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Showing posts with label Serbian idioms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Serbian idioms. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Serbian Fun Expressions and Idioms

In one of my more advanced Serbian lessons there came up a few expressions which I wanted to share with you today. I will copy-paste a part of the text about Jeremija, with whom you can learn Serbian from the very start.  I'll list the tasks below this short excerpt:

Jeremija je bio veoma srećan tog jutra, jer je bio potpuno siguran da će dobiti povišicu na poslu. Njegov šef je u nekoliko navrata natuknuo Jeremiji da će od sledećeg meseca omastiti brk, kao i da je to potpuno zaslužio. Jeremija se pravio lud i uspešno se uzdržavao da ne vuče šefa za rukav i postavlja dodatna pitanja. Bio je svestan da sve što bude dobio jeste rezultat njegovog sopstvenog rada i da nije jednostavno palo s neba. Posebno mu je bilo milo što ovaj put nije morao da se kiti tuđim perjem. Njegova zasluga je bila očigledna. Kada je tog jutra stigao na posao i otvorio svoju kancelariju, imao je šta da vidi. Na stolu je stajao potpuno nov kompjuter i pored njega još noviji mobilni, a šef je sav sijao od sreće! "Šta sam ti rekao? Borio sam za tebe kao vučica... i izborio sam se! Najnoviji model? Hm? Šta kažeš?" Jeremija nije morao da se pretvara - na njegovom licu se videlo da su mu sve lađe potonule... Bio je 100% siguran da će dobiti veću platu, a sada mu je postalo jasno da je ostao kratkih rukava! Šta će mu sada Spomenka reći?
Right, now there are three tasks for you:
  1. The easiest task: Can you find the synonyms for these words in the text:
  • drago
  • aludirao
  • apsolutno
  • pravi
  • narednog
  • jako
  • blesav
  • totalno
  • puta
  • shvatio
  • sasvim
  • samo
     2. The more difficult task: which phrases and idioms mean:
  • down in the dumps/ in the doldrums
  • fight like a wolf
  • to be absolutely certain about something
  • keep asking for something
  • get a raise
  • take an advantage of something
  • to deck oneself in  borrowed finery
  • to get the worst of a bargain/ to come away empty-handed
     3. The most difficult task: what will Spomenka say to him when he arrives back home? Try to come      up with a suitable idiom or expression. Let me help you with a few ideas, and you try to guess                which ones are the most appropriate:
  • ko drugome jamu kopa sam u nju upada
  • svako nosi svoj krst
  • nema ti ravna
  • prvo skoči pa reci hop
  • nije zlato sve što sija
  • ko rano rani dve sreće grabi
  • doterao je cara do duvara
  • poklonu se u zube ne gleda



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Serbian Idioms and Phrases with Verb "nositi" - Part 3

This is the final part in the series of blog posts about the verb "nositi". The previous ones can be found on the following pages:

Today I am going to give you the explanations and various examples of the following phrases:

  • Što ga noge nose /  koliko me(te/ga/je/nas/vas/ih) noge nose = at full speed, as fast as possible = as fast as one's legs will carry one:

a) MREŽNI MARKETING, prevara ili ne - beži kud te noge nose !

or
b) Kakva greška ! Provocirao grupu navijača,  pa bežao kol'ko ga noge nose
  • Pas laje, vetar nosi = idle gossip should be disregarded = the dogs bark, but the caravan goes on; words and feathers the wind carries away; words are but wind
c) Pusti ti draga priče. Znas onu" PSI LAJU, KARAVANI PROLAZE !"?! Samo se ti smiri i slusaj lekare i sve ce biti u redu.
or
dPas laje, vetar nosi 
or
e) No, svako vredjanje najvise govori o onome ko vredja.Psi laju,vetar nosi... (the first comment under the text)
  • Idi gde te (oči vode i) noge nose = gubi mi se s očiju = idi mi s očiju (pej. nosi se) = get out of my sight, get lost, be off with you 
Examples from the internet sites:
fA FaceBook comment
or 
g) A folk song by Mira Škorić "Idi nek te noge nose" (lyrics)
  • Plati pa nosi (or more a more modern rhyming version: plati pa klati):
h) Naslov u tekstu o platnim karticama "Plati pa nosi"
or
 iTo su najobicniji lopovi. Svaka susa danas otvorila auto- skolu i kao poducava te. Plati pa se klati  (the penultimate comment)

And now the tasks for the more advanced /proficient learners of Serbian:

  1. Који од наведених примера комбинује две изреке, док носи значење само једне (на неки начин погрешно употребљено, али не омета разумевање) ?
  2. Који од наведених примера личи на превод енглеског идиома са истим значењем (што показује утицај енглеског због честих буквалних превода на медијима и Интернету )
  3.  Који од наведених примера је употребљен у букваном значењу, и уопште не носи идиоматско / пренесено значење ?

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Serbian Idioms and Phrases with Verb "nositi" - Part 2

Here come the second part of the idioms and phrases with the verb "nositi":

  • Koja kokoš mnogo kokodače, malo jaja nosi = he who talks much, does little; the ass that brays most, eats least
Example 1Niko nema prava da gradira vaš (ili bilo čiji) patriotizam. Oni što najviše kokodaču o patriotizmu i trube na sva zvona o veri i tradiciji koje smo mi (kao) napustili, ne znaju ni šta je patriotizam po definiciji. Ima jedna stara izreka (srpska) koja kaže: Koja kokoš mnogo kokodače, malo jaja nosi. Želim vam od srca sve najbolje, gde god da ste, i drago mi je što ste uspeli da se operišete.( a reader's comment on Plus site)
Example 2.Znači dolazeće izbore gubiš. Nikaj konkretnoga od ove vlasti ne očekujem, vrijedi ona stara:koja krava jako muče, malo mlijeka daje. Za aktualne bi se to karikirano:koja kokoš jako kokodače, malo jaja nosi. Pozdrav... (an interesting reader's comment from a Croatian site - za naprednije pratioce bloga: da li ste razumeli slični izraz u kojem se pominje druga domaća životinja, ali sa istim značenjem ? )
  • Nositi svoj krst = to bear one's own share of suffering; to bear one's cross
Example 3Ivan Ivanović: “Svako nosi svoj krst!” (from WannaBeMagazine)
Example 4: An explanation with a fun example sentence in context, from Vukajlija : ... ал' шта сад да радим... свако носи свој крст!"
  • Nositi se mišlju = to intend to do something; to toy with an idea
Example 5Pošto moja naknada za održavanje trudnoće i dalje kasni (5 meseci), ja se nosim mišlju da u sledećoj trudnoći žešće zloupotrebim sistem, jer ovo zaista nema smisla. Idući put ću da otvaram i zatvaram bolovanje do 30 dana sve do 28 dana pred porođaj -- onda niko neće moći da me vuče za nos kao sada.  (from BeBac forum)
Example 6"Ne nosim se mišlju da su gradjani Krusevca rasisti.Nasim gradom slobodno se krecu prpadnici svih manjna pa i oni koji se razlikuju po boji..." (from a FaceBook page)
  • Ne zna se šta nosi dan, a šta noć = don't make hasty judgments;  one never knows what the future may bring


Example 7Srbija je velika tajna by Desanka Maksimović:
Srbija je velika tajna:
Ne zna dan šta noć kuva,
Niti noć šta zora rađa... 

Zadatak za naprednije učenike: Pokušajte da nađete u ovoj pesmi aluziju na još jedan idiom koji smo pominjali u prvom delu
Example 8: Ne zna dan, noć šta nosi ( a theatre review from Politika)
Example 9: ...Neka svako ide svojim putem. To treba postovati. Ja, recimo, da sam zensko, nikada ne bih isao sa kriminalcima, ali se nikad ne zna sta nosi dan, a sta noc(the first reader's comment from Plus)
For more advanced learners of Serbian: One of the idioms quoted in the examples 1 to 9 is inappropriately used. Which one ? 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Serbian Idioms and Phrases with Verb "nositi" - Part 1

If you enjoyed reading the previous post about different meanings of the verb " nositi " in Serbian, I am sure you'll find this list of common phrases and idioms with the same verb quite interesting :

  • Vreme nosi svoje (breme) / sve u svoje vreme (а)= everything is good in its season
The examples are from the various internet sites:
Svako vreme nosi svoje breme koje ga karakteriše i identifikuje. To breme ga u isto vreme razlikuje i čini sličnim prethodnim epohama. Tako i dvadeset prvi vek, poput svojih prethodnika, donosi pregršt pitanja, problema i nedoumica, stavlja ih pred savremenog čoveka kao izazove, kao svojevrsne zadatke koje ovaj treba da reši.
ili
Vreme nosi svoje. Sedamdesetih godina ljudi su se najviše družili sa gitarom i ljudsko uho je bilo neverovatno naklonjeno zvuku tog angažovanog pesničkog izražavanja uz gitaru koja nije tražila nikakva elektronska pomagala.
  • Nositi glavu u torbi (б)= to live in constant danger, to tempt fate, to stick one's neck out. For example: 
Uprkos visokoj sigurnosti bolida Formule 1 i staza, piloti najbržeg cirkusa na svetu ne smatraju se bez razloga najhrabrijim sportistima današnjice koji, iz trke u trku, nose glavu u torbi.
ili
Oni nose glavu u torbi da bi mi bili sigurni. 
  • Zaklati gusku/koku koja nosi zlatna jaja (в) = to destroy a source of income, to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. For example:
Šta god da se priča, malo je verovatno da će kineski vodji ubiti "koku koja nosi zlatna jaja", odnosno odustati od 9,5 procenata godišnjeg ekonomskog rasta od 1979.
ili
...ova vlada ce nam dati svakome gusku koja nosi zlatna jaja samo da dobiju izbore,a ako dobiju ostaje nam samo perje od guske jer i guska i jaja odose...
  • Nositi zmiju u nedrima & Gajiti guju u nedrima (г) = to befriend a treacherous person, to nurse a viper in one's bosom. For example:
p.s. ovo na dobro ne može da ispadne ima iz istorije poznata epioda koja je sažeta u sintagmi "gajiti zmiju u nedrima Rima"! Taj datum ama baš ništa neće značiti, ja malo pratim medije, i trovanje naroda ponovo ušlo u 4 brzinu.
or
Above the title: "Zmija" u nedrima vlasti 

As you have noticed I added the examples ranging from current affairs articles, folk songs to ordinary people's comments, just to show that these idioms are frequently used. Since there is a list of eight more phrases with the verb "nositi", I'll divide this post into three parts in order to give you as many examples as possible.

Ако учите српски већ дуже време и већ сте на напредном нивоу, сигурно ће вам се свидети вежба да за сваки пример дате различито значење речи "носити" из претходног поста. На пример значење речи "носити", у примеру  а,  је исто као и у примеру б, док је различито од значења у примерима в и г :)

Part 2:
  • Ne zna se šta nosi dan, a šta no
  • Koja kokoš mnogo kokodače, malo jaja nosi
  • Nositi svoj krst
  • Nositi se mišlju
Part 3:
  • Idi gde te (oči vode i) noge nose
  • Pas laje, vetar nosi
  • Plati pa nosi
  • Nositi breme

Thursday, August 29, 2013

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 delimo na ravne časti (Everything we earn we share and share alike)
  • nema mu ravna = without a peer; second to none
example: Kao lekaru nema mu ravna (As a doctor he is second to none.) 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

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 you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comment box below ;-)

Sunday, August 04, 2013

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 open
  • Izgubiti (nešto) iz vida = to lose sight of something 
  • Imati (nešto) u vidu = to bear in mind, to take into account, to keep sight of something
  • Nestati sa vidika =  to recede from view / to vanish into thin air / to fade away
Gerund or "glagolska imenica"  : VIĐENJE (ending in -nje, which corresponds with English -ing)
  • Do (skorog) viđenja = so long (a farewell) 
  • Poznavati nekog iz viđenja = to know someone by sight / to have a nodding acquaintance with someone
Past Participle or Trpni glagolski pridev (adjective): VIĐEN (ending in -n or -t, which corresponds with English -ed or PP form of the verb)
  • Rado viđen = popular, in high favour 
Notice the use of this phrase "rado viđen" + "gost" at the very beginning of the famous song "Jabuke i Vino":


Monday, November 19, 2012

Serbian Idioms - "Doterati Cara Do Duvara"

The Serbian idiom "doterati cara do duvara" has the similar meaning as the English one "to come to a head". I have often heard  this phrase in my childhood, always wondering what "duvar" might mean.

The word "duvar" is a loan word, and if you go to Google translate and check it at Turkish-English translation, you'll find out that the meaning of the word is "zid" (wall). So, the literal translation would resemble the expression "to drive someone (in this case "the tzar") up the wall" and yet, Serbian phrase for this expression (drive someone up the wall) is "dovesti nekog do ludila" (or litterally "make someone crazy"). You can check the pronunciation of these two idioms here, at our audio forum (and I hope you'll surprise your Serbian family or friends by pronouncing the phrases correctly and using them appropriately).

Talking about the usage, I was really surprised that in my group of eight teenage students only one had heard of  "doterati cara do duvara". She explained that her teacher of Serbian insists on students learning and using proverbs and idioms, but she also hasn't heard of the phrase being used outside of the classroom!  Does this mean that we tend to use idioms less frequently, or is it the case just with this idiom ? Maybe the world has changed for better and  retko iko ikada (rarely does anyone) "dotera cara do duvara" :)

What do you think ?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Learn Serbian Podcast

Friday, May 27, 2011

"Vukova crtanka" - part two

The previous post with Serbian proverbs and sayings covered letters from A to Đ, and now we continue from E to Ž:
E
1. E, darovnome konju zubi se ne gledaju (Don't look a gift horse in the mouth) - nowadays we tend to say "Poklonu se u zube ne gleda" (obviously the word "horse" is omitted, which makes this modern version a bit funny, but it's widely used)
2. E, da sam juče umro ne bih to danas čuo
(literally: If I'd died yesterday I wouldn't hear it today)
3. E, dok jednom ne smrkne, drugom ne svane
(the death of the wolves is the safety of the sheep) -here's the fun definition 
4. E, dok se čovek dima ne nadimi, ne može se ogrejati.
(you must take the rough with the smooth)

Ž ( Ж is my favourite letter in the Cyrillic script)
1- Žena muža nosi na licu, a muž ženu na košulji
(literally: "A wife wears a man on her face, and a husband wears his wife on his shirt", which obviously mean that one can judge how a husband treats his wife by looking at her face, while one can judge how a wife takes care of her husband by looking at his shirt)
2. Žedna preko vode prevesti
(pull the wool over sombody's eyes)
3. Žena će samo onu tajnu sačuvati koju ne zna
(a woman can keep only the secret which she doesn't know)
4. Ženi sina kad hoćeš, a ćerku kad  možeš
(Marry your son when you will, your daughter when you can)

Monday, May 02, 2011

"Vukova crtanka" - part one

Recently my son showed me his newly bought booklet with numerous proverbs, adages, tongue twisters and riddles called "Vukova crtanka" (Vuk's Colouring Book). Let me list my favourite ones:

A - Ako je neko lud, ne budi mu drug.
      Ako hoćeš koga da poznaš, podaj mu vlast.
B -  Bez alata nema zanata.
      Bolje umeti, nego imati.
V - Videla žaba gde se konj potkiva, pa i ona digla nogu.
      Veselo je srce golemo blago.
G - Gladnog ne teši, već nahrani.
      Gde je stida, tu je i poštenja.
D - Delo čoveka hvali.
     Dogovor kuću gradi.
Đ - Đe (gde) je obraz tu je i duša.
     Đe će kruška no pod krušku.

Q-A:
Pitao sin oca, kad je po svetu hteo poći:
- Od šta mi se valja najviše čuvati ?
- Od tuđe muke.

Tongue Twisters: (audio)
Pitala metla metlu, gde je metla metlu; Metla metla metlu iza vrata.
Čokančićem ćeš me, čokančićem ću te!
Cvrči, cvrči cvrčak, trči, trči trčak; trči, trči trk! Trčak trkom trči, crni cvrčak cvrči!

Part 2

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"What's the matter with you?" in Serbian



"Koji ti je andrak?" (what's the matter with you? what is wrong with you?) ... a blast from the past ! I was so happy when I came across this phrase which I haven't heard for ages :o) Where do words hide when they grow old?

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