Monthly Archives: April 2014

Learn Slovenian Online Just Got Better

We just updated our program, Learn Slovenian Online, with some improvements to make the learning experience even better for you. I showcase the updates in this short video:

The lesson audio format is now MP3, which means better browser support (particularly for Internet Explorer) and better support for MP3 players and smart phones so you can more easily take the lessons with you to study on the go! We’ve tagged the MP3 files also so each lesson will be neatly organised into albums.

Learn Slovenian Online iPhone and iTunes screenshot

You can now download all audio files for each lesson at the end of the lesson—they come bundled as a zip file.

Try It Out

Head over to Learn Slovenian Online and Try a free lesson on us!

Slovenian Idioms

»Tih kot miška« (as silent as a mouse), »priden kot čebela« (as busy as a bee) – sound familiar to you? These are called idioms, idiomi or frazemi in Slovenian. Idioms are phrases that usually consist of more words which have figurative meaning. They appear in all languages and using them helps us enrich our vocabulary.

Slovenian has some interesting and comic idioms, some of them are very similar to English ones, too. I like in particular that ones with animals. Slovenian is not so »rich« regarding vocabulary in comparison to English and other languages which are spoken by millions of people, but has an impressive amount of idioms, which are surprisingly very often used in everyday conversation.

The language immediately sounds better and enriched when speaking by using idioms. If you are learning Slovenian, try to learn some idioms, too, you’ll definitely impress your Slovenian friends. I prepared a list of Slovenian idioms which are commonly used, and in the table below you will also find a literal translation from Slovenian into English and a real meaning of an idiom. Read just Slovenian idioms and literal translations in English, and try to guess a real meaning then. It can be funny, and maybe you will be astonished.

SLOVENIAN IDIOM LITERAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION MEANING
našpičiti ušesa to prick up one’s ears to start to listen carefully
skočiti si v lase to jump in each other’s hair to fight (to argue), to contradict
iskati dlako v jajcu to search for a hair in the egg to exaggerate in demands
iti po gobe to go to pick mushrooms to decay, to fall through, to go awry
krasti bogu čas to steal a god’s time to laze
iti rakom žvižgat to go whistling to the crab to die, to fall through, to decay
kot slon v trgovini s porcelanom like an elepfant in a china shop to be clumsy
španska vas a Spanish village unknown field
vedeti kam pes taco moli to know where a dog puts its paw in to know what a purpose of speaking is
lagati kot pes teče to lie as a dog runs to lie often, without any restraints
režati se kot pečen maček to grin like a roast cat to laugh very much
delati iz muhe slona to make an elephant out of a fly to exaggerate a lot because of a trifle
hoditi spat s kurami to go to sleep with chickens to go to bed early
počutiti se kot riba na suhem to feel like a fish out of water to feel uncomfortable, badly
iskati iglo v senu to look for a needle in a haysteak to do something with a little hope for results
živeti kot ptiček na veji to live like a birdie on a branch to live freely, carefree
spati kot zajec to sleep like a rabbit to sleep lightly
biti kot pes in mačka to be like a dog and cat to hate each other, to argue
kupiti mačka v žaklju to buy a cat in a sack to deal for something with unconfirmed origin
hoditi kakor mačka okoli vrele kaše to walk like a cat around a boiling pulp not to tell the fact
ubiti dve muhi na en mah to kill two flies at one go to solve two problems with one act
zamižati na eno oko to close one eye to overlook somebody’s unacceptable act
biti na konju to be on a horse to succeed, to achieve a goal
črno na belem in black and white written on a paper, clearly, with a proof

The Most Effective Ways to Learn a Foreign Language

Learning foreign languages can be spontaneous and fun. A lot of effort is often required, but results can be seen in a quite short time. From my point of view the most effective methods of acquiring a new language are:

  1. LISTENING (the absolute winner)
  2. READING and
  3. SPEAKING to a native speaker (if you have the possibility)

Why listening?

  • because you develop a sense for a language
  • you can hear and practice a correct pronunciation
  • you acquire an accent

By listening you eventually memorize phrases, not just individual words. So, listening to the radio, watching TV shows and movies aid faster learning of a language.

You can find a list of Slovenian radio stations here to help you.

And here are also some Slovenian TV channels available online.

Why reading?

  • the easiest way to learn most new words and expand your vocabulary
  • learning a words meaning from a context, not from a dictionary – in that way you memorize words more quickly
  • learning phrases and better understanding of grammatical structures

Reading at least 15 minutes per day significantly improves your results, and it is better than reading just once a week two hours consecutively. For complete beginners children’s books or very simple texts are most appropriate. On the internet you will find a large collection of e-books, you can also search for some Slovenian news websites or even better, you can visit a library if you live in Slovenia.

I still have some children’s books from my childhood, which I also lent to Paddy, when he started to learn Slovenian.

Childrens books to help learn Slovenian

I have found these three methods of learning foreign languages very useful. In my case they help me to constantly improve my English and French. I read now more »serious« books, listen to music, and watch some TV programmes in these two languages. Occasionally, if I’m luck, I also get to speak in person with native speakers.

Everyone can acquire a new language regardless age. We should all learn carefreely, spontaneously – like children. They don’t have prejudices, expectations, but they have something that most adults don’t – a child-like curiosity, which helps them to learn and explore a language in a fun and enjoyable way.

I am sure you all remember how you learned your mother tongue. It was something like this: listening your parents and repeating after them, all the time. And surprisingly, you actually learned to speak fluently, without a fear that you maybe spoke wrong.

Paddy and I have created an online Slovenian course, which also contains a great amount of phrases, which are very indispensable in everyday conversation and will help you on your way to learning Slovenian.

Positive effects of learning foreign languages

Researches show that people who speak more languages are more creative and better at solving complex problems. Learning languages favourably effects our brains, by encouraging more cell production. It is also said to extend life expectancy, improve memory, make you smarter, and there is more – polyglots or multi-linguists are supposed to be more attractive according to studies. Definitely good encouragement for all intending to learn a second or more languages!

What about you, what approaches do you use to learn foreign languages?