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Idioms and Common Phrases in Serbian

After publishing yesterday's post it struck me that you might not  be aware of the  meaning of the phrase "ravno mi je sve".That's why I chose the word RAVAN = flat / even / equal as the topic of today's post:








nekome je sve ravno ( do Kosova )= it's all the same ; it makes no difference example: Uradi kako ti je drago - meni je sve ravno (do Kosova) !  translation: Do as you please - it makes no difference to me !
example from the song: Ravno mi je sve : because of the word "mi" this phrase means that he is indifferent, while the sentence before he means literally "ravno, nigde brda" = flat, no hill around  ravan kao dlan = as flat as a pancake  example: Vojvodina je ravna kao dlan. (Vojvodina is as flat as a pancake.) na ravnoj nozi = on an equal footing; on equal terms example: Razgovarali smo o svemu na ravnoj nozi (We talked about everything on equal terms) na ravne časti = share and share alike; even Stephen  example: Sve što zaradimo de…

Word Order with "se" in Serbian

Here comes a gentle introduction to the fourth part of the series of blog posts about the word order in Serbian. Why introduction in the middle of the story ? Because I'm about to write about the verbs with (reflexive) -se: "vratiti se " = "to come back", for example.

Listen to this beautiful song and try to figure out which word is missing in the following lines:


Od Banata prema Sremu nisko oblaci,
noć __ spustila, pa ___ ne vidi...
samo moje misli po ravnici putuju -
ja ih pošaljem al ___ vraćaju...
A ti, a ti ___ nećeš vratiti....
To je bilo davno, pa ___  niko ne seća -
rode nestale jednog proleća...
vratiće __ , kažu ljudi, ove godine...
ove godine il dogodine...
A ti, a ti ___ nećeš vratiti....

REFREN:
Ravno, nigde brda, sve je ravno - ravno mi je sve,
jer u tvome srcu već odavno drugi stanuje...
Ej,kad bi znala ti...(kad bi samo znala ti)
koliko trebaš mi!

Hajde noći tiho, tiše, sitni tonovi,
da ____  nikome to ne ponovi...
bruje zice, srce trne, grom t…

Talking about Yourself in Serbian

In the previous post with easy Serbian texts, you were able to learn a few facts about Branko and his family.

Today's exercise is from the same Serbian 101 course, but this time your job is to look at the photo with some facts about Milan, and then make a short story and tell it along with this video:

Accidents and Emergencies - Vocabulary and Phrases in Serbian

I've recently received a very practical question : how to call for help in Serbian and  what to say in case of  an accident / theft and similar. So, let me give you a few ideas for three different topics, which hopefully you won't need at all:

Policija / milicija (police)Policajac (police officer)Advokat (lawyer)Prestup (violation)Prekršaj (offence)Zovite policiju ! (call the police)ProlbemiNovčanik (wallet)Lopov (thief)Provalnik (burglar)Izgubljene stvari (lost property)Ukrasti (to steal)Izgubiti (to lose)Zaboraviti (to forget)Zaboravio sam ključ (I forgot my key)Izgubio sam ključ (I lost my key)Neko mi je ukrao pare / novac (Somebody stole my money)Upomoć ! (Help)Nesrećan slučaj (accident)Kvar (breakdown)Služba za hitnu popravku (emergency breakdown service)Sudar (accident, collision)Osiguranje (insurance)Automobil mi se pokvario (my car has broken down)Vaše osiguranje (Your insurance documents)Prijaviti sudar (to report an accident)To je vaša krivica (it's your fault )

Beginner Serbian - New Lesson with Exercises

In the previous post about easy texts in Serbian, I said that I wasn't very happy with the quality of the audio recording. Today, when I tried to fix it, I ended up changing the video structure and creating 3 more videos for you to practise. I'm sure you'll like this new version more and that the previous one. If you are a real beginner in Serbian, you can take a look at the vocabulary list while watching the video:




OVO = THISJE = ISOVO JE = THIS IS...BRAT = BROTHERSESTRA = SISTERMUŽ = HUSBANDŽENA = WIFELEP = BEAUTIFUL (Fem: lepa)MLAD = YOUNG (Fem: mlada)RUŽAN = UGLY (Fem: ružna)STAR = OLD (Fem: stara)VISOK = TALL (Fem: visoka)NIZAK = SHORT (Fem: niska)IMATI = TO HAVEGODINA = YEARSDETE = CHILD, DECA  = CHILDRENBLIZANCI  = TWINSJOŠ = STILL MALI = YOUNG / LITTLE / SMALLPAS = DOG*** POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVES *** MOJ -mojA sestrA - mojE detE - mojI prijateljI - mojE prijateljicE - mojA decATVOJNJEGOVNJENNJEGOVNJIHOVNJIHOV

Word Order in Serbian - Future Tense

This is the third part of the series of  blog posts about the word order or  "red reči" in a Serbian sentence. I covered the word order in the present tense and past tense and today's topic is the future tense. If you find the letter  N next to the sentence, it means that it is the most neutral / natural sounding sentence:





One word verb: pevati (to sing)

Future tense of PEVATI (to sing):   "I'll sing."

Subject (S) + predicate (P)

Pevaću. NJa ćupevati. Ti ćeš igrati, a ja ću pevati. N Sedećeš i slušaćeš, a ja ćupevati. N Prijatelji su čuli kako ću pevati na koncertu. N Priznajem da ću  pevati na koncertu. N
S + P +  direct object (dO) Pevaću pesmu. NJa ćupevati  pesmu.Čuće oni kako ću im otpevati  pesmu.  N (im= njima= to them, indirect object)Svi su čuli da ću pevati tu pesmu. N
S  + P + dO + adverb of time (AoT)

Pevaću pesme svaki dan. NSvaki dan ćupevati pesmu. NMoji prijatelji su pitali kada ćupevati pesmu sledeći put. N
S + P + dO + AoT + AoP (adverb of place) Pe…

Who is More Dangerous ?

I surely wasn't doing a great job tagging and linking the blog posts properly when I first started it back in 2007 - 2008. As it transpired, it seems there were only two posts covering the topic of comparison of adjectives in Serbian ! Shame on me ! This should be urgently fixed...

For now, try to compare the animals you see in the video sticking to the following sentence structure, using only the adjective "dangerous" = opasan (comparative : Singular: opasniji (masc) - opasnija(fem) - opasnije (neut.) Plural: opasniji (masc) - opasnije (fem) - opasnija (neut) )

For pre-intermediate level: Lav je opasniji od zebre (Gen. of "zebra")For intermediate and upper levels: Mislim da je lav opasniji od zebre.


Animals in the video with their Genitive form:

zebra - od zebretigar  - od tigraajkula - od ajkuleorao - od orlamedved = od medvedalav = od lavapanda = od pandevuk = od vukažirafa = od žirafealigator = od aligatoragolub = od golubazmija = od zmijelane = od laneta

Serbian Idioms and Phrases with "faliti"

If you are wondering how I choose the topics for everyday blog posts, the answer is very simple: they are based on the questions my students ask me in our online lessons.

One of the recent ones was to list phrases with the verb "faliti", which can mean "to miss", "not to have", "to lack", but in some idioms it cannot be translated in such a simplistic manner:

Šta fali ? = So what ? or What's wrong with that ? This phrase is often used to strongly disagree with someone who has a different point of view. Let me make up a short dialogue:  Ana:   Nemoj piti tu vodu !
Pera:  Što ? Šta joj fali ????


Fali joj/mu daska u glavi ! = To have a screw loose in one's head or Not to have all their marbles.  Na primer: Šta ovaj bunca ? - Ma pusti ga!  Očigledno mu fali daska u glavi !


Neće ti faliti ni dlaka s glave ! = Not a hair on your head will be harmed !  Na primer: Ne smeju ti ništa dok sam ja uz tebe! Ne brini, neće ti faliti ni dlaka s glave !

If…

Serbian for Kids - Bedtime Stories

A must bedtime story for all the children out there who are learning Serbian is surely "Medvedova ženidba", written by the famous Serbian poet Desanka Maksimović.

Unfortunately,
























Funny Grammatical Categories in Serbian

One of the funny grammatical categories you might come across in Serbian are "animate" vs. "inanimate"  nouns, which is for instance reflected in the Accusative declensions, only for Sg. Masculine. This means that just because you've seen (to see = videti)  or taken a photo ((u)slikati) of a person, not a thing, a noun like "dečak" will take the Genitive declension markers (suffix -a)  instead of Accusative (zero suffix), although it's still an Accusative case. (I'm talking only about the form here).

For example: Ovo je dečak. Videla sam dečaka. Slikala sam dečaka. (there's also a stress change from the first to the second syllable).



While the linguists dwell on these topics and enjoy discussing whys and ifs of such irregularities, I always enjoy helping you in the most practical way. That's why Ivan and I created these two videos, carefully choosing nouns both in singular and then in plural and grouping them. With both videos you can…

What Does it Mean in Serbian ?

If you don't understand what's being said ( or written ) in Serbian, you can always ask questions such as: Šta znači " Gazda bio, gazda ost'o 100 % " ? = What does "..." mean ?Ne razumem = I don't understandMožeš li da mi objasniš (šta znači) "..." ? = Can you explain what  "..." mean ?Možeš li da ponoviš "..." ? = Can you repeat "..." ?Ponovi još jednom, molim te ? = Repeat once again, please ?Molim ? = Pardon ?Možeš li da ponoviš malo sporije ? = Can you repeat it a bit slower ?Kako se izgovara ova reč ? = How do you pronounce this word ?Kako se čita ova reč / ovo slovo ? = How do I read this word / letter ?Kako se piše slovo "ć" ? = How do you write letter "ć" ?Da li neko ima ideju kako najbolje prevesti " Gazda bio, gazda ost'o 100 %" ?

Word order in Serbian Sentences in the Simple Past

In one of the previous blog posts about the "red reči" in a Serbian sentence, I covered the word order in the present tense and it's time to talk about the past simple. Don't forget that the letter  N is used for the most neutral / natural sounding sentence:

One word verb: pevati (to sing)

Past tense OF "I sang / I was singing."

Subject (S) + predicate (P)

Pevao / pevala sam. NJa sam pevao/pevala. Ti si igrao, a ja sam pevala. N Ti si igrao i ja sam pevala. N Komšije su čule kako sam pevala. NPriznajem da sam pevala. N





















S + P +  direct object (dO) Pevala sam pesmu. NJa sam pevala pesmu.(not neutral, but rather poetic word order would be: Pesmu sam pevala / Ja sam pesmu pevala. / pesmu pevala sam ja (reminded me of "zaboravio sam jutros pesmu jednu ja" - watch the video)Čuješ da sam otpevala  pesmu.  NSvi su čuli da sam pevala pesmu. 
S  + P + dO + adverb of time (AoT)

Pevala sam pesmu svaki dan. NSvaki dan sam pevala pesmu. NMoji prijatelji su juče čuli ka…

Easy Texts in Serbian

Here comes a sample video exercise of a  very basic and simple text in Serbian, much much easier than the previous ones:

About Jeremy in the Latin alphabetAbout Jeremy in Serbian Cyrillic scriptAbout Jeremy's wifeAgain about Jeremy's wife
 Anyway, I think this is a good example how you can practise making natural sentences in Serbian on your own, simply by reading together with me and supplying the words which are missing. You can also do the follow-up exercise in writing.














Sorry for the poor audio quality - I'll try to fix it somehow !

Word order in Serbian

Although there's this widespread view (uvreženo mišljenje) that the word order in Serbian is "free", in order to form sentences which sound natural, there are lots of rules to follow... which doesn't make it free at all ! But don't panic! The more you listen  to the Serbian language, the easier it'll be for you to make sentences in the most natural way. Learning the set of rules, can only inhibit you if you don't learn / listen to the target language on a daily basis. That's why I'll simply give you lots of examples with different verb patterns through different tenses, but today I'll just focus on the Simple Present  affirmative in simple and compound sentences. I'll add the letter N for the most neutral / natural sounding sentence:

One word verb: pevati (to sing)

Present tense OF "I sing / I'm singing."

Subject (S) + predicate (P)

Pevam. NJa pevam. Ti igraš, a ja pevam. N Ti igraš i ja pevam. N Komšije su čule kako pevam. NPri…

Warnings in Serbian :)

If you ever wondered how to warn someone in Serbian, let me give you a list of phrases, starting from the most formal ones:
Formal and semi-formal warnings:

Dozvoli da te upozorim da ne + present (2nd person Sg. - with 2nd p. Pl, start with "Dozvolite da Vas upozorim...)Ono što ja ne bih nikako uradila je da + present (1st person Sg.)Ako me pitaš za savet, nikako nemoj da + present (2nd person Sg. - with 2nd p. Pl, start with "Ako me pitate za savet, nikako nemojTE da...) Informal warnings: Pazi se + noun in the Genitive case or gerund (verbal nouns ending in -nje, again in Gen.)Nemoj da + present (2nd person Sg or Pl)Šta god da radiš, nikako nemoj da + present (2nd person Sg. - with 2nd p. Pl, start with Šta god da radite, nikako nemojTE da...) 
If you need all these phrases written both in the Cyrillic and Latin script, pronounced slowly, check  Serbian phrases link.

Case Practice - the Dative with Adjectives

In order to the following exercise easily, I'd suggest you flick through the previous posts on the topic of the Dative case in Serbian:

verbs of movementan exercise with the verbs of movementa short explanation with examples Now that you feel more confident about the form and usage, let's try to do two exercises: try to figure out how adjectives agree with a noun in Dative (what are the endings)you can listen to the instructions and repeat the same  phrases only with the pronouns in this case (Sg. njemu -mu (masc), njoj-joj (fem.) or Pl. njima-im)

In Novi Sad Tonight ? Don't Miss it!

If you happen to be visiting Serbia and Novi Sad, don't miss this magnificent event, taking place tonight:

You can find all the info on this link and do the following reading comprehension exercise:
What kind of event is it ? Who are braća Teofilović ?When is the concert taking place ?Where is it taking place ?How much does the ticket cost ?Where and how can you buy tickets ? Can you buy them online ?Is it too late for you to buy them ?How can you check if the tickets are still being sold ?

Serbian Speaking Practice

One of my favourite parts of a language lesson is when my students can speak in Serbian on their own. That's why I enjoy creating digital teaching materials to help them with visual prompts. Here comes one of my recent videos in the speaking practice series covering the topic of weather.

If you are not sure what vocabulary to use, here comes the list of the previous posts with:

phrases with translationlistening exercise the video with pronunciation So you can feel more confident to speak in Serbian while watching the video:



As you can see in the background there's a photo of a season, so you can make more complicated sentences like:

U jesen obično pada kiša i tmurno je.U proleće retko pada sneg (because you can see the snow slide against the spring background). Obično je sunčano i ponekad je kišovito.

Serbian for Children - Numbers

The best way for kids to learn Serbian is through numerous songs, poems and chants. That's why I'll dedicate one blog post a week to this topic. Let's start with numbers in Serbian and this beautiful song by the famous Branko Kockica:
















Don't forget to do this exercise based on the song lyrics!

Collocation with "videti" in Serbian

While there are so many useful tools to check your spelling / grammar / vocabulary / idioms / pronunciation ... for the English language, there are just a few such tools for Serbian (I listed them in the sidebar to the right and I (ir)regularly send them to all the Serbian Activator subscribers).

One of the most useful things a student need, starting from the pre-intermediate level is to know verb collocations. That's why I'll try to connect the verbs and nouns from the previous posts and write a list of the most common collocations for the verb "to see" (videti):




Verbs and phrases commonly used after "to see"vidim kako ... (np. vidi kako se to radi)vidimo se ponovovidi taj izrazvidi da li ima ... (np. vidi da li ima hleba)vidi šta ... (np. vidi šta nam treba)vidi kako mi stoji (for example when you're trying sth. on, this phrase means "look how / if it suits=fits me" ) Words before "to see"mogu videti / da vidimsamo vidiželim da vidi…

Serbian Adjectives in Accusative

Now that you've practised a set of  verbs which require the Accusative case, in different tenses and with different nouns ( which you have seen / broken / bought /sold / fixed / turned off / turned on etc.), it's time you did the same exercise, but this time with adjectives.

The topic of adjectives in Serbian is always tricky as they not only agree with the number and gender of the noun, but also with its case. While in some cases, like in the Accusative for example, the case endings are the same for the nouns and adjectives, it's not always that easy ( e.g. in the Genitive case).

That's why we'll stick to the Accusative case today, because we've already practised it and it's easy!
Let's watch the same video and add the following adjectives in front of each noun :
MODERAN = modernJEFTIN = cheapSKUP = expensiveVELIKI = bigMALI = smallNOVI = newSTARI = oldDOBAR = goodFor example: 

Kupila sam veliki televizor i malU peglU. Htela sam da kupim i modernE lampE,…

Serbian Idioms with "Videti"

I'm sure you've thoroughly practised the verb "videti" with the video lesson with gadgets and appliances and the "conjugator video". Now it's time to learn to recognize different parts of speech with this verb through the list of common phrases and idioms in Serbian :

Verb form:VIDETI
Ooo, koga to vidim ! = expressing surprise when you see someone (As I leve and breathe!; Well, what do you know; Lo and behold)Imaš šta da vidiš! = something worth seeing ( A sight for sore eyes, Something to look at; A million-dollar look)Sad GA vidiš, sad GA ne vidiš = a fly-by-night (an unreliable, dishonest person) / now you see it, now you don't (a magician's trick) Što video, ne video = to turn a blind eye on sth.; mum's the word (to pretend not to have seen anything)Noun form:VID (sight), VIDelo (sight / light), VIDik (view/perspective) Izneti (nešto) na videlo = to bring something to light (to reveal); to bring soemthing into the openIzgubiti (nešto) iz vi…

How to Use the Serbian Conjugator ?

If you've practised the Accusative form of the nouns and pronouns with the video in the previous post, it's time to expand your confidence onto the verbs which require a noun/pronoun in this case. With all the listed nouns (TV, pegla, mobilni telefon, mašina za veš ...), the following verbs, properly conjugated, will make sense:
videti (to see) Present Tense conjugations: Sg: vidIM, vidIŠ, vidI Pl: vidIMO, vidITE, vidE           Past Tense : Sg: videO, videLA, videLO Pl: videLI, videLE, videLAgledati (to watch) gledAM, gledAŠ, gledA - gledAMO, gledATE, gledAJU ( for the following verbs you'll see only: PRESENT Sg: -m/-š/- Pl: -mo / -te / -ju and for the PAST Sg. -o/-la/-lo Pl. -li/-le/-la )imati (to have)  Sg: -m/-š/- Pl: -mo / -te / -ju (imaJU) Past: Sg. -o/-la/-lo Pl. -li/-le/-lakoristiti (to use) Sg: -m/-š/- Pl: -mo / -te / -e (koristE) Past: Sg. -o/-la/-lo Pl. -li/-le/-laraditi (to work) Sg: -m/-š/- Pl: -mo / -te / -e (rade) Past: Sg. -o/-la/-lo Pl. -li/-le/-lapopravlja…

Serbian Nouns and Pronouns in Accusative

Today we're going to do an exercise with singular nouns describing objects, their grammatical gender and its pronouns in the Accusative case. In this exercise you'll see the following appliances and gadgets:
televizormikserdaljinski (upravljač)mobilni (telefon)telefonkompjuterfrižidertostermašina za vešmašina za pranje vešalampa The nouns in blue are masculine and the red ones are feminine, so don't forget to make the following changes: step TO SEE + NOUN: Vidim / Ne vidim televizor (masculine) /odelo (neuter) /lampU (feminine)step TO SEE + corresponding PRONOUN: Vidim / Ne vidim ga / je (short form for "him (ga = njega) / her (je=nju)")step: look around yourself and say what you can see/can't see (use only singular and pay attention that the neuter nouns, like "odelo" behaves the same as the nouns in masc.)

Serbian Phrases Course

I think it's been high time I resumed our regular, day-by-day postings with video lessons of the Serbian language. As usual, I'll do my best to help you in the most practical way with the interactive videos, like this one:



This is one of 65 lessons with more than 4.5 hours of content from the course Serbian Phrases, which has finally been completed. All the videos with slow pronunciation are based on phrase lists both in the Serbian Cyrillic and Latin script! There's also an ever-growing number of additional video exercises, like the one above. For all of you who'd like to buy the course and know how to say 'n' write "FaithfulFollower" in Serbian, will  get a significant discount if they  type it in the coupon code box :) Enjoy it!