An interesting way to learn Slovene (and speak like Slovenians) is to know and understand how to use their idioms. And the day that you will actually be able to use an idiom correctly, you will be so proud!
Nositi hlače – To wear pants It means “to be in charge”, the one that makes the decision and has the last word. There is a similar expression in English “to wear the trousers” and in French “porter la culotte”.
Kapo dol – Hat down It means “bravo”, when you recognize someone’s achievements. The expression comes from the habit of taking the hat off as a sign or greeting or respect.
Gledati skozi rožnata očala – To see through rose-colored glasses It doesn’t refer to a fashion item, but it means to beautify something, like to see something more beautiful that it really is. Just like the French expression “voir la vie en rose”.
An interesting way to learn and understand Slovene is through its local idioms. While using them, you get to speak like Slovenians and get an insight of the heritage and culture.
Beliti si glavo – To whiten your head It doesn’t mean to paint your head in white, but to think about something very hard in order to remember it (so much that you might grow some white hairs…).
Iz te moke ne bo kruha – From this flour there will be no bread As we know, flour is needed to make bread, but also other ingredients and actions (such as kneading and baking) as well. It means that not every effort will yield the expected result.
Nositi vodo v Savo – To bring water in Sava Sava is a river that goes through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. Bringing water to Sava, means that all efforts made no difference.
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I didn’t make a “vocabulary list” for “Slovene opposites – Nasprostja” because I highly encourage that you create your own! By writing them down and using them, it will be a lot easier to remember!
Do let me know how you like (or not like) my new video. For more videos, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel: Anna in Slovenia!
An interesting and playful way to discover Slovene as a language is by learning the idioms. Some doesn’t seem to make much sense at first, but what’s more significant is to understand the meaning behind the words!
Imeti maslo na glavi – To have butter on the head It doesn’t actually mean to have butter on the head, but instead, it means to be guilty of something – like to have a guilty conscience.
Skakati čez plot – To jump over the fence It doesn’t refer to an innocent athletics action as to jump over the fence, but it actually means to be cheating in marriage. s not to jump “over” the fence, just across the fence, which means to
Ugrizniti v kislo jabolko – To bite into a sour apple It is obviously not very pleasant to bite into a sour apple instead of a sweet one – it means having to deal with something unpleasant or to go ahead and “bite the bullet”.
The best way to learn and improve your understanding of Slovene is by asking questions and finding the answers! I’m a strong believer that there are no question too silly to ask, but on the contrary, that all questions are good ones.
Question by Jasmine
How do you say “What’s your/his/her name” and “What is your mom’s/dad’s name?” and how is it related to the third sklon?
One of the first conversation questions that we learn is ” Kako ti3/vam3 je ime? ” (What is your name?). The personal pronoun used is indeed in third sklon, but why?
The best explanation that I can find is by looking at the reflexive pronounsse4 and si3, because the indication for third sklon is the same: indirect object, which answers the question komu (whom).
umiti se4 (to wash myself) – the direct object of the verb is directly the subject (myself) ∴ the reflexive pronoun is in fourth sklon.
umiti si3 lase4 (to wash my hair) – the direct object of the verb is not directly the subject but part of the subject (my hair) ∴ the reflexive pronoun is in third sklon.
If we transpose it,
Kako ti3 je ime1? (What is your name?) – the direct object of the verb is not directly the subject but part of the subject (your name) ∴ the reflexive pronoun is in third sklon.
The personal pronouns in third sklon are as follow:
mi / mene (my)
nama (our two)
ti /tebi (your)
vama (your two)
mu /njemu (his) ji/njej (her)
jima / njima (their two)
jim / njim (their)
Reminder: 1, 2, 3 is for first, second and third person and (E) ednina/singular, (D) dvojina/dual, (M) množina/plural. ——– And the short version is used.
Therefore, to say ” What’s your/his/her name” is Slovene is Kako ti/mu/ji je ime“.
As for how to say ” What is your mom’s/dad’s name”, it is really simple: “Kako je ime1 tvoji mami3/ tvojemu očetu3“. You just declined the corresponding possessive determiner (moj, tvoj) and the noun in third sklon.
That was a very stimulating question and I just love it! If you have any questions about Slovene, don’t hesitate and let me know! I would to look for the answer and improving our understanding of Slovene, all together!
Possessive pronouns in Slovene are also known as svojilni zaimek. Same as in English, they are a group of words that are used to indicate possession or ownership of something. It also answers the question word čigav, which means whose.
In Slovene, there are:
three persons: first person, second person and third person,
three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter and
three grammatical numbers: singular, dual and plural.
In this end, there is a lot of subjects, which are the personal pronouns in first sklon. But possessive pronouns are simpler, as the gender distinction is only in singular third person.
Personal Possessive Pronouns / Adjective
Here are the basic (first sklon) form of the personal possessive pronouns in Slovene for all three genders: masculine (m), feminine (ž) and neuter (s).
Singular Form – Ednina
His Her Its
njegov njen njegov
njegova njena njegova
njegovo njeno njegovo
Dual Form – Dvojina
Plural Form – Množina
Reminder: * is the famous bracket (c, č, š, ž,j) where the o changes into e.
These possessive pronouns in Slovene are actually possessive determiners AND possessive pronouns in English. But in Slovene, they acts similar to Slovene adjectives, which means that they are declined following the corresponding noun. Remember that the gender of the subject matters for the singular third person (he, she, it – his, her, its).
Here’s a few examples as possessive determiners, which needs to be used with a noun.
Moj pes1 je bel (My dog is white).
Jan nima njegovega telefona2 (Jan doesn’t have his phone).
Mina je njuno kosilo4 (Mina eats her lunch).
Peter je šel z našim učiteljem6 (Peter went with our teacher).
Bonus: Slovene is a precise language, therefore:
Filip je najin sin1 (Filip is our son – both parents).
Here’s a few examples as possessive pronouns, which are used “alone”. But remember that the function of a pronouns is to replace a noun. Therefore, subject, gender and grammatical numbers all have to correspond.
Čigava je hiša? Moja. (Whose house it is? Mine.)
Čigav je pes? Njegov. (Whose dog it is? His.)
Čigavo je kolo? Njeno. (Whose bicycle it is? Hers)
Bonus: “Ta” is masculine and also feminine. “To” is neuter.
Ta je moj1 (This is mine).
Ta je moja1 (This is mine).
To je moje/naše/vaše1 (This is mine/ours/yours).
Reflexive Possessive Pronouns
In Slovene, there is reflexive possessive pronouns, known as povratni svojilni zaimek. It is used to express the property of the subject.
There is just “one word” used to express it for all the different subjects: svoj (one’s own) BUT it is declined by gender, grammatical numbers and skloni following the general table of endings, according
Singular Form– Ednina
svojega ❤ svoj
Here’s a few examples of reflexive possessive pronouns.
Nina je svoje kosilo4 (Nina eats her own lunch).
Mark nima svojega avta2(Mark doesn’t have his own car).
Jan sedi pri svoji hiši5 (Jan sits by his own house).
Bonus: Look at the “slight” difference in meaning.
Teja mu3je prinesla njegov telefon4 (Teja brought him his phone).
Teja mu3 je prinesla svoj telefon4 (Teja brought him her phone).
Possessive Adjectives from Names
When a noun is the owner, the possessive adjective from names are used – svojilni pridevniki iz lastnih imen. In this case, you need to pay attention to the gender of the owner and the gender of the thing that is owned.
For masculine name, you add -ov + the corresponding ending in red. For feminine name, you add -in and the corresponding ending in red.
Reminder: * is the famous bracket (c, č, š, ž,j) where the o changes into e.
Peter je Nikov dedek(Peter is Nik’s grandfather).
Mirina hiša je najlepša (Mira’s house is the prettiest).
Domnovo kolo je modro (Domen’s bicycle is blue).
Bonus: here are some exceptions:
Peter – Petrov (Peter’s)
Babica – Babičin (Grandmother’s)
Oče – Očetov (Father’s)
Stric – Stričev (Uncle’s)
Expressing possession or ownership might seem confusing at first, mainly because there are “many of them”. My suggestion is to keep it simple. First, remember the “basic forms” then the rest will come naturally because they are declined as nouns and follows the general table of endings. Do keep in mind that all elements have to match (subject, gender, grammatical numbers)! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate and let me know!
A great way to improve your Slovene is by asking questions and finding answers. I believe that it actually means that you are starting to understand the language and developing “your own path of learning path”, which is awesome! And remember, there are no “too stupid” question to ask, ever.
Question by perarin2015
In the expression “za dobro narave“, the preposition za is for fourth sklon, but why is it “dobro narave“. “Dobro” is neuter but “narava” is feminine and plural.
First off, the word “dobro” is very versatile and it can fill different roles:
as adverb (which modifies a verb, adjective or another adverb and is never declined) – Dobro delate (You work well).
as anadjective (which describes a noun and is declined same as the noun, doberm / dobraž / dobros) – To je dobro delo1s (This is good work). Jem dobro torto4ž (I eat a good cake).
as a noun (which is declined accordingly to the sklon) – Dobro1 in zlosta nasprotji (Good and evil are opposite).
Reminder: (m) moški/masculine, (ž) ženski/feminine, (s) srednji/neuter.
In this case, dobro (good) is used as a noun, it is neuter and singular. Narava (nature) is also a noun, but feminine and singular.
“Dobro narave” means “good of nature”. As we know, when it is double nouns, the first noun is declined according to the sklon, but the second noun is always in second sklon (nounx+ noun2). And the preposition za (for) is indeed used with the fourth sklon. Therefore, za dobro4s narave4ž.
Trick: The “double nouns” in Slovene can be translated in English as two nouns connected with the preposition “of”.
You are more than welcomed to ask me any questions about Slovene, I will be more than happy to find the answer, because it helps my understanding of Slovene and I hope that it will help yours as well. And remember, there are no “too stupid” question to ask, ever. So, don’t be shy and ask away!
As we know, Slovene is a very precise language and its grammar can seem very complex and complicated. But if you are able to find a way of thinking that can help you detangle it, then everything will be much easier. I know that everyone’s way of logic is different, so this might work for you… or not.
In this post, I’m just going to attempt to show you what’s going in my mind when I see a sentence in Slovene – my personal algorithm to determine which sklon is being used. (This post is not about endings, as I’ve already mentioned tricks by comparison in my posts about each sklon).
Keep in mind that all elements of a sentence can be an important clue of some sort but to decide which sklon to use, I focus on two: verbs and prepositions.
Clue – Verbs
The first element that I like to look for is the verb, which are the action words used to describe what the subject is doing, because it is present in most sentence.
Is the verb used biti (to be)?
If the answer is yes, then it is in first sklon. For example, Jaz sem Anna1(I am Anna).
Bonus: If the verb biti is used in negative, it is also in first sklon. For example, Nisem Anja1 (I am not Anja).
Verbs postati (to become), ostati (to stay), imenovati se (to be named) are in first sklon.
If the answer is no, then go to the next question.
Is the verb negative (-) or affirmative (+)?
If the answer is negative, then it is in second sklon. For example, Nimam psa2 (I don’t have a dog).
Verbs bati se (to be afraid of), dotakniti se (to touch), lotiti se (to start working), najesti se (to appease one’s hunger), napiti se (to appease one’s thirst), spomniti se (to remember), veseliti se (to be glad) are specific to the second sklon.
If the answer is affirmative, then it is in third or fourth sklon.
Is the object of the verb direct or indirect?
If the object is direct, it usually comes right after the verb, then it is in fourth sklon. For example, Imam knjigo4 (I have a book)
If the object is indirect, which indicates to whom something is done, then it is in third sklon. For example, Knjigo4dam prijatelju3 (I give a book to my friend).
Verbs čestitati (to congratulate), čuditi se (to wonder), lagati se (to lie), obljubiti (to promise), odpovedati (to cancel), opravičiti se (to excuse), pomagati (to help), pridružiti se (to join), telefonirati (to phone), smejati se (to laugh), zaupati (to trust) are specific to the third sklon.
Clue – Prepositions
Another relevant indicator that you can easily point out are prepositions, because most of them are specific to one sklon. Although, some prepositions can be used with different skloni, which I will to clarify.
If the preposition is specific to one sklon, then it is quite straightforward, you just need to remember them.
Prepositions blizu (near), brez (without), iz (from), izmed (among), izven (out of), izza (from behind), mimo (passing by), (nasprosti (opposite of), od-do (from-until), okoli (around), okrog (around), poleg (beside), preko (across), sredi (in the middle of), zaradi (because of), zraven (beside) are specific to the second sklon.
Prepositions k/h (to), kljub (despite), proti (against, toward) are specific to the third sklon.
Prepositions skozi (through), čez (across) are specific to the fourth sklon.
Prepositions o (about), ob (at), pri (beside) are specific to the fifth sklon.
Some prepositions are associated with more than one sklon, in that case, you will need to paid attention to the verb used as well as the context.
The preposition v (into, to, in, at) and na (on, at, in) can be fourth or fifth sklon.
If the preposition is used with a movement verbs and the context is a destination, then it is in fourth sklon. For example, Grem v šolo4 (I go to school).
Movement verbs can be hoditi (to walk), iti (to go), priti (to come), teči (to run), voziti (to drive)…
If the preposition is used with a verb without movement and the context is a position or location, then it is in fifth sklon. For example, Sem v šoli5 (I am in school).
Verbs without movement can be biti (to be), čakati (to wait), ostati (to stay)…
The preposition pred (before), pod (under), za (behind), nad (above), med (in between) can be fourth or sixth sklon.
If the context is a destination, then it is in fourth sklon. For example, Letalo se je dvignilo nad oblake4 (The plane has raised above the clouds).
If the context is a position or location, then it is in sixth sklon. For example, Irma se rani nad kolenom6 (Irma wounds herself above the knee).
Bonus: If za means “for”, then it is the fourth sklon. For example, Marko ima darilo4 za Anno4 (Marko has a gift for Anna).
Beside the context, the meaning can also help you decide which sklon to use.
The preposition po can be fourth or fifth sklon.
If po means “for”, then it is in fourth sklon. For example, Grem v pekarno4 po kruh4 (I go to the bakery for bread).
If po means “around”, then it is in fifth sklon. For example, Nik potuje po svetu5 (Nik travels around the world).
The preposition s/z can be in second or sixth sklon.
If s/z means “from”, then it is in second sklon. For example, Nina je s Ptuja2 (Nina is from Ptuj).
If s/z means “with”, then it is in sixth sklon. For example, Grem v šolo4 z avtobusom6 (I go to school with bus).
This is just the method that I use to analyze which sklon to use or to know which sklon is being used. And I hope that it help clarify the Slovene skloni, even a little bit.
What about you? What’s going on in your mind when you see a sentence in Slovene? Is your algorithm similar to mine or completely different? Or maybe other elements that can be added? I am quite curious, so please share it with me! And if you have any questions or comments, do let me know!
A good way to improve your Slovene (or anything else) is to ask question and find answer. I believe that it will stimulate your “problem-solving” ability. Because a language is very flexible, the answer will not always be in a textbook – therefore searching for it is the way to go.
Question by Daniele
In the sentence “Vse poletje čakam, da pride jesen.”, čakati is imperfect, because this action happens regularly, but why is priti is perfect?
A better version of this sentence would be “Celo poletje čakam, da pride jesen.” (The whole summer I wait that autumn comes/arrives.)
The definition of an imperfect verb (nedovršni glagol) is:
a verb that is ongoing in time
a verb that is a repetitive action, done many time
a verb that describe a long action
The definition of a perfect verb (dovršni glagol) is:
a verb that gives a result at the end, like an achievement
a verb that define an action that is done once
a verb that express the beginning of an ongoing action
The verb čakati (to wait) is imperfect because it is a long action (in this case, the whole summer). While the verb pridi (to come, to arrive) is perfect because it gives an result at the end (the arrival of autumn).
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate and let me know! I would love to help you find the answer! Plus, it’s a great way for everyone to learn together!
Nowadays, a lot of formal communication is made through emails or letters, either for job application or any official request. Knowing how to properly write a formal letter is thus very important.
Standard Format of Formal Letter
Above is a template of the elements in a formal letter. I will explain them one by one. Keep in mind that the red dot represents a space line.
1. Your full name is written as follow name (ime) and surname (priimek).
2. Your address (naslov) is written in two lines, the first line is street address while the second line is the postal code and the city. (Under your address, you can also add your phone number and email.)
4. Recipient’s name (prejemnikov naziv) can be a person or place name, depending on the nature of your letter.
Janez Mklavž or
Rolli Shop D.O.O. or
Upravna Enota Kranj
5. Recipient’s address (prejemnikov naslov) is written in two lines as well.
Celovška cesta 18 1000 Ljubljana
6. Zadeva is where you state the subject of your letter.
Zadeva: Prijava na razpis za delovno mesto učiteljice (Subject: Application for a job vacancy as teacher)
Zadeva: Prošnja za reklamacijo (Subject: Request of complaint)
7. Spoštovani is the conventional greeting for letters (it means “dear”) and it is followed by a comma (,) or an exclamation (!). Don’t forget to start with capitals if your greeting ends with an exclamation. You can also add in the recipient name (with title) if you know it.
Spoštovani gospod Janez Miklavž,
Spoštovana gospa Marta Miklavž,
8. Content (vsebina) is where you write paragraph(s). The content will depend on the nature of your letter, but usually introduce yourself or explain why you are writing. If it is for a job application, aim for 140-150 words, not too long.
9. S spoštovanjem with a comma (,) is a standard way for the final greeting (it means “with respect”). Other final greetings that you can use are:
Lep pozdrav (without comma (,))
Lepo Vas pozdravljam. (with an period (.))
10. Signature (podpis) is your handwritten signature, if it is an actually printed letter.
11. Your full name again.
12. Priloge is where you list the attachments that are included.
Personally, I am not a big fan of formal letters, as I’m never sure how to get it started and what to write… (Yes, I blog, but it’s a lot more friendly). So I hope that this post was able to demystify the “how to write a formal letter in Slovene” or at least, a standard template, because what to write as content… that’s a different and unique story.