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Basics of the Croatian language II - For a vacation without language barriers

Basics of the Croatian language II - For a vacation without language barriers

Speak Croatian? - Nema problema!

Whether with your host, the lady at the cash desk in the supermarket or the nice gentleman from the boat rental ... there will always be occasions when a few words in the Croatian language will make your life easier. Sometimes learning a language is much more about understanding the people in the country than being understood yourself. ;-)

What you hear very often in Croatia is “U redu.” (please roll the R ;-) ) That means “Okay.”. You can also use it in the restaurant if you don't want the waiter to give you the remaining money back, but to keep it as a tip. In this case "U redu." replaces the English “Keep the change.


For example, if you ask your host for a few extra towels, it would be ideal if he replies: ”Moze. Nema Problema. " (Okay. No problem.)

If you would like your host to repair something or to find you an anchorage, then it can happen that you get a “Sredit cemo.” (Will be done.) In Istria it might be more like “Cemo rijesiti.”. It is also good to know that “sutra” means tomorrow and “ujutro” tomorrow morning… Usually the Croatians are not in as much of a hurry as other Europeans, for whom everything should happen immediately, i.e. “odmah”. :-)

If you ask someone for directions, it would be nice if you were then shown a direction by hand and even better given brief instructions. But it would be a bit inconvenient if the person replies with “Nemam pojma.” (No idea.) or "Ne znam." (I don't know.).


If you don't understand something yourself, you are welcome to answer with “Ne razumijem.” (I don't understand.)

Instead of giving someone the thumbs-up, you can use “Dobro." (Good.) The opposite would be “Lose.”.

Would you like to cross your fingers (“Drzim fige.”) and say “Good luck!” to someone then say “Sretno!


In Istria and Dalmatia, as a lady, you will be often addressed with “Sinjorina” which is of italian origin or as a man with “Sjor” (gentleman), e.g. if you stroll through the local market square.

Dalmatia is particularly known for its relaxed lifestyle and its laconicism. The Croatians make fun of that in Split, for example, you can have small talk with just a few sounds. ;-)

It is also known across the country that the preferred pace for getting things done in Dalmatia is “pomalo”, which means slow or little by little.

The “Fjaka” is also very famous. This describes the general state of mind of the Dalmatians, not to be confused with laziness. ;-) For English speaking people, this is more known as lazing around and letting your soul dangle.


If “there is nothing left to do” or “something is as it is” then you say “A sta ces?” (What could you do?) or “Tako je kako je.” (It is as it is.) Very relaxed and colloquial - already reaching a little into swearing - is “jebiga”.

The Croats use the J-word (in all possible variations) very often (!). In German and English it would be the F-word, but depending on the “gravity of the crime” it can be compared with the English sh-word, even if it does not literally have the same meaning. There is generally much more cursing in the south than in northern Europe, so please don't take it too personal, if someone in your area doesn't mince words ...

Last but not least, I would like to give you a Croatian saying on your way: If, for example, you missed the opportunity to book your villa with pool on time and the dates have already been booked by other guests while you were still thinking, then in Croatia they say: “Prosla baba s kolacima.” (Grandma walked by with the cake.)

Fortunately, we have many other wonderful villas on offer and you will surely find the right one!

Daniela Vuleta

+385 1 222 70 50