Before You Start to Learn Croatian Here Are 10 Things To Know + Phrases

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Post author Ana

Written by our local expert Ana

Croatian born Ana is an avid traveler who is always looking for the next travel story from the Balkans to share. Her passion is creating travel itineraries and in-depth guides.

So, you want to learn Croatian from the beginning or brush up on what you learned as a kid, huh? Here are seven things you need to know before you embark on your Croatian language adventure, as written by language professor Mateja Horvat.

1. What Language Is Spoken In Croatia

The language spoken in Croatia is Croatian. That one was easy, right?

2. What Language Is Hrvatski

“Hrvatski” means Croatian in the Croatian language. 

3. Reading And Writing Is Easy

Croatian Alphabet

Every letter in the Croatian language has only one sound, only one way that it’s supposed to be pronounced. So, after 15 minutes or so of learning the alphabet, you are actually able to read Shakespeare in Croatian! Not bad for only 15 minutes of studying, huh? :)

It’s not like you will understand it, but if a Croatian were to hear you reading, they would understand you without too much trouble.

4. You’ll Break Your Tongue

Balkan Flags_Croatia 2

Or maybe you can just think about it as an excellent exercise for your tongue and facial muscles! :) Your tongue will end up doing tricks unlike anything else it is used to doing – no need to go to the gym.

Just think of all the cosmetic surgeon’s fees you can save by saying things like: “Još jednu čašu vina i srdele, molim!” No facelift is needed afterward!

5. Learning Croatian Won’t Happen Overnight

When starting to learn a new language, most people will say that their goal is to be able to have a conversation in the new language they intend to learn, and my students are always interested in knowing how long it will take them to get there. According to CEFRL (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), one becomes an independent user after achieving at least a B1 level of knowledge – which takes approximately 400 hours of learning.

A very unpopular piece of information is that the number of hours needed to achieve a B1 level varies A LOT from person to person – but, hey, that might mean it could take you a lot less.
Learn How to Speak Croatian - Croatia Travel Blog

6. There Are so Many Weird Endings

If you have ever heard a Croat speak, you will probably notice that Croatians do all kinds of funny things with the endings of words. Sometimes they will refer to you as Anna, but other times you’ll be Anne, Annu, or Annom.

That’s because the Croatian language has three genders and 7 cases. If you want to say that you are behind Anna, you’d say “iza Anne” of if you want to say you are with Anna, you’d say “s Annom.” 

As you can see, you’ll actually have to change some word endings. In fact, you will need to focus on listening to the word endings to know who is doing what with/for/to whom. But, who knows, maybe you start enjoying it and discover a new, unusual pleasure.

7. Be Prepared To Un-Learn Your English

Applying English language logic to learning the Croatian language won’t get you very far. So you’ll need to be open to an entirely new way of thinking.

Sometimes if you use a literal translation from Croatian to English (and the other way around), your sentence won’t make sense at all. For example, the Croatian phrase, “Nikad nećeš ništa reći” literally translated to English would be something like, “You’ll never not say nothing.” which basically makes no sense. What it actually means is: “You’ll never say a thing.”

There are hundreds of ways in which the Croatian translation seems illogical from an English language perspective if it is any consolation, Croatians who learn English experience the corresponding problems.

Croatia Travel Blog_7 Things to Know Before Learning Croatian

8. It Won’t Be Easy To Talk With Your Grandmother

Balkan Flags_Croatia 1

Most schools for learning Croatian as a second language and the majority of learning materials will teach you standard Croatian language.

It’s quite likely that that standard Croatian is quite different from the Croatian that your grandmother speaks. Officially, there are three dialects of the Croatian language, and each of them has many sub-dialects. Virtually every village speaks a bit differently from the neighboring one. So, when you choose a place to learn Croatian, make sure they can provide you with what you want and need.

Brands We Use And Trust

  

9. You Think You Have No Talent For Learning Languages? Maybe It’s Not You

Croatian Flag

Many people who start to learn Croatian after some time conclude that it’s too hard to learn, or they decide they are just not talented for learning languages and choose to quit. Well… before you put all the blame on yourself or the language, make sure that you have detected the real cause.

Ensure that your teacher is a native speaker with a university degree in teaching Croatian and with a decent amount of experience in teaching Croatian as a second language. ALL of that is very important.

Why? As you may know, the Croatian language is not among the simplest ones to learn, and most Croatian universities teach teachers how to teach Croatian as a first language. Still, very few (almost none) teach teachers how to teach Croatian as a second language.

The difference between these two skills is HUGE. So, the fact that your teacher is a native speaker and has a university degree to teach Croatian might not be enough. Not to mention that there is a huge lack of good quality learning and teaching materials and methodologies. If you are not happy with your progress, just continue searching for a better teacher. Learning Croatian actually CAN be simple and enjoyable once you have found the right match teacher.

10. Learn Croatian Online

If you want to give my team a try just like Mr. & Mrs. Chasing the Donkey do, we offer your first class free so that you can see if we are a great match. You can contact us below.

Click Here To Learn Croatian Online

Helpful Croatian Phrases

Everyday Conversation

  • Hello: Bok (bohk)
  • Good Morning/ Good Evening / Good Night: Dobro jutro (DOH-broh YOO-troh)/ Dobra večer(DOH-brah VEH-chehr)/ Laku noć (LAH-koo nohtch)
  • How are you?: Kako ste? (KAH-koh steh?) Formal; Kako si? (KAH-koh see?) Informal
  • Fine, thanks.: Dobro, hvala. (DOH-broh, HVAH-lah.)
  • And you?: Vi? (Vee?) Formal; Ti? (Tee?) Informal
  • Please / Yes, please: Molim (MOH-leem)/ Da, molim. (DAH, MOH-leem)
  • Thank you / Thank you very much: Hvala (HVAH-lah)/ Puno hvala (Puh-noh HVAH-lah.)
  • You’re welcome: Nema na čemu (NEH-mah nah cheh-moo)
  • Goodbye: Doviđenja (Daw-vee-je-nya)
  • Bye: Bok (bohk)
  • See you soon: Vidimo se uskoro (veedeemoh seh ooskohroh)
  • Yes: Da (Dah)
  • No: Ne (Neh)
  • Excuse me: Oprostite (Oh-pROH-stee-teh)
  • I’m sorry / Sorry / Pardon me: Žao mi je (ZHA-oh mee yeh)/ Oprostite (Oh-pROH-stee-teh)/ Oprostite (Oh-pROH-stee-teh)
  • What is your name? Kako se zoveš? (KAH-koh seh ZOH-vehsh?)
  • I’m… / My name is… / I am called…: Ja sam (Yah sahm…)/ Zovem se…(ZOH-vehm seh…)/ Zovu me…(ZOH-voo meh…)
  • Nice to meet you: Drago mi je (DRAH-goh mee yeh).
  • Where are you from?: Odakle si? (OH-dah-kleh see?)
  • I’m from…: Ja sam iz…(Yah sahm eez)
  • How old are you?: Koliko imaš godina? (KOH-lee-koh ee-mash goh-dee-nah?)
  • I am (x) years old: Imam (x) godina. (EE-mahm…god-ee-nah).
  • I (don’t) like…: Ja (ne) volim…(Yah (neh) voh-leem)

Language Difficulties

  • Do you speak…?: Govorite li…? (GOH-voh-ree-teh lee…?)
  • I (don’t) understand: Ne razumijem. (NEH RAH-zoo-mee-yehm.)
  • I speak a little…: Govorim malo.. (GOH-voh-reem mah-loh)..
  • I (don’t) speak…: Ne govorim…(Neh GOH-voh-reem…)
  • Could you please speak a little slower?: Možete li molim vas govoriti malo sporije? (MOH-zheh-teh lee MOH-leem vas GOH-voh-ree-tee mah-loh spoh-ree-yeh?)
  • Could you write that down?: Možete li to napisati? (MOH-zheh-teh lee toh nah-pee-sah-tee?)
  • Could you repeat that?: Možete li to ponoviti? (MOH-zheh-teh lee toh poh-noh-vee-tee?)
  • How do you say…?: Kako kažete…? (KAH-koh kah-zhe-teh…?)
  • What does… mean?: Što…znači? (SHTOH zhnah-chee?)
  • What time is it?: Koliko je sati? (KOH-lee-koh yeh sahtee?)
  • It’s (six) o’clock.: (Šest) je sati. (She-sht yeh sah-tee.)

Shopping & Money

  • How much is this?: Koliko ovo košta? (KOH-lee-koh oh-voh koh-shtah?)
  • I’m looking for…: Tražim…(TRAH-zheem…)
  • I would like…: Želim… (ZHE-leem)…
  • Can I pay by credit card?: Mogu li platiti kreditnom karticom? (MOH-goo lee PLAH-tee-tee KREH-deet-nohm KAHR-tee-tsohm?)
  • Could I see this/that one?: Mogu li pogledati ovo / ono? (MOH-goo lee POH-gleh-dah-teeh-voh/oh-noh?)
  • Do you have this in small/large/medium?: Imate li ovo u maloj/velikoj/srednjoj? (EE-mah-teh lee oh-voh oo mah-loy/veh-lee-koy/srehd-nyoy?)
  • Do you have anything cheaper?: Imate li nešto jeftinije? (EE-mah-teh lee NEH-shtoh YEH-ftee-nee-yeh?)
  • It’s too expensive: Preskupo je. (PREH-skoo-poh yeh).
  • I’ll give you… for it.: Dat ću ti..za to. (DAHT choo tee zah toh).
  • Where can I exchange money/ Where is the nearest exchange office?: Gdje mogu razmijeniti novac? (Gdyeh MOH-goo rahz-MEE-yeh-nee-tee NOH-vahts?)/ Gdje je najbliža mjenjačnica?
  • The exchange office is right in front of the restaurant Stela.: Mjenjačnica je odmah ispred restorana Stela.
  • What is the exchange rate for euro?: Koji je tečaj eura? 
  • Where is the nearest ATM?: Gdje je najbliži bankomat? 
  • The ATM is in the next street, next to the supermarket.: Bankomat je u sljedećoj ulici, pokraj supermarketa. 

Public Transportation

  • Airport: Zračna luka / aerodrom 
  • Ferry port: Trajektna luka
  • Bus station: Autobusni kolodvor 
  • Railway station: Željeznički kolodvor 
  • Excuse me, how can I get to the airport / ferry port / bus station / railway station?: Oprostite, kako mogu doći do zračne luke / trajektne luke / autobusnog kolodvora? / željezničkog kolodvora?
  • A one-way/return ticket to… please.: Jednosmjernu/povratnu kartu za..molim. (YEHD-noh-smyehr-noo/POH-vraht-noo ka-rtoo zah..MOH-leem.)
  • Here’s my passport.: Ovdje je moja putovnica. (OH-vdyeh yeh mo-ya POO-toh-vnee-tsa.)
  • What time does the bus/train/plane/ferry from… arrive/depart?: U koliko sati autobus/vlak/avion/trajekt iz…dolazi/polazi? (OO KOH-lee-koh saht-ee ow-toh-boos/vlahk/ah-vee ohn/trah-yekt eez…doh-lah-zee/poh-lah-zee?)
  • When does the last ferry to Split leave?: Kada polazi zadnji trajekt za Split? 
  • Which platform/gate/terminal?: Koji peron/izlaz/pristanište? (KOH-yee peh-rohn/eez-lahz/prees-tah-nee-shteh?)
  • Is the bus/train/plane direct?: Ide li autobus/vlak/avion direktno? (EE-deh lee ow-toh-boos/vlahk/ah-vee-ohn dee-rehk-thnoh?)
  • Do I have to change buses/trains?: Moram li mijenjati autobuse/vlakove? (MOH-rahm lee MEE-yeh-nyah-tee owtoh-boo-seh/vlahk-ohveh?)
  • Do I need a seat reservation?: Trebam li rezervirati sjedalo? ( Treh-bahm lee reh-zehr-vee-rah-tee syeh-dah-loh?)
  • Is this seat taken?: Je li ovo sjedalo zauzeto? (Yeh lee oh-voh syeh-dah-loh zah-oo-zeh-toh?)
  • When is the next train/bus/minibus/ferry to…?: Kad ide idući vlak/autobus/minibus/trajekt za…? (Kahd ee-deh ee-doo-chee vlahk/ow-toh-boos/mee-nee boos/trah-yehkt zah…?)
  • I’d like to go to…: Želim ići u…(ZHEH-leem ee-chee oo…)
  • Can you let me know when to get off?: Možete li mi reći kada izaći? (MOH-zheh-teh lee mee reh-chee kah-dah ee-zah-chee?)
  • Excuse me, what is the fastest way to the More hotel?: Oprostite, kako najbrže mogu doći do hotela More?
  • Excuse me, can you tell me which bus runs to the city centre?: Oprostite, možete li mi reći koji autobus vozi do centra grada?
  • The bus stop is to the left from the exit.: Autobusna stanica je lijevo od izlaza. 
  • All bus lines run to the center.: Sve autobusne linije voze do centra. 

Taxi Drivers/Uber/Private Transfers

  • Could you call me a taxi?: Možete li mi pozvati taxi? (MOH-zheh-teh lee mee POH-zvah- tee tah-xee?)
  • Excuse me, which taxi is the most affordable here?: Oprostite, koji taksi je najpovoljniji ovdje? 
  • Which taxi would you recommend?: Koji taksi biste preporučili? 
  • Can I order a taxi via mobile app?: Mogu li naručiti taksi putem mobilne aplikacije? 
  • Excuse me, does Uber operate here?: Oprostite, posluje li Uber ovdje?
  • Do you know if I can order a ride from here?: Znate li mogu li odavde naručiti vožnju?
  • How much is the taxi to the airport?: Koliko košta taksi do aerodroma? 
  • Can you tell me how much will approximately the ride to the Adria restaurant cost?: Možete li mi reći koliko će otprilike koštati vožnja do restorana Adria?
  • I need to get to the center.: Moram doći do centra. 
  • Good afternoon. We’re going to the More hotel.: Dobar dan. Idemo do hotela More. 
  • Can you take me to the address Ilica 26?: Možete li me odvesti na adresu Ilica 26? 
  • Good morning, are you my Uber driver?: Dobro jutro, jeste li vi moj Uber vozač?
  • Thanks for the ride! Goodbye!: Hvala na vožnji! Doviđenja!
  • Good morning; I am interested in transfer to the airport for tomorrow morning.: Dobro jutro, zanima me prijevoz do aerodroma za sutra ujutro. 
  • Can I book a van for three persons from the airport to the Intercontinental hotel for Friday around 11:30?: Mogu li rezervirati kombi za 3 osobe od aerodroma do hotela Intercontinental za petak oko 11:30?
  • How much will the ride from my hotel to the Plitvice Lakes cost?: Koliko će trajati vožnja od mojeg hotela do Plitvica? 
  • How much does a day trip from Split to the Krka National Park cost?: Koliko košta jednodnevni izlet od Splita do Nacionalnog parka Krka

Directions

  • How do I get to…?: Kako doći do…? (KAH-koh doh-chee doh…?)
  • It’s on the left/on the right/straight-ahead/at the corner.: Lijevo je/desno je/ravno naprijed/iza ugla. (LEE-yeh-voh yeh/deh-snoh yeh/rah-vnoh nah-pree-yehd/ee-za oo-glah.)
  • How far is…?: Koliko je daleko? (KOH-lee-koh yeh dah-leh-koh?)
  • Where is the closest bank/post office/exchange office?: Gdje je najbliža banka/pošta/mjenjačnica? (Gdyeh yeh nay-blee-zhah bah-nkah/poh-shtah/myeh-nyah-chnee-tsa?)
  • Where can I find tourist information?: Gdje mogu naći turističke informacije? (Gdyeh moh-goo nah-chee too-ree-stee-chkeh ee-nfo-rmah-tseeyeh?)
  • Do you have a map?: Imate li kartu? (EE-mah-teh lee kah-rtoo?)
  • Can you show me that on the map?: Možete li mi to pokazati na karti? (MOH-zheh-teh lee mee toh POH-kah-zah-tee nah kah-rtee?)
  • Where is the (add nationality here) embassy/consulate?: Gdje je (x) ambasada/konzulat? (Gdyeh yeh (doh-day nah-tsee-oh-nahl-noh-st oh-vdyeh) ahm-bah-sah-dah/kohn-zoo-laht?
  • Straight ahead: Ravno
  • To the right from/ On the right side: Desno od/ s desne strane 
  • To the left from/ On the left side: Lijevo od/ s lijeve strane 
  • Go straight ahead, then to the right around the corner.: Idite ravno, pa desno iza ugla. 
  • Go straight ahead until the end of the street, and then turn left.: Idite ravno do kraja ulice, a zatim skrenite lijevo.
  • Next to, by: Pokraj / kraj / pored 
  • In the vicinity, nearby: U blizini
  • Behind: Iza 
  • In front of: Ispred 

Eating & Drinking

  • Can you recommend a good restaurant?: Možete li preporučiti dobar restoran? (MOH-zheh-teh lee preh-poh-roo-chee-tee doh-bahr reh-stoh-rahn?)
  • Where is the nearest local food restaurant?: Gdje je najbliži restoran lokalne hrane?
  • How can I get to the Adriatic restaurant?: Kako mogu doći do restorana Adriatic?
  • There is a good restaurant right behind the corner, on your left side, next to the exchange office.: Ima dobar restoran odmah iza ugla, s vaše lijeve strane, pokraj mjenjačnice.
  • Excuse me, can you recommend a good coffee shop?: Oprostite, možete li mi preporučiti neki dobar kafić?
  • Where can I have some good coffee?: Gdje mogu popiti dobru kavu?
  • Can we have a non-smoking table?: Možemo li dobiti stol za nepušače? (MOH-zheh-moh lee doh-bee-tee stohl zah neh-poo-shah-cheh?)
  • There are two/three,/four of us.: Ima nas troje/četvero. (EE-mah nahs trohyeh/cheh-tveh-roh.)
  • What would you recommend?: Što biste preporučili? (SHTOH bee-steh preh-poh-roo-chee- lee?)
  • What are some local specialties?: Koji su neki lokalni specijaliteti? (KOH-yee soo neh-kee lohk-ahl-nee spets-ee-yahl-ee-teht-ee?)
  • Could I see the menu, please?: Mogu li vidjeti meni, molim? (MOH-goo lee vee-dyeh-tee meh-nee, MOH-leem?)
  • A beer/coffee/tea, please: Pivo/kavu/čaj, molim. (PEE-voh/KAH-voo/CH-ay MOH-leem.) Find out about the types of tea and coffee on offer here.
  • Coffee with milk, please.: Molim vas kavu s mlijekom.
  • Two coffees with milk, please.: Molim vas dvije kave s mlijekom.
  • Can you also bring a glass of water, please?: Možete li donijeti i čašu vode, molim vas?
  • Two glasses of water, please.: Dvije čaše vode, molim vas.
  • Do you want tap water or bottled water?: Želite li vodu iz slavine ili u boci?
  • Could I get the bill, please. / The check, please.: Mogu li dobiti račun, molim. / Račun, molim. (MOH-goo lee doh-bee tee rah-choon, MOH-leem./ Rah-choon. MOH-leem
  • I’m allergic to…: Alergičan sam na…(Ah-lehr-gee-chahn sahm nah…)
  • That was delicious!: Bilo je ukusno! (BEE-loh yeh oo-koo-snoh!)
  • This isn’t what I ordered.: Ovo nije to što sam naručio. (OH-voh nee-yeh toh shtoh sahm nah-roo-chee-oh.
  • Can I buy you a drink?: Mogu li ti kupiti piće? (MOH-goo lee tee koo-pee tee PEE-cheh?)
  • Let’s have another!: Uzmimo još jednom! (OO-zmee-moh yosh yehd-nohm!)

Sightseeing

  • Are there guided tours?: Ima li tura s vodičem? (EE-mah lee too-rah s voh-dee-Chehm?)
  • What is the entrance fee?: Koliko košta ulaznica? (KOH-lee-koh koh-shtah-oo-lahz-nee-tsa?)
  • What is that building?: Što je ta zgrada? (SHTOH yeh tah zgrah-dah?
  • Is it open on Sundays?: Je li otvoreno nedjeljom? (Yeh lee oh-tvoh-reh-noh nehd ye-lyohm?)
  • What’s on at the cinema/theatre tonight?: Što igra u kinu/kazalištu/večeras? (SHTOH ee-grah oo kee-noo/kah-zahl-ee-shtoo/oh-peh-ree veh-che-rahs?)
  • That’s a beautiful church/cathedral/building.: To je prekrasna crkva/katedrala/zgrada. (Toh yeh preh- krahs-nah cr-kvah/kah-teh-drah-lah/zgrah-dah.)
  • What is there to see around here?: Što ovdje ima za razgledati? (SHTOH oh-vdjeh ee-mah zah rah-zgleh-dah-tee?)

Accommodations

  • What is an inexpensive hotel you can recommend?: Koji povoljan hotel možete preporučiti? (KOH-yee poh-voh-lyahn hoh-tehl MOH-zheh-teh preh-poh-roo-chee- tee?)
  • I have a reservation.: Imam rezervaciju. (EE-mahm reh-zehr-vats-ee-yoo).
  • Do you have any rooms?: Imate li soba? (EE-mah-teh lee SOH-bah?)
  • Could I see the room?: Mogu li vidjeti sobu? (MOH-goo lee vee-dyeh-tee soh- boo?)
  • I’d like to stay for… nights.: Želim ostati…noći. (ZHEH-leem oh-stah-tee…noh- chee.)
  • Does that include breakfast?: Da li to uključuje doručak? (DAH lee toh oo-klyoo-choo-yeh doh-roo-chahk?)
  • Is there anywhere I can leave my luggage?: Mogu li negdje ostaviti prtljagu? (MOH-goo lee nehg- dyeh oh-stah-vee-tee prt-lyah-goo?)
  • When do I have to check out?: Kada se moram odjaviti? (KAH-dah seh moh-rahm ohd-yah-vee-tee?)
  • The … in my room doesn’t work.: …u mojoj sobi ne radi. (…oo moh-yoy soh-bee neh rah-dee.)
  • Could I get a different room?: Mogu li dobiti drugu sobu? (MOH-goo lee doh-bee-tee droo-goo soh-boo?)
  • Is there a restaurant here?: Ima li ovdje restoran? (EE-mah lee oh-vdyeh reh-stoh- rahn?)

Difficult Situations & Emergencies

  • Help! / Can you help me?: U pomoć! / Možete li mi pomoći? (OO-poh-mohtch! / MOH- zheh-teh lee mee poh-motch-ee?)
  • Please come with me – it is an emergency/very urgent.: Molim vas, pođite sa mnom – vrlo je hitno (MOH-leem vahs poh-dyee-teh sah mnohm – vrloh yeh heetnoh.)
  • I’ve lost (my keys): Izgubio sam (moje ključeve). (EEZ-goo-bee-oh sahm moyeh klyoo-cheh-veh)
  • I need a doctor/dentist/police officer: Trebam doktora/zubara/policajca. (TREH-bahm doh- ktoh-rah/zuhb-arah/poh-lee-tsay-tsah).
  • Is there a pharmacy nearby?: Ima li apoteka u blizini? (EE-mah lee ah-poh-teh-kah oo blee-zee-nee?)
  • Can I use your phone?: Mogu li se poslužiti vašim telefonom? (MOH-goo lee seh poh-sloo-zhee-tee vah-sheem teh-leh-foh-nohm?)
  • Call the police/ambulance!: Zovite policiju/hitnu! (ZOH-vee-teh poh-lee-tsee-yoo/heet-noo!)
  • Could you leave me alone?: Ostavite me na miru! (OHS-tah-vee-teh meh nah MEE-roo!)

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