miconazole (miconazole) wrote in linguaphiles,
miconazole
miconazole
linguaphiles

Slavic language question grab bag

Well, I didn't want to flood the community with questions, and most of these are about Croatian anyway since I just did a 7-week course in basic Croatian (don't ask why, it is a mystery). Anyone speak Croatian? Okay, let's go!

1. This is only kind of a question, but I've noticed some Croatian words have some kind of weird consonant switcheroo going on, for instance "who" is "tko" instead of "kto" like in every other Slavic language. This bothers me as I find "tko" inexplicably difficult to pronounce (why "tk" should be harder than any other Slavic consonant mishmash, I don't know >_>). Anyway, what's up with that?

2. What's the difference between č and ć? Wikipedia seems to indicate that the only difference is one is "alveolo-palatal" while the other is "palato-alveolar". Wtf, is this some kind of sick linguist joke? (note: I have no formal linguistics education. Perhaps it shows...)

3. Our teacher didn't want to go into cases so for possessives she taught us the xxxx-ov/in (e.g. Ivanov) form instead of genitive case because it's "easier". Being a 100% lazy ass I think she's totally wrong about this since if you use xxxx-ov you have to inflect depending on whether the subject is masculine, feminine, neuter, masculine plural, feminine plural or neuter plural, while with the genitive form you... don't (as far as I know). But anyway, she says the xxxx-ov form is like saying "The car of Ivan" while the genitive form is like "Ivan's car". So what's the difference in usage between the two, which is more natural, etc?

4. A Russian question, for variety! It came to mind due to the last question. I seem to recall reading, a while ago, from a fairly reputable source (what source, though, I've forgotten) some article about the Russian patriarchy. Specifically, it said the -a ending in female Russian surnames (e.g. Ivanov is a man's surname, Ivanova is the female equivalent) is a genitive ending and signifies that the woman belongs to her husband/father.

My first thought: Wtf, that's not a genitive ending!
Second thought: ... Or is it?

So, uh, Russian -a ending: genitive, or just feminine? Is there some sort of definitive answer for this?

--

Right, that's everything. Thanks for putting up with my frivolous and possibly unanswerable questions! :D
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