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.
I’m super happy that I won the first prize! Hopefully I will be able to attend another course soon and start improving my Slovene! A few years back, I’ve already went to two of their courses and it was awesome! So, I can only highly recommend them!
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”.
A casual and engaging method to learn Slovene is to master the Slovenian idioms. Knowing the theory is one thing, but actually applying it is another. But the day that you will, you can be very proud!
Zaradi dreves ne videti gozda – Because of the trees, can’t see the forest Personally, I think that this idiom is beautifully so written. It means that if you look at each tree individually, then you can’t see the larger forest (which is formed by trees). The deeper meaning is that because of individuality, you lose the perception of a whole.
Rasti kot gobe (po dežju) – To grow like mushrooms (after the rain) With some imagination, I find this idiom very amusing. The meaning points at a very very fast growth (or multiplication), like mushrooms after the rain. It can be use to describe a massive crowd of tourists during holidays, or money after an excellent investment.
Govoriti kot dež – To talk like the rain How does the rain talk, like a quiet mist or a crazy deluge? In this case, it means to talk at a very fast rate or to talk a lot – so, the latter one. You can try to imagine a sudden downpour of heavy rain… but made of words.
It’s amazing how you can encounter and learn Slovenian idioms everywhere, everyday!
A while ago, there was a Belgian movie on TV. Unfortunately, it was late and I actually didn’t watch the movie… but the Slovenian title really caught my attention. And it happened to be an idiom!
Ponoči je vsaka krava črna– At night, all cows are black. It sounds so logic, right? What I found funny is that “cows” would be used instead of “cats”.
The original French title is “Tous les chats sont gris“, which comes from the expression “La nuit, tous les chat sont gris” – “At night, all cats are grey”. Which means that, in the dark, physical appearance is not that important.
It is true that at night, all cows are black. Therefore, ponoči je vsaka krava črna.
Every language has idioms and expressions, Slovene is no different. Compared to grammar, learning idioms is a funnier and more practical way to use daily Slovene. It is also a creative way to get familiar with the Slovenian culture and heritage!
Odkriti Ameriko – To discover America It doesn’t mean to go on a trip to America as a trip, but like Columbus: to discover something new.
Španska vas – Spanish village Where exactly do you look for a Spanish village on a map? Actually, it doesn’t refer to a specific place, but somewhere that is completely unknown (to you).
Narediti se Francoza – To make oneself French It doesn’t refer to getting a French citizenship or residency, not even having the lifestyle of a French. It simply means to do something stupid or to act indifferent.
The audio file is a courtesy of my friend Jure from Slovenian Word Of The Day. You can listen to his explanation of vocabulary words, such as vas, on his website.
The best way to understand and remember Slovenian idioms is to integrate and use them in every day situations, when possible and appropriate.
For example, one afternoon, my daughter woke up from her nap and my mother-in-law smiled and said to her:
Gledaš kot miška iz moke – You look like a mouse from the flour When I heard it the first time, I was like… What?! The image that instantly pooped into my mind: all white and two little black eyes. It’s a cute way to say that she just woke up and all we could see were her tiny eyes.
Another day, my daughter was playing on her play mat and we heard “puu-pu-pu” then my mother-in-law laughed and said:
hahaha stresaš orehe – hahaha you are dropping nuts I was like… Uh, did I understanding it right?! Because, sometimes some Slovene words just sound very similar. I understood it right, and it really means “dropping nuts”. What an adorable way to say that she farted. 😛
I can’t wait to find out more cute and adorable idioms to use with children!
A great way to discover and integrated into the Slovenian culture is through its idioms. And they are everywhere in my daily life.
Recently, we’ve been doing some significant shopping and indeed, price, quality and needs are three important factors. Then, the other day, my husband told me:
Nisem dovolj bogat, da bi poceni kupoval – I am not rich enough that I would buy cheap things At first, I found it quite contradictory because, logically, if you are tight on money, you would tend buy cheaper things, no?
But what we should really understand from it is that “I am not rich enough that I can afford to buy it again”, with the logic that “cheaper” things are not good quality and will break faster, thus needing to be replace.
Therefore, nisem dovolj bogata da, bi poceni kupovala.
A fun way to explore the Slovenian culture is by getting familiar with its idioms, which is the essence of the language. Through the idioms, we can understand part of the Slovenian culture and heritage.
Kaditi kot Turek – To smoke like a Turk It doesn’t point at a manner or any special way that a Turk smokes – it simply means to smoke a lot!
Brez muje se še čevelj ne obuje – Without effort you can’t put a shoes on To achieve anything, it requires some efforts (even the simple task of putting a shoe on).
Biti copata – To be a slipper (What can being a slipper possibly mean… 😛 ) In Slovene, “being a slipper” is used to describe someone who is submissive or bent at will.
One fun way to advance or master Slovene (or any new language) is to understand and use its idioms or expressions like the locals.
Konjiček – Pony It can mean pony (the animal), but usually it refers to a hobby. So, be careful of how you will answer when asked “kateri je tvoj najljubši konjiček?” – “which is your favorite pony?” 😛
Imeti krompir– To have a potato It can actually mean that you own a potato, but when locals say it, it means to have luck or to be lucky (imeti srečo).
Tih kot miš – Quiet like a mouse Same as in English, it means that someone is very quiet and makes no noise.