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Bosnia/Croatia/Slovenia Etiquette & Language

Bosnia/Croatia/Slovenia Etiquette & Language

Apr 9th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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Bosnia/Croatia/Slovenia Etiquette & Language

We'll be in these 3 countries in May/June. I'm wondering if their cultures are similar to that of France--it's polite and appreciated when you say various greetings in the native language: hello & goodbye in stores & restaurants, please, thank you, etc. Would it be worthwhile to learn some phrases, or will we hear English everywhere we go (we'll be primarily in tourist areas, but driving a lot through the countryside)? Thanks in advance for any info you can pass along
suffrock is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 09:42 AM
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I would definitely learn the usual phrases - they really appreciate any effort. You will likely encounter English a fair bit but we always manage to find folks who do not know English especially when you get outside the larger centres.

Have a great time! I find the further east I go in Europe the more and more I love it!
travel2live2 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 09:50 AM
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Here is a guide to basic Croatian for Travelers online:

I really had trouble with the language, though. I can pick up the romance languages quickly enough for the usual restaurant/taxi/bathroom sort of interaction in most of Europe, but for some reason the Slavic languages just bounce off my aging cortex.

You will find, however, that most folks speak English, at least in Croatia. You will love both the country and the people --- I envy you!

nukesafe is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 11:43 AM
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I found that if you do not speak Serbo-Croatian, which is the preferred language, you can probably use German and possibly Russian. I used Russian quite a bit. Most of the citizens know at least one of these. But it will pay to learn some Serbo-Croatian expressions.
Wayne is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 11:56 AM
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In Croatia and Slovenia, most everyone who we had an experience with spoke some English. We did learn the essentials like hello, goodbye and thank you, although in our travels through Croatia, Slovenia, Poland and Czech Republic it got a litle confusing.

We often confused our “Dobar dan” in Croatian with our “Dober dan” in Slovenian and our "Dobrý den" in Czech and our “Dzień dobry” in Poland. It helps to drink.

maitaitom is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 12:14 PM
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I have visited all those places (more than once) and never heard Russian or met anyone who spoke it.
Former Yugoslavia was not a member of the Warsaw Pact, Russian was not spoken or taught is schools.
Slavic languages are hard to learn - " Dobar dan " ( good day),'molim' (please) or "prosim" ( in Slovenian) and "hvala" (thank you - in Bosnia and Croatia). Slovenian is not very different , most people there understand Croatian.
English is usually spoken by younger people , also German in the coastal towns.
danon is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 12:19 PM
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I only have experience of Croatia, but it's definitely worth learning a few phrases. In the large tourist areas, most people will speak English, but they'll really warm to you if you start with a few phrases in their language. In the smaller tourist areas eg, the islands off Dubrovnik, you could easily find yourself ordering food or drinks from someone who has no English, so bear that in mind - my atrocious schoolgirl German has had to save us from hunger on more than one occasion!
BumblyWumbly is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 03:18 PM
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Thanks all! I do enjoy learning new phrases but all the accents are killing me. French seems like a snap now. Maitaitom: thanks for the tip--I'll make a point of knowing the correct phrases for "red wine" and "more red wine."
suffrock is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 03:50 PM
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Croatia was the ONLY place I have been where the language defeated me. I worked and worked on things like Hello and Thank you... And it was not pretty LOL!

That said, I never went ANYWHERE where they didn't speak "tourist" English and that includes some places where I was SHOCKED because we got a little off the beaten path. My "landlord" at one apartment said "if you speak Croation, you better learn either English or German, no one in the world is going to learn our language"

But having been to lots of places where I didn't speak thier language and they didn't speak mine there's always the "smile and point" method. I find that if I act nice and try then generally we get someplace. (My favorite was buying hearing aid batteries in Greece... With a map, pointing the batteries and just saying "please" and "thank you" in Greek we got it done!)
CarolA is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 04:44 PM
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of those have only travelled to Slovenia but English is very widely spoken. Lots of German and Italian too in some areas.
northie is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 05:04 PM
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Red vine is "crno vino" ( In English, it translates as "black vine").
danon is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 06:10 PM
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danon--and "crno" is pronounced how? This is going to be such a fascinating trip on so many levels and I'm really appreciative for all the great advice.
suffrock is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 07:11 PM
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good question,

c sound does not exist in English ,something like :tze
r is same as rust
n for noon
o like in oven

i in vino is like Italy

this is good in Croatia and Bosnia. I don't speak Slovenian.

If you speak Spanish or Italian , it is a bit easier because most letters are pronounced the same way they are written in those languages.
danon is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 07:31 PM
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Please be aware that the term Serbo-Croatian is not used either in Croatia or Serbia. Croatian is the official language in our new country. We are no longer being told my government that the actual Croatian language cannot be spoken. The term Serbo-Croatian is a very sore point in Croatia. I post this as I hope that any guests arriving in Croatia do not refer to the Croatian language in the old communist forced wording. Please accept my apology if I offend anyone, it is only by intention to correct an error which is a very sore subject for Croatians.

Please do learn some easy phrases such as:
Goood Morning Dobro Jutra
Thank you Hvala
Please Molim
Good Day Dobra Dan
Dubrovniktravelady is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 08:04 PM
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Since former Yugoslavia is no longer, and the war has left its wounds,it is better to refer to Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian
etc, or some people will be offended.
With small differences, it is the same language.
danon is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 08:23 PM
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We travelled to those three beautiful destinations last September. We learnt and used basic phrases,but found English widely used and understood. Everyone we met was extremely polite and even if there was a language barrier, between both parties, we could still "converse". You will love this trip.
huddoshols is offline  
Apr 10th, 2009, 02:06 AM
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Croatian words may look impossible to pronounce when there are a load of consonants together, but the trick is that every letter is pronounced as a separate sound, and once you learn which letters are sounded differently to English (The Cs and Ds are the awkward ones), you can pronounce any word you read.
Let's take for instance everybody's fave phrase "Crno vino"
Using Danon's breakdown above, try to pronounce it.
"Crno" should come out like "tsurno" or "tzerno"

Other phrases I find useful that I don't think have been mentioned are;
Pivo - beer
Govorite li Engleski? - Do you speak English
Jelovnik - menu
Dva bijela kava - two white coffees
Ne rasumijem Hrvatski - I don't understand Croatian
BumblyWumbly is offline  
Apr 10th, 2009, 05:00 AM
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Easy one to remember is the word for thank you: Hvala. It's pronounced very similar to Koala (as in koala bear)
It's used in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia&Herzegovina
deli1000 is offline  
Apr 10th, 2009, 05:04 AM
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we managed well with just english
russian is similar but it is amazing how beautifully you can stuff up if you dont know prepositions lol

stick to english with just the sprinkling of greetings and basic manners
lanejohann is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2009, 11:07 AM
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Why don't you learn some of these basic phrases:
It'll be greatly appreciated by the locals.
The pronunciation, as BumblyWumbly and danon have explained above, is always the same, totally unlike English where letters and sounds don't agree - 'o' for example is always as in bomb, but not as in tomb, nor in comb. See, way easier than English

But don't worry, you'll be perfectly understood if you speak English, everybody speaks it these days.
arjana is offline  

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