I will explain the stress pattern of some a-nouns, n-nouns and stress of adjectives.
A-Nouns: Rising-Falling Pattern
Most a-nouns have the fixed stress. However, some do not: this pattern applies to some a-nouns where stress (in the Standard system) is rising in some cases (nom. sg. and most others) and falling in others (acc. and voc. in both sg. and pl. and nom. pl.). The stress is on the first syllable, which can be either short or long, except for gen. pl. where the rising stress is on the syllable before the ending -ā:
case "short" "long" nom. sg. kòsa zèmlja gláva other cases in sg. (same stress as nom. sg.) acc. sg. kosu zemlju glāvu voc. sg. koso zemljo glāvo nom./voc./acc. pl. kose zemlje glāve gen. pl. kósā zemáljā glávā dat./loc./ins. pl. kòsama zèmljama glávama
The pattern again becomes obvious if you recall that á = ā + rising accent. The lenghts in gen. pl. are due to the general rule. Often used nouns in this group are:
bùha "flea" ††
dúša "soul" *
gláva "head" *
gréda "(wooden) beam"
mùha "fly" ††
nòga "leg" *
rúka "arm, hand" *
slúga "servant" †
sŕna "roe deer"
svínja "pig" †
vòda "water" *
zèmlja "ground; Earth; country" *
zmìja "snake" ††
Many nouns are marked with an asterisk (*): they can have the same falling stress also in dat. sg. Some others are marked with dagger (†): they can have a rising stress in acc. sg; ones marked with a double dagger have always a rising stress in acc. sg.
Dont forget that zvijézda is just an unfortunate spelling convetion; it's pronounced /zvjézda/, acc. sg. /zvjēzdu/!
Frequently, even when people speak Standard Croatian, they regard many of such nouns as having the fixed stress (as in nom. sg.).
It's safe to assume that all other a-nouns have the fixed stress.
N-Nouns: Falling-Rising Pattern
Most n-nouns have the fixed stress. However, there are some that have a pattern with a falling stress in sg. and a rising one in pl. on the syllable before case endings (e.g. mjèst-a, jezèr-a). The stressed syllable is normally short (except for one noun: vrijeme):
nom./acc./voc. sg. ime jezero vrijēme other cases in sg. (same stress as nom. sg.) vremen- nom. pl. imèna jezèra vremèna gen. pl. iménā jezérā vreménā other cases in pl. (same stress as nom. pl.)
Again, the lenghts in gen. pl. are due to the general rule. Often used nouns in this group are:
nevrijeme "storm, bad weather"
vrijēme "time; weather" *
The noun vrijēme is the only such noun having a long vowel in nom./acc./voc. sg. and the spelling of its case forms is affected by it, as shown in the table above.