Learning Croatian

I walk around the house these days repeating Croatian phrases, preparing for few days in Croatia this summer.

Dobar dan —  Hello (literally, good day)
and variations on that theme:
dobro jutro — good morning
dobra večer — good evening

The linguist in me — or the linguist wannabe — wants to take apart the words to understand the how. Clearly dobar means good.

So, if dobrodošli means “welcome”, does it literally mean “good welcome”?

Je li to u redu? —  Is it okay?

Oprostite —  Excuse me.

Rolling my r’s doesn’t come naturally or easily.

Plus I get frustrated not knowing the real names of the diacritical letters. I make up names for them in my head — s with a smile, c with a smile, d with a crossbar, etc. It’s dumb because the name of the letter doesn’t really matter — it’s knowing how to say it.

But I can’t say the lj digraph, no matter how hard I try. My tongue won’t cooperate.

And I often forget that the j isn’t pronounced as it is in English, French, or Spanish, but more like our y as in year.

Learning a few words in the language of the country I’m visiting feels like the respectful thing to do. I don’t want to rely on them to know English. It seems so… so… American.

Still, I have a feeling I’m going to need help.

pomoć — Help

Lots of it. A translator would be nice.

If I can learn to pronounce this correctly — gdje je kupaonica — where is the bathroom — I should be all set.

4 thoughts on “Learning Croatian

  1. Good luck! I took Russian for a semester in college and had to drop out! Too different. You’ll do just fine, I know it. And the Croats will appreciate your efforts!

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