The first thing you learn when you just start learning a new lnguage is how to say your name, “hi,” “bye,” and “thank you.” Learning basic phrases can be very useful in day to day situations, especially if the other person doesn't speak English. Also, it doesn't take much time to learn basic phrases, so why not give it a try?
Before you take a look at main greetings, here are some (fun) facts about Croatia.
- Croatia is a country bordering Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Italy.
- Our official currency is HRK (Croatian Kuna).
- Croatia's capital is Zagreb and it has around 1,000 000 inhabitants. Croatia is tiny, but you can do winter sports, swim, and sunbathe all in the same day. Amazing, right? That's the perk of being a small country in the Mediterranean.
- The second largest city is Split. Now that's a real pearl for those who are crazy about summer activities. Croatia has more than 1,000 islands. Some are inhabited, and many more uninhabited. That way you can always stay on the islands if you prefer peace and quiet.
- Croatia is home to the necktie.
- Croatian inventor Slavoljub Penkala invented the ballpoint pen.
- Croatians love coffee. We sometimes spend over an hour drinking one coffee. (Yep, long time!)
Now, let's take a look at common greetings and phrases (formal and informal). It's very easy to read Croatian. If you know the Croatian alphabet, you will then know how to read, write, and speak.
1. Most Frequently Used
- Bok! Hi!
You can use this greeting during informal occasions with friends, family, at the gym, the cinema, etc. Just don't use it with your boss, teacher, people twice your age, or just any person who is your superior in professional terms.
- Dobro jutro! Good morning!
- Dobar dan! Good afternoon!
- Dobra večer! Good evening!
- Laku noć! Good night!
2. Informal (more daily expressions)
We have many words for “Hi.”
- Ej! Hi!
- Hej! Hi!
You can hear this last expression very often in the south of Croatia.
3. Saying “Goodbye” in Croatian
You can use this expression to say both ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ to someone. For example:
A: Bok Ivana! Kako si! Hi Ivana, how are you?
B: Bok Ana! Super, a ti? Hi Ana! I'm great, and you?
A: Odlično, hvala. Great, thanks.
B: Kasnim na predavanje. Bok, vidimo se! I'm late for class. Bye, see you!
A : Bok! Bye.
- Doviđenja. Goodbye.
This is a more formal way to say “Goodbye.” You can use it for example when you are speaking to you superior or when leaving a shop, restaurant, etc.
- ‘Đenja. Bye.
Now this is a more common way to say “Goodbye,” but you will still use it more with people that you are not that close to. Otherwise, you can just use Bok.
4. Other Useful Phrases
- Kako se zoveš? What's your name?
- Kako se zovete? What's your name? (formal)
- Ja se zovem… My name is…
- Ja sam… I am…
This is a more common way of saying, “My name is” in spoken language. For example:
A: Ja sam Ante. I'm Ante.
B: Ana. Drago mi je. Ana. Nice to meet you.
- Drago mi je. Nice to meet you.
- Odakle dolaziš? Where do you come from?
- Ja dolazim iz Hrvatske. I come from Croatia.
- Hvala. Thanks.
- Nema na čemu. You're welcome.
- Kako si? How are you?
- Dobro, hvala. Fine, thanks.
- Oprosti. Sorry.
- Oprostite. Sorry. (formal)
- Vidimo se! See you!
Here's an example of a conversation between two people who have just met.
A: Bok! Ja sam Ivana. Hi! My name is Ivana. or I'm Ivana.
B: Ante. Drago mi je. Odakle dolaziš? Ante. Nice to meet you. Where do you come from?
A: Ja sam iz Splita. A ti? I come from Split. And you?
B: Ja sam iz Rijeke. I come from Rijeka.
A: Drago mi je Ante. Vidimo se uskoro! Nice to meet you Ante. See you soon!
B: Vidimo se! See you!
Learning basic Croatian phrases is good place to start if you want to learn Croatian or if you are planning to visit Croatia. Even though Croatia has many tourists and therefore many locals speak languages other than Croatian, they still appreciate if a tourist puts forth an effort to speak Croatian. If you plan to visit Croatia soon, remember these basic Croatian phrases and don't be afraid to use them. They will help you communicate better with people in Croatia.