Characteristics of the Croatian language in AX Semantics


In Croatian, you need to know the gender of a noun to form (together with number and case) the accompanying adjectives, determiners, numerals, and pronouns correctly.

Croatian has three genders for nouns: masculine (animate and inanimate), feminine and neuter. There are two numbers: singular and plural. Additionally, Croatian has seven cases for nouns.

grammatical namevaluesexamples
gendermasculine inanimatestari auto
(the old car)
masculine animatestari doktor
(the old doctor)
femininestara žena
(the old woman)
neuterstaro kazalište
(the old theater)
numbersingularstari auto
(the old car)
pluralstari auti
(the old cars)
cases (noun)nominativepas
(the dog)
accusativeVidim psa.
(I see the dog.)
dativeDajem loptu psu.
(I give the ball to the dog.)
genitivepsa zvono
(the dog's bell)
vocativeOvo je bilo dobro, psu.
(This was good, dog.)
locativePtica sleti na psu.
(The bird lands on the dog.)
instrumentalSlijepac hoda sa psom.
(The blind man walks with a dog.)
adjectives (noun)before nouncrvena kuća
(red house)
verb tensespresenton radi
(he works)
past (imperfect)on rađaše
(he worked)
past participle passiverađen
past participle activeon je radio
(he worked)

The standard order of a noun phrase in Croatian is the following:

preposition + determiner + numeral + adjective + noun

See for example:

o      ove     tri    popularne    knjige
about  these   three  popular      book
PREP   DET     NUM    ADJ          NOUN
"about these three popular books"



Croatian nouns are inflected for number and case. Lexicon entries for nouns may also be necessary for inflecting determiners, adjectives and pronouns correctly. They are omitted, if a lexicon entry is required, but missing.


The basic lexicon entry for kuća (house) contains:

  • gender: feminine
  • inflection table for case and number:


If you need lexicon entries for countries, contact support about that and you will get them for Croatian with automatic handling of prepositions.


In the lexicon, the inflection table encodes gender/animacy, case, number and definiteness. For adjective position, the default is "before noun".


Croatian verbs inflect for person, number, tense, and in some cases gender. The most common verbs are encoded in our software. If a verb inflects incorrectly, you should add it to the lexicon.

The future tense in Croatian can be formed via present tense of htjeti + infinitive verb. Thus, you can easily use present tense in verb containers to express the future tense. Take the verb jesti (to eat) for example:

(to eat [inf.])
Ja ću jesti.
(I will eat. [future])

Participles in Croatian can be used in a particular voice: active or passive. See the examples with the verb izgraditi (pf, to build) below:

Maria je izgradila kuću. = Maria has built the house. (active)
Kuća je izgrađena. = The house was built. (passive)

Container settings


The AX NLG platform supports the following determiners for Croatian: definite, indefinite, demonstrative, medial, distal, and possessive.


The noun will automatically agree with the numeral number when a numeral variable is used. Four types of numerals are possible on the AX NLG platform: cardinal, cardinal as digit, ordinal, and ordinal as digit.

textjedan dan
(one day)
prvi dan
(the first day)
digit1 dan
(1 day)
1. dan
(the 1st day)

In Croatian, case and number for nouns and adjectives change based on numerals (if no other case than nominative or accusative is set). See for example:

Numeralcase / numberexample
1Nominative Singular1 crvena kuća
(1 red house)
2-4Genitive/Singular3 crvene kuće
(3 red houses)
>= 5Genitive/Plural7 crvenih kuća
(7 red houses)

For Croatian, both cardinal and ordinal numerals are written out until 20, otherwise (above 20) the output is in digit form. Take cardinal numerals for example:

dvadeset automobila
(twenty cars)
21 automobil
(21 cars)


If users configure prepositions in the container, they are automatically adapted, if vocalization needs to happen. As the below example shows, s becomes sa when the next word starts with a sibilant or similar consonant (e.g., š or z).

s autom
(with the car)
sa školom
(with the school)

Preposition switch

On the AX NLG platform, the settings for the container Njemačka (Germany) are: preposition="u" and case="loc".

u Njemačkoj
(in Germany)

For the below sentence with a different place (i.e. Island (Iceland)), the platform settings are the same as above (preposition="u", case="loc"), but the lexical information changes the preposition and shows a switch from u to na:

na Islandu
(in Iceland)

Fleeting a

"Fleeting a" describes the phenomenon of a short a appearing and disappearing in the inflected forms of certain nouns. See the noun bórac (fighter) for example:

bórac [nom. sg.]
bórca [gen. sg.]
bȏrācā [gen. pl.]


Palatalization is a sound change that happens when the inflection suffix starts with the vowel e and the word stem ends with k, g or h (which change to č, ž and š). The AX NLG platform applies palatalization automatically, for example:

pȅći (to bake) → pèčēm (I bake)
vrag (devil) → vraže (devils) 
jùnāk (hero) → jȕnāče [voc. sg.]