Language and alphabet

Serbian is a Slavic language used primarily in Serbia and Montenegro. You can also use it in Bosnia and Croatia, since the difference is quite trifle, and if you stick to basic conversations you can easily get by in Bulgaria and Macedonia.

Serbian is a completely phonetic language, meaning that every letter represents only one sound, and every sound is represented by one letter. The formula concocted by Vuk Karadzic, the great 19th century reformist of Serbian Language, goes "write as you speak, read as it's written" - thanks to this, learning the 30 letters of alphabet is all you'll ever need in order to read Serbian.

One of the rather confusing things about Serbian language is its alphabet - actually, its alphabets, since two of them are used parallelly. Latin and Serbian Cyrillic are completely equivalent and all Serbs are familliar with both. There is no general rule in choosing the alphabet - street names, newspapers as well as train schedules are sometimes written in Cyrillic and sometimes in Latin.

On this page you can find the pronunciation key to Serbian Cyrilic alphabet and some key phrases.

 

Pronounciation key

 
as in "cat"
as in"bat"
as in "vampire"
as in "god"
as in "dog
as in "schedule"
as in "bet"
as in "conclusion", "vision"
as in "zero"
as in "meek"
as in "yolk"
as in "key"
as in "leg"
as in "volume"
as in "mat"
as in "net"
as in "canyon" or "new"
as in "oath"
as in "pad"
as in "rat"
as in "sand"
as in "tip"
as in "feature"
as in "book"
as in "fat"
as in "hat"
as in "tzar"
as in "champion"
as in "dodge"
as in "sharp"

 

 

Key phrases

English Serbian
   
Personal pronouns Lične zamenice
   
I ja
you ti
he, she, it on, ona, ono
   
we mi
you (pl.) vi
they oni, one, ona
   
   
Greetings & civilities Pozdravi
   
Hello Zdravo
Good morning Dobro jutro
Good afternoon Dobar dan
Good evening Dobro veče
   
Good night Laku noć
Good bye (formal) Do viđenja
Good bye (informal) Zdravo
   
How are you? (formal) Kako ste?
How are you? (informal) Kako si?
   
I'm fine Dobro
Not good Loše
Thank you Hvala
   
I don't understand Ne razumem
Excuse me Izvinite
Pardon Pardon
   
Nice to meet you Drago mi je
   
   
Smalltalk Razgovor
   
Yes Da
No Ne
Maybe Možda
   
What's your name? Kako se zoveš?
My name is... Zovem se...
   
Where are you from? Odakle si?
I am from... Ja sam iz...
   
I know Znam
I don't know Ne znam
   
I want Hoću
I don't want Neću
   
   
Accommodation Smeštaj
   
Room Soba
Hotel Hotel
Bed Krevet
   
Bathroom Kupatilo
Shower Tuš
Sleep Spavati
   
Where can I sleep? Gde mogu da spavam?
   
   
Getting around Kretanje i snalaženje
   
Bus Autobus
Train Voz
   
Station Stanica
Ticket Karta
   
Road to... Put za...
Street Ulica
   
City Grad
Village Selo
   
Map Mapa
   
Left Levo
Right Desno
Straight Pravo
   
Far Daleko
Near Blizu
   
   
Time Vreme
   
Now Sada
Before Pre
After Posle
   
Hour Sat
Minute Minut
   
Day Dan
Month Mesec
Year Godina
   
Yesterday Juče
Today Danas
Tomorrow Sutra
   
   
Question words Upitne reči
   
Where? Gde?
When? Kada?
How? Kako?
   
How many? Koliko?
How much? (price) Pošto?
   
How long? Koliko dugo?
   
   
Numbers Brojevi
   
1 jedan
2 dva
3 tri
4 četiri
5 pet
   
6 šest
7 sedam
8 osam
9 devet
10 deset
   
20 dvadeset
30 trideset
40 četrdeset
50 pedeset
   
60 šezdeset
70 sedamdeset
80 osamdeset
90 devedeset
100 sto
   
200 dvesto
300 tristo
400 četristo
500 petsto
   
1000 hiljadu