Ordering Food in Serbian: Practical Tips to Sound Like a Native

Ordering Food in Serbian: Practical Tips to Sound Like a Native 1

Photo: Restoran Srbija

Ordering Food in Serbian: Tips for Asking What You Want Like a Native

Welcome to my blog for Serbian language learners. It contains free Serbian lessons and articles about Serbia and its lifestyle. To read more about me, visit my presentation page. For frequent updates, follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

Magdalena Petrović Jelić

After you’ve learned how to greet people in Serbian and how to say goodbye, don’t go to another Serbian restaurant without reading these practical tips on asking what you want and ordering food in Serbian!

The summer is approaching, and I’m sure many of you have already planned your holidays in Serbia. For that reason, I believe this is the right moment to help you avoid “the textbook trap” and make sure you won’t sound weird in Serbian restaurants, cafes and shops.

[I recommend reading on a big screen for comparing the two languages in two columns. On mobile, scroll down for Serbian.]

(English)

Many web sites and text books advise you to use expressions “I would like…” and “May I have…” when ordering food in Serbian. If you use these expressions, you will definitely be understood in Serbian restaurants and cafes. You will sound polite, but quite weird.

Because many things that you’ll find in textbooks and tourist manuals, are actually never used in real life.

Reflecting our mentality, our language is straightforward and direct. We rarely use elaborate sentences that don’t actually mean exactly what they say (except if we’re politicians, of course). To be polite, we simply use the plural form of you (Vi) to speak formally and we say exactly what we want.

When the waiter says “May I help you”, we will simply shoot our order in accusative – given that we already know what we want. We don’t even say “Please” when ordering food in Serbian. That would be just too kind for a simple order.

– May I help you?
– A coffee.
or: I will [have] a homemade coffee.
or: To me a homemade coffee, and for my wife a cappuccino.

If we go to a place regularly and we know the waiter well, we might be very informal and say:
– Give me one beer.
(Or anything we want, in the accusative case.)

Saying this, we’re not being impolite, only friendly. The polite variant requires us only to speak in plural to the waiter:
– Give [you plural] me one coffee.

This is also how we ask for our bread and burek at a bakery:
– Give me one bread and two bureks with cheese.

Or as we typically say:
– Do you have burek with cheese? Give me two.

At the farmers’ market, you can ask:
– How much is your tomato? Give me a kilo.

If you’re at a luxury restaurant and want to be nice, you might say:
– Please, a short espresso and a “squeezed orange” [meaning: freshly squeezed orange juice].

The logic behind this is that you don’t have to be too polite if you’re asking for something simple or something you’re paying for.

So, the super-polite “May I have…” is used for additional requests. Like when you need something after the waiter had already served you:
– Excuse me, can I have another glass of water?

We also need to be extra nice when we have an “out-of menu” request, like for example:
– Can I ask you one teaspoon for my son?

(Serbian)

Mnogi sajtovi i knjige vas savetuju da koristite izraze „Voleo bih…“ i „Mogu li dobiti…“ kada naručujete hranu na srpskom. Ako koristite te izrazre, sigurno će vas razumeti u restoranima i kafićima u Srbiji. Zvučaćete ljubazno, ali prilično čudno.

Zato što se mnoge stvari koje ćete naći u udžbenicima i priručnicima za turiste zapravo nikada ne koriste u stvarnom životu.

Naš jezik je prilično otvoren i direktan, što odražava naš mentalitet. Retko koristimo razvijene rečenice koje zapravo ne znače tačno ono što kažu (osim ako smo političari, naravno). Da bismo bili ljubazni, jednostavno koristimo drugo lice množine (Vi) i kažemo tačno ono što hoćemo.

Kada konobar kaže „Izvolite“, jednostavno ćemo ispaliti porudžbinu u akuzativu – pod uslovom da već znamo šta hoćemo. Ne kažemo čak ni „Molim“ kada naručujemo na Srpskom. To bi bilo previše ljubazno ja jednu običnu porudžbinu.

– Izvolite?
– Jednu kafu.
ili: Ja ću domaću kafu.
ili: Meni jednu domaću kafu, a za moju ženu kapućino.

Ako redovno odlazimo na neko mesto i dobro poznajemo konobara, možemo biti vrlo neformalni i reći:
– Daj mi jedno pivo.
(Ili šta god da želimo, u akuzativu.)

Kada tako kažemo, nismo neljubazni, samo se ophodimo prijateljski. Ljubazna varijanta zahteva samo da konobaru govorimo u množini:
– Dajte mi jednu kafu.

Na isti način tražimo hleb i burek u pekari:
– Dajte mi jedan hleb i dva bureka sa sirom

Ili kako tipično kažemo:
– Je l’ imate burek sa sirom? Dajte mi dva.

Na pijaci ovako možete tražiti:
– Pošto vam je paradajz? Dajte mi kilogram.

Ako ste u luksuznom restoranu i želite da budete fini, možete reći:
– Molim vas, jedan kratki espreso i ceđenu narandžu.

Logika koja stoji iza ovoga je da ne morate biti previše ljubazni ako tražite nešto jednostavno ili nešto za šta plaćate.

Tako se superljubazno „Mogu li dobiti…“ koristi za neke dodatne zahteve. Kao kada vam treba nešto nakon što vas je konobar već poslužio:
– Izvinite, mogu li dobiti još jednu čašu vode?

Takođe treba da budemo posebno fini kada imamo neki zahtev „van menija“, kao na primer:
– Mogu li da vas zamolim za jednu kašičicu za mog sina?

9 Practical Tips for Ordering Food in Serbian

Ordering Food in Serbian: Practical Tips to Sound Like a Native 2
  1.  Say “dobar dan” or “zdravo”, or repeat whatever the waiter has said to you.
  2. Get the waiter’s attention with “Izvinite” (Excuse me). When he/she answers, just ask what you want.
  3. Start a request with “Mogu li dobiti” (May I get). That sounds very polite: “Mogu li dobiti jelovnik?” (Can I get a menu?)
  4. Avoid adding “Molim vas” (please). It sounds fake in the same sentence with “mogu li”.
  5. “Šta biste preporučili?” (What would you recommend?) – a useful question if you want to avoid staring at a menu.
  6. Tell your order in the accusative case, adding -u for feminine gender (jednu kafu i koka-kolu), and changing nothing for masculine (jedan vinjak) or neuter gender (jedno pivo).
  7. Ask for your bill: “Možemo li da platimo?” (Can we pay?)
  8. The waiter will probably hesitate when giving you your change. He’s actually asking you for a tip. You can then approve him not give you your change by saying: “U redu je.” (It’s ok).
  9. Say thank you and goodbye when leaving: Hvala, prijatno

Ordering Food in Serbian:  a Typical Dialogue

Here I’ll share with you a helpful tool for ordering food in Serbian: below you can read a typical dialogue my husband and I have with a waiter. Usually, at our favorite restaurant on the Sava river in Mačvanska Mitrovica: Splav Krug.

(English)

Waiter: Hello! May I help you?

My husband: Just a second, to see what we’ll [have]

Waiter: (Gives us menu) Of course. Something to drink, while you’re waiting?

Me: (To my husband) What will you [have]?

My husband: I’ll [have] a drought beer.

Waiter: Big one (a pint)?

My husband: Yes.

Ja: (To the waiter) Do you have dark beer?

Waiter: We do, Nikšićko and Guinness.

Ja: To me one dark Nikšićko, small.

After 10 minutes…

Waiter: Have you decided?

My husband: Yes: one gourmand hamburger, one regular hamburger and a tomato-cucumber-cheese salad. 

Waiter: (Checking his order) One gourmand hamburger, one regular, one tomato-cucumber-cheese salad.

My husband: (Nods) Yes.

Me: Also, a small plate and a small fork for him (showing my little son), if it’s not a problem.

Waiter: Of course.

Me: Thank you.

(Serbian)

Konobar: Dobar dan! Izvolite?

Moj muž: Samo malo da vidimo šta ćemo!

Konobar: (Daje nam jelovnik) Naravno. Nešto za piće, dok čekate?

Ja: (mužu) Šta ćeš ti?

Moj muž: Ja ću točeno pivo.

Konobar: Veliko?

Muž: Da.

Ja: (Konobaru) Imate crno pivo?

Konobar: Imamo, Nikšičko i Ginis.

Ja: Meni jedno crno Nikšićko, malo.

Nakon 10 minuta…

Konobar: Jeste odlučili?

Moj muž: Jesmo: jednu gurmansku pljeskavicu, jednu običnu pljeskavicu i šopsku salatu.

Konobar: (Proverava porudžbinu) Jedna gurmanska, jedna obična, jedna šopska.

Moj muž: (Klima glavom) Da.

Ja: I jedan tanjirić i malu viljušku za njega (pokazujem na mog malog sina), ako nije problem.

Konobar: Naravno.

Ja: Hvala.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed these tips and that this article will help you ask what you want with confidence and feel comfortable when ordering food in Serbian.

Remember: if you’re unsure how to ask, just say what you need in the accusative case. But you can always add a “molim vas” (please), just in case. It will probably make you feel better, even if it won’t make you sound naturally Serbian.

In this way, you will enjoy your food completely, knowing that you’ve ordered it the Serbian way, and politely.

Easter in Serbia: Revealing the Diglossic Holiday

Easter in Serbia: Revealing the Diglossic Holiday 3

Easter in Serbia: the Diglossic Holiday

Welcome to my blog for Serbian language learners. It contains free Serbian lessons and articles about Serbia and its lifestyle. To read more about me, visit my presentation page. For frequent updates, follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

Magdalena Petrović Jelić

Easter in Serbia is a very fun experience. We boil and color eggs, usually on Good Friday. There are traditional methods, involving plants, wax and onion peels, and then there are the modern dyes and stickers. We use different methods because the Easter eggs in Serbia must be multicolored.

Watch this video about how we color eggs for Easter in Serbia. It’s in Serbian, so don’t forget to turn on the English captions, if you need.

The first red egg is the “čuvarkuća” (house guard). We put it on a shelve to guards our home until the next Easter, when it’s replaced. Then on Easter, we use the colored eggs in a jolly competition: We crack them, and the strongest egg wins!  

There is also a special greeting we use on Easter only, and it’s similar to the Christmas greeting. But the Easter greeting is a bit controversial. And I bet you’ve been unsure how to say it correctly.

I wrote about why we have this linguistic vacillation in my article that was first published in the “American Srbobran” on April 3, 2019. Here I’m sharing it with you entirely:    

 

The Diglossic Easter in Serbia

[I recommend reading on a big screen for comparing the two languages in two columns. On mobile, scroll down for Serbian.]

There are two words that people in Serbia use to refer to Easter: Uskrs and Vaskrs. There are two forms of the verb to resurrect as well: uskrsnuti and vaskrsnuti. To make it more complex, the official terms of our church are Voskresenije and voskresnuti.

All these forms reflect the diglossia that Serbs have had for centuries. On one side we have the vernacular Serbian, with oral tradition and folk literature. On the other side we have Old Church Slavonic, as the first literary and liturgical Slavic language, with written tradition. It had different recensions, created as the writers incorporated elements of their vernacular into it. The Serbian Church had used Serbian recension of Church Slavonic (Serbo-Slavonic) ever since the Serbs took Slavic literacy in the 10th century.

In the second half of the 18th century, when the Serbs fled from the Ottomans and settled in Vojvodina, the Russian influence became strong. As Russian books were used by the Serbs in Austro-Hungarian Empire, Serbo-Slavonic was replaced by the Russian recension of Church Slavonic (Russo-Slavonic).

That’s how a new language came into use: Slavonic-Serbian. It was a mixture of Russo-Slavonic with Serbian vernacular. This sublime language came out of use in the Romantic era, as the vernacular language became official and the writing system was reformed. However, Russo-Slavonic remains to this day the official language of our church.

For this reason we have the vernacular expressions Uskrs and uskrsnuti that belong to the modern standard, as well as Serbo-Slavonic Vaksrs and vaskrsnuti, that is used among the people, and Russo-Slavonic Voskresenije and voskresnuti, that is used by our church.

The Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates Easter on April 28th this year. On this day we crack eggs we colored on Good Friday and greet each other with a special greeting that celebrates the dogma of resurrection: „Christ is risen!” And answer: „Truly he is risen!“

There is the Serbo-Slavonic variant of this greeting: „Hristos vaskrse“ – „Vaistinu vaskrse“.

And there is the Russo-Slavonic variant of it: „Hristos voskrese“ – „Vaistinu voskrese“.

The modern Serbian form of this greeting would be: „Hrist uskrsnu“ – „Zaista uskrsnu“; but it’s never used.

Since the common people are not familiar with the church language, you’ll hear other irregular variants of the greeting: „Hristos vaskrs“; „Hristos vaskrese“, „Hristos voskrse“.

So, how to greet your family on Easter in Serbia? Here’s my advice: if you are the first to greet, choose one of the correct forms „Hristos vaskrse“ or „Hristos voskrese“ and add: „Happy Easter!“ But if you are answering, choose the same form the other person used and be polite, even if that means using the wrong form: „Vaistinu vaskrs“, „Vaistinu vaksrese“, „Vaistinu voskrese“.

Let’s spread love and respect, rather than the linguistic correctness, on this great day that is in some places in Serbia still called Veligdan (The Great Day).

Dve su reči koje ljudi u Srbiji koriste za ovaj praznik: Uskrs i Vaskrs. Takođe imamo i dva glagola: uskrsnuti i vaskrsnuti. Da stvar bude još složenija, zvanični termini naše crkve su Voskresenije i voskresnuti.

Svi ovi oblici odražavaju diglosiju koju Srbi vekovima imaju. S jedne strane imamo narodni srpski jezik, sa usmenom tradicijom i narodnom književnošću. S druge strane imamo staroslovenski, kao prvi književni i liturgijski jezik, sa pisanom tradicijom. Taj jezik je imao različite recenzije, nastale tako što su pisci u njega ugrađivali elemente svog narodnog jezika. Srpska crkva je koristila srpsku recenziju staroslovenskog (srpskoslovenski) otkako su Srbi primili slovensku pismenost u 10. veku.

 

U drugoj polovini 18. veka, kada su Srbi pobegli od Osmanlija i naselili se u Vojvodini, Ruski uticaj je ojačao. Kako su Srbi u Austrougarskom carstvu koristili ruske knjige, srpskoslovenski je zamenila ruska recenzija staroslovenskog (ruskoslovenski).

Tako je jedan novi jezik došao u upotrebu: slavjanoserpski. To je bila mešavina ruskoslovenskog sa srpskim narodnim jezikom. Ovaj uzvišeni jezik je izašao iz upotrebe u eposi romantizma, kada je narodni jezik postao zvanični, a pravopis reformisan. Međutim, ruskoslovenski je do danas ostao zvanični jezik naše crkve.

Zbog toga imamo narodne izraze Uskrs i uskrsnuti, koji pripadaju modernom standardu, kao i srpskoslovensko Vaksrs i vaskrsnuti, koje se koristi u narodu, i ruskoslovensko Voskresenije i voskresnuti, koje koristi naša crkva.

 

Srpska pravoslavna crkva ove godine slavi Uskrs 28. aprila. Na taj dan lupamo jaja koja smo obojili na Veliki petak i pozdravljamo se naročitim pozdravom koji proslavlja dogmu uskrsnuća.

Postoji srpskoslovenska varijanta ovog pozdrava: „Hristos vaskrse“ – „Vaistinu vaskrse“.

A postoji i njegova ruskoslovenska varijanta „Hristos voskrese“ – „Vaistinu voskrese“.

Na savremenom srpskom jeziku, ovaj pozdrav bi glasio: „Hrist uskrsnu“ – „Zaista uskrsnu“; ali to se nikad ne koristi.

Pošto narod ne poznaje crkveni jezik, čućete i druge nepravilne varijante ovog pozdrava: „Hristos vaskrs“; „Hristos vaskrese“, „Hristos voskrse“.

Dakle, kako ćete pozdraviti svoju porodicu na Uskrs u Srbiji? Evo mog saveta: ako pozdravljate prvi, izaberite jednu od dve ispravne forme „Hristos vaskrse“ or „Hristos voskrese“ i dodajte: „Srećan Uskrs!“ Ali ako odgovarate, izaberite istu formu koju je druga osoba upotrebila i budite ljubazni, i ako to znači da ćete upotrebiti nepravilan oblik: „Vaistinu vaskrs“, „Vaistinu vaksrese“, „Vaistinu voskrese“.

Hajde da širimo ljubav i poštovanje, pre nego jezičku ispravnost, na ovaj veliki dan, koji se ponegde u Srbiji još naziva i Veligdan.

Sretenje: Serbia’s Statehood day and a Sacred Meeting Day

Sretenje: Serbia’s Statehood day and a Sacred Meeting Day 4

Sretenje: Serbia’s Statehood day and a Sacred Meeting Day

Welcome to my blog for Serbian language learners. It contains free Serbian lessons and articles about Serbia and its lifestyle. To read more about me, visit my presentation page. For frequent updates, follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

Magdalena Petrović Jelić

[I recommend reading on a big screen for comparing the two languages in two columns. On mobile, scroll down for Serbian.]

Most words of any language are polysemous: they have more than one meaning. These different meanings sometimes coincide in another language, but frequently they don’t.

For example, in English you use the verb ‘to meet’ to express three ideas: (1) that you met someone new, (2) that you met someone as you planned and agreed, or (3) that you met someone by accident.

In Serbian, we have three distinct verbs for that:

(1) upoznati is to meet for the first time (“Upoznao sam svoju ženu na fakultetu” – I met my wife at college),

(2) naći se is to meet as agreed (“Hajde da se nađemo sutra u gradu” – Let’s meet tomorrow downtown), and

(3) sresti is to meet by accident (“Srela sam koleginicu na pijaci” – I met my colleague at the market).

 

The latter verb (sresti) gave the noun sreća (that means both happiness and luck) and the adjective srećan or sretan (happy or lucky). Because luck is something we can only meet by accident.

 

That’s also the origin of the word Sretenje.

 

Sretenje as a Christian holiday

Sretenje – the Meeting of the Lord – is a Christian holiday celebrating the day when Christ was first presented at the temple 40 days after his birth. That’s why it’s celebrated 40 days after Christmas. It represents the first meeting of the man with the God.

 

Sretenje as a Serbia’s Statehood and Constitution day

Sretenje is Serbia’s Statehood day for historical, not religious, reasons. On this day in 1804, the First Serbian Uprising started, the onset of a series of actions that eventually led to liberation from the five-centuries long Ottoman rule.

 

Serbia's Statehood day Sretenje

Sretenje by the monument to Karađorđe in Orešac, photo by Tanjug, Zoran Žestić

Also on this day in 1835, the first Constitution was enforced in Serbia. This is why February 15th is also Constitution day.

The Sretenje Constitution was a modern and liberal constitution, and it was the first one in the Balkans. Even though it was abolished after only two weeks, it shows the spirit of the time.

 

Sretenje in the Serbian folk tradition

Sretenje is equally important for the Serbian folk tradition as it is considered the day when winter meets summer. As the days are becoming longer and nights shorter from this day on, it’s a turning point. That’s why it’s often said “Sretenje obretenje” – from the verb “obrtati”, to turn.

It is also believed that the first person a girl meets on this day will look like her “suđenik” – her destined one or her husband-to-be.

On this day, “mečka Božana” exits her cave after the winter sleep, just like the Pennsylvania groundhog. “Mečka Božana” is the mythical sow bear Božana, a pre-Christian goddess. That’s why she has this sacred name, derived from the word “bog” (god).The legend says if the sow bear sees her shadow, she’ll be afraid and hide back in her cave, meaning winter will continue. But if she doesn’t meet her shadow, she’ll move on to search for food, and that means winter will end.

Nowadays, we turn to the sow bear of the Belgrade Zoo for forecast, even though she lives in captivity and is not a reliable meteorologist.

 

As I’m writing this, on Sretenje 2019, it’s partly cloudy here in Serbia. I hope that Božana will leave her cave under the clouds so that she won’t meet her shadow this year.

Recent Posts

Talk Serbian to Your Children! An Urgent Message to Diaspora

Talk Serbian to Your Children! An Urgent Message to Diaspora 5

Talk Serbian to Your Children! An Urgent Message to Diaspora

 

 

Welcome to my blog for Serbian language learners. It contains free Serbian lessons and articles about Serbia and its lifestyle. To read more about me, visit my presentation page. For frequent updates, follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

Magdalena Petrović Jelić

[I recommend reading on a big screen for comparing the two languages in two columns. On mobile, scroll down for Serbian.]

On a sunny day last September I was with my son in a playground. There was also a dad my ear caught talking French to his little girl, about a year and a half old. I always notice these things because I love hearing foreign languages in my town.

As I was lurking for an opportunity to use my rusty French, the dad – to my surprise – addressed me in his obviously native Serbian language.

 

I plan to teach her how to talk Serbian

After I gave him the information he asked, I couldn’t restrain myself from asking: why in the world don’t you talk Serbian to your child?

“I will”, he said, “I’ll teach her Serbian, I plan to do that.”

He explained further that the girl’s mom is French and that he was proud of her for learning to write Serbian very quickly – even though she hasn’t learned to speak the Serbian language. And French is so difficult to write!

 

It’s easier for us to learn foreign languages

I dare to say that it is much easier for an average Serb to learn French then it is for an average French person to learn the Serbian language. I can guarantee that.

Even if Serbian is so easy to write and French is so difficult to write.

Because a Serbian child is learning all the case endings and exploring nuances of verbal aspects, as well as the diversity of tones and accents, already at two years of age.

I’m closely watching my son, two years and 4 months old now, experimenting with all these features of the Serbian language and growing his grammar brain.

I like to call him “my little linguistic miracle”.

 

They never learned the Serbian language from their parents

Then I remembered many people with a Serbian name and surname that came looking for my lessons, unable to utter a simplest sentence in the Serbian language.

I also remembered my students who wanted to learn the language of their parent(s) and had to start from scratch because their parents didn’t teach them the language. Like Laila whose mother was afraid that her Serbian would interfere with her Arabic.

And I remembered other students who had the opportunity to speak Serbian language at least with their grandparents: they learned it so much quicker, and their pronunciation was so much better.

 

So I said: talk Serbian to your child!

I said to that dad, talk Serbian to your child! Make her bilingual, she will be grateful one day.

Here’s what you do: each parent simply speaks in their own language to the child, consistently. You speak Serbian, your wife speaks French. And you’ll create a powerful bilingual brain in your child. She might take a little longer to start talking, but when she does, she’ll speak both languages.

Finally, I said what my profession was and I told him about my experience. He looked me puzzled in the eye and thanked me.

 

That is when I decided to tell this story and to make this video. I speak Serbian language, but there are English subtitles so you can share with your friends and partners.

My message is short and clear:

Talk Serbian with your children! 

Jednog sunčanog dana prošlog septembra bila sam sa svojim sinom na igralištu. Tamo je bio i jedan tata kog sam načula kako govori francuski sa svojom devojčicom, starom oko godinu i po. Uvek primetim takve stvari zato što baš volim da čujem strane jezike u mom gradu. 

Vrebala sam priliku da upotrebim svoj zarđali francuski, kad mi se – na moje iznenađenje – tata obratio na očigledno maternjem srpskom jeziku.

 

Planiram da je naučim da priča srpski

Dala sam mu informaciju koju je tražio i nisam se mogla suzdržati a da ne pitam: zašto, zaboga, ne govorite na srpskom jeziku sa svojim detetom?

„Hoću“, rekao mi je, „naučiću je srpski, planiram da je naučim.“

Još je objasnio da je devojčicina mama Francuskinja i da je jako ponosan na nju što je brzo naučila da piše srpski – iako još uvek nije naučila da govori jezik. A francuski je tako težak za pisanje!

 

Nama je lakše da učimo strane jezike

Usuđujem se da kažem da je mnogo lakše jednom prosečnom Srbinu da nauči francuski nego što je jednom prosečnom Francuzu da nauči srpski jezik. Mogu to da garantujem.

Iako je srpski tako lak za pisanje a francuski tako težak.

Zato što srpsko dete uči sve završetke za padeže i istražuje nijanse glagolskog vida, kao i raznolikost akcenata i narečja, već sa dve godine.

Pažljivo posmatram svog sina, kome su sada dve godine i četiri meseca, kako eksperimentiše sa svim tim elementima srpskog jezika i razvija svoj gramatički mozak.

Volim da ga zovem „moje malo lingvističko čudo“.

 

Oni nikada nisu naučili srpski jezik od svojih roditelja

Tada sam se setila mnogih ljudi sa srpskim imenom i prezimenom koji su zatražili moje časove, nesposobni da slože i najprostiju rečenicu na srpskom jeziku.

Setila sam se i mojih učenika koji su želeli da nauče jezik svojih roditelja, a morali su da počnu od nule jer ih roditelji nisu naučili tom jeziku. Kao što je Lejla, čija se majka plašila da bi joj srpski smetao da nauči arapski.

I setila sam se drugih učenika koji su imali mogućnost da govore srpski jezik makar sa dedom i babom: oni su mnogo brže učili i njihov izgovor je bio mnogo bolji.

 

Zato sam rekla: pričajte srpski sa svojim detetom!

Rekla sam tom tati: pričajte srpski sa svojim detetom! Neka bude bilingvalna, biće vam zahvalna jednog dana.

Evo šta treba da radite: svaki roditelj jednostavno govori na svom jeziku sa svojim detetom, dosledno. Vi pričate srpski, vaša žena francuski. Tako ćete stvoriti moćan bilingvalni um u vašem detetu. Možda će joj trebati malo više da progovori, ali kada počne da priča, govoriće oba jezika.

Na kraju sam rekla čime se bavim i ispričala mu svoje iskustvo. On me je zbunjeno pogledao pravo u oči i zahvalio mi se.

 

Tada sam odlučila da ispričam ovu priču i da snimim ovaj video. Govorim srpski jezik, ali tu su titlovi na engleskom tako da možete podeliti sa svojim prijateljima i partnerima.

Moja poruka je kratka i jasna:

Pričajte srpski jezik sa svojom decom!

/English translation of the video/

 

Many friends of mine, acquaintances, friends from university, went abroad. They live in Germany, Austria… I even have a friend in Malta.

And many of you ask me: „What with kids, which language to teach them?“

 

What language will children learn in diaspora and mixed marriages?

Many of you are in mixed marriages and things get complicated there. You speak Serbian, your spouse another language, among yourselves you often communicate in that other language, or in English, a third language, and what will your child learn?

Many parents are afraid that the child will be deprived if they don’t teach her the language of the country they live in. That’s why they’re trying to speak with the child in that language, because they want the child to assimilate.

Then, as the child grows older, the parents feel sorry because he doesn’t speak their native language. And then they contact me, or other teachers, and want that their child to learn the language from the teacher.

And that’s much harder.

 

Speak in the Serbian language with your child from their birth

Speak in the Serbian language with your child. That’s the biggest gift you can give him. Serbian is a very complex language. Our cases are something that no foreigner will ever learn as native language.

And for many of you who live abroad, many of your children (I’ve worked with such people) learn it as a foreign language. They have some knowledge, but it is very difficult that they will learn it as their mother tongue.

That’s why the biggest gift you can give to your child is to transfer to them the love of your language and to transfer the knowledge of your own language only by talking to them in that language, from their birth.

Tell your child what you’ve been doing during the day, recount. Tell him about what he knows. That’s how he can connect the language with reality. Tell him about what’s going on around you, tell them about what he can see, what he experienced. Because that’s how he can connect the language with reality, what the language signifies in reality.

 

Knowledge of Serbian will help your child learn other languages

The Serbs are famous for their capacity to learn foreign languages well. I’ve been to Greece and Italy at universities and there I heard that we rank very well. In England also, we rank very well for our capacity to learn foreign languages.

That much, to that extent, your child will never learn Serbian if he’s learning it as a foreign language. Only if he’s adopting it from you, if he learns it from your mouth, will he learn it the best.

 

Don’t worry, your child will certainly fit in

And don’t you worry, children will most certainly learn the language of the country they live in. Your child will socialize with other children, he will go to kindergarten, he’ll go to school, where he’ll learn that language.

And he’ll certainly learn it.

Don’t you worry that your child won’t speak the language of the community if you speak Serbian with him at home.

 

/Transcript of the video/

 

Mnogi moji prijatelji, poznanici, drugari sa studija su otišli u inostranstvo. Žive u Nemačkoj, u Austriji… imam čak i prijateljicu na Malti.

I mnogi od vas me pitaju: „Šta sa decom, koji jezik podučavati?“

 

Koji jezik će deca naučiti u dijaspori i u mešovitim brakovima?

Mnogi od vas su u mešovitim brakovima i tu se stvar komplikuje. Vi govorite srpski, vaš suprug ili supruga govori neki drugi jezik, međusobno se sporazumevate često na tom drugom jeziku, ili pak na engleskom jeziku, na trećem, i šta će dete naučiti?

Mnogi roditelji se boje da će dete ostati uskraćeno ako ga ne nauče jezik te zemlje u kojoj žive. I zato se trude da sa detetom pričaju na tom jeziku, jer žele da se dete asimiluje.

Onda kad dete malo poodraste, onda roditeljima bude žao što ono ne zna njihov maternji jezik. Pa onda kontaktiraju mene, ili druge profesore, i žele da njihovo dete nauči jezik od profesora.

To onda bude mnogo teže.

 

 

Pričajte na srpskom jeziku sa svojim detetom od rođenja

Pričajte na srpskom jeziku sa svojim detetom. To je najveći poklon koji mu možete dati. Srpski jezik je jako kompleksan. Naši padeži su nešto što nijedan stranac nikada neće naučiti kao maternji jezik.

A puno vas koji živite u inostranstvu, puno vaše dece (ja sam sa takvim ljudima radila) uče ga kao strani jezik.  Imaju nešto znanja, ali je jako teško da ga nauče kao maternji jezik.

Zato najveći dar koji možete da poklonite svom detetu jeste da mu prenesete ljubav prema svom jeziku i da mu prenesete znanje svog jezika samo na taj način što ćete govoriti sa njim na tom jeziku, od rođenja.

Pričajte svom detetu šta ste radili tokom dana, prepričavajte. Pričajte mu o onome što ono zna. Tako može da povezuje jezik sa realnošću. Pričajte mu o onome što se dešava oko vas, pričajte mu o onome što ono može da vidi, što je doživelo. Jer tako može da povezuje jezik sa realnošću, šta jezik označava u stvarnosti.

 

Znanje srpskog će vašem detetu pomoći da nauči druge jezike

Srbi su poznati po tome što dobro uče strane jezike. Ja sam bila u Grčkoj i u Italiji na univerzitetima i tamo sam čula dosta se dobro kotiramo. I u Engleskoj takođe, dosta se dobro kotiramo koliko smo sposobni da naučimo strane jezike.

Toliko, u toj meri, vaše dete nikad neće savladati srpski jezik ako ga uči kao strani. Jedino ako ga usvaja od vas, ako ga uči iz vaših usta, tako će ga najbolje naučiti.

 

Ne brinite, vaše dete će se sigurno uklopiti

A nemojte se brinuti, deca svakako, svakako nauče jezik zemlje u kojoj žive. Vaše dete će se družiti sa drugom decom, ići će u vrtić, ići će u školu, gde će učiti taj jezik.

I svakako će naučiti taj jezik.

Nemojte se brinuti da vaše dete neće govoriti jezikom sredine ako vi kod kuće sa njim govorite srpski.

Hugging and Kissing Serbian Wway: Why Serbs Kiss Three Times

Hugging and Kissing Serbian Wway: Why Serbs Kiss Three Times 6

Hugging and Kissing Serbian Way: Why Serbs Kiss Three Times

 

Welcome to my blog for Serbian language learners. It contains free Serbian lessons and articles about Serbia and its lifestyle. To read more about me, visit my presentation page. For frequent updates, follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

Magdalena Petrović Jelić

A common gesture symbolizing the Serbian nation are three fingers pointed up towards the sky. A national greeting etiquette are three kisses on the cheek. But why Serbs kiss three times and why do we show three fingers as a symbol of our nationality?

 

The three fingers symbolize the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). These are the same fingers Serbs use to make cross in the religious gesture. Following the Byzantine tradition, all Orthodox Christians make the sign of the cross with their thumb, index and middle finger touching, like the little girl in this picture:

thPhoto by Oana Nechifor

The three fingers salute as a national greeting is first documented in the First and the Second Serbian Uprising, at the beginning of the 19th century. It was the rebellion of the Serbs against the Ottoman rule. At the time, it symbolized the battle of the Christians against the Ottoman Muslims.

The salute was forgotten only to revive in another fight in the 1990’s. The strongest opposition leader, who fought against Slobodan Milošević, was Vuk Drašković. He was the first to use the three fingers again, allegedly imitating what he saw in the paintings of the two Uprisings. The followers of his party SPO (Srpski pokret obnove – Serbian Renewal Movement) raised their three fingers in the rallies against Milošević.

 

From that time, the three fingers were shown whenever someone wanted to point out their Serbian nationality. And you must be warned here not to show the sign in Croatia or Bosnia. Because of the nationalistic connotation, you might get in trouble.

 

Why Serbs Kiss Three Times on the Cheek 

Why we started kissing each other on the cheek three times and when it started, it is not known. 

One speculation is that it’s connected with the Orthodox religion and the Holy Trinity. The same custom is maintained in Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Russia. But then, why we share the number of kisses with the Dutch, the Swiss, the Belgians and Egyptians? I guess we’ll never know.

Another speculation says that the three kisses celebrate 1) life, 2) death and 3) honor, in that order. But I found no evidence for such a claim.

It is considered to be an old Serbian tradition, but ethnologists say it only started by the end of the last century. The truth is, I remember my grandma asking for the other cheek for a second kiss with these words: “And the other one, so it doesn’t cry” (“I drugi, da ne plače”).

Today, Serbs do not always kiss three times. Only on special occasions. Other times, we just hug and kiss once, or shake hands. But adults will never kiss twice.

Hugging and Kissing in Serbia Today

Should you hug and kiss or only shake hands in Serbia?  Do Serbs really kiss three times on the cheek? When is it that they do it, and when they don’t?

After you’ve learned how to greet people in Serbia and how to say goodbye, learn all about hugging and kissing Serbian way in this video.

I will tell you what to do when meeting people in Serbia: when to kiss them, how many times and how. You will learn to hug and kiss like a Serb!

 

ATTENTION: This is a slow Serbian video! It means that I speak in slow Serbian, just like I talk to my A1-A2 students.

If you’re learning the language, it will be an excellent listening exercise. Otherwise, just appreciate the sound of the Serbian language and focus on reading the English translation bellow the video.

 

(Scroll down to read the English translation.)

English translation:

 

We will start from the most distant greeting and go all the way to the most intimate greeting.

 

The most distant greeting is a nod (I’m nodding my head now), then there’s a smile (I’m smiling now), then waving (I’m waving my hand now), then a handshake (we’re shaking hands), then we pat on the back, a hug (we’re hugging), then a kiss, then three kisses, then we have a smack (a friendly kiss, pusa or kiss), and finally the French kiss, the most intimate kiss.

 

Nodding – klimanje glavom

When we’re nodding, that’s the most distant greeting. Instead of saying “good afternoon” or “good morning”,

when all we want is to mumble “dobro jutro”, “bro jutro”, then we just nod and that’s it.

We’re keeping our distance.

 

 

A nod with a smile – klimanje glavom i osmeh

With a smile, that means that we’re glad to see someone, we’re happy to see them, we’re happy and there’s a smile: “Good day!” “Hello!” “Hi!”

 

Waving – mahanje

Then, we can wave. Ok? When we wave, the person is usually far away. When they are on the other side of the street, then we wave: “Ćao!” “Zdravo!” That’s informal. Ok?

If we’re saying to someone “Good afternoon, sir”, then we won’t wave. Then we’ll nod.

 

Handshake – rukovanje 

When we’re meeting someone, then we’ll shake hands, if it’s formal, ok? Formally, we shake hands: “Good after noon, how are you?”

And for farewell, we will also shake hands. When we’re leaving, we’re shaking hands. “Doviđenja, prijatno”, we shake hands and leave.

 

Pat on the back – tapšanje po leđima

When we’re meeting our friends, men usually pat on each other’s back. Tap-tap-tap, they pat on the back.

Or they just hit once on the back: “What’s up, brother?” “What’s up, friend?”

They just hit you on the back like this.

 

Hugging and kissing Serbian way

Female friends, as well as male friends, hug each other. In Serbia, men also hug sometimes.

If they are close friends, then they will hug. Girls as well, relatives as well. We hug a lot in Serbia.

With a hug, when hugging, we usually also kiss. How and how many times?

 

Young people normally kiss only once.

That’s modern Serbian urban culture. Modern Serbian urban culture is that the young kiss only once.

The girls often kiss the air beside a cheek, the air beside a cheek, because they often have lipstick on and they do not want to leave trace. That’s why they kiss the air.

 

When the Serbs kiss three times

(To kiss) three times, it’s an old Serbian custom to kiss three times. That’s a little bit formal.

If we’re meeting our friend’s parents, we will usually shake hands when introducing ourselves. I say “I’m Magdalena, nice to meet you” and we shake hands.

If you’re meeting your partner’s parents, they will probably want to kiss you three times. Not always, but that’s most often the case. Because you’re a part of the family. Ok?

Since you’re a part of the family, they will pull you closer to them and kiss you three times.

 

 

Friends, young people, kiss only once and that’s called “cmok”“Cmok” is an onomatopoeia, that’s the sound, mwah, cmok. That’s why it’s called “cmok”.

Also, for that kind of a kiss we use the German word “pusa” or the English word “kiss”, ok?

And we have two verbs, we have the verb cmoknuti, mwah, and kisnuti, which also means mwah.

Come here, let me give you a kiss.

Dođi da te cmoknem, dođi da te kisnem, dođi da te poljubim.

 

French kiss – francuski poljubac

Finally, and maybe the most beautiful, the most intimate, there’s the French kiss.

Or, in slang we say “žvaka” (chewing gum). Ok? 

“Žvaka” is also that, like a candy, Orbit, that we put in our mouth and chew and we can blow a baloon. That’s “žvaka” (chewing gum). The same word we use for the French kiss.

French kiss or “žvaka” means that two people kiss and use their tongues while doing that.

 

 

 *** 

 

So, let’s answer the questions from the beginning.

 

 

When you’re meeting your friend’s parents for the first time, shake hands and introduce yourself, say sour name: “I’m Magdalena, nice to meet you”, ok?

 

 

The second question: when you’re meeting your partner’s friends, also shake hands and say your name: “I’m Magdalena, nice to meet you”. 

Do not kiss them. That would be strange, because you don’t know each other yet.

 

 

The third question: when you’re meeting your partner’s parents, you start by shaking hands, and they will pull you, if they want, and kiss three times. All right?

Traditionally, the Serbs kiss three times.

 

 ***

 

If you have any other questions, if you have comments, about interesting situations that you had, write about it below the video.

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