83 Depth and Distance: Abstract Nouns

In Croatian, as in English, many adjectives (e.g. deep) have associated abstract nouns (e.g. depth).

As in English, various adjectives use various suffixes to create abstract nouns in Croatian. For some adjectives, -ina gets added to create an abstract noun:

brz fastbrzina speed, velocity
topao (topl-) warmtoplina warmth, heat ®
vješt skilledvještina skill
vruć hotvrućina heat (extreme)

Of the two nouns standing for heat, only the noun toplina is used in the generic sense, e.g. in science. As you can see, the resulting noun has always stress on the i from the suffix. Adjectives that discard a part of them when making a comparative (e.g. -ok or -ak), discard it as well when making abstract nouns:

dubok deepdubina depth
širok wideširina width
težak (tešk-) heavytežina weight
visok highvisina height

For some adjectives, there's a shift in consonants, the same as in comparatives:

debeo (debel) thick, fatdebljina thickness
jak strongjačina strength
tih quiet, silenttišina silence

(Abstract nouns don't always have a shift when comparatives have one: for instance, from visok, the comparative is viši, but the abstract noun is visina, without the shift sš.)

Abstract nouns can even be derived from some question-words that behave like adjectives, and even from few comparatives; results are often very generic nouns:

kolik how bigkoličina quantity
manji smallermanjina minority
velik bigveličina size
veći biggervećina majority

Certain once abstract nouns evolved specific meanings, e.g. nizina means lowlands.

Few adjectives make abstract nouns by adding -oća:

čist cleančistoća cleanliness
gluh deafgluhoća deafness
hladan (hladn-) coldhladnoća cold

Very few adjectives add -ota. If adjectives contain a sequence ije, it's shortened to je in abstract nouns:

lijep nice, prettyljepota beauty
slijep blindsljepoća blindness

Next, there are few adjectives that add -stvo, creating neuter nouns (after discarding the final -n in adjectives, if present). The stress is on the syllable right before the suffix:

bogat richbogatstvo richness
iskusan (iskusn-) experiencediskustvo experience
siromašan (siromašn-) poorsiromaštvo poverty
zadovoljan (zadovoljn-) satisfiedzadovoljstvo satisfaction

This suffix is use to create abstract nouns out of a couple of other nouns as well:

car emperorcarstvo empire
član memberčlanstvo membership
kralj kingkraljevstvo kingdom
prijatelj friendprijateljstvo friendship

The vast majority of adjectives use another suffix to make abstract nouns: -ost (or a variation, -nost). It can be, in fact, regarded as the default suffix for abstract nouns. The result is always a feminine noun ending in a consonant:

glup stupidglupost f stupidity
mlad youngmladost f youth, young age
slab weakslabost f weakness
star oldstarost f age

This suffix creates three quite important nouns, from present adjectives and a past adjective:

budući futurebudućnost f future
moguć possiblemogućnost f possibility
prošao (prošl-) pastprošlost f past

The stress is mostly moved to the syllable that precedes the suffix. More important nouns created by this suffix:

opasan (opasn-) dangerousopasnost f danger
sličan (sličn-) similar, alikesličnost f similarity
slučajan (slučajn-) accidentalslučajnost f coincidence
stvaran (stvarn-) realstvarnost f reality
udaljen distantudaljenost f distance

Potential adjectives always use this suffix to create abstract nouns:

vidljiv visiblevidljivost f visibility
osjetljiv sensitiveosjetljivost f sensitivity

Some nouns created by -ost have meaning that's not obvious from the adjective they are derived from:

umjetan (umjetn-) artificialumjetnost f art

While English art has a wide meaning, Croatian umjetnost f means only painting, making sculptures and other high arts.

Some nouns changed meaning over time, or the adjectives they were created from fell out of use:

prednost f priority, advantage
radost f joy
znanost f science ®
žalost f sadness

® The word znanost f is specific to Croatian. In Bosnia and Serbia, the word nauka is more common; instead of toplina, toplota is used in Bosnia and Serbia.

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5 Easy Croatian: 83 Depth and Distance: Abstract Nouns In Croatian, as in English, many adjectives (e.g. deep ) have associated abstract nouns (e.g. depth ). As in English, various adjectives ...

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