Characteristics of the Serbian language in AX Semantics


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

Serbian has three genders for nouns: masculine (animate and inanimate), feminine and neuter. There are two numbers: singular and plural. Additionally, Serbian 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 pismo
(the old letter)
numbersingularstaro pismo
(the old letter)
pluralstara pisma
(the old letters)
cases (noun)nominativedečak
(the boy)
accusativeUpitali smo dečaka.
(We asked the boy.)
dativeDajem olovku dečaku.
(I give a pencil to the boy.)
genitivePismo dečaka.
(The letter of the boy.)
vocativeHej, dečače!
(Hey, boy!)
locativeZnamo više o dečaku.
(We know more about the boy.)
instrumentalIdem s dečakom.
(I am going with the boy.)
adjectives (noun)before nouncrvena kuća
(red house)
verb tensespresenton radi
(he works)
paston radase
(he worked)

The standard order of a noun phrase in Serbian 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"



Serbian 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 zena (woman) contains:

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


If you need lexicon entries for countries, write to the support about that and you will get them for Serbian 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".


Serbian verbs inflect for person, number, tense. 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 Serbian can be formed via present tense of htjeti + infinitive verb. Take the verb jesti (to eat) for example:

Ja ću jesti.
(I will eat. [future])

Participles in Serbian 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 Serbian: definite, indefinite, demonstrative, distal, medial, 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.

textdevet dana
(nine days)
deveti dan
(the ninth day)
digit9 dana
(9 day)
9. dan
(the 9th day)

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

dvadeset automobila
(twenty cars)
21 automobila
(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 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)

Writing system

The Serbian language uses both Cyrillic and Latin script. The AX NLG platform expects Serbian texts to use the Latin script. If you need Cyrillic, please contact the support team.

Fleeting a

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

mòmak [nom. sg.]
mòmka [gen. sg.]
momákā [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:

vrag (devil) → vraže (devils) 
jùnāk (hero) → jȕnāče [voc. sg.]