Parents in diaspora, speak Serbian to your children!

Parents in diaspora, talk Serbian to your children!

by Magdalena Petrović Jelić

Roditelji u dijaspori, pričajte srpski sa svojom decom!

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 language to your child!

I said to that dad, speak 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:

Speak Serbian language 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 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 na srpskom jeziku 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.

The Languages of Ex-Yugoslavia: a personal experience

Languages of Ex-Yugoslavia: a Personal Experience

 

by Magdalena Petrović Jelić

 

What’s the difference between Slovenian, Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, Montenegrin and Macedonian? How different or similar are the languages of ex Yugoslavia? Can the people understand each other speaking these languages?

 

I was born in a country named Yugoslavia

It was a big and diverse country that included 6 republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia; and two autonomous provinces: Vojvodina and Kosovo. The official language of the country was called Serbo-Croatian, or srpskohrvatski.

That was my favorite subject at school. Some classes included Slovenian and Macedonian songs and poems. I remember, we learned them as funny rhymes, never really understanding the languages completely – only a few words here and there.

 

In the nineties, Yugoslavia fell apart

The republics were cut off one by one, until each became an independent country. The last one to go was Montenegro, in 2004. The languages of ex Yugoslavia also fell apart.

The Serbo-Croatian language also fell apart to Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and eventually Montenegrin. We never questioned that Slovenian and Macedonian were different languages.

When thousands of refugees fled Croatia or Bosnia and came to Serbia, they didn’t change the way they spoke.

 

At the university, I chose to study my favorite subject

The study group I enrolled in was called „Serbian literature and language“, but I had diverse interesting subjects, like the literature of old Dubrovnik, the Croatian literature and the Macedonian literature – all of which I had to read in original, no translation provided.

I remember that I read Croatian books with pleasure and no obstacles, occasionally finding a word or two per book that I didn’t know.

But the old Dubrovnik literature! That was one of the hardest exams I had. I read old poems and novels in a dialect nobody even speaks today.

Macedonian was less challenging for me. My father’s parents were from South Serbia, and I’d learned some Torlak from them – so I could understand a lot.

(Torlakian or Torlak dialect is a mini-dispute in itself and it illustrates the mentality of the region: it is considered a Macedonian dialect by Macedonian linguists, a Bulgarian dialect by Bulgarian linguists and a Serbian dialect by Serbian linguists.)

I studied in Novi Sad together with people from Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro. I lived together with them for 3 years in a student dormitory. We all spoke our dialects and never needed a translator.

 

When my country went out of the „dark nineties“…

I started traveling abroad and meeting new people.

In Italy, I met a girl from Split, Croatia. She was an Italian teacher, a linguist. And she insisted that her language was different from mine. Even though we could argue each one of us speaking her own language.

When I met a group of young people from Zagreb, I loved their way of speaking! I couldn’t resist imitating their accent. The words I heard from them kept slipping off my tongue unconsciously.

I met people from Macedonia, and they tried hard to make their language closer to mine so that we could understand each other easily. My Macedonian was far worse then their Serbian. My friends from Skopje explained that they had learned Serbo-Croatian at school, but actually contact with people helped them because they had a horrible teacher.

I worked for a Slovenian company and had to translate a few phrases occasionally from Slovenian to Serbian – that was a challenge.

Once I drank wine with a Croat and a Slovenian in Athens. The Slovenian did his best to speak Serbo-Croatian and we had a fun chat and a good laugh.

 

Languages of ex Yugoslavia: just like in old jokes

The Languages of Ex-Yugoslavia: a personal experience 1

A Serb, a Croat, a Bosnian, a Montenegrin, a Macedonian and a Slovenian go to a bar. They all order a beer and start fighting ferociously if šljivovica and ajvar are Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Montenegrin, Macedonian or Slovenian invention.

No interpreters. Because the Macedonian and the Slovenian have learned some Serbo-Croatian and can make themselves clear and take part even in bar fights in the languages of ex Yugoslavia.

 

Are Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin different languages?

There is a word that describes the relation between Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin languages perfectly: naški. It’s coined from the possessive pronoun naš (ours) and the suffix -ski that we use for making adverbs and that you’ve seen in the names of languages: srpski, hrvatski, engleski, norveški.

The truth is that the term is used mainly by the people living in diaspora, where the mentioned nations stick together and feel the need to diminish differences among them. That’s why they make a big difference between the person who speaks “our language” (naš jezik – naški) and the person who speaks, say, Czech (češki). A person who speaks “naški” is a person you can speak your own language with.

 

So, are these four languages of ex Yugoslavia different?

The truth is that all four countries have based their standards on the same dialect, Shtokavian, and even the same sub-dialect: Eastern-Herzegovinian. The Serbian standard includes another sub-dialect: Shumadian-Voivodinian. Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin are considered languages only because the land is divided between these nations and the language is one of the means used for creating national identity.

Are Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Bosnian and Slovenian Mutually Intelligible?

Image source: Wikipedia

 

The differences between the standard Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian languages are minimal.

Just like between Spanish from Mexico, Cuba and Argentina.

Or English from England, Australia and the States.

 

So if you learn any of the four standard languages, you will be able to communicate across the area.

The vast majority of the words are the same or very similar, the conjugations and the declensions are the same.

However, there are dialects that you won’t understand. They have different grammar. Because languages spill across the borders. Like Kajkavian that goes from Zagreb to Slovenia, or Torlak that goes from South Serbia to Macedonia and Bulgaria.

This phenomenon is the natural way the languages work. There’s nothing special about it in this area. You can see it everywhere in the world. It’s called the dialect continuum or dialect chain.  As people mix and mingle, so do dialects and languages. Establishing a standard only makes our lives, as foreign language learners, easier.

Introduction to the Serbian Language

Introduction to the Serbian Language

by Magdalena Petrović Jelić

 

Serbian is a Slavic language.

It shares many roots of the words and common features with Russian, Czech, Polish, Bulgarian, Slovak, Slovenian and other Slavic languages.

 

Many people also ask if Serbs can understand Russians or Poles or other Slavs? The answer is yes, to a certain degree. If we speak slowly, we will probably understand many roots of words – but we won’t be able to have a long or deep conversation.

With Croats, Bosnians and Montenegrins it’s different – our standards are based on the same dialect, so we can even argue and joke and exchange ideas, with everyone speaking their own variant of the language.

 

Serbian is practically the same as Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin standard languages.

Serbian grammar is quite complex.

But let me first tell you what our language doesn’t have and what is difficult for us.

Serbian language doesn’t have:

  • umlauts,
  • nasal sounds,
  • articles, definite (the) or indefinite (a, an),
  • conjunctive,
  • continuous tenses.

That’s why we have difficulties with these features when learning a foreign language. Especially the articles are something we struggle to learn and use properly.

 

The standard Serbian language has this set of specific features:

  • 30 sounds and 30 letters;
  • 2 scripts (Cyrillic and Latin);
  • 5 vowels;
  • 4 tones and 6 different ways of pronouncing those vowels (I’m working on a course to teach you that as well);
  • 2 standard pronunciations: ekavian and ijekavian;
  • 7 cases (Nominative, Genitive, Accusative, Dative, Instrumental, Locative);
  • 7 tenses (1 present, 4 past and 2 future tenses);
  • 2 moods (conditional and imperative);
  • 2 verbal aspects (perfective and imperfective) and
  • free word order with a fixed set of rules that has to do with clitics.

 

The most dreaded feature of the Serbian grammar are the cases, and I talk about them in this article: The Declining Secret Revealed: What Cases are & how to Learn Them.

Are you a man or a women?

In Serbian language it makes a big difference, grammatically and lexically. We use different words and personal pronouns for men and women.

For example, if you’re male, you are my “učenik” (male student) and if you’re female, you are my “učenica” (female student). Masculine gender typically ends in a consonant, while feminine gender ends in -a.

This video will help you learn about masculine and feminine gender in Serbian. It’s perfect for beginners.

5 NON-Serbian words that will make you sound Serbian

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!

 

Transcript:

 

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!

10 Ways to Say Goodbye in Serbia

How to Say Goodbye in Serbian

by Magdalena Petrović Jelić

 

How can you say goodbye in Serbian Language? What should you say to your Serbian friends when leaving? Will you say “Zdravo” both to greet them and as a goodbye? What is the informal variant of “prijatno”?

 

In this video I will teach you how to say goodbye in Serbian, in more than 10 ways.

Transcript:

 

What do you say to your Serbian friends when leaving?

Šta kažeš svojim prijateljima kada odlaziš?

Do you say zdravo both to greet them and as a goodbye?

 

Welcome to the Natural Serbian Course, the best place to learn real Serbian.

Zdravo svima! Ja sam Magdalena i danas ću vas naučiti 10 načina da se oprostite na srpskom.

I’m Magdalena and today I’ll teach you how to say goodbye in Serbian in 10 different ways

 

Let’s start from the most formal way of saying goodbye:

 

1)            Doviđenja.

It actually means “until seeing (you next time)”. Sometimes another word is put in the middle of it, and we get do skorog viđenja, and it means “until I see you soon again”, but that’s mostly written in letters or emails, and it’s kind of obsolete, so we don’t really use it that much, but you can write it.

 

2)           Prijatno

Doviđenja is usually combined with another word, with another formal farewell: prijatno, which means “pleasantly”. So, you can use it to say that something is pleasant: “Ovde je prijatno”, (it’s pleasant here). And we also use it to say “have a nice meal, bon appetit”: Prijatno!

It’s also used to say have a pleasant day/evening/whatever.

A tip is to combine these two words: Doviđenja, prijatno! When someone says “Doviđenja”, you can answer with “Doviđenja” or “Prijatno”, or you can combine them to “Doviđenja, prijatno” and be double-polite.

 

3)          Zbogom

You might have seen zbogom in a book, but it’s old-fashioned and it’s not used nowadays. It means “may god be with you” or “travel with god”. If you use it, people will think that you’re leaving for good and never want to see them again, or that you’re extra religious. So, only if you want to sound like that, you can use “zbogom”.

 

4)           Uzdravlje

If you have a chance to talk to old people, you can hear them use uzdravlje, or aj uzdravlje („to health, go to health, to our health“) as another old way of saying goodbye. It is also another possible toast, in addition to živeli, which is in some regions also used as a farewell interjection. So, you can hear „uzdravlje“, „živeli“, „živeo“, „živio“ as a farewell as well.

 

 

Informal ways to say goodbye in Serbian language 

 

5)           Zdravo, ćao

In the previous video, you’ve learned zdravo and ćao. These are used informally both as hi and bye. However, when leaving, we tend to combine them with „aj“ (which is a word I will explain in one of my next videos). So, when leaving, we will say: Aj zdravo. Aj ćao.

 

6)            Vidimo se

To finish an informal conversation with a friend or family, we can and often do say Vidimo se (see you, literally: we see each other), since we know that we’ll meet soon again.

 

7)           Čujemo se

However, if we intend to talk to them on the phone first, we will say Čujemo se. It means: “we hear each other” or “I’ll talk to you on the phone”.

 

And these two are usually combined with any word telling time, such as večeras, sutra, prekosutra, kasnije, za vikend, u petak, i tako dalje (tonight, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, later, on the weekend, on Friday, etc). There are plenty of combinations, whenever you plan to see or call someone, you can just say that day or date.

Čujemo se večeras! (talk to you tonight)

Vidimo se prekosutra! (see you the day after tomorrow)

Čujemo se večeras, pa se vidimo sutra. (talk to you on the phone tonight, and then see you tomorrow)

 

Both of these goodbye phrases are used also in the future tense, so you can say: čućemo se, videćemo se (we will hear each other, we will see each other).

 

8)            Uživaj!

We also have an informal variant of „prijatno“, and that is: Uživaj! (for you singular) and Uživajte! (for you plural) It literally means „enjoy yourself“ or „enjoy yourselves“

 

Many times you will hear a combination of these phrases, so for example you will hear:

„Hej, aj ćao, čujemo se, uživaj!“

 

9)            Laku noć

When we’re leaving late at night, we will always say Laku noć, formally and informally. In any kind of situation, „laku noć“ is safe to use. It follows shaking hands as well as a good-night kiss with your partner, so just use „laku noć“ whenever it’s late at night and you’re leaving to go to sleep.

Now, if you want to be nice and answer nicely to this phrase, you will say: Laku noć i lepo spavaj (good night and sleep tight/nicely).

 

10)          And lastly, if you want to be mischievous a little bit and to make a joke, you can answer Jele te bube celu noć! (let the bugs bite you all night).

 

***

 

To summarize, here we’ve learned how to say goodbye in Serbian

We’ve learned 10 phrases you can say when leaving or parting with your friends in Serbia:

  1. Doviđenja
  2. Prijatno
  3. Zbogom
  4. Uzdravlje! Živeli!
  5. Aj zdravo! Aj ćao!
  6. Vidimo se, videćemo se
  7. Čujemo se, čućemo se
  8. Uživaj! Uživajte!
  9. Laku noć i lepo spavaj
  10. Jele te bube celu noć!

 

***

 

A ti? Kako se ti opraštaš od svojih prijatelja? How do you part from your friends?

Share your experience and ask questions in the comments bellow.

If you liked this video or found it useful, share it with your friends on Youtube, Facebook and other social networks. Allow your friends to benefit from it, and help me spread the word about the Natural Serbian Course. Hvala puno!

 

If you haven’t done so already, enroll in the Natural Serbian Course on my website to get the videos with transcripts and additional insider information sent directly to your inbox.

Learn how to blend in with your Serbian friends and how to sound really Serbian!