or the day before what my Wendish salutation meant in English, I thought “maybe s/he’d like to use it in e-mailing his/her friends in Germany. After all, even if one doesn’t know the language, it’s nice to at least know a few common expressions in that language.

One minor correction re your question: Technically, a salutation begins a letter or e-mail, e.g., “Dear Bob” or “Dear Dr. Smith” or whatever. Endings of letters are called valedictions, e.g., “sincerely” or “yours truly.”

Wendish valedictions

Wszystkiego najlepszego a wutrobny postrow,

[All the best and heartfelt greetings], (your name)

Wšitko dobre přeje

[All the best is wished by], (your name)

Lubje strowi a přeje Wam rjany dźeń

[Cordially greeted by and you are wished a beautiful day by], (your name)


[Hugs from!] (your name)

Měj so rjenje!

[hard to translate: literally, “Have it beautifully!”] (your name)

Grammatical note: The above is for addressing one person. For two people, it would be Mějtej so rjenje! and for three or more Mějće so rjenje!

[And, of course, that good old Wendish “goodbye!”] (your name)

Wendish salutations

Luby or Luba [followed by name] [Dear X]

The -y ending is for a male; the -a ending is for a female, e.g.,
“Luby Weldon” and “Luba Luisa”

[Grammatical note: Male names take the vocative ending -o when being addressed, but you don’t need to worry that much about it. If you want to be 100% correct, write, for example, Luby Jano (“dear John”) or Luby Pawoło (“dear Paul”)

[informal, like English “Hey!”]

Interesting trivia:
I asked my Wendish friend Julija (she was one of the assistants at the Wendish course this past July) if there’s any equivalent in Wendish (Sorbian) of English “TTYL” (“talk to you later”). She said it’s
hdp (hač do potom).

I hope you’ve all enjoyed your Wendish lesson for today. HDP!

Charles Wukasch - 11/13/2016 20:39
Charles Wukasch

Old Slavic Months of the Year

One of you said s/he’d like a lesson per week. I won’t promise one on any set schedule, but I will send out some interesting (well, I hope they’re interesting) facts about the Sorbian (Wendish) language from time to time. One interesting thing is that, although the Latin names for the months are still used the most, there have been efforts to reintroduce the old Slavic names of centuries ago. These are the archaic names of the months in Upper Sorbian (Wendish). When I return, I’m going to give you a quiz on them at the first TWHS meeting I attend. The member getting the lowest score will have to sit in the corner wearing a čapka hłupaka (dunce cap). LOL

January: wulki róžk (róžk = corner, literally “the big corner”)

February: mały róžk (róžk = corner, literally “the small corner”)

March: nalětnik (lětnik = vintage, year)

April: jutrownik (from jutry, the “Easter month”)

May: róžownik (from róža = rose, literally “the month of roses”)

June: smažnik (both smažnik and pražnik are related to the verb meaning “to cook, roast”)

July: pražnik (both smažnik and pražnik are related to the verb meaning “to cook, roast”)

August: žnjenc (from žně = harvest)

September: póžnjenc (“after the harvest”)

October: winowc (from wino wine, literally “the month of grapevines”)

November: nazymnik (zyma winter, literally “approaching the winter”)

December: hodownik (hody Christmas, “the Christmas month”)

Charles Wukasch - 11/13/2016 20:40
Charles Wukasch

Pronunciation of Days of the Week

To the person who wanted a regular Wendish lesson, remember: Be prepared for a quiz at the first meeting I attend upon my return. LOL

Let’s learn the days of the week today. By knowing the structure of the words, they won’t be so hard to learn.

njedźela = Sunday (from the roots nje (“not”) and dźel (“work”), i.e., “don’t work on Sunday”); njedźela: NYEH-je-lah (Note: “j” as in judge .)

póndźela = Monday (from the root po (“after”), i.e., the day after Sunday); póndźela: PUHN-je-lah (Note: “j” as in judge .)

wutora = Tuesday (from the root wtor (“second”), i.e., the second day of the work week); wutora: WOO-toh-ra

srjeda = Wednesday (from the root srjed (“middle”), i.e., the middle day of the work week); srjeda: SRYEa

štwórtk = Thursday (from the root štwór (“fourth”), i.e., the fourth day of the work week); štwórtk: SHTWURTK (one syllable)

pjatk = Friday (from the root pjat (“fifth”), i.e., the fifth day of the work week); pjatk: PYAHTK (one syllable)

sobota = Saturday (this is easy: the Sabbath); sobota: SAW-boh-tah
Note: In Christianity, we think of the Sabbath as being Sunday. However, in Judaism the Sabbath is sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

Charles Wukasch - 11/16/2016 12:14
Charles Wukasch

Pronunciation Lesson

One of you wrote me that it would be helpful to explain how Wendish words are pronounced. Let me give you a few rules and you can refer back to this:
In one or two cases, these are approximations. If you’re not sure, on your next trip to the “old country,” ask a Wendish speaker how he or she says something.

Letters we don’t have in English or which are used differently:

č= “c” with a chevron (called in Czech a háček – think of “hot check”) is pronounced like “ch” in English, e.g., Charles, church, etc.

ć= (same as above – two letters with the same pronunciation)

dź= like “j” in English judge, jump, etc.

ě= like “i” in English sit, bit, pit, etc.

ch= sort of a “k” which is held for a second – pretend you’re clearing your throat

j= like “y” in yes, yell, etc.

ł= (“l” with a line through it) like “w” in English win, Wukasch, etc.

ń= like “ny” in canyon, but one syllable

ó= like “u” in put

š= like “sh” in ship, shell, etc.

ř= This letter normally follows “p” and is pronounced like š above.

y= like “u” in but, cut, etc.

ž= like “s” or “z” in English illusion, azure

Charles Wukasch - 11/18/2016 10:15
Charles Wukasch

Wendish Greetings

Some of you correspond with Wends in the “old country.” You may want to add a phrase or two in Wendish to your letters and e-mails to show them that you’re making an attempt to keep up your heritage. Of course, some of them may not know any more Wendish than you do. As I’ve said before, it’s a pity that the Lutheran Wends aren’t keeping up their language to the extent that the Catholic Wends are.

Suppose someone passes on some good news, especially when he or she might have been expecting the worst. You might reply:
Bohudźak! This means “thanks be to God!”

Suppose someone you haven’t heard from in ages writes. You might reply: Tajka dobra překwapjenka! This means “what a pleasant surprise!”

Suppose someone passes on some bad news. You might reply: To je jara škoda! This means “what a pity!”

Suppose someone hasn’t written in a while and you’re concerned. You might ask: Je wšitko w porjadku? This means “is everything OK?”

Suppose someone is coming to visit or you’re on your way to visit someone. You might say: Wjeselimoj so na zasowidźenje! This means “we’re (a couple speaking) looking forward to seeing you again.”

Wjeselimy so na zasowidźenje! This means “we’re (the whole family) looking forward to seeing you again.”

Wjeselu so na zasowidźenje! This means “I’m (one person speaking) looking forward to seeing you again.”

Charles Wukasch - 11/25/2016 11:41
Charles Wukasch

“Is the J an H?”

As I explained in my posting on the Upper Sorbian (Wendish) alphabet, what is written as a “J” in Wendish is actually pronounced like a “Y.” For example, the word “Jan” (English: John) is pronounced “yahn.” (It actually rhymes with “John.”)

It can be confusing because two of you (my sister and my second cousin) have the first name “Jan.” In English, of course, the “J” is pronounced like Wendish “Dź,” as in “judge,” “Judy,” etc. So, when you see the word “Jan,” you have to ask “is it Wendish ‘John’?” or “is it English ‘Jan’?” In the Slavic languages (e.g., Wendish and Czech), the female name “Jan” (like my sister’s and my second cousin’s first name) is spelled “Jana” and is pronounced “yah-nah.”

Charles Wukasch - 11/26/2016 10:06
Charles Wukasch

“Genders in Sorbian”

Sorbian (both Upper and Lower), like many other languages, has what is called grammatical gender, as opposed to natural gender (e.g., English). In Sorbian, although some nouns have inherent (i.e., natural) gender, most nouns do not. In other words, gender is not predictable.

There are three genders in Sorbian: masculine, feminine, and neuter.

Masculine nouns normally end in a consonant. Examples:

wobchod (“store”) dźeń (“day”)

Feminine nouns normally end in -a . Examples:

kniha (“book”) woda (“water”)

Neuter nouns normally end in -o . Examples:

wokno (“window”) morjo (“sea”)

Some Sorbian nouns do exhibit natural gender, e.g.,

nan (“father”) wowka (“grandmother”)

Charles Wukasch - 12/11/2016 19:25
Charles Wukasch

Wendish is a highly inflected language.

Let me explain what inflected means just in case one or two of you aren’t familiar with the term. It means words require various endings, depending on what’s being said. English isn’t a very inflected language. For example, consider the following sentences:

John is a teacher.
John sees the teacher.
John gives the teacher a book.
John is standing behind the teacher.
John is talking about the teacher.

The word teacher doesn’t change. In Wendish, however, each use of teacher above would necessitate a separate ending. The only ending which English requires is the possessive ending -‘s , e.g., The teacher’s car is parked over there.

We say that we decline nouns, adjectives, and pronouns, whereas we conjugate verbs. This is arbitrary. We could just as easily reverse the terms. There’s an old joke where two Latin teachers are talking. (Latin is also a highly inflected language.) One says to the other: “I failed Smith this past semester.” “Why?” asks the other. “I told him to conjugate some verbs for me, but he declined.”

In the next lesson, we’ll learn the difference between the nominative and accusative cases of Wendish nouns.

Charles Wukasch - 12/20/2016 23:31
Charles Wukasch

Here are a few more Wendish expressions you might want to use:

Ja so tež wjeselu na zasowidźenje! I’m looking forward to getting together again!

Rjenje wot Tebje słyšeć! It’s nice to hear from you again!

Sćelu Ći wulke serbske wobjimanje! I’m sending you a big Wendish hug!

Tohorunje! And vice versa!

The above are from the correspondence between me and my Wendish “pen-pal.” She was one of the assistants at the summer course this past July. She’s from Ralbitz (Wendish: Ralbicy), which some call the “most Wendish village” in Lusatia, meaning that they’re doing the best job of keeping the language alive. (Bless their hearts for it!). She also writes:

On the weekend I was in Ralbitz to celebrate my brother´s birthday. We also prepared a small cozy christmas market in the village, it was so beautiful. We sold hot wine, soup, sausages, sweets and candys. Later the Rumpodich (serbske słowo for Santa Clause) came and the kids sang songs, declaimed poems and told him their wishes for Christmas. He had a big dog with reindeer horns, it was his Rudoph.

I help her with her English and she helps me with my Wendish. She has the tougher job because, although she makes little mistakes (like in the paragraph above), she’s nonetheless reasonably fluent in English.

Charles Wukasch - 12/21/2016 10:52
Charles Wukasch

Christmas Eve in Wendish is either Patoržica or Boža Nóc. In German, of course, it’s Heilige Abend.

Charles Wukasch - 12/24/2016 16:44
Charles Wukasch

I’ve mentioned that Wendish (Sorbian is the preferred technical term) is a highly inflected language. Let’s discuss today the nominative and accusative cases.


This is what we call in English the subject of a sentence. Here are examples in Upper Sorbian, the more common of the two Sorbian languages. As I’ve said, Lower Sorbian is, if not dead, on life support.

masculine: Student je tu. (The student is here.)

feminine: Kniha je tu. (The book is here.)

neuter: Mloko je tu. (The milk is here.)

Note: Upper Sorbian doesn’t have an article, at least in the literary language. The English definite and indefinite articles (the and a(n) ) are understood.


This is what we call in English the direct object of a sentence. The masculine and neuter don’t change. With the feminine, the -a changes to -u .

masculine: Mam kofej. (I have coffee.)

feminine: Mam wodu. (I have water.)

neuter: Mam mloko. (I have milk.)

Notice that only woda (“water”) changes since it’s feminine.

Charles Wukasch - 12/26/2016 00:41
Charles Wukasch

I asked a Wendish friend if the Wends, like the Germans, Poles, etc. call New Year’s Eve “Sylwester” (some languages, e.g., German, spell it slightly differently). She wrote back

Staj měłoj rjany Sylwesterski wječor? Haj, pola Serbow rěka to tež Sylwester. In English: “Did the two of you have a good New Year’s Eve? Yes, we Wends also say Sylwester.”

Why do the Germans, Wends, Poles, etc. call New Year’s Eve Sylwester or Silvester. Here’s the explanation from an on-line encyclopedia:

Silvester is the German name for New Year’s Eve – owing to the fourth century Pope Sylvester I. Eventually made a saint by the Catholic Church, his feast day is observed on December 31.

Charles Wukasch - 01/1/2017 14:51
Charles Wukasch

Here’s your lesson for the first week of 2017:

We’ve had the nominative and accusative cases of nouns in the singular. This was pretty straight-forward because the terms nominative and accusative match up pretty exactly with the terms subject of sentence and object of sentence in English grammar.

Let’s now discuss the genitive case in Wendish. The genitive case is the equivalent of what we call in English the possessive. There are two ways to express the “genitive” in English:

1) The most common is an apostrophe “s” construction, e.g., “Dr. Wukasch’s grammar isn’t exactly a best-seller.” (a little self-deprecating humor never hurts – we all need lessons in humility and I’ve certainly had my share)

2) Another construction is with the preposition “of”, e.g. “The price of Dr. Wukasch’s book is too high. Maybe if we sold them for a dollar a copy, they’d sell more quickly.” (another LOL)

In Sorbian (Wendish), one forms the genitive singular of nouns in the following way. (There are exceptions, as in any language, but let’s discuss for now the regular cases.

Masculine: Add an -a to the word. Examples: kniha nana (“father’s book”), awto profesora (“the professor’s car”)

Neuter: The genitive singular also involves -a, but you must first drop the -o. Examples: słód mloka (“the taste of the milk”),

barba awta (“the color of the car”)

Feminine: Change the -a to -y. Example: słód wody (“the taste of the water”)

On the other hand, if the stem of the word ends in k, h, or g, you add i.

Examples: kniha wowki (“grandmother’s book”) barba knihi (“the color of the book”)

Charles Wukasch - 01/3/2017 11:02
Charles Wukasch

Personal Pronouns

Let’s leave the noun declensions temporarily and today learn the personal pronouns:

I = ja

you (singular) = ty

he = wón

she = wona

it – wono (or wone – both are correct)

we (plural) = my

you (plural – y’all) = wy

they = woni

Note: If you want to be polite when addressing an adult with whom you’re not close, use “wy.” For those of you who know German, this is like using “Sie” instead of “du.” For those of you who know Spanish, this is like using “Usted” instead of “tú.”

The above are pretty straightforward. However, let’s look at these forms:

we (two) = mój

you (two) = wój

they (two) = wonej

Wendish has separate forms to indicate two of something, whether it be people or objects.

For example, if I wanted to say “we,” meaning my “wife and I,” I would use “mój.” If someone wanted to address my wife and me, s/he would use “wój.” And if someone were asking about my wife and me, s/he would say “Hdźe stej wonej?” Where are the two of them?

I’ll end with a corny joke about pronouns. In English class, the teacher asked a student “can you name two pronouns?” The young man, who had fallen asleep, woke up and asked loudly “Who? Me?”

Charles Wukasch - 01/10/2017 22:44
Charles Wukasch

Let’s learn the verb być (“to be”):

ja sym “I am”

ty sy “you are”

wón je “he is”
wona je “she is”

my smy “we are”

wy sće “you (plural) are” (or as we say in Texas: “y’all are”)

woni su “they are”

mój smój “we (two of us) are”

wój stej “you (two of you) are”

wonej stej “they (two) are”

Now for the negative:

ja njejsym “I’m not”

ty njejsy “you aren’t”

wón njeje “he isn’t”
wona njeje “she isn’t”

my njejsmy “we aren’t”

wy njejsće “you (plural) aren’t” (or as we say in Texas: “y’all aren’t”)

woni njejsu “they aren’t”

mój njejsmój “we (two of us) aren’t”

wój njejstej “you (two of you) aren’t”

wonej njejstej “they (two) aren’t”

Charles Wukasch - 02/3/2017 14:44
Charles Wukasch

For those of you who may have forgotten your English grammar, possessive adjectives are words like my, your, etc.
Remember: Wendish is a highly inflected language, meaning it has lots of endings.

mój nan (my father – masc.)

moja wowka (my grandmother – fem.)
moje awto (my car – neut.)

twój nan (your father – masc.)
twoja wowka (your grandmother – fem.)
twoje awto (your car – neut.)

naš nan (our father – masc.)
naša wowka (our grandmother – fem.)
naše awto (our car – neut.)

waš nan (your father – pl. masc.)
waša wowka (your grandmother – pl. fem.)
waše awto (your car – pl. neut.)

Remember: The second person plural form can be used both for three or more people, or for one adult person if you don’t know him/her well. In the next lesson, I’ll discuss the third person (he, she, it, they) forms, plus the dual forms.

Charles Wukasch - 02/3/2017 14:44
Charles Wukasch

A week or so ago, I gave you the possessive adjectives mój, twój, naš, and waš. Today let’s cover rest of them: jeho, jeje, jich, jeju, naju, and waju. None of these forms are declined for gender, case, or number.

jeho “his” Examples: jeho nan (“his father”) jeho kniha (“his book”) jeho awto (“his car”)

jeje “her” Examples: jeje nan (“her father”) jeje kniha (“her book”) jeje awto (“her car”)

jich “their” Examples: jich nan (“their father”) jich kniha (“their book”) jich awto (“their car”)

Now if you’re talking about two people, remember that Wendish has a separate form.

jeju “their” (two people) Examples: jeju nan (“their father”) jeju kniha (“their book”) jeju awto (“their car”)

naju “our” (two people) Examples: naju nan (“our father”) naju kniha (“our book”) naju awto (“our car”)

waju “your” (two people) Examples: waju nan (“your father”) waju kniha (“your book”) waju awto (“your car”)

Wendish has an interesting form which I’ll now explain: swój, swoja, swoje, etc. mean “one’s own.” Let me illustrate its use by contrasting the following two sentences:

Wón pije swoje piwo. He’s drinking his (his own) beer.

Wón pije jeho piwo. He’s drinking his (someone else’s) beer. (Comment: Shame on him! Let him buy his own beer!)

Charles Wukasch - 02/3/2017 14:45
Charles Wukasch

While I was in Germany, we got behind in our Wendish lessons. Today’s lesson is the irregular verb měć (“to have”). In English, the verb “to have” is probably the most used after the verb “to be,” and I assume it’s the same in Wendish.

mam “I have”

maš “you (singular) have”

ma “he/she/it has”

mamy “we have”

maće “you (plural, or polite singular) have”

maja “they have”

And don’t forget the dual forms:

mamoj “we (the two of us) have”

matej “you (the two of you) have”

matej “they (the two of them) have”

The negative of měć is irregular. Unlike most verbs, which take the prefix -nje , this verb takes the prefix -ni , e.g.,

nimam “I don’t have”

nimaš “you don’t have”


Charles Wukasch - 02/15/2017 10:32
Charles Wukasch

Today’s lesson is the group of verbs which end in -ać. An example is the verb čitać (“to read”). First, a few general comments:

Unlike in English, Wendish doesn’t have a progressive tense. In English, we differentiate, for example, “I read” from “I am reading” (a general action as opposed to what one is doing at that very moment). Wendish, however, doesn’t have a progressive tense. One must tell from the context what is meant. English also has an emphatic construction, e.g., “I do read!” (someone asks why you don’t read and you want to emphasize that you do read). Wendish doesn’t have an emphatic construction.

čitam “I read”

čitaš “you (singular) read”

čita “he/she reads”

čitamy “we read”

čitaće “you (plural, or polite singular) read”

čitaja “they read”

And don’t forget the dual forms:

čitamoj “we (the two of us) read”

čitatej “you (the two of you) read”

čitatej “they (the two of them) read”

To form the negative, add the prefix -nje , e.g.,

nječitam “I don’t read”

nječitaš “you don’t read”


Charles Wukasch - 02/17/2017 10:51
Charles Wukasch

We’ve had the nominative (subject), accusative (direct object), and genitive (possessive) of nouns. Now let’s consider the dative case. The dative case is the indirect object. Consider the English sentence “I gave Mother a book.” “Mother” is the indirect object, i.e., the book was given to her.

In Wendish, the normal ending for masculine and neuter nouns is -ej. For feminine nouns, it’s -je.

Let’s illustrate its use with the -a verb pomhać (“to help”). This verb requires the dative case. In Wendish, you literally say “help to someone.”

Pomham Janej. I’m helping John.

Pomham žonje. I’m helping the woman.

Charles Wukasch - 02/19/2017 16:35
Charles Wukasch

Today’s lesson is the group of verbs which end in -ić or -eć. An example is the verb rěčeć (“to speak”).

rěču “I speak”

rěčiš “you (singular) speak”

rěči “he/she speaks”

rěčimy “we speak”

rěčiće “you (plural, or polite singular) speak” [Comment: In the English of the South, “y’all speak.”]

rěča “they speak”

And don’t forget the dual forms:

rěčimoj “we (the two of us) speak”

rěčitej “you (the two of you) speak”

rěčitej “they (the two of them) speak”

To form the negative, add the prefix -nje, e.g.,

njerěču “I don’t speak”

njerěčiš “you don’t speak,” etc.

[Comment: In Texas Wendish, the verb was pojedać. For example, if someone in Serbin wanted to ask someone else if she/he spoke Wendish, she/he’d ask “Pojedaš serbsce?”, or to be more polite “Pojedaće serbsce?”]

Charles Wukasch - 02/20/2017 15:10
Charles Wukasch

Verbs like pić

These are often monosyllabic verbs. The verb pić (“to drink”) is an example:

piju “I drink, am drinking”

piješ “you (singular) drink, are drinking”

pije “he/she drinks, are drinking”

pijemy “we drink, are drinking”

pijeće “you (plural, or singular polite) drink, are drinking”

pija “they drink, are drinking”

And, of course, we have the dual forms:

pijemoj “we (the two of us) drink, are drinking”

pijetej “you (the two of you) drink, are drinking”

pijetej “they (the two of them) drink, are drinking”

Other verbs which follow this pattern are bić (“to beat”), šić (“to sew”), and myć (“to wash, bathe”). As usual, the negative is formed by prefixing -nje , e.g., Jano, njepiješ twoje mloko. “John, you’re not drinking your milk.”

Charles Wukasch - 02/26/2017 19:13
Charles Wukasch

The Prepositional Case

The prepositional case is used after the prepositions w (“in”), na (“on”), and wo (“about, concerning”).

The basic ending is -je .

Budyšin (Bautzen)

w Budyšinje (in Bautzen, e.g., “They live in Bautzen.”)

wo Budyšinje (about Bautzen, e.g., “They’re talking about Bautzen.”)

wokno (window)

na woknje (on the window, e.g., “There’s dirt on the window.”)

mašina (machine)

w mašinje (in the machine, e.g., “There’s dirt in the machine.”)

Charles Wukasch - 02/27/2017 17:07
Charles Wukasch

Sound Changes in the Prepositional Case.

You will recall that the normal ending for the prepositional case (i.e., the case which the prepositions w (“in”), na (“on”), and wo (“about”) take) is -je. However, some consonants undergo a sound change in the prepositional case:

t becomes ć

d becomes dź

h becomes z

k becomes c

ch becomes š

ł becomes l

tr becomes tř


město (“city”) Wón bydli w měsće. (“He lives in the city.”)

blido (“table”) Chlěb je na blidźe. (“The bread is on the table.”)

doł (“valley”) Naša chěža je w dole. (“Our house is in the valley.”)

sotra (“sister”) Myslu wo sotře. (“I’m thinking about (my) sister.”)

kniha (“book”) List (“letter”) je w knize. (“The letter is in the book.”)

Charles Wukasch - 03/6/2017 14:21
Charles Wukasch

Instrumental Case

We have one more case to discuss, with the exception of the uncommon vocative case. This is the instrumental case.

The instrumental case is used after the prepositions z (“with”), za (“behind”), mjez (“between”), nad (“over”), pod (“under”), and před (“in front of”),

Masculine and neuter nouns take the ending -om; feminine nouns take the ending -u. Examples:

Ja sym tu z nanom. “I’m here with (my) father.”

Wón sedźi mjez Janom a Madlenu. “He’s sitting between John and Madlena.”

Wobraz wisa na sćěnje nad telewizorom. “The painting is hanging on the wall above the TV.”

Ja sedźu před Boženu. “I sit in front of Bozhena.”


sedźeć (“to sit”) is conjugated ja sedźu, ty sedźiš, wón/wona sedźi, etc.

sćěna (“wall”)

tu (“here”)

wisać (“to hang,” i.e., “a picture is hanging”)

wobraz (“painting”)

Sorbian, like all languages, makes use of obvious loanwords. An example above is telewizor (“TV”).

Charles Wukasch - 03/11/2017 18:30
Charles Wukasch

Abbreviations: N = nominative case, A = accusative case, G = genitive case, D = dative case, P = prepositional case,
I = instrumental case. The reason I write “ (wo) “ and “ (z) “ below is to show that the prepositional and instrumental cases are only used after prepositions. They never stand alone.

First person singular (“I”):

N ja

A mje

G mje

D mi

P (wo) mni

I (z) mnu

Second person singular (“you”)

N ty

A će

G će

D ći

P (wo) tebi

I (z) tobu

Third person singular (“he”)

N wón

A jeho

G jeho

D jemu

P (wo) nim

I (z) nim

Third person singular (“she”)

N wona

A ju

G jeje

D jej

P njej

I njej

And now it’s time for a short quiz. I’ll give you a sentence and you supply the correct form of the pronoun. To help you, I’ll supply the English translation.

1, Ja _____ widźu. (“I see you.”) (Use singular informal form.)

2. Ja rěču wo _____. (“I’m talking about her.”)

3. Ja sym tu z _____. (“I’m here with him.”)

4. Rěča wo _____. (“They’re talking about me.”)

Richard, quit copying from Cathleen’s quiz! LOL

5. Wona mysli wo _____. (“She’s thinking about you.”)

Charles Wukasch - 03/14/2017 17:21

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