Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2013

Describing People in Serbian - Part 2

If you liked the first part about how to describe people's age in Serbian, I'm sure you'll enjoy practising following features with the people & places video below:
age (godište)clothes (odeća)

height and build (visina i građa): ... je prosečne visine = ... is average height.... je visok = ... is tall.... je nizak = ... is short.... je debeo / punačak =... is fat / overweight... je mršav = ... is thin... je vitak  = ... is slim
hair (kosa):duga kosa: ... ima dugu kosu = ...has long hairkratka kosa: ... ima kratku kosu = ... has short hairkosa srednje dužine ... ima kosu srednje dužine = ... has medium-length haircrna kosa ... ima crnu kosu = ...has dark hairplava kosa ... ima plavu kosu = ... has fair haircrvena kosa ... ima crvenu kosu = ... has red/ginger hair(svetlo / tamno) smeđa kosa ... ima (svetlo /tamno ) smeđu kosu = ... has (light / dark) brown hairseda kosa ... ima sedu kosu = ... has gray hairkovrdžava kosa ... ima kovrdžavu kosu = ... has curly hairtalasasta …

European Day of Languages in Serbian

Many thanks to all the faithful followers of this blog for celebrating European Day of Languages every day :) I'm not a big fun of one-day praznik-a, but let me share with you some great resources for learning Serbian which cover this topic:
Proslavite Evropski dan jezika - Serbian version flyerCelebrate the European Day of Languages - English version (check for flyers in other languages)An RTV ArticleToday's video about this topic:

An excellent 2012 video on this topic:

Can you watch it several times, if necessary, and jot down at least three reasons why learning different languages is important, according to the interviewees ?

Word Order in Serbian - Negation in Present, Part 1.3

If you are following the Word Order in Serbian series of blog posts, you surely remember that the first one was about simple verbs (not -se verbs) in the Present Simple tense. This time, I'll cover the same set of sentences in the same tense, but with their negative forms:
One word verb: NE pevati (not sing)Present tense OF "I sing / I'm singing."

Subject (S) + predicate (P)
Ne pevam. NJa ne pevam. Ti igraš, a ja ne pevam. N Ti ne igraš i ja ne pevam. N Profesor je čuo kako ne pevam i dao mi je jedinicu ! NPriznajem da ne znam da pevam. NS + P +  direct object (dO) Ne pevam pesmu. NJa ne pevam pesmu.Vidiš li  da ne pevam tu pesmu ?  NSvi čuju da ja ne pevam pesmu. 
S  + P + dO + adverb of time (AoT)

Ne pevam pesmu svaki dan. NSvaki dan ne pevam pesmu.Moji profesori svaki dan vide kada ne uradim domaći. N
S + P + dO + AoT + AoP (adverb of place)
Ne pevam pesmu svaki dan  kod kuće.  NNe pevam pesmu kod kuće svaki dan. NSvaki dan ne pevam pesmu kod kuće. NKod kuće obično ne pe…

Learn about Serbian Verbs with Children's Songs

Another great song which all the devojčice i dečaci sing is "Ivin voz" by Dragan Laković . It's also perfect to introduce a complex lexical system of the Serbian verb (which mirrors English phrasal verbs as well as perfectve /imperfective aspects ) :

The Cyrillic script version:
Ћиху, Ћиху, ћиху-ху...

Из куће је излетео на улицу Ива
сав задихан захуктао к'о локомотива.

Видели га другови, па за њим и они
потрчали, захуктали к'о прави вагони.

Ћиху, Ћиху, ћиху-ху...

Сад улицом тако јури та чудна колона
то воз Ивин путује са седам вагона.

The Latin script version:
Ćihu, Ćihu, ćihu-hu...

Iz kuće je izleteo na ulicu Iva
sav zadihan zahuktao k'o lokomotiva.

Videli ga drugovi, pa za njim i oni
potrčali, zahuktali k'o pravi vagoni.

Ćihu, Ćihu, ćihu-hu...

Sad ulicom tako juri ta čudna kolona
to voz Ivin putuje sa sedam vagona.

Interesting verb lexicology:

leteti = to fly, IZleteti = to fly out of huktati = to make a sound like a to train (figuratively: to complain) ,ZAhuktati se  = to…

Describing People in Serbian - Age

In part one of this short series of blog posts on how to describe a person in Serbian, I'll cover just how to describe someone's age, and give you lots of sample sentences, so you can try to describe people in the photo below, focusing on their age ( and a little bit on clothes ):

Godište = Age

beba  = babydete =  childdete koje je tek prohodalo = toddlerdečko = boydevojčica = girltinejdžer = teenager mladić = young man (short "a")devojka = young woman omladina = youthčovek u zrelim godinama = middle-aged manžena u zrelim godinama = middle-aged woman stariji čovek / žena = elderly man/ woman... ima dvadeset pet godina =... is 25 ...ima tridesetak godina = ... is thirty something...ima oko četrdeset godina = ... is about forty...ima pedeset i kusur = ... is fifty odd.... je u (svojim) ranim / kasnim dvadesetim = ... is in (her /his) early / late twenties
Primeri = Examples Na ovoj slici vidim puno ljudi koji su različitog godišta. S desne strane vidim devojčicu u  ružiča…

Best Sites for Learning Serbian

In order to persevere with learning the Serbian language you have to be proactive in finding fun and quality material on the internet. In the morning you can work on more demanding materials, such as :

Short newsWeather Forecast in SerbianFor women (choose the topic you like and try to figure out what it is about :)For men Short Sports NewsFilmsSerbian lessons and exercisesRecepti = recipes and in the evenings always flick through some easy, fun and relaxing stuff :
Vukajlija  = fun vocabulary definitions(urban dictionary) with photosVicevi po temama = jokes divided in topicsFaceBook Grupa: NostalgijaDemotivacija - slike sa kratkim tekstom = photos with short textNjuz - vesti u ogledalu = (more advanced students - fun texts ) Kupindo - check out the second-hand things you can buy and how much they cost

The Meaning of the Verb "slagati se " in Serbian

The verb "slagati se" imperf.(with first "a" being long) /"složiti se" perf.  = to agree * can have a range of different meanings in Serbian and we're going to discuss them today, because I'll need it for my next lesson about Serbian history.

If two colours match, we say "slažu se". For example: Plava se slaže sa žutom, ali se ne slaže sa crvenom (slagati se = to match)If a brother and sister get on/along with each other, we say "oni se slažu". For example: Baš imaš sreće, tvoj  brat i ti se dobro slažete. (You are rally lucky, your brother and you get along very well)If you agree to go out with your friend, you will say: "slažem se". For example: Hoćeš li da idemo u restoran večeras ? Važi, slažem se! (Would you like to go to a restaurant tonight ? OK, I agree!)If two people are at each other's throats, i.e." fight like cat(s) and dog(s)" you can similarly describe it in Serbian as "slažu se kao pa…

How to Pronounce Serbian "LJ" ?

For learners of Serbian as a foreign language often times it's difficult to pronounce the Serbian sound "LJ" or "Љ" correctly. That's because some students tend to pronounce "L" and then "J" separately. If you'd like to make your pronunciation of "lj" perfect, follow these steps:

Try to say "L", as in English word "love". Where is your tongue ? Up or down ?Try to say "J", as in English word "yes". Where is your tongue ? Up or down ?Right, so you noticed that in "L" the tongue is up, just behind your upper  teeth, while with "J", the tongue is down. If you want to say "lj" correctly, the tongue mustn't move from the upward position downwards, because it's one sound.Now, keep your  tongue as if you want to pronounce "J" as in "yes", because it's the right tongue position for the perfect "lj", and at the same time try…

Word Order in Serbian - Part 5

This part is preparing you to practise word order with the words with the reflexive/impersonal pronoun "se". This time I've chosen only the verbs which are widely used when you talking about important life phases, so all the sentences in the videos will be in the Simple Past:
roditi se = to be bornškolovati se = to be schooledupisati se (u školu / na fakultet) = to enrol (a school / university)zaposliti se = to start working / to get a jobpreseliti se = to move (to another city / country)kvalifikovati se (za) = to get qualified (for)venčati se = to get married After practising telling a story about yourself with these phrases: can try to do the similar one based on my false biography, so you have to make all the sentences in the exercise negative :)

Common Mistakes in Serbian

One of the most common mistakes students of Serbian as a foreign  language tend to make is to use the verbs of movement "ići " + u, "stići" + u, "vratiti se" + u, "posetiti" with the noun in Dative, instead of Accusative. That's why it's often heard:
Idem u Beogradu (incorrect) instead of
Idem u Beograd (correct) In the case of the listed verbs above (ići = to go to/ stići = to arrive at/ vratiti se = to come back to /posetiti = to visit), the noun which follows them is in the Accusative case (so called the Accusative of goal/aim).

That's why I've created this video with which you can make simple sentences such as:

Idem u London / Budimpeštu (Present Simple)Stižem u London / Budimpeštu (Present Simple word order)Posetio sam London /Budimpeštu (Past Simple)Vraćam se u London / Budimpeštu (Present Simple word order with "se")

Word Order in Serbian - Part 4.5

Now that you've learnt the introductory song by heart (napamet), you are ready for more examples with the word order of the sentences with reflexive or impersonal "se". This time I'll cover the word order in the Simple Present tense with all three forms, affirmative, negative and questions. So, let's start :

Reflexive -se: oblačiti se  (to get dressed) Present tense of OBLAČITI SE is :

Affirmative sentences : Subject (S) + predicate (P)

Oblačim se. NJa se  oblačim. Ti se igraš, a ja se oblačim. N Sedi i gledaj TV dok se ja oblačim. N Komšije su videle kako se (ja) oblačim u kuhinji. N Priznajem da se oblačim u kuhinji. N
Negations: Subject (S) + NE + predicate (P) Ne oblačim se. NJa se ne  oblačim. Ti se ne igraš, a ja se ne oblačim. N Sedi i gledaj TV dok se ja ne oblačem. N Tvrdila sam da se ne oblačim u kuhinji. N Priznajem da se ne oblačim u kuhinji. N
Questions: Subject (S) +  predicate (P)
Da li se oblačiš ? NDa li se ti oblačiš ? Oblačiš li seJel' se obla…

Past Tense in Serbian

Let's make a short comparison of the Present Simple and Past Simple in Serbian with this "drinks video" :)

Šta obično piješ / pijete tokom dana ?Šta obično piješ / pijete kada izađeš uveče ?Šta si juče pio  / pila ? / Šta ste juče pili ?*


What do you usually drink during the day ? ("piješ" informal, "pijete" formal)What do you usually drink when you go out at night ?What did you drink yesterday ? ("pio" for masculine singular, "pila" for feminine singular, "pili" for the second person singular, used formally, or for the second person plural, when you are talking to more people)

Asking Questions in Serbian - Present Simple

Let me show you one more video in the series called Easy Texts in Serbian. This time you have to ask direct questions about the word which is in red.

For example: "Zovem se Tanja" - your task is to ask:

"Kako se zoveš ?" informal "Kako se zovete ?" formal

For the following questions start with these question words:

Gde ... (where)Kako ... (how) Koliko godina ... (how old)Kakvi ...  (