91 Slang

• • • Review: Colloquial and Regional Vocabulary

Both slang and colloquial words make 'unofficial language'. However, there's an important difference: while all people use colloquial terms — grandmothers and grandsons use pegla — not many grandmothers use slang. Slang changes frequently, and it's associated with young people mostly (note: this is not a strict linguistic definition, as 'slang' can refer to a speech specific to any social group, e.g. prison inmates, soldiers, prostitutes etc. I'm deliberately not strict here: my 'slang' is actually 'teenage/young adult slang').

Slang varies by city and by age group. I'm frankly not familiar with slang in all regions of Croatia, so I will describe slang from Zagreb and partly from Split.

However, there are some slang words which are known in most regions, some of them are:

faca(važna) osoba"(important) person"

Words stari and stara are simply forms of adjective star "old" and decline as adjectives:

Razgovarao säm o staroj. "I was talking about my mother." (staroj dat.)
Razgovarao säm sa starom. "I was talking to my mother." (starom ins.)

It's interesting to remark that lova originates from Gypsy (Romani) Gurbet language (some consider it a "dialect").

Zagreb Slang

The following nouns are often used in Zagreb slang (matching Standard words are in curved braces {}):

birc "cafe" (serving liquor as well)    
bulja "head" {glava}
buraz "brother" {brat}
cuga "drink" {piće}
fora "a cool thing, joke"
frajer "(good-looking) guy"
frka "panic, something urgent"
klopa "food" {hrana}
marica "police van"
murja, murija "cops, police" {policija}
murjak "cop" {policajäc}
pljuga "cigarette" {cigareta}
šora "fight, scuffle" {tučnjava}
tulum "party" {zabava}

Sometimes in Zagreb, but mostly in other regions of Croatia, bulja means "bottom, ass"; the word is borrowed from Gypsy as well (where it means "bum, ass").

Some nouns are just shortened or mangled versions of full nouns, often with specific endings (-s, -as, -sa, -...) or just diminutives:

alkos "alcoholic" {alkoholičar}
badić "swimming suit" {kupaći kostim}
Dalmoš "Dalmatian (man)" {Dalmatinäc}
dučkas "shop" {dućan}
faks "university (dept.)" {fakultet}
fotka "photography" {fotografija}
narkić, narkos "drug addict" {narkoman}  
nogač "football" {nogomet}
raska "class-mistress" {razrednica}
ročkas "birthday" {rođendan}
rege pl. "license plates" {registarske tablice}
restač "restaurant" {restoran}
starke "Converse All-Stars shoes"
studoš "(university) student" {student}
tekma "sport (football) match" {utakmica}
viksa "holiday home" {vikendica}

The raska is a female teacher in charge of a whole class, who contacts parents about behavior of students in a primary or high school. Words ročkas and dučkas are often spelled as roćkas and dućkas (there's no difference in speech, as č and ć are not distinct in Zagreb).

The following verbs are often used in Zagreb slang:

slang wordStandard wordmeaning
barim ~ z-zavodim"seduce"
brijem, brijaodiverse meanings
furam"carry", "wear", "drive", "date"
kužim ~ s-shvaćam, razumijëm"understand"

The verb brijem of course means "shave" but has a lot of additional meanings in Zagreb slang:

N da...N believes, thinks that...
N na AN is into A, is fascinated with A, identifies with A
N po DN visits D, has fun (in club D, city D)
N s IN spends time with I, is in a relationship with I

For instance:

Ana brije da je manekenka. "Ana thinks she's a model."
Ana brije na jogu. "Ana is into yoga."
Ana brije po Zagrebu. "Ana has fun all over Zagreb."
Ana brije s Markom. "Ana dates Marko."

The verb furam means "carry", "wear", "drive", but also:

N AN wears, carries, drives A
N se na AN imitates, behaves like A
N s IN dates I, is in a relationship with I

For instance, these quotes come from the Croatian Telecom Web portal (tportal.hr):

Mickey Rourke fura s Courtney Love. "Mickey Rourke dates Courtney Love." (source)
Kim Kardashian se fura na Beyoncé. "Kim Kardashian copies Beyoncé." (source)

Really, these are not fully accurate translations. I will find better ones.

Next, there are several adverbs and adverbial expressions:

do jaja"fully, over the top"
za istačstvarno"for real"
za ozbačozbiljno"seriously"

There's a wealth of words taken straight from English: sori "I'm sorry", pliz "please", etc. They are sometimes mangled in the characteristic way, so "sorry" becomes sorkač... Even super is sometimes mangled to supač.

Split Slang

Unfortunately, I'm much less familiar with slang from Split and surrounding areas.

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Belgrade Slang

The Belgrade slang is of course not Croatian, but has a lot of influence on Croatian slang, due to popularity of Serbian popular culture (movies, music) in Croatia. For instance, words klopa and šora came to Zagreb slang from the Belgrade slang; they ultimately come from the Albanian language.

A characteristic of Belgrade slang is 'metathesis' of syllables, that is, swapping them around: from brate "brother" (voc.) one gets tebra, and so on. Such words are sometimes called šatrovački.

Some characteristic words are:

fazon "joke"
gotivim "like, love"
keva "Mom"

Probably the greatest scholar on Belgrade slang is Petrit Imami, who publishes Beogradski frajerski rečnik.

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Internet Slang

Croatian Internet slang mostly borrows phrases from English Internet slang (e.g. LOL) but nevertheless has some specific words:

lajkam (verb) "like (on Facebook)"
pozz "bye" {pozdrav}

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Recently some special spellings were seen, chiefly used by teenage (and younger) girls: every v (and often l as well) is spelled as w, č/ć and š are often spelled ch and sh, making a Croatian text superficially similar to English. For instance:

Al meni je jedan wech odawno izmamio pogled i ukrao srce heheh..I ono, upoznala sam ga užiwo blablabla... (source)

Sources and Further Reading

• A small dictionary of Split youth jargon (in Croatian): R. Vidović: Rječnik žargona splitskih mlađih naraštaja (PDF)

Updated 2014-09-03, to be improved...

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