Slovenian Slang: “Kako kul ste?” (How cool are you?)

Slovenian slang expressions are shared between people of about the same age. The most widespread use is among young people, particularly teenagers. Typically, with slang, foreign words and phrases get introduced. In Slovenian slang spoken nowadays, words are taken mostly from English, and in the past German and Serbo-Croatian words were more common.

Slang is everywhere

Slang is present everywhere, including places where it shouldn’t be, for example, in media and books for the youth. Sometimes I’m even shocked when I hear new slang words and wonder where they came from. One reason for the popularity in this teen demographic, according to psychologists, is that slang is said to be a reflection of rebelliousness.

I use some Slovenian slang speaking to my friends too. Talking to my parents I tend to use less, which is good, because I would like to reduce my ‘slang vocabulary’. If I overuse it, I feel like a teenager, and of course I don’t want to feel that way. From observing and talking to some foreigners, I realised that they mostly don’t distinguish standard Slovenian from slang, but for those who started to learn our language, I think they hear the difference. In any case, I’m sure if they hear some Slovenian slang words which sound similar to English, they wouldn’t think that this is a Slovenian word. Maybe my colleague Paddy could say something about this, because he had an opportunity to observe and learn the language for a few months.

Slang is cool

I think that slang is so spread also because it is perceived as being cool, particularly by the younger generation. I have to say that I can hardly imagine that our teenagers would speak only standard Slovenian among themselves. They would seem too serious. A little bit of slang is okay, but everything has its limits.

I observe how people talk among themselves, among young and older generations. It’s surprising that young people talk to older people in a much better way than among their teenage peers. So, luckily a politeness is still been preserved. It’s also great that some people don’t use so much slang, especially if they come from other regions of Slovenia, out of Ljubljana region. In general I think that older generations preserve more the Slovenian standard language while they speak, than young ones. And it’s good that slang changes faster than standard language. Some words come and are popular for a while, and then they leave and some other expressions replace them. So, it’s not something, which could stay in the language forever. In that way standard Slovenian can be better preserved.

Examples of Slovenian Slang

I gathered some interesting expressions, so that, when you visit Slovenia, you can recognise when slang is being used, so you won’t think that our standard language is some strange mixture of Slovenian and English:

Slang Standard Slovenian English Origin
basket košarka basketball
špilat igrati to play from German: spielen
težiti sitnariti to nag
fajtat se pretepati se to fight
laufat teči to run German: laufen
pardon oprosti ‘excuse me’ or ‘pardon’
zakva zakaj why
šit sranje shit
drink pijača drink
valda seveda you bet
faca ‘pojava’, also ‘obraz’ ‘character’, also ‘face’
okej ‘v redu’ or ‘dobro’ okay
kul ‘super’ or ‘dobro’ cool
un tisti that
jst jaz ‘I’ or ‘me’
itak seveda of course
totalno popolnoma totally
keš denar cash
tumač preveč too much
sori oprosti sorry
lajf življenje life
beden slab bad, uncool
skos vedno always
bejba dobra ženska babe
‘frend’ (male) or ‘frendica’ (female) ‘prijatelj’ or ‘prijateljica’ friend
d best najboljše the best
‘tip’ or ‘model’ ‘moški’ or ‘fant’ ‘man’ or ‘boy’
folk ljudje ‘folk’ or ‘people’
baje ‘domnevno’ or ‘menda’ supposedly
šov predstava show
plis prosim please
out iti iz mode out (of fashion)
in ‘moderno’ or ‘v modi’ in (fashion)
komp računalnik computer
luzer zguba loser
To ni fer! To ni pravično! It’s not fair!
izi lahek, preprost easy
simpl preprosto simple
flet stanovanje flat
cajt čas time German: die Zeit
mejbi morda, mogoče maybe
tenks hvala thanks

And some sentences with Slovenian slang for fun:

Slang Standard Slovenian English
Ful sm hepi! Zelo sem vesel! (vesela, for females) I’m so happy!
Blo je okej. Bilo je v redu. It was okay.
Kok je blo izi! Kako lahko je bilo! It was so easy!
Ta folk je čist zmešan. Ti ljudje so popolnoma zmešani. These people are totally crazy.
Mejbi pridem dons. Morda pridem danes. Maybe I come today.
Fajn se mej! (‘fajn’ as in ‘fine’) Lepo se imej! Have a nice day!
Moj frend ma ful dobre šuze. Moj prijatelj ima zelo dobre čevlje. My friend has a very nice shoes.
Poslat morm mesič. Poslati moram sporočilo. I have to send a message.
Tenks! Hvala! Thanks!
Dobr biznis! Dober posel! Good business!
Ne tega plis okol govort. Prosim, ne govori tega okoli. Don’t speak about this, please.

Globalisation also affects the language. American culture, movies, music, technology, and internet all strongly influence the adoption of new words and phrases, but, as I mentioned before, slang continuously changes and for that reason it doesn’t represent a big danger. As people grow up and become more serious—because of their job, or a change of mentality—the use of slang usually fades out.

Slovenian Slang in Advertising

I remembered some brands which use slang to be ‘cooler’, and ‘teenage’ or ‘youth friendly’:

Fruc ad using Slovenian slang

One of the Slovenian brands using slang to promote their products. The slang words are ‘kul’ and ‘totalno kul’

Mobitel itak ad using Slovene slang

The Mobitel brand and their mobile package ‘Itak’

Si.mobil ad using Slovenian slang

A mobile package, ‘Simpl kidz’ (simple kids), from Si.mobil

Published on June 29, 2013