Category Archives: language learning

Learning a Second/Foreign Language

Learning a foreign or second language takes effort and time. But once you learn, it offers various opportunities and benefits. Learning a foreign language is beneficial and exciting for all age groups. It offers intellectual, aspirational and practical benefits to its users.

Learning a second language can be a tough task. Speaking any other language fluently takes time and can be challenging, if we think about its vocabulary range that we need to master. If we see around, there is most 7000 languages that is being spoken in all over the world. It is quite easier for children to grasp on second language as compared to elders. But it is never too late to start now!

Being bilingual involves a lot of benefits in today’s life. Let’s put a glance on the benefits of speaking second language.

Learning a new language opens up a world of opportunities

Learning a foreign language opens a vast range of professional opportunities. It is not limited to freelancing but involves innovative ideas. Being bilingual improves your professional career and works as prominent skill in your profile.

Now, the world is changing more rapidly as compared to the past. You can observe abrupt changes around. Now companies are working in more than two countries or globally. So, preference has been increased for bilinguals and skilled people who can talk in more than one language. If you want to see an example around, then you can observe serving staff while traveling to foreign countries. You can also take their place by learning a second language. Even in local, small companies, this unique ability can make you prominent from the rest of applicants.

Business professionals, who have to go to various countries on regular basis can learn a second language. As it can help them to speak with the travelers and peoples more easily. You will find no difficulty to understand their culture and can maintain a small set up there. It will enhance your experience of dealing with different type of people. It will direct your business in a new way. Your business will become multinational and grow faster as compared to others.

Learning a new language makes you smarter

Having command on second language improves memory and enhance your attention. Your brain play active role in learning and your problem solving ability becomes enhance. Bilingual students take active participation in class and have high probability to get high scores as compared to monolingual students. When you move from one language to another, your multi-tasking skill improves and you tent to score more. It has been seen that bilinguals are more rational and logical, have enhanced decision making ability. They are more aware and adoptive to their environment. It is believed that learning a foreign language improves our native language also, as it helps you understand the basic structure and mechanics behind the language.

Learning a new language opens up traveling opportunities

Having command on any other language helps open opportunities regarding other countries. If you find time to learn common language like French, German and Spanish, you can go in these countries and find no issue to understand their language and culture.

Speaking different languages open up various vacation destination opportunities for you. Fluency is not compulsory. By doing a little effort, you can become tourist of that countries. You can enjoy amazing places of more than one country. In this way, you meet with new people, learn about them and enhance your associations and friendship circles.

Learning a new language acknowledge about other cultures

It is believed that languages and various cultures are linked with each other. If you learn a second language, then you can easily understand their culture, their way of living, lifestyle and traditions. So, it will become easier for you to compare it with your own culture. In this way, you can bring positive points in your own way of living from them and can reduce negativities.

 Everyone has unique reason of learning a second language. Most of us learn just for fun or having secret communication with their fellows. So, reason can be anything but the main thing is to get benefit of learning a second language as much as possible.

Reason can vary, but the main action remains same. Now stop making excuses and step forward towards learning a new language. Through this, you can make a great difference in your life such as your conversation, your lifestyle, way of business, professional life will direct in a new way. It will help you generate attention of people towards you. Once you convert your first conversation into a new language, you will never go back!

The Feminine Nouns Ending in a Consonant

Slovenian has three grammatical genders: feminine, masculine and neuter. The feminine nouns usually end with –a, the masculine with a consonant and the neuter ones with –o or –e. However, there is a feature, where feminine nouns can also end with a consonant – the same as masculine nouns. That includes all nouns that end with –ost, –ev and –ast in singular, and some other nouns which are complete exceptions.

Feminine nouns that follow the basic rule and end with –a in singular, are declined in accordance with the first feminine declension – that means they have an ending –e in the genitive (for example: slika – slike). But the feminine exceptions which end with a consonant in singular, are declined according to the second feminine declension – they get an ending –i in the 2nd case, the genitive (for example: noč – noči).

Also, the feminine exceptions have the same ending in dual and plural (excluding nouns that end with –ev), which is –i: noč – noči (dual) – noči (plural). The ordinary feminine nouns have an ending –i in dual and –e in plural: slika – sliki (dual) – slike (plural).

Below, the feminine exceptions are arranged in 4 groups:

Feminine nouns ending in –ev

Slovenian English
breskev peach
cerkev church
odločitev decision
podkev horseshoe
trgatev grape harvest

Feminine nouns ending in –ost

Slovenian English
kost bone
mladost youth
modrost wisdom
norost craziness, madness
starost age

* But: ‘most‘, ‘bridge‘ is of the masculine gender

Feminine nouns ending in –ast

Slovenian English
last property, possession
past trap
pošast monster
rast growth
strast passion

Other feminine exceptions

Slovenian English
bolezen disease
dlan palm (hand)
jed dish
jesen autumn
kad bathtub
klet basement
klop bench
kopel bath
korist benefit, advantage
laž lie
ljubezen love
luč light
miš mouse
misel thought
moč power, strength
nit thread, strand
noč night
obrt craft, trade
obrv eyebrow
pamet sense, brains
peč furnace
perut wing (birds)
pesem song
pest fist
pomlad spring
pomoč help
pot path
reč thing, matter
skrb worry, care
sled trace
smer direction
smet dirt
smrt death
snov matter, material
sol salt
stran page, side
stvar thing
vas village
vest ‘conscience’ and ‘news’
vrv rope
zavest consciousness
zver beast
zvrst genre
žival animal

A tip on how to help you memorise the feminine exceptions is as follows: if you learn these words with an adjective or pronoun before the words, it will be easier to recognise the correct gender of nouns, since the adjectives and pronouns in singular always end with –a for the feminine gender, with a consonant for the masculine gender and with –o (before the letters c, j, č, š and ž also with –e) for the neuter gender.

Some examples:

  • lepa vas – beautiful village
  • tista luč – that light
  • moja odločitev – my decision
  • nora misel – crazy thought
  • okusna jed – tasty dish
  • morska sol – sea salt
  • spletna stran – website
  • poletna noč – summer night
  • peneča kopel – bubble bath

Common Grammatical Mistakes in Slovenian

Slovenian grammar is not one of the easiest, not even for the native speakers who commonly make mistakes while speaking or writing. The standard Slovenian language is therefore quite different from the spoken language that you will usually hear on the streets.

From my observation I have noticed quite a few mistakes the native Slovenian speakers make, which probably wouldn’t be noticed by someone who doesn’t speak the language, but would be quickly noticed by someone who pays more attention to this.

Often noticed mistakes

1. Usage of the accusative instead of the genitive case when negating verbs

The 2nd case, the genitive (rodilnik), is a case of a negation. But more and more it is common to hear it being replaced with the 4th case, the accusative (tožilnik), when negating active verbs.

Examples – Slovenian Examples – English
Affirmative Vidim stole/Jano. I see chairs/Jana.
Negative – correct (The genitive) Ne vidim stolov/Jane. I don’t see chairs/Jana.
Negative – wrong  (The accusative) Ne vidim stole/Jano. I don’t see chairs/Jana.

Also, when it comes to the personal pronouns in different cases, the personal pronouns in the genitive are sometimes replaced with the personal pronouns in the accusative when negating verbs:

Examples – Slovenian Examples – English
Affirmative Vidim jo. I see her.
Negative – correct (The genitive) Ne vidim je. I don’t see her.
Negative – wrong  (The accusative) Ne vidim jo. I don’t see her.

2. Mixing the infinitive and the supine

Beside the infinitive (nedoločnik), Slovenian also has the supine (namenilnik), which is used only with the verbs of motion (for example: iti – to go, peljati se – to ride, hoditi – to walk, teči – to run). The infinitives end with –ti or –či, and the supine is formed by omitting the vowel ‘i’ from the infinitive. Even if the latter should be used only in certain occasions, it is used almost all the time. I wonder how come Slovenians like omitting the vowels so much!

So instead of saying ‘midva se morava učiti‘, most of people would say ‘midva se morava učit‘ (we both have to learn).

Examples with the supine:

Slovenian English
Zvečer grem teč. I’m going for a run in the evening.
Pojdi pogledat, kaj se dogaja! Go see what is happening!

Examples where the supine shouldn’t be used but it often is:

English I started cycling. We can’t park here.
Correct (The infinitive) Začela sem kolesariti. Tukaj ne smemo parkirati.
Wrong (The supine) Začela sem kolesarit. Tukaj ne smemo parkirat.

Example where the supine should be used but it often isn’t:

English Go tell her.
Correct (The supine) Pojdi* ji povedat.
Wrong (The infinitive) Pojdi ji povedati.

* ’Pojdi’ is the imperative form of the verb of motion ‘iti’, ‘to go’.

3. My favourite: Wrong use of the prepositions ‘s’ and ‘z’ (with)

Prepositions ‘s‘ and ‘z‘ both mean ‘with‘, and no matter how simple the rule is, especially native speakers keep mixing them. The easiest way to use the correct preposition is by ear; the pronunciation of the preposition and noun has to sound fluent, almost like a single word.

There is also another, more school rule to memorise when to use ‘s’ or ‘z’. The words starting with the consonants from this sentence, »TA SUHI ŠKAFEC PUŠČA« (This dry pail is leaking), are used with the preposition ‘s‘. With all the other consonants plus vowels we use ‘z‘. So simple!

with mother with Vesna with Peter with Simon
Correct z mamo z Vesno s Petrom s Simonom
Wrong s mamo s Vesno z Petrom z Simonom

4. Wrong use of the pairs of prepositions ‘na – s/z’ and ‘v – iz’ (to – from)

In the Learn Slovenian Online course there is also an explanation when to use these 2 pairs of prepositions, ‘na – s/z‘ and ‘v – iz‘, which both mean ‘to (or ‘in’) – from‘ and have to be used always together. The pair ‘na – s/z’ is used with the countries and regions that end in -ska (or –ška), smaller islands and some places. It is also used when you put something on a surface. The pair ‘v – iz’ is used for most of the geographical names and places, and when you put something into something.

Pair ‘na – s/z’

Slovenian English
Grem na Dansko/Japonsko. I’m going to Denmark/Japan.
Prihajam z Danske/Japonske.* I come from Denmark/Japan.

* Here the preposition ‘iz‘ is often used, which is incorrect.

Pair ‘v – iz’

Slovenian English
Potujem v Brazilijo. I’m travelling to Brazil.
Sem iz Brazilije. I’m from Brazil.

More examples:

škatla (box):

into the box from the box
v škatlo iz škatle


to the park from the park
v park iz parka

pošta (post office):

to the post office from the post office
na pošto s pošte

miza (table):

on the table from the table
na mizo z mize

5. The dual use and confusion

A wonderful feature of the Slovenian language is dual – a grammatical number used for two objects or people. Students who learn Slovenian say to me that it is not so easy because it doesn’t exist in most of other languages, but I would say: »Do you think dual is difficult? Wait until you get to know cases.« Anyway, I realised the dual is a hard nut to crack even for Slovenians; when it comes to two things of the masculine or mixed gender it all works fine, but nothing works when we have two things of the feminine or neuter gender.

Examples of a beautiful dual:

Slovenian – Dual English
Masculine Otroka sta vesela. Two children are happy.
Feminine Punci sta prijazni. Two girls are kind.
Neuter Okni sta odprti. Two windows are open.

Deformation of dual:

Slovenian – Dual English
Masculine Otroka sta vesela. (Everything works fine!) Two children are happy.
Feminine Punce sta prijazne.* Two girls are kind.
Neuter Okna sta odprta.* Two windows are open.

* Many times the feminine gender, dual is simply replaced with the feminine gender, plural (-e ending).

* The neuter gender is often mixed with the masculine endings in dual.

Mistakes are usually made while speaking, a little bit less when writing. Apparently, there are too many ending combinations to memorise, and people use what sounds more handy to them. But I still have hope for the correct dual use in the future.

Some more examples on dual:

Two girls went to the cinema. two houses (F) two suns (N)
Correct Punci sta šli v kino. dve hiši dve sonci
Wrong Punce sta šle v kino.* dve hiše* dva sonca

* Again, the dual endings are replaced with the plural.

I really wonder what Slovenian will look like in a couple of decades. Who knows. Language is alive and is changing rapidly. Sometimes even mistakes become a rule in time. If you are interested in learning Slovenian (with no mistakes listed above of course), try our online course or private Skype lessons.

When to use Plural instead of Dual in Slovenian

Slovenian is one of the rare languages that has the grammatical number dual – it is used specifically for two objects or persons. But there are, ironically, also exceptions where we use plural instead of dual for two things. These are even body parts, biological functions, things like parents, pieces of clothing and footwear (pairs), and some other objects, such as earrings, ‘uhani’. Nevertheless, we can still use dual for pairs, but only when we want to emphasise two things.

Gender Singular Dual – used only when emphasized Plural – used for pairs English
                                              EVEN BODY PARTS
F noga nogi noge legs
F roka roki roke arms
N uho ušesi ušesa ears
N oko očesi oči eyes
F rama rami rame shoulders
N lice lici lica cheeks
M uhan uhana uhani earrings
                                         BIOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS
M starš starša starši parents
                                PIECES OF CLOTHES OR FOOTWEAR
F rokavica rokavici rokavice gloves
F nogavica nogavici nogavice socks
M rokav rokava rokavi sleeves
M čevelj čevlja čevlji shoes

F = feminine, N = neuter, M = masculine



Examples of use:

OČI (eyes)

Plural: Maja ima lepe oči. – Maja has beautiful eyes.

Emphasized:  Naprezal je obe očesi. – He strained both eyes.

ROKE (arms)

Plural: Kako nežne roke imaš! – What soft hands you have!

Emphasized: Luka si je poškodoval obe roki. – Luka injured both his arms.

UŠESA (ears)

Plural: Bolijo me ušesa. – My ears hurt.

Emphasized: Bolita me obe ušesi. – Both my ears hurt.

LICA (cheeks)

Plural: Sonja ima rdeča lica. – Sonja has red cheeks.

Emphasized: Sonja ima obe lici rdeči. – Sonja has both cheeks red.

UHANI (earrings)

Plural: Kako lepi uhani! – What beautiful earrings!

Emphasized: Izgubila sem oba uhana. – I lost both earrings.

ROKAVICE (gloves)

Plural: Zebe me v roke. Potrebujem rokavice. – My hands are freezing. I need gloves.

Emphasized: Obe rokavici sta raztrgani. – Both gloves are ragged.

ROKAVI (sleeves)

Plural: Rokavi so predolgi. – Sleeves are too long.

Emphasized: Oba rokava sta predolga. – Both sleeves are too long.

STARŠI (parents)

Plural: Moji starši so doma. – My parents are home.

Emphasized: Oba starša sta doma. – Both parents are home.

ČEVLJI (shoes)

Plural: To so zimski čevlji. – These are winter shoes.

Emphasized: Oba čevlja je vrgel proč. – He threw away both shoes.

When we use a dual to emphasise two things, we usually use the word ‘obe’ (F, N) or ‘oba’ (M), meaning ‘both’. Number two can also be used for emphasizing two things (dve očesi, dve nogi, dva uhana). We also need to conjugate verbs in dual and adapt adjectival or pronominal endings to the number of a noun:

Plural: Copati so topli. – Slippers are warm.

Dual: Oba copata sta topla. – Both slippers are warm.

Timeless Slovenian Movies For Young People

Quite a few unforgettable Slovenian films have lived on until the present day. Evergreen kids movies, such as Kekec, Poletje v školjki and Sreča na vrvici, have not fallen to the wayside. Furthermore, the younger generations nowadays know these nostalgic films that we grew up with well. And not just my generation, but even many generations before. Yes, some of the films are quite old now.

If you learn Slovenian, watching movies can be a fun way to do so, or listening to Slovenian music. All of the following films are available in the Slovenian libraries with English and Slovenian subtitles.

Slovenian Youth Films

Poletje v školjki (A Summer In a Sea Shell) – 1986

Directed by: Tugo Štiglic

Cast: David Sluga – Tomaž , Kaja Štiglic – Milena

A summer story takes place in Piran and Portorož – the Slovenian seaside towns. Tomaž is a rebellious teenager who lives with a mom in Piran. His father is very busy and lives in Ljubljana, so they barely see each other. To forget about the family issues a little, Tomaž spends a lot of time outside with his company. One day he meets Milena, a girl he immediately falls in love with. Two rival groups of friends – one from Piran and the other from Portorož, constantly tease each other. Also, somebody is stealing the shells, but who might that be?

The theme song for the movie, Prisluhni školjki (Listen to a shell), performed by Jani Golob, is a timeless hit that can still be heard on Slovenian radio stations. It reminds me to the sea every time I hear it. You can watch the full film on YouTube.

The second part of the film, Poletje v školjki 2, takes place in Ljubljana, two years later.

Sreča na vrvici (Hang on, Doggy!) – 1977

Directed by: Jane Kavčič

Cast: Matjaž Gruden – Matic, Nino de Gleria – Rok, Mitja Tavčar – Črni blisk

An eponymous book was written by Vitan Mal. The theme song, performed by Marjeta Ramšak, Sreča na vrvici (Luck on a string), was written by the famous Slovenian writer Svetlana Makarovič.

A little boy Matic, who lives with his mom in Ljubljana, is spending summer holidays mostly with his friends. His father is working in Libya. One day Matic gets an interesting and unexpected offer to play a leading role in a film. He accepts the offer and at the end of the shooting, they offer him a Newfoundlander, named Jakob. Matic becomes very attached to him, but because Jakob is pretty big and causes some problems to the residents of the blocks of flats, there is the question whether to keep it or not. Matic’s mom decides to publish an ad, and give the dog to the family with a big yard. But Matic and his friends are very crafty and drive away every potential buyer…

Trilogy Kekec:

Directed by: Jože Gale

Location of filming: The Gorenjska region (northwest of Slovenia)

1. Kekec – 1951

Cast: Matija Barl – Kekec, Frane Milčinski – Kosobrin, France Presetnik – Bedanec, Zdenka Logar – Mojca

The story for the film is based on the novel Kekec nad samotnim breznom by Josip Vandot. The first part of this trilogy is in black-and-white. The film Kekec also won the Golden Lion in the Venice Festival in 1952. A well-known song from the film, Kaj mi poje ptičica (What does a bird sing to me), was written by Frane Milčinski – Ježek.


Mojca is an orphan who serves a wicked man, called Bedanec, high up in the mountains. One day she meets Kosobrin, an old herbalist, who takes her with him, and saves her from Bedanec’s trap. But Bedanec wants the girl back. He ties Kosobrin to the tree. Kekec, who is a shepherd and a very brave and naughty boy, saves Kosobrin. Bedanec doesn’t like this, and obviously his next victim is none other than Kekec. Bedanec also desperately wants to find out for the path that leads to Kosobrin’s house, which is a big mystery. Even though Bedanec is so evil, it doesn’t mean he is completely fearless. He is afraid of one thing in particular. And Kekec knows what it is. How will all this end?

2. Srečno Kekec (Good Luck, Kekec) – 1963

Cast: Velimir Gjurin – Kekec, Ruša Bojc – Pehta, Blanka Florjanc – Mojca, Martin Mele – Rožle

The second part of the trilogy is the first ever Slovenian colour film.

Kekec goes for a shepherd to a country family. Be becomes a friend with Rožle and Mojca. Mojca is blind. One day she meets Pehta, a mountain herbalist, who seems a little bit scary. Mojca trusts her, and because she doesn’t see anything, Pehta seduces her and takes her to her place. Mojca is scared, but Kekec and Rožle are already on their way to save her. Rožle is very shy, so he escapes before Kekec manages to save Mojca. When Mojca says that Pehta knows a cure for her eyes, Kekec decides to find Pehta, and get eyedrops one way or another. Here a real adventure begins. Will Kekec finally soften Pehta and get eyedrops for Mojca?

Kekčeva pesem (Kekec’s song)

Kdor vesele pesmi poje
gre po svetu lahkih nog,
če mu kdo nastavi zanko,
ga užene v kozji rog.

Jaz pa pojdem in zasejem
dobro voljo pri ljudeh.
V eni roki nosim sonce,
v drugi roki zlati smeh.

Bistri potok, hitri veter,
bele zvezde vrh gora,
grejo z mano tja do konca
tega širnega sveta.

Jaz pa pojdem in zasejem
dobro voljo pri ljudeh.
V eni roki nosim sonce,
v drugi roki zlati smeh.

3. Kekčeve ukane (Kekec’s Tricks) – 1968

Cast: Zlatko Krasnič – Kekec, Leopold Bibič – Bedanec, Jasna Krofak – Mojca, Boris Ivanovski – Rožle

In the last part, evil Bedanec is back. He is a cruel hunter. A wise man Vitranc warns him about this, but he is completely deaf to this. Bedanec makes traps for the animals, but friendly and joyous Brincelj takes them away. Unfortunately his joy is over, when Bedanec finds and kidnaps him. Mojca and Rožle observe all this and run away. They tell Kekec what happened. Kekec and shy Rožle find Bedanec’s cabin, and try to save Brincelj. But exactly then Bedanec returns. Kekec manages to escape, while Rožle becomes a Bedanec’s prisoner from now on. Mojca is worried, because Kekec and Rožle are not home yet, so she decides to look for them. She finds a cavern where Vitranc resides. Meanwhile Kekec is searching a way to free his friends. Bedanec, as usually, digs a trap for the animals, and ironically, at the end, ends up in it himself – as a wise proverb says.

What sound does a Slovenian frog make?

Interjections, medmeti in Slovenian, express our mood and emotional conditions, they imitate natural sounds and are also used as an imperative (when we want to command something to somebody). They appear in every language. Interjections for the same thing in Slovenian and English (or any other language) are slightly different – not only how we write them, but also how we pronounce them. We can have a lot of fun comparing them in various languages, and “realise” that, for example, animals sound differently in different languages.

In Slovenian, in a sentence, we write a comma after an interjection. At the end of a sentence we usually write an exclamation mark. Interjections can also stand alone.


  • Pst, zbudil boš otroke! (Shush, you will wake the children up!)
  • Juhuhu! (Yippie-yay-yo!)

We use interjections a lot in everyday conversation. Greetings also belong in a group of interjections, for example: živjo, čao, zdravo, hej, adijo, dober dan, nasvidenje.

Imitative Interjections

mijav miaow the sound of cats
hov woof the sound of dogs
mu moo the sound of cows
čiv cheep, tweet the sound of birds
rega, kvak croak the sound of frogs
kikiriki cock-a-doodle-doo the sound of cocks
ga quack the sound of geese, ducks
bum boom the sound of explosion, drums, heart
cin ring the sound of a small bell, ting
tok knock the sound of knocking
čof, pljusk splash when splashing into the water
ačih atishoo when sneezing
ha haha when smiling

Mood Interjections

fuj yuck disgust
joj oh astonishment, impairment
ah oh tiredness
eh ah apathy, annoyance
o oh amazement, admiration
aja oh getting ideas
hm hmm doubt, hesitation
juhuhu yippie-yay-yo joy, happiness
čin čin cheers when toasting
njam, mmm yummy saying when you taste something delicious
ej hey enthusiasm, also a greeting
av ouch when it hurts, pain
jupi, hura yay joy
vau wow admiration, astonishment
uf phew relief, annoyance
opa, ups oops when apologizing for your mistakes

Imperative Interjections

pst shush when you want somebody to be quiet
hop jump encouraging to jump
šc shoo driving away somebody

Heteronyms in Slovenian and English

Words that are written the same and in most cases have different meaning and different pronunciation, are called heteronyms. As I like to play with words, I gathered some examples of heteronyms in Slovenian and English, which are stated below.

Heteronyms are usually short words with around 3-5 letters. For sure, there are many more words which are written identically in those 2 languages, so if you find some, feel free to add them in the comments. There are also words like »talent«, »idol« and »program«, which are written in the same fashion and have the same meaning but different pronunciation in Slovenian and English. They are also a little bit longer.

Examples of heteronyms:


PAST trap
preteklost, čez (time) PAST


PÓT, PÔT path, sweat
lonec POT


DO till, until, to (time)
delati, narediti (to) DO


KIT whale
oprema, pribor, orodje KIT


SIT (masculine) full (not hungry anymore)
sedeti (to) SIT


SAD (singular) fruit
žalosten SAD


CAR tsar
avto CAR


OVEN ram, Aries (astrology)
pečica OVEN


SET set
namestiti (to) SET


STAR (masculine) old
zvezda STAR


star - old

star – old

zvezda - a star

zvezda – a star


BAR bar, café
bar, tablica (čokolade) BAR (of chocolate)


DATUM date (time)
podatek DATUM


POD under, below
strok POD


LIST leaf
seznam LIST


ONE (plural, feminine) they
ena ONE


PET five
domača žival PET

If you know some identical words in Slovenian and English, share them with 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.

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?

Learn Slovenian Online — It’s easier than you think

Our program, Learn Slovenian Online, is explained in this 40 second video.

Learn Slovenian Online — Overcoming Challenges

Learn Slovenian Online is designed for beginners. The course aims to introduce you to the language gradually, but quickly. Starting with an introduction to the alphabet, pronunciation and the sound of the spoken language. Continuing with practical dialogues and useful phrases. Concluding as it dissects the rare ‘dual’ form (which the Slovene language has in addition to singular and plural), and demystifies the complex grammatical cases.

Although Slovenian has a reputation for being complex, many have successfully mastered it, and many more have learned the basics, enough to enrich their experience visiting the country, enabling them to enjoy it to the utmost. With the right motivation, accompanied by the right tools, you will succeed.

Your Learn Slovenian Toolbox

We wrote about some recommendations for learning Slovene on this blog in the past. Using Anki for memorising new words is another tool we highly recommend. You can read about using Anki with Learn Slovenian Online here.

Have you thought about learning Slovenian with the help of music? Valentina curated a great list of Slovenian artists with clear vocals, so you have the opportunity to experience some Slovene culture while you learn.

Other actions you can take include, asking questions on our Facebook page and subscribing to our blog by email to receive our latest articles, on Slovenian language learning and culture, straight to your inbox. We have written about Slovenian slang, dialects, cuisine, and more.

Self-Study with Learn Slovenian Online

Like most self-study programs, Learn Slovenian Online works. How well it works though, depends on your goals and level of commitment. In other words, you will get out of the course what you put in.

Take the program for a test drive and see if it is right for you. Try a free lesson now.

Learn Slovenian Online: Try a free lesson