3 Basic Phrases

I will here list some basic phrases, and some basic patterns of simple sentences. First, most basic words and politeness:

molim"please" [listen]
hvala"thank you" [listen]
oprostite"excuse me", "sorry"

How to ask does someone know a language:

Govorite li..."Do you speak..."
Razumijem..."I understand..."
Znam..."I know (speak)..."
Ne razumijem..."I don't understand..."
... engleski"English"
... hrvatski"Croatian"
... njemački"German"
... francuski"French"
... talijanski"Italian"
... španjolski"Spanish"
... japanski"Japanese" (slim chance for this one!)

Some other useful phrases:

Možete li mi pomoći?"Can you help me?"
Gdjë je...?"Where is...?"
... toalet?"... the toilet?"
... izlaz?"... the exit?"
... policija?"... the police?"
... bolnica?"... hospital?"
... pošta?"... post office?"
... banka?"... bank?"
Trëbam(o)..."I (we) need..."
... pomoć"... help"
... doktora"... doctor"
... vode"... water"

Yes, we are rude; please don't ask for a bathroom, you want a toilet really! Ask for a bathroom if you want to take a shower...

You will often hear people saying to you izvolite. That means two things: "can I serve you", and "here it is". For instance, you come to a post office:

  • a clerk says izvolite
  • you ask for postcards, and give him/her the money
  • the clerk gives you postcards and says again izvolite.

That's just a polite word.

Also, when someone says hvala "thank you" other side will usually respond with molim, a word that usually means "please".

Finally, some greetings:

Dobär dan!"Good day", "Good afternoon" (the basic formal greeting when meeting someone) [listen]
Dobro jutro!"Good morning" [listen]
Dobra večer!"Good evening" [listen] (she says dobär actually; some people do it)
Laku noć!"Good night" [listen]
Do viđenja!"Good bye" (this is formal) [listen]
Bok!"Hi" (this is informal, both meeting and leaving)

You can find other useful words using a free online dictionary; it's comprehensive, but it translates some sentences slightly incorrectly. You can also use Google™ Translate (http://translate.google.com).


mariaatit said...

In the list of languages the missing one is Hrvatski! ;)
I am an spanish speaker who wants to learn croatian so I will be reading your blog slowly, it seems really helpful. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I find your blog helpful, a good addition to other, more formal sources. However I have a question. Maybe it is silly one as I'm not particularly good at grammar.

Could you explain the difference between these sentences; in English it would be: How are you? I'm fine. So, in Croatian it is: Ja sam dobro. Why is it "dobro" if dobro is for neuter? Why isn't it "ja sam dobar/dobra"?
Thanks and regards

joe said...

Hi Daniel, I am from the UK but now living in Klostar Ivanic, I am slowly and painfully learning Croatian.
I have just found your blog ( language course ) It is very comprehensive, nicely linked and very well set out.
congratulations on a useful facility.

Anonymous said...


I always hear some people pronouncing Hvala "Fa-la". Is this how some people pronounce it by the coast or is it just a mispronounciation?


Daniel N. said...

Actually, MOST people pronounce it as /fala/ since /hv/ is hard to pronounce. It's even more common in inland regions, there's even a song called "Fala"...

How people actually speak is way too complicated at post #3. I have postponed it to much later (#70 on)...

lp daniel

Unknown said...

I believe that the difference is that, in this case, 'dobro' functions as an adverb, as in the correct English response: "I am well" -- even though "I'm good" has creeped into colloquial American English.

In the strict sense, "I am good" -- as opposed to "I am bad" -- would be "Ja sam dobar" for a guy, "Ja sam dobra" for a woman, and "Mi smo dobri" for a group, where "good/dobar/dobra/dobri" are adjectives.

Unknown said...

I've heard it almost exclusively in and around Dbk, otherwise "hv...".

Anonymous said...

"Ja sam dobro", dobro is adverb, whithout gender. Dobar, dobra, dobro are the three forms of adjective "good" in nominative case. They are adjectives and it´s used beside noun

Post a Comment