Category Archives: Learn Slovenian Online

Win Access to Learn Slovenian Online (before November 1st 2013)

Comment on the Facebook Post below for a chance to Win Access to the Learn Slovenian Online Course!

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The most creative and funny comment will win. The winner will be announced November 1st 2013.

Semivowel ‘ə’ and Words Without Vowels in Slovenian

A semivowel is a vowel which does not have a special letter. Phonetically it is written as ‘ə’, but we never write it. It is pronounced similar to French unstressed ‘e’.

A feature in Slovenian is that a semivowel ‘ə’ is pronounced each time when a letter ‘r’ stands between two consonants (trg) or before another consonant (rdeč); for example: [tərg], [ərdeč]. So, we have to pronounce it every time, at each ‘r’ which doesn’t stand beside a vowel. In some words a semivowel ‘ə’ replaces a letter ‘e’ in pronunciation, like in the words “pes” and “dež”. We pronounce them like [pəs] and [dəš]. Narrow and wide ‘e’ aren’t stressed when write in Slovenian, so you simply have to memorise how each word is pronounced.

In Slovenian plenty of words exist without vowels (mostly very short words). But instead of vowels we use a semivowel. The longest Slovenian words without vowels are “vzbrst” (adenoids), “čmrlj” (bumblebee), “zvrst” (genre) and “čvrst” (solid). The shortest words without vowels and with only two letters are “rt” (cape) and “rž” (rye).

This might be odd to foreigners, as for example in English, French and other languages words without vowels don’t exist. Sometimes foreigners in Slovenia think that words completely without vowels are acronyms for something. But no, we don’t spell them, we pronounce them fluently.

Some words in Slovenian completely without vowels

Slovenian Words Without vowels English Translation
prst soil, finger
brž at once
grd ugly
prt tablecloth
vrt garden
grb coat-of-arms
črv worm
čvrst solid
trg square
rt cape
grm bush
vrv rope
vrč jug
trn thorn
skrb worry, care
vrh peak, top
krt mole
mrk eclipse

Downloadable Audio files for Learn Slovenian Online

One of our students gave a great tip for getting more out of the Learn Slovenian Online course. By playing the audio files through VLC media player, the play back speed can be controlled. This means you can slow down the audio files to better hear what Valentina is saying.

VLC media player can be downloaded for free here.

We have also added a new Downloads page to the course, from where you can easily download all of the course audio files in .m4a format.

You can try a free lesson from Learn Slovenian Online here.

Little Charming Towns in Slovenia

Beside well known touristic places like Bled, Ljubljana, Bohinj and Postojna cave, Slovenia also offers a number of smaller and more charming towns which are not so well promoted, but have a unique beauty. Because they are not full of tourists, they are more authentic and offer astonishing surroundings. Their city cores conjure a feeling of timelessness.

Štanjel

Štanjel is a picturesque enclosed village in Karst. Typical for Štanjel are very narrow streets and the stony construction of houses and wells. The image is of a typical coastal town. The main attraction is ‘Ferrarijev vrt’ (Ferrari’s garden), a work of a famous architect Maks Fabiani.

Ferrarijev vrt

Ferrarijev vrt

Novo mesto

Novo mesto, literally ‘New city’, is the capital of Dolenjska region. Its position is in the river bend of the emerald coloured Krka river. The city has a beautiful ancient city centre. As in most other cities in Slovenia, in Novo mesto you do not need a lot of time to move from the city to the nature – it is all around. You can promenade down by the river and breathe in the fresh air. In the surroundings there are other places worth seeing, like Otočec and two health spas Šmarješke Toplice and Dolenjske Toplice.

Novo mesto

Novo mesto

Piran

Piran is a littoral town in Slovenian Istria. Like every town in Primorje region, Piran is also a bilingual area. As I mentioned in one of the last blog posts, Slovenian and Italian are spoken here. Italian name for Piran is Pirano. It has a medieval image with narrow streets, which create a very Mediterranean temperament. Tartinijev trg is the main square in Piran.

Piran

Piran

Škofja Loka

It is famous for its ancient city core, which is best preserved in Slovenia. The best places to see in Škofja Loka are Mestni trg (City square) and Škofjeloški grad (Škofja Loka castle).

Škofja Loka

Škofja Loka

Ptuj

Ptuj (Latin Poetovio) is one of the oldest towns in Slovenia. Above the city stands Ptujski grad (Ptuj castle). It is situated by Drava river. Štajerska region (Styria) is known for winemaking. In Ptuj they keep the oldest wine in Slovenia. Ptuj is also known for its winter Carnival, called ‘Kurentovanje na Ptuju’.

Ptuj

Ptuj

Idrija

Idrija lies in north-west Slovenia. It is well known for a mercury mine (rudnik živega srebra), Idria lace (idrijske čipke) and a culinary speciality called ‘idrijski žlikrofi’­ – already mentioned in our culinary blog post. An Idrian mercury mine is also classified in the list of UNESCO world heritage.

A mercury mine in Idrija

A mercury mine in Idrija

For even more authentic experiences of these and many other towns I didn’t mention, it is invaluable to know some expressions in Slovenian. If you would like to learn some of our language, we can help. Try our course Learn Slovenian Online.

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

Typographic differences between Slovenian and English

The Slovenian and English languages have their typographic differences.

Lowercase dates

In Slovenian, days and months start with lowercase letters, as opposed to capitals in English.

Days

Dnevi

Day English Translation
ponedeljek Monday
torek Tuesday
sreda Wednesday
četrtek Thursday
petek Friday
sobota Saturday
nedelja Sunday

Months

Meseci

Month English Translation
januar January
februar February
marec March
april April
maj May
junij June
julij July
avgust August
september September
oktober October
november November
december December

Ordinal Numbers

In contrast to the English suffixes, ordinal numbers in Slovenian are noted by a number, followed by a dot.

Slovenian ordinal number used in the date on Zurnal24.si

Note the date, 23rd June, written as 23. junij

Ordinal Number Slovenian English Translation
1. prvi 1st
2. drugi 2nd
3. tretji 3rd
4. četrti 4th
5. peti 5th
6. šesti 6th
7. sedmi 7th
8. osmi 8th
9. deveti 9th
10. deseti 10th

Currency and prices

Slovenia has used the Euro since January 1st 2007. Prices are usually listed with ‘EUR’ and a space, in front of the numerical value, with cents separated by a comma. In Ireland and the UK, the Euro symbol comes before the numerical value, and cents are separated by a dot.

Slovenian Price Ireland and UK Price
EUR 15,95 €15.95

Postal Addresses

Addresses are also formatted different than in the UK and Ireland, in that the address number comes after the street name.

Slovenian Address Irish/UK Address
Moj naslov je Slovenska ulica 5 My address is 5 Slovenska street

If you know of any other differences, let us know and we’ll add them to our list.

The examples used are excerpts from the Dates and Numbers lessons in our program Learn Slovenian Online. The full program comes with audio for each lesson, performed by a native Slovenian speaker. If you are interested in the program, you can try a free lesson now.

Anki Flashcards and Learn Slovenian Online

To get the most out of the Learn Slovenian Online program, it’s important to make use of the Anki flashcards included throughout the course.

The end of several lessons feature exercises you can complete to test your knowledge as you study the course. The majority of sections also include a selection of digital flashcards, for use with Anki.

Anki flashcards are a valuable learning tool

Anki is a free program which allows you to test yourself using these digital flashcards and works on the basis of spaced-repetition learning, a technique which has been shown to significantly increase memory retention.

Anki is a program which makes remembering things easy. Because it’s a lot more efficient than traditional study methods, you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying, or greatly increase the amount you learn.—Ankisrs.net

For more on using Anki for language learning, Tower of Babelfish wrote a great post, which includes a tutorial for installing Anki.

Video: How to download and import Anki Flashcards for use with Learn Slovenian Online