Stuff: 008 Where did the "j" go?
There is a mysterious thing about the conjugation of verbs like vidjeti (to see), voljeti (to like), and letjeti (to fly), in the masculine, singular, past tense.
First of all, let's look at some conjugations of past tense, not masculine singular:
She saw him Ona ga je vidjela (feminine, singular)
The child saw him Dijete ga je vidjelo (neuter, singular)
We (males, or mixed) saw him Mi smo ga vidjeli (masculine plural)
They (all females) saw him One su ga vidjele (feminine plural)
The children saw him Djeca su ga vidjela (neuter plural)
So, nothing surprising there. But a trap for novices in this business of learning Croatian is they might expect that "He saw him." would be "On je ga vidjeo."
But no ... it's "On je ga video."
Why has the "j" gone missing?
And the same construction applies in the cases of the verbs like voljeti, poludjeti, and letjeti.
“Ona ga je voljela” but “On ga je volio”.
"One su poludjele" but "On je poludio"
“Oni su letjeli u London” but “On je letio u London”.
I'm sure that you can think of others?
Forever a mystery! But, as usual, accept it and get on with it, Bob.
In the sentences above, I have used the long form such as "Mi smo ga vidjeli".
But Croats would generally say "Vidjeli smo ga", unless they were emphasizing that we saw him (and not those others.
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