5 Non-Serbian Words That Will Make You Sound Serbian
by Magdalena Petrović Jelić
I know, it sounds CRAZY, right? How can you possibly use NON-Serbian words to sound more SERBIAN?
Well, some words have SUPERPOWERS. 🙂
Watch the video to find out!
Scroll down to read the transcript.
Learn how to sound Serbian by using NON-Serbian words!
Hello and welcome to the Natural Serbian Course.
Ja sam Magdalena, and today I want to teach you very important and widespread interesting little words. Now, why are they important and widespread, and why are they interesting?
Because, first, they are emotional words, and second, they are NOT Serbian even though I bet 80 or 90 percent of the Serbs would swear that these words are Serbian. But they’re not!
I’m going to teach you how to use these words the Serbian way, and I’ll explain where they came form.
1st Non-Serbian word that makes you sound Serbian: BRE!
Bre is really an important word you must know and probably you should even learn how to use it.
We can’t translate it to many other languages, probably only in Greek. So, what is it? It’s an emphatic word, an intensifier. It’s used also for to addressing to people in an intense way, like we’re calling for attention.
We can add it to virtually any word or phrase and in that way we’re adding an emotional component to any statement, like:
„De si bre ti?“ „Slušaj bre!“ „Čekaj bre!“ „Šta to bre radiš?“
(Where are you?) (Listen!) (Wait!) (What are you doing?)
So you can add it anywhere, to any statement or word.
The thing with this little word is that many Serbs identify their national feelings with it. And that’s why you’ll see different Serbian brands containing this word, like the website “Srpski bre” with useful information on Serbian language and grammar.
Well, guess what, the word “bre” is not even Serbian. The Greeks can understand it perfectly because they also use it (they say βρε or ρε). Etymologysts say that „bre“ originates from the ancient Greek adjective μωρός (moros, meaning: foolish, stupid). We’re talking about the same word from which the term moron originated.
Nowadays, it doesn’t have such a negative meaning. In modern Greek it simply means “a baby”.
So, it’s not a bad word, it’s just a way of saying, to express yourself.
2nd Non-Serbian word that makes you sound Serbian: MORE!
Here we come to the next word, more, which is actually the same. You know, more is the vocative form of this same adjective moros and that vocative form “more” gave us “bre”.
What’s interesting is that in Serbia we combine these two words, even though they’re the same. We don’t feel tha they’re the same, so we can say: More bre!
And these words are very emotional. We can use them to jokingly show anger or express a threat, or a mocked threat. We can use it with irony or seriously.
And I must say that bre is really widespread in Serbia, while more is felt I think nowadays even a little bit obsolate, a bit old. You would associate it more to an older person from a village using it.
And villages (in central and south Serbia) are also the place where you can hear the Greek femenine form of this word: mori (used only when addressing to a female). Yes, you can also use this word in Serbia. But it’s not very widespread nowadays, it’s somewhat old, as I said.
3rd Non-Serbian word that makes you sound Serbian: HAJDE!
The next word is also something that we have in common with the Greeks, but both nations got it from the Turks. It’s a Turkish loan word. And we use this word in Serbia as a verb. In Serbian it’s a defective verb that only has the imperative forms.
As with all other verbs, we have three imperative forms: for you singular, for we, and for you plural. So, that’s why we have these three forms:
Hajde (ti), for you singular,
hajdemo (mi), for the first person plural (we) and
hajdete (vi), for you plural or you formal.
These are, let’s say, the formal forms of this word. We use it to say „Come on“, „Let’s go“ or „Let’s do something“, let’s do anything that the verb that follows proposes. Usually it’s combined with the conjunction “da” and another verb in the present tense, like:
“Hajde da gledamo film” (Let’s watch a movie)
“Hajde da se šetamo” (Let’s go for a walk)
We also have colloquial forms, without the inicial h sound, and we say
ajde, ajdemo, ajdete.
Or we can shorten them even further, and get ajmo, ajte, or hajmo, hajte, or simply ajd or aj.
So, when you hear “aj” or “ajd”, it comes form “hajde”.
And in this short form this word is combined with many other words, like:
“aj zdravo”, “aj dođi”, “aj daj mi to”.
(bye) (come here) (give me that)
It’s an inviting word. And obviously, it is widespread here on the Balkans and you should definitely start using it, if you’re not already.
4th Non-Serbian word that makes you sound Serbian: ALO!
And here we will jump to the English language. We also have a word that originates from the English language that we use like this: Alo! Halo! Obviously, it comes from the English Hallo and Hello. We do use it to answer the phone, but we also use for calling someone to their senses
Alo, čoveče, šta to radiš?
(Hey, man, what are you doing?)
Usually without the h sound, only „alo“.
5th Non-Serbian word that makes you sound Serbian: MARŠ!
And the final word that I’m going to teach you today is obviously borrowed from French: Marš!
It comes from „marcher“, French word for “to march, to walk”, in imperative mood.
How it came to us? Well, it came through the army. First it was used in the Youslavian army as a command: napred marš! (march forward)
Nowasays it’s used as a non-vulgar curseword. It’s a bad word. And we use it to say „go away“, „leave me alone“, or „stop kidding me“. It can be pretty harsh and rough, but we also can use it jokingly and not offensively. Even though it’s never polite, it can be used among friends as a joke.
However, it can also be combined with some serious cursewords, that I’m not going to mention here today, but also with other cute little words on our today’s list, like:
„Marš bre“ or „More marš“ or even „More marš bre“.
And what’s very, very interesting with this word is that we often make it even shorter, depriving it of vowels, and we say: mrš!
Combining the words to sound more Serbian
Now, as I said, many of these little words can be combined together, and especially bre, which is a joker word: you can put it enywhere. So we can have:
More bre! Alo bre! Marš bre!
* * *
Good, you’re all set now. You know all the really, really important little emotional words that actually don’t have a specific meaning, but are very very effective in conveying how we feel.
And of course, again If you liked this, please share it with your friends on the social networks that you use.
If you haven’t done so already, enroll in the Natural Serbian Course!