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Words the Slovenes use the most

Words the Slovenes Use the Most

Speaking a foreign language gives you the opportunity to see the language from a completely different perspective than its native speakers do. As a learner of Slovene I noticed that there are a couple of words which Slovenes use more often than any other word. Actually, a frequent use of certain words and phrases is common thing in the majority of languages, but as a foreign speaker you pay more attention to them. And, because I find it kind of interesting to dig into it and analyze, I compiled a list of words which Slovene people say all the time.

I put this together based on what I hear and based how people in my surrounding speak. Also, I live in Gorenjska, therefore this list might be (also might be not) influenced by the local dialect and may not apply to the entire Slovenia.

Well, happy reading 🙂

 

Pa – in my humble opinion this word is the unofficial king of the Slovene language. Slovenes use it aaaall…the…time! No wonder, because it has at least million meanings. The most common are and, but or however… You can hear it in all kinds of sentences, such as:

Maja, Urška pa Ana so šle na izlet. – Maja, Urška and Ana went for a trip.

Tega pa nemoreš verjeti! – You really cannot believe that!

Kar –hm, I am not quite sure about the exact meaning of this one, I asked a few locals but no one knew the closest English translation of it, I only guess that it might be close to the word just. Common phrase is, for example, ti kar jej – you just eat.

Ful – my favourite one and I use it, too. Obviously, this is slang word adopted from English, currently used by Slovene speakers of all age categories. The meaning is close to very, totally, really. E.g.:

To je ful lepa slika. – That is a really nice picture.

A res? – this phrase is similar to English phrases like Really? Or Yeah? Or Seriously? after someone has just told you something. Slovenes say this one really a lot and by using different intonation. Therefore, you can hear:

A res?

A res!?

A reees?

A reeeeeeees?

Or also

A reeeeeeeeeeees???!!!

Saj – similarly to the word pa, the meaning of saj varies from JUST, BECAUSE, WELL, ANYWAY and many other depending on the context. (Btw, I guess the meaning is close to the Slovak word veď.) You may hear it in sentences like Saj je vseeno – It doesn’t matter anyway.

 A veš? – the funniest at the end. The phrase means you know? And it is, in fact, nothing special as it exists in all other languages I speak. But Slovene way of saying this always makes me smile. Probably every expat in Slovenia has come across phrases like:

Ej, stari, a veš?

A veeeš kaj?

So, what do you think? Am I correct? If you think I missed something, didn’t get something or you just want to add something to my list, please comment on it. If you have a suggestion for a new article, leave me a comment too 🙂

If you simply like this article, please like it, share it, comment on it…

Have a wonderful day!

Petra

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16 thoughts on “Words the Slovenes use the most

  1. and you forgot some others which are used in different perspective. Like “pizda, a si slišal” where the translation refers to woman reprudictive parts and in this context means just like Capital first letter or attention creator. But we try not to used this when we try to act civilized 🙂 and in some cases when denying someone the correctness of the statement by just saying “kurac” (which refers to male parts of body) :).

    To pa nemoreš verjeti! – wrong use of word order- the right word order (grammatically wrong but as usually used) is “Pa to ne moreš verjeti” – and proper vocalisation would be “pa to nemorš vrjet”. but you might be right about frequency of use.

    If you go to costal area you will have instead of “pa” -> “ma” and obviously some italian words.

    One other such frequent word would be “itak” -which can be again hardly translated but goest to “self-evident” or it is positive confirmation of the statement from what other person said (vague).

    and you missed one more characteristis for Gorenjska: “ej” or “ejga” – which means nothing but it is similar conversation starter like “pizda”.

    Criticism on “ful” yes it is addopted from english and it is “full” so no need to explain it otherwise but, yes we use it in the all wrong ways which represent surplus of something – started in 1990s more or less. later on german “über” was trying to get some attention but this didnt work well – it was hard to make sense “u über” – “sem u über vesel” or “sem u über happy” didnt work as good as “sem ful vesel or sem ful happy” (correct is “sem zelo vesel”).

    Good luck and lots of fun with Slovenian language 😉

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    1. Hi Uros,
      I intentionally didn’t include this reproductive organs (hahaha) because I wanted to keep this site kind of civilized 🙂 Btw, also in Slovak you can find a couple of words which are either swear words or conversation starters pointing to reproductive organs 🙂
      Regarding Gorenjska dialect – dialects in Slovenia are a huge topic so I will be writing about them separately. Thanks for your suggestions 🙂
      Re the word ful – it’s really interesting how quickly can English words be transfered into Slovene – e.g. ful, skenslat, wolkat doga etc…
      Thanks for your very good comment, much apreciated!

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      1. I would’t say that “doga vokat” is anything else but a joke. Except may be in Ljubljana’s urban slang which is trying to make impression of Ljubljana cosmopolitism by introduction of English words. In previous times the same role was reserved for German words.

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      2. Hi! Interesting point! Agree that this one is maybe too much and probably used by urban teenagers 🙂 But I also heard a lot of people using certain words from English like – gremo na trip, skenslat, rentat… 🙂 Well, here I need a bit more time to get an orientation in these. Or more input from readers 🙂

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  2. Hello Petra,

    well, yes the civilizied apporach is good but with some “spices” food is better 😉 And dont worry, form the working environment, where i am coming from – i can make very scientific debate on “bad” words in Slavic languages 🙂
    Concerning the invasion of English language into the Slovenian – well yes, you are right – young generation goes a lot in this, often without understanding and lots of ignorance. Wokat doga (Walking a dog – Sprehajati psa), is one of such cases. But than again, language i sliving organism so enjoy learning it.

    Best wishes (currently from Pestany)

    Uros

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yeah, we could also include som more ones like pač and so one… that will be a topic for edition No.2 😀
      Btw, with AMPAK you reminded me of my experience from about three years ago. At that time, I visited Slovenia and I didn’t speak the langauge at all. After a week of listening to Slovene, the only word I remembered was ampak, because people were saying Bla bla bla, ampak ampak, bla bla, ampak ampak ampak all the time 🙂

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      1. Yes, I’m living in slovenia now. The most used words is ampak(but) and nevem(don’t know) then dobro dobro vredu ajde ciao 😀 that’s the summery of all slovenian conversations

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  3. I recommend to all of you to listen to Michael Menski show on youtube: How to become a slovenian, very funny and very true ( I am for 2 years here,but it’s still hard for me, though I am a native Russian speaker)
    Another topic could be about Staerska dialect (we live in Maribor), if you speak it, you already know 20% of German
    Good luck and lot of fun in Slovenia 🙂

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    1. Hi Iana, I watched the Michael Menski show already and agree that it is good. Actually, I watched and read probably all material (just that which has at least some quality) on the internet related to learning already 😀 😀 And to be honest, there is not so much good stuff. Štajerska has a very strong dialect, I don’t know much about words, but the pronunciation sounds for me a bit Hungarian-inspired. I come from a part from Slovakia whith large Hungarian minority so I am very familiar with language. But it just my assumption. Thanks for reading and for the wishes 🙂

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