Greeks and Serbs: What We Have in Common

Greeks and Serbs: What We Have in Common 1

What Greeks and Serbs have in common

Dobar dan! Welcome to my blog with free Serbian Lessons for Serbian language learners. To read more about me, visit my presentation page. For frequent updates, follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

Magdalena Petrović Jelić

As many people from Serbia, I love Greece and I’ve visited this beautiful country many times. That’s why I decided to learn Greek  in the first place – I wanted to talk to the people when I go there.

It is often said that Greeks and Serbs are brothers and friendly nations. Our ties are probably older than the Byzantine period, when we were strongly connected from the top. Greek rulers married Serbian princesses and vice versa.

But I’m not here to talk about history or politics.

Greeks and Serbs also have a similar sense of hospitality and love for good company, food and drink. Our cuisines are similar: they share habits from the Middle East and Mediterranean influences. But they are also quite different: the Greek being more flavored and seasoned, Serbian being more restrictive with the spices.

For example, the famous horiatiki (country salad, as the Greeks call it, or the Greek salad, as we call it) has its counterpart in Serbia: the so-called “šopska salata” (also “srpska salata” in some restaurants). Basic ingredients are the same: tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and cheese. In Serbia we traditionally add sunflower seed oil. In Greece they add olive oil, of course, olives and basil.

But I’m not here to talk about food, either.

What Greeks and Serbs have in common in language

There are many things, but here I’ll focus on three lovely expressions. In the video below I reveal traditional figures of speech, or magic formulas, that will make you sound like a native, and that are used by Greeks and Serbs alike.

If you use these formulaic expressions, that will definitely make you sound naturally Serbian, and you will make the Serbs smile and like you even more.

Also, I’m talking Greek to give you the atmosphere (with subtitles in English). 

Watch the video in Greek or scroll down to read the English translation and explanations.



Hello and welcome to the Natural Serbian Channel!

Ja sam Magdalena and today I want to talk to you in Greek because I want to tell you about several things that people in Greece and Serbia have in common.

We’re talking about vocabulary, tradition and things like that.


If you’ve seen my previous video, you’ve learned that we in Serbia also use the „βρε“, we say bre,

and we believe that it is very much Serbian.


We also use the more and mori and correctly, we use it very correctly.

/Mori (μορή) only for women, in complience with the Greek grammar./


Also, the ajde or hajde like in Greece, it’s the same.

It’s only that we in Serbia we use hajde like Greek άντε and έλα, both are hajde


The other things, what are they? Do you know? Or you don’t? Write me about that.

I will tell you what I’ve noticed.


I won’t tell you about many terms in the medicine that we use, like:

pedijatar, psihijatar, ginekolog, stomatolog and so on.

(pediatrician, psychiatrist, gynecologist, dentist)

There are plenty of them and all the world uses them, not only in Serbia.


Neither will I talk about many Turkish words that we have in common, for example:

το δέρτι dert

το μεράκι merak.

(These are words for special feelings only the Balkans and Middle East will understand completely, try and google them 🙂 )


What I find interesting is something from the tradition.

It’s what I told you in the beginning, I told you:

«Καλώς ορίσατε» (Welcome)


And what will you answer to that? You will say:

«Καλώς σε βρίκαμε» (May we find you well)


The same formula exists in Serbia as well.

And from all the languages that I’ve learned, I haven’t seen that anywhere,

only in the Greek and the Serbian language.


In Serbian we say: „Dobro došao“ – „Βolje vas našao“, for masculine.

/Welcome! – May I find you even better, in even better situation than I’m in. Basically, you wish me well, and I wish you even better./

For the femenine gender, it’s different: „Dobro došla“ – „Bolje vas našla“.

All right? That’s in the singular. And in the plural, we have:

„Dobro došli“ – „Bolje vas našli“.

(Welcome! May we find you even better.)


It’s very nice, very traditional to say this.

Dobro došao – Bolje vas našao (masculine gender)

Dobro došli – Bolje vas našli (plural) 

Dobro došla – Bolje vas našla (femenine gender)


And today I’ll tell you about one more formula.

It’s the… what do we say for Easter in Greece?

We say:

«Χριστός ανέστη!» (Christ resurrected)

And what do we answer?

«Αληθώς ανέστη.» (He truly did resurrected)

Isn’t it so?

What do we say in Serbia? We say: „Hristos voskrese“ and we answer „Vaistinu voskrese“.

In the Greek language we use katharevousa (καθαρεύουσα)

to say this, and in the Serbian language we use something

that is like katharevousa in the Serbian language.

And these are the words that we don’t use generally, only in this formula do we use them:

Hristos voskrese! – Vaistinu voskrese!


We go even further, and for Christmas we say something  similar:

Hristos se rodi! – Vaistinu se rodi! (Chirst is born – He truly is born)


All right? These are the things that I wanted to tell you today and I hope that you liked it.

Maybe you knew it, did you know that? Or didn’t you? I’m interested to learn that.

Leave comments so that we see how many of you are watching us from Greece.

OK? Share as well, it goes without saying, and help me spread the word about the Natural Serbian.

How could we put it? Fisika? Servikos? Serviki? Natural Serbian language. Isn’t it so? Naturally Serbian!

Recent Posts

Serbian Lifestyle: Why learning about it really matters

Serbian Lifestyle: Why learning about it really matters 2

Why learning about Serbian lifestyle really matters

Dobar dan! Welcome to my blog with free Serbian Lessons for Serbian language learners. To read more about me, visit my presentation page. For frequent updates, follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

Magdalena Petrović Jelić

Have you ever been in a situation where you simply didn’t know how to react or how to answer to a local in Serbia? That’s why learning about Serbian lifestyle is really important when learning Serbian language.

One of the crucial elements of the Serbian lifestyle is the hospitality ritual. There are many formulas and expected behaviors for guests and hosts in Serbia. On this page you can learn about expected gifts that you can bring as a guest to a Serbian host.

But, do you know what to do when your Serbian hosts put this in front of you?

Serbian Lifestyle: Why learning about it really matters 3

 An anecdote about an Englishman eating “slatko”

This lovely anecdote about an Englishman eating “slatko” in Belgrade is fun. But it also illustrates how important it is to learn about culture and customs alongside with the Serbian language.

The Serbian lifestyle is something that might confuse you, if you don’t understand it, or that will make you love the language even more.

Watch the video to learn more!

An Englishman and a Serbian grandma

/Transcript of the video/

Do you know what to do when your Serbian hosts put this in front of you?

Let me tell you an anecdote. There was this very polite Englishman that came to visit Serbia. He knew a little Serbian from his textbook and could manage a basic conversation, but he knew almost nothing about Serbian everyday life and customs.

Back then there were no Natural Serbian courses. Only did he know that one must eat and drink what’s offered in order not to offend the hosts.

So he rents an apartment from an old lady, and when he visits her to pay the rent, she insists that he comes in na čašicu razgovora, for a small talk, that’s so typical.

Now, being curious, he accepts the invitation and comes in. What happens next is that she puts this (a jar and a teaspoon) on the table in front of him and goes to the kitchen to make some coffee.

And he takes one mouthful.

Oh my god! This tastes sooo good!

And he takes another mouthful, and another, and he keeps eating…

When the lady’s back from the kitchen with their coffee, he had already eaten like a half of the jar.

Afterwards, he was sick and she was offended.


So do you know precisely what to do if your hosts put this (a jar and a teaspoon) in front of you?


Serbian Courses are hosting this free course called Natural Serbian.

It is the only course that teaches you real-life Serbian expressions and customs!

Do you want to find out the answer about slatko? (ovo je slatko od smokava)

Firstly, please share this with your friends and help me spread the word about the Natural Serbian course (Lajkujte i šerujte, hvala puno!), and then go to this page where I’ll show you:

  • what exactly you should do with slatko,
  • how to politely say NO and stop overeating without offending anybody, and
  • how to learn other little tricks that will help you act smart in Serbia, impress your Serbian friends, and sound naturally Serbian!