60 Expressing Knowledge and Meaning

Two verb families, znam and mislim demonstrate how there's far from a word to word correspondence between English and Croatian. For example, the following sentences use the same English verb, but not when translated to Croatian:

"I know what happened."
"I know him."

Likewise, the following sentences use different verbs in English, but when translated to Croatian, use only one verb:

"I meant it."
"I thought about you."

All three verb families follow the asymmetric aspect pattern.

znam; -znajem, znavao ~ -znam

Verb znam "know" is a fully regular impf. verb, with an asymmetric aspect pattern of derived verbs. It's used when you know some fact or skill, but not when you know (= are familiar with) a person, city, or like. Since derivation follows the asymmetric pattern, verbs derived from it are perf., and their impf. pairs are made from -znajem, -znavao. They are:

do-N (za A)N becomes aware (of A)
po-N AN knows A (person, city, country)
prepo-N AN recognizes, identifies A
pri-N (A)N acknowledges, confesses (A)
sa-N AN comes to know A
upo-N AN gets to know A (person, city, country)

The verb doznam functions more or less as the perf.-s pair of znam; saznam has virtually the same meaning.

The verbs are stressed as:

znām, znati
pòznājēm, poznávati ~ pòznām, pòznati

There's an alternative form of only present of znam: znádem, used in some regions. Prefixed verbs have just one form.

mislim; -mišljam ~ -mislim

The verb mislim means "think, have opinion". It uses the asymmetric pattern; -mišljam is used for derived impf. verbs. In fact, its verbal noun (gerund) mišljenje has additional meaning "opinion". If you thinking about something, you should use preposition o + dat. It's also used as translation for "mean" when meaning "intend":

Mislim kupiti kuću. "I intend to buy a house."
Mislim o poslu. "I'm thinking about (the) job."
Mislim o tebi. "I'm thinking about you."

The verbs are:

do-N (A)
iz-N (A)N invents, makes up (X)
po-N (A)N has a thought (about A)
predo-N se (o D)N changes mind (about A)
pro-N (o D)N thinks thoroughly (about D)
raz-N (o D)N considers, ponders (D)
s-N (A)N conceives, comes up (with A)
u-N (A)
za-N (A)

The stress is:

mislīm, misliti
ràzmīšljām, razmíšljati ~ ràzmislīm, ràzmisliti

This verb is often used in meaning "suppose", "reckon", "guess", and inserted even as a standalone verb, or used to fill a pause in speech:

Mislim, trebamo krenuti... "I guess, we should go..."
Mislim da nemam dovoljno novaca. "I think I don't have enough money.
Mislim krenuti rano. "I intend to start/depart early."

Another verb that means only "suppose" is pretpostavljam ~ pretpostavim, however, it's less often used in everyday conversation:

Pretpostavljam da nemam dovoljno novaca. "I suppose I don't have enough money.

značim; -značujem, -značivao ~ -značim

The last verb group, značim, also follows the asymmetric pattern: derived impf. verbs are deribed from -značujem, -značivao. Its basic meaning is "mean", "signify", "symbolize", "stand for". It's very often used:

To znači da... "It means that..."
Što znači 'klupa'? "What does 'klupa' mean?"
Božić mi puno znači. "Christmas means a lot to me."

It's not used when someone has an opinion, but when some object, event, or a fact has some "meaning", "stands for" something. There's only one derived verb that's frequently used verb, meaning "mark", "tag":

o-N (A)N marks, tags (A)

The stress is:

znāčīm, znáčiti
òznāčīm, oznáčiti

It's also sometimes used as a "filler" world in speech, in the 3rd pers. sg. (impersonally, that is), meaning "so", "therefore":

Imam 10 kuna... znači, treba mi još 5. "I have 10 kuna... so, I need 5 more." (lit. "...it means...")

Strong Beliefs and Doubts

The verb mislim is usually used to express what you "think" or "believe". If you are sure, then the adjective sigurän is used:

Sigurän säm da nemam dovoljno novaca. "I'm sure I don't have enough money."

It's not a verb, so it cannot be used with infinitives. The related adverb sigurno is used to express that something is "certain":

Ana će sigurno položiti ispit. "Ana will pass the exam for sure."

However, if you are worried/afraid of that something will/won't happen, or that something is or isn't, you can, besides mislim, use bojim se:

Bojim se da nemam dovoljno novaca. "I'm afraid I don't have enough money."

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