Language Guide

Slovenian, the national language, is spoken as mother tongue by 91% of the population, but there are also small Italian (concentrated on the Primorska coast) and somewhat bigger Hungarian (in Prekmurje to the northeast) minorities. Historically, and prior to the end of WWII there was also a significant German speaking minority. Conversely, Slovenian is spoken in border regions of neighboring countries.

The level of spoken English is very high when compared to most European countries. Most people you come into contact with as a tourist, especially younger ones, will speak English. Many Slovenians have some functional knowledge of German, in particular in Eastern Slovenia, and of Italian in the coastal region where Italian is a co-official language. Serbo-Croatian is very closely related to Slovenian and widely spoken by those above 30 and at least understood by younger people. Communication in other Slavic languages, while possible, will require some more effort and hand waving.

The Slovenian school system heavily promotes the teaching of foreign languages from primary school onwards. Children study two foreign languages (most commonly English and German) by the time they get to grammar school. A typical grammar school often teaches an optional third foreign language, Spanish, Italian, or French. While the youngsters speak English quite fluently, older people are more skilled in Serbo-Croatian, German and Russian, and can read cyrillic.

However, learning a few words of the local language will earn you a great deal of respect and some friendly smiles.

Remember, when speaking in English, use simple language, as anywhere where English is not a native language. It will get you further and help to avoid any misunderstandings.

Source: http://wikitravel.org/en/Slovenia

Useful Slovenian phrases

The table below provides a number of useful Slovenian expressions, courtesy of Omniglot – the guide to languages. Click on the Slovenian words to hear the pronunciation.

Key to the abbreviations: sg = singular (said to one person); pl = plural (said to more than one person); inf = informal; frm = formal, m = said by men; f = said by women.

English

Slovenščina (Slovenian)

Welcome

Dobrodošli

Hello

Pozdravljeni, Živjo, Zdravo (in cities)
Halo (on phone)

How are you?
I'm fine, thanks. And you?

Kako se imate? (frm) Kako se imaš? (inf)

Dobro, hvala, in vi? (frm) Dobro, hvala, in ti? (inf)

What's your name?
My name is ...

Kako ti je ime? (inf) Kako vam je ime? (frm)

Ime mi je ...

Where are you from?
I'm from ...

Od kod ste? (frm/pl) Od kod si? (inf)

Sem iz ...

Pleased to meet you

Me veseli

Good morning

Dobro jutro (until 8am)
Dober dan (from 8am until sunset)

Good evening

Dober večer

Good night

Lahko noč

Goodbye

Nasvidenje, Zbogom, Zdravo, Živijo, Adijo

Good luck

Srečno

Cheers/Good health!

Na zdravje! (to your health) Živijo!

Have a nice day

Lep dan vam želim! (frm) Lep dan ti želim! (inf)

Bon appetit

Dober tek!

Bon voyage

Srečno / Srečno pot

I understand

Razumem

I don't understand

Ne razumem

Please speak more slowly

Govorite, prosim, bolj počasi
Govorite počasi, prosim
Govorite počasneje, prosim

Please write it down

Lahko to napišete, prosim?Ali napišete?

Do you speak Slovenian?
Yes, a little

Ali govorite slovensko?

Ja, malo

How do you say ...
in Slovenian?

Kako se reče po slovensko ...?

Excuse me/Sorry

Oprostite (frm) Oprosti (inf)

How much is this?

Koliko je to?Koliko to stane?

Thank you
Response

Hvala, Hvala lepa, Najlepša hvala

Prosim / Ni za kaj

Where's the toilet?

Kje imate stranišče?

This gentleman/lady
will pay for everything

Ta gospod bo plačal vse (gentleman)
Ta gospa bo plačala vse (lady)

Would you like to dance with me?

Bi radi plesali z mano? (inf) Smem prositi za ples? (frm)

I love you

Ljubim te (m/f) Rad te imam (m) Rada te imam (f)

Get well soon

Čimprej se pozdravi

Leave me alone!

Pustite me na miru!Pustite me pri miru!

Help!
Fire!
Stop!

Na pomoč!
Gori!
Ustavite se! (frm) Ustavi se! (inf)

Call the police!

Pokliči policijo! (inf) Pokličite policijo! (frm)

Merry Christmas
and Happy New Year

Vesel božič in srečno novo leto

Happy Easter

Vesele velikonočne praznike

Happy Birthday

Vse najboljše / Vse najboljše za rojstni dan

My hovercraft
is full of eels

Moje vozilo na zračni blazini je polno jegulj

One language
is never enough

En jezik ni nikoli dovolj

Source: Omniglot (information provided free of charge, but donations are welcome).