I started my Serbo-Croat language course at the very beginning of this year (03.01). I have now every Monday a 1.5 hour lesson (with 5 other persons) in Wijchen and before yesterday I had my 4th lesson (Četvrta lekcija ) and I really like it: I am learning a new language since a long time (15 years ?)! This is going to be my fifth language I will speak (beside Dutch, French, English and German). If I want I can say I can speak Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian and Montenegrin, but then I will not be honest, because there are some differences between those 4,but just like the differences between Flemish and Dutch. Actually my teacher is more Croatian focused, the differences are small, but they are getting wider since the dramatic dis-integration of Yugoslavia.
Gdje je kolodvor ? (Croatian)
Gde je željeznička stanica ? (Serbian)
Što? (what in Croatian) and Šta? (what in Serbian)
Can you blame me, the poor little brave Dutch who is willing to learn the language ? We focus ourselves now most to the grammatical part of the language , which is already hard with different forms and tenses. On the other hand I have to admit, it is quite compact language, I give you an example:
Tražim stari hotel (3 words), in Dutch this would be:
Ik zoek het oude hotel (5 words), in French it would be;
Je cherche le vieux hotel (5 words), in English it would be;
I am searching the old hotel (6 words)….
It looks easy, but as always with languages there are of course tricks, for example: the adjective “star”, can be written as stari (for male words), stara (for female words), staro (neutral words) or staru (as in 4th case). Brings us to the cases: the Serbo-Croat language has 7!
That house is beautiful old house: Tako je lijepa stara kuca.
I see a beautiful old house: Vidim lijepu staru kucu.
It is quite complicated, but I love it and I have a lot of enthusiasm to learn this language and I hope I can use it a lot and will learn it good, I will do all my efforts.
Here you see at the left my corrected homework, yes with the red pencil 😉 , I feels like I am back at school.
I do not have a huge vocabulary at the moment, since we are focusing on the grammar, but I pick up some words. I am listening Serbian internet radio now, try to ennoy my friends from the region with the language and hope I can co-develop with a free word learning app for my phone.
Something funny there is of course also: the last lesson I obtained a little book with words in Serbo-Croat which looks similar to Dutch words, here are some:
-rat in Serbo-Croat means war, but in Dutch a rat is a rat in English;
-stan in Serbo-Croat means apartment or flat, but in Dutch it is a name for a boy ( I know one);
-krug in Serbo-Croat means a circle, but in Dutch it means pub (kroeg);
-post in Serbo-Croat means abstention, but in Dutch it means post (mail).
You know Pluto, the planet, or the dog of Mickey Mouse ? Pluto means in Serbo-Croat a cork….
I hope I have time enough to maintain my blog and to write more about learning this beautiful language.
And I finish with a beautiful Serbian poem from Desanka Maksimovic, a famous Serbian poet:
Luta nam mesec oko sobe,
kraj strehe plovi nase,
srebrom nam napunio case,
i staklene boce obe.
Mesecinom sam se opila
cesto, zbog srece, zbog jada.
Pijmo, prijatelju, i sada,
prozorska otvori krila.
Videces, manje je slatka
casa tvog starog vina
nego kupa ova s visina.
Pijmo je. Noc je kratka.
Pijmo, prijatelju i sad skupa
ovo ponocno pice,
sve moje znaces bice
kad zadnja se isprazni kupa.
Bice ti sasvim prozirna
moja dusa i oko;
gledaces u srce duboko,
do samog dna mu nemirna.
Reci ce poteci same
obraz stati da se zari;
a mesec, krcmar stari,
iz sumske smejace se tame.
Google translate here 😉