Learning a new language can be daunting! The idea of remembering swathes of new vocabulary and grammar structures in the month before you travel can seem impossible. But you don’t have to be fluent to make connections and learn more about the country you’re visiting. Plus, you’re bound to save money and time if you can have more of a conversation than just speaking in louder and louder English. Nobody wants to be that guy, do they?

The full Croatian alphabet.

Croatian is notoriously difficult to learn in comparison to languages like English or Italian. For a start the language uses a totally different alphabet, not to mention that each island (of which there are hundreds, by the way) has its own dialect so it can be difficult to work out what’s Croatian or localised language.

Although English is spoken well along the coast of Croatia, especially in the touristic areas, it’s always a great idea to pick up at least the basics. There are around 5.6 million native speakers of Croatian, so learning some phrases will help make friends with people from this amazing country.

As Welcome To Croatia adds – “It is very much appreciated when foreigners are interested in the language and try to speak some Croatian. Simple phrases or just words like thank you go a long way.”

 

In this blog, we’ll go through some easy words that you can keep in your pocket, as well as some useful phrases to use in a variety of situations. Croatian is a phonetic language, so the way something is spelt is the way it sounds. There are of course some exceptions, and letters with accents can cause pronunciation problems. For this reason, I’ve added the phonetic sound next to words or phrases with an accept so you get it right first time!

 

Croatian basics

  • Hello – Bok
  • How are you? – Kako ste?
  • I’m fine, thanks – Ja sam dobro, hvala
  • Yes – Da
  • No – Ne
  • Please – Molim
  • You’re welcome – Nema na čemu (neh-mah na che-moo)
  • Excuse me – Oprositite
  • I’m sorry – žao mi je (zhow mee yeah)
  • Goodbye – Doviđenja (doh-vee-jeh-nyah)

 

Useful Question and Answer sets

  • What’s your name? – Kako se zovete?
  • My name is… – Zovem se…
  • Do you speak English? – Govorite li engleski?
  • I speak a little Croatian – Govorim malo hrvatski
  • Where are you from? – Odakle si?
  • I am from… – Ja sam iz
  • How much is this? – Koliko je ovo? 
  • That’s (nine) kuna – To je (devet) kuna) 
  • Can you help me? – Možete li mi pomoći?

 

Useful Phrases for the Restaurant/Bar

  • Table for two(three, four) – Stol za dvoje (troje, četvero)
  • Can I have the menu, please? – Molim vas jelovnik
  • What do you recommend? – Što preporučate? (za jelo)
  • It’s very delicious – veoma je ukusno
  • Wine/water/beer, please – Vino/vodu/pivo, molim.
  • Where is the bathroom? – gdje je kupaonica?
  • Check, please! – Račun, molim!

 

Getting around

  • How do I get to the…. – Kako doći do…
  • museum/bar/shop – muzej/bar/dućan (du-chan)
  • Left – lijevo
  • Right – desno
  • Straight ahead – ravno
  • Do you have a map? Imate li kartu?
  • I’m lost – Izgubio sam se
  • Where’s the beach? – Gdje je plaža?
  • taxi/bus/train – taksi/autobus/vlak

If you don’t have a lot of time before you travel, this list will hopefully help you when you first arrive in Croatia. If you have a little more time or learn better with apps, the three below should be useful before and during your time in Croatia. You can listen to pronunciation tips as well as show the written version for things you aren’t sure how to say.

Great apps to learn Croatian

Memrise

Memrise is famous among people learning a second language. It’s handy quick fire rounds and fast paced language learning style means your recall speed will be better than just learning from a book. It’s Croatian course is basic but is everything you need for your first few days in Croatia.

Learn Croatian – Mondly

Great for beginners and advanced language learners alike, this app fits your needs. Not only will you start off listening to conversations based around new vocabulary, but the app asks you to speak and it will grade your attempts. It’s best for learning vocabulary and creating sentences in your own voice.

Croatian by Nemo

Focusing on useful words and phrases, this app is best for beginners who are visiting Croatia for a holiday or short work break. It helps you confidently speak basic words and sentences. It’s great for those who don’t have long to learn the language but want to give it a try.

Whether this is your first time in Croatia and you just want to be able to say hello and introduce yourself or you want to be able to haggle and order from a restaurant in Croatian, we hope this guide has taught you something new! I love using travel apps and online tips to learn language while I’m moving around – I find it so much easier to make connections and feel at home in a country if I’m trying to speak the language.

Have a great holiday in Croatia and remember to let us know in the comments what phrases you would recommend that people learn before heading over for their adventure of a lifetime!