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MY ISTRIA GUIDE

Croatian - Linguistic Survival Kit

Croatian - Linguistic Survival Kit

The basics you should know when visiting Croatia

Croatia is a small country. And Croatian is spoken only by a small number of people. This is why Croats often have the desire to learn new languages in order to understand and be understood by people from different countries.

But still, when you are visiting a country, it is good to know some basics of the native language so that you can understand those Croatians who won’t approach you in a foreign language, or just so you can start a conversation with a Croat and maybe make new Croatian friends.

As already said, Croatia is a small country, but its language is incredibly rich. Croatian has many dialects and as in some other countries, those who inhabit the country’s south often cannot understand those from the northernmost parts, and vice versa.
This means that it can become pretty complicated depending on where you are spending your holidays, or even if the people speak the most standard form of the language- our friend Google says that Croatian is a really difficult language to learn, so we won´t make it too complicated for you.

-Croatian is a south Slavic language, so to some it might sound like Russian, Polish etc.

-The Croatian alphabet doesn't have the letters: q, w, x and y.

There are many tongue breakers where uncombinableconsonants are combined making a word that you will find pretty hard to pronounce.
Here are some examples:

trn- thorn
krv- blood
smrt- death.

But, as you see, these are ugly words, so we won´t talk too much about them.

Here are some phrases that might be useful:

When you enter a restaurant or shop, we recommend you to say:

Dobar dan [doh-bahr dahn] = Good day

When leaving, you just say

Dovidenja [ doh-vee-dgehnyah] = goodbye

When greeting a friend or acquaintance:

Bok! [bohk] = Hi/ Hello/ Bye

When you want to start a conversation with your friend or a person younger than you, ask them
Kako si? [kah-koh see] = how are you? (informal)

Or if you are talking to a person that you meet for the first time, you should be more formal and say
Kako ste [kah-koh steh]= how are you? (formal)

And yes, if you are speaking to someone for the first time, it would be appropriate to introduce yourself:

Ja sam… Ivan [Yah-sahm …]/ Zovem se Ivan [zoh-vem seh …]
= I am Ivan.

If you get what you asked for, you should be grateful and say

Hvala [hvah-lah] = thank you

A word that you will hear often after you say Hvala, or that you should say if you are asking for something is

Molim [moh-leem] =please/ you’re welcome

If you are in a store or on the market, and are interested in an item, we recommend to ask:

Koliko to kosta?[ koh-lee-koh toh kosh-tah] = How much does this cost?

When in a restaurant, tell your loved ones to enjoy their meal:

Dobar tek! [doh-bahr teck]= Bon appétite

And then the waiter comes and asks if everything is alright, you say one of the following:

Da [dah]= yes
Ne [neh]= no

And for the end, something you should say to your loved ones every day while on holidays in Croatia:

Volim te [voh-leem the] = I love you

We hope that this will help!
We wish you a nice stay in Croatia!:)


Sanda Kesedzic

14.12.2018
+385 1 222 70 50