How to have a basic conversation in Serbian?
Dear learners, I know that learning a language can be like “a scary experience” and you might feel like you’re not willing to learn or you’ll never be able to learn how to speak it. However, you’re wrong. Don’t worry, I’ll help you solve this “problem” and I’ll guide you through this wonderful language trip.
Why do I need Serbian, and who really cares about it?
There are many reasons, but I am going to give you some of them:
- Serbian is spoken in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro, in Romania (some places), in Hungary (some parts) in many places in Vienna, in Greece (some parts) etc , so it is always good to know for a bit, so you can communicate with Serbs and impress them.
- Because of people – They are really friendly, open minded, communicative, positive and we do our best so the foreign people can feel comfortable. We are almost always at their disposal.
- Because of culture. --- We have many famous scientists: Nikola Tesla, Josif Pančić, etc
Writers: Jovan Jovanović Zmaj, Ivo Andrić, Mika Antić, etc
If you are interested in reading poetry, you can do that here: https://sites.google.com/site/projectgoethe/other-links
Sportsmen: we are great at waterpolo, tennis, basketball, volleyball, etc
- Because of music: We have great musicians. The best proof for that is that Marija Šerifović won in 2007 on the Eurovision Song Contest with the song „Molitva“ and Željko Joksimović took the 2nd place with the song „Lane moje“.
- Serbian uses two alphabets... Cyrillic that can help you with other Slavic languages (Russian, Ukraniane, etc) and Latin (that is used much more in nowadays), but you have a big advantage: We read just like we write and the opposite + every letter represents only one voice. You can see them here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwamSPFGTXg&t=4s
- If you learn Serbian, you will automatically know: Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin as well since languages are similar pretty much and every Serb knows the languages that I mentioned.
- Because learning new languages is so contagious, once you start to learn other language, you cannot stop doing that, especially if you do it in an interesting and fun way with interesting people that are able to help you.
- Greetings in Serbian
- How to ask for the identity
- How to make basic questions
- How to tell what you need
- Ending part
Greetings in Serbian
Cyrilic Latin Translation in ENG How to read
Ћао Ćao Hi,bye Chao (soft “ch“)
Здраво Zdravo Hello Zdrahvoh
Добро јутро Dobro jutro Good morning Dohbroh yootroh
Добар дан Dobar dan Good afternoon Dohbar dahn
Добро вече Dobro veče Good evening Dohbroh veche
Лаку ноћ Laku noć Good night Lakoo nohch (soft ch)
Збогом Zbogom Farewell Zbohgohm
Видимо се Vidimo se See you Veedeemoh se
Чујемо се Čujemo se Talk to you Chuyemoh se
До виђења Do viđenja Goodbye Doh veedyenyah
Here you can here how to pronounce them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77a-q2gLljU&index=10&list=PLVnag7rRuuY2yoo1lSoHxRC5kRjI0ZX-P
Let’s analyze them:
Dobro jutro - Good morning (morning: 6am - 12pm)
Dobar dan - Good (literally: “day”) afternoon (after 12pm - 7pm)
Dobro veče - Serbian ---- Good evening
Dobro veče - Croatian ---- Good evening (7pm - 9pm)
Zdravo --- not too informal-not too formal
Ćao –--- very informal (say that only with the people you know. P.S. This is something we took from Italians. In Italian, they write it like this: „Ciao“.
Laku noć - Good night
(I wish you - Želim ti … have an easy night - laku noć)
Note: Have an easy night in the sense: “Sleep tight” and “be relaxed” , so “donot get up that much.
How to ask for the identity?
In order to answer you on this question, I’ll give you two dialogues and then I’m going to analyze them:
- Kako se zoveš?
- Zovem se Martina, a ti?
- Zovem se Petar. Drago mi je.
- I meni takođe.
- Vidimo se.
- Vidimo se
Let’s analyze what’s written:
Kako se zoveš? – What is your name (literal translation would be: „How do you call yourself“)
„Zovem se“ – My name is (literal translation: „I am call myself ....“) and here we skiped the personal pronoun. I know you are wondering „How can we know you refered on „ I „ and not on „she“ or something like this... and I am going to answer you right now.
P.pronoun Se - oneself Zvati – to call
Ja – I se Zovem
Ti – you (inf) se Zoveš
On,ona,ono (he,she,it) se Zove
Mi (we) se Zovemo
Vi (you-formal), vi (you – pl.) se Zovete
Oni,one,ona (they) se zovu
And then you say your name
If we want to skip the p.pronoun, you can put „to call“ in the appropriate form and then you put „se“. (Zovem se, zoveš se, zove se, ...)
Drago mi je – Nice to meet you.
I could also say: Drago mi je da smo se upoznali - I am glad we met each other.
I meni takođe – mee too
If you need to say “thank you” to somebody
Hvala – Thank you
If you want to be polite a bit more you can say „Hvala lepo“ that means „Thank you nicely“.
However, we like to emphisize, so we like to say „thanks to whom“. For instance:
„Hvala ti – I thank you“ – informal, hvala vam – I thank you (more people)
or „Hvala Vam“ – informal speech
If somebody said „thank you“ you need to know how to answer:
Nema na čemu – Not at all
How to make basic questions?
We have five words that we can use for asking questions:
Šta – what Koliko – How much/how many
Kako – How Gde – Where
-učim – I am learning.
Kako si? / Kako ste? – Informal speech / formal (or for a group of people) speech
Ja sam dobro/odlično – I am good/great
Ja sam gladan / gladna – I am hungry
Ja sam žedan/žedna – I am thirsty
Ja sam umoran / umorna – I am tired
Koliko to košta – How much does it cost?
To košta …. – It costs ….
Then you say the number of the price (and then you say the currency – if the price is finished with 1 it stays the same…otherwise it changes to A. The exception are the currencies they are finished with A like for example: “Kuna”. In this case we should change it --- for 1 to U, for everything else to E. )
To košta dvadeset jedan evro / to košta petnaest evra.
To košta sto dolara / to košta jedan dolar.
To košta jednu kunu / to košta tri kune.
Gde si? – Where are you (informal), Gde ste? – Where are you (forma, for a group of people?)
The list where you can be:
Na poslu – at work kod prijatelja/prijateljice – at friend’s place
U školi – at school kod bake/deke – at grandma’s/grandpa’s palce
Kod kuće – at home na žurci – at the party
U diskoteci – in the disco u prodavnici – at the shop
U bioskpu – in the cinema u pozorištu – at the theater
Na koncertu – at the concert na predavanju – at the lecture
Na fakultetu – at the faculcy u univerzitetu – at the university
U banci – at the bank u pošti – at the post office
U menjačnici – at the exchange office u apoteci – at the pharmacy
U parku – in the park
So, in order to answer on this question, follow the pattern:
p.pronoun + verb „to be“ + something from the list
How to say what you need?
The easiest way to express it is with “Hteti da – To want to …. “
Ja hoću + something
TI hoćeš + something
On,ona,ono hoće + something
Mi hoćemo + something
Vi, vi hoćete + something
Oni,one,ona hoće + something
Hoću da jedem – I want to eat
Hoću da pijem – I want to drink
Hoću da spavam – I want to sleep
Hoću da učim – I want to learn
Hoću da čitam – I want to read
Hoću da pišem – I want to read
Hoću da pevam – I want to sing
Hoću da pitam – I want to ask
Time for exercises
Dear learners, we all know that if you want to learn any language, you have to repeat what you have learned. Otherwise, you’re going to forget everything. That’s why, I decided to create some activities for you
A) Match the greetings and the translation in English:
- Dobar dan a. farewell
- Ćao b. Good evening
- Dobro veče c. goodbye
- Zdravo d. Good afternoon
- Zbogom e. goodbye
- Vidimo se f. Hi/bye
- Čujemo se g. Talk to you
- Doviđenja h. See you
- Write down “Where are you” and the answer on this question
- How would you introduce yourself
- Ask somebody “How are you” and write it down in the “discussion part
I know Serbian isn’t easy, but I’m really willing to help you. I know, we can pass through everything together. I’m with you. No worries.
Plus, it’s only beginning of your language journey. There are more exciting and interesting topics to come.
Thank you so much for reading this. I hope you liked it. If you have any question, don’t hesitate to ask me. I’ll be glad to help you.
Also, I’d like to read your feedback.
References: https://www.fotolia.com/id/175578114?by=release by https://www.fotolia.com/p/200412305
Cyrilic and Latin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwamSPFGTXg&t=4s
Audio books: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsVi8R4Ep7c6bpBdpiOuDO5AC2ll_-Pyl
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