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Croatian language and grammar blog posts

Possessive adjectives made from personal names in the Croatian language

Possessive adjectives made from personal names
Ivanov or Ivanin - Ivan’s or Ivana’s?

In this post, you can learn: what possessive adjectives made from personal names actually are; how to form possessive adjectives for female names in Croatian; how to form possessive adjectives for male names in Croatian; if possessive adjectives change in cases too....
Declension of interrogative pronouns koji, čiji, kakav, kolik in Croatian

Declension of interrogative pronouns ‘koji’, ‘čiji’, ‘kakav’ and ‘kolik’

In this post, you can learn: declension of the interrogative pronoun koji; declension of the interrogative pronoun čiji; declension of the interrogative pronoun kakav; declension of the interrogative pronoun kolik. We have one more blog post for question-making...
Full list of adverbs of time in the Croatian language

Full list of adverbs of time in the Croatian language
Yesterday, today, tomorrow

In this post, you can learn: what adverbs of time are; the questions that come with adverbs of time; the most frequent adverbs of time in the Croatian language. Adverbs of time are very frequently used words in the Croatian language. Every time that you want to say...
Adverbs in the Croatian language - an overview

Adverbs in the Croatian language – an overview
Slowly but surely!

In this post, you can learn: what adverbs are; which types of words are friends of adverbs; types of adverbs in the Croatian language. In the process of learning Croatian, you have probably already come across various terms such as adjectives and adverbs, and then...
The imperative form, negative, in the Croatian language

The imperative form, negative, in the Croatian language
...or how to tell someone not to do something

In this post, you can learn: how to form the negative imperative - the first mode; how to form the negative imperative - the second mode; which one of the two modes you should use. After learning how to tell people to do something in our previous post, now we’ll learn...
Declension of personal pronouns in the Croatian language

Declension of personal pronouns in the Croatian language
Ja, mene, meni, sa mnom…

In this post, you can learn: how the declension of the personal pronouns in the Croatian language works; the endings of personal pronouns in different cases; when to use the long form and when to use the short form of a personal pronoun; tricks to memorize the endings...
Word order in Croatian

Word order in the past tense in the Croatian language

In this post, you can learn: what enclitics are and why they are important for the word order in Croatian; about the placement of enclitics in a sentence; if long or negative forms can be enclitics too or not. While in English you get information about what’s going on...
The past tense (perfekt) in the Croatian language, affirmative

The past tense (perfekt) in the Croatian language, affirmative
...or how to say you DID things

In this post, you can learn: how many past tenses there are in the Croatian language; how to form a sentence in the past tense; what happens when you drop the subject from the sentence; about the gender of verbs in the past tense. You will probably be glad to know...
Demonstrative pronouns in Croatian

Demonstrative pronouns used to answer the question koji? (which?)
This one or that one?

In this post, you can learn: the types of demonstrative pronouns; demonstrative pronouns used to answer the question koji? (which (one)?); genders of demonstrative pronouns used to answer the question koji?; what happens with the cases of demonstrative pronouns in the...
Numbers and nouns in the Croatian language

Numbers and nouns in the Croatian language
How to order some drinks in Croatian?

In this post, you can learn: how to change the ending of a noun that comes after a number in Croatian; which numbers have genders in Croatian; how the number one acts as an adjective; if numbers change through cases in the Croatian language. If there is something in...

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#6 Colorful Croatian Expressions: Prošla baba s kolačima

Prošla baba s kolačima

Literal translation: 

The old lady with cakes has gone away.

The English equivalent is:

To miss the boat.

For example:

Sad se sjetio da želi kupiti jeftine avionske karte, ali prošla baba s kolačima.

Translation: 

He has just decided to buy the cheap airline tickets, but he has missed the boat.

5# Colorful Croatian Expressions: Kao grom iz vedra neba

Kao grom iz vedra neba

Literal translation: 

Like a thunderbolt from the clear sky.

The English equivalent is:

Out of the blue.

For example:

Bili smo sretni, a onda mi je, kao grom iz vedra neba, rekla da odlazi.

Translation: 

We were happy and then she, out of the blue, said that she is leaving.

#4 Colorful Croatian Expressions: Lijeva kao iz kabla

Lijeva kao iz kabla

Literal translation: 

It’s pouring as from the bucket.

The English equivalent is:

It is raining cats and dogs.

For example:

Uzmi kišobran! Lijeva kao iz kabla.

Translation:

Take an umbrella! It’s raining cats and dogs.

#3 Colorful Croatian Expressions: Napet k’o puška

Napet k’o puška

Literal translation: 

Tense as a shotgun.

The English equivalent is:

Like a coiled spring.

For example:

Otkad ima novog šefa, napet je k’o puška.

Translation:

Since he has a new boss he is like a coiled spring.

#2 Colorful Croatian Expressions: Bilo pa prošlo

Bilo pa prošlo

Literal translation: 

It was, and then it passed.

The English equivalent is:

That’s all water under the bridge.

For example:

Ana: Nije mi čestitao rođendan!
Ivan: Ne ljuti se, bilo pa prošlo.

 Translation:

Ana: Won’t that be too much?
Ivan: Oh, in for a penny, in for a pound.

#1 Colorful Croatian Expressions: Kad je bal, nek je maskenbal

Kad je bal, nek je maskenbal

Literal translation: 

When it is a ball, let it be a masked ball.

The English equivalent is:

In for a penny, in for a pound.

For example:

Ana: Neće li to biti previše?
Ivan: Ma, kad je bal, nek je maskenbal.

Translation:

Ana: Won’t that be too much? Ivan: Oh, in for a penny, in for a pound.

Love Croatia by speaking Croatian

#9 Croatian visual dictionary: izlazak sunca, zora, ranoranilac

#9-CROATIAN-VISUAL-DICTIONARY-izlazak-sunca,-zora,-ranoranilac

izlazak sunca: sunrise
Izlazak sunca označava početak dana. = Sunrise marks the beginning of the day.

zora: dawn
Budim se u zoru. = I wake up at dawn.

ranoranilac: early bird, morning person
Svakog jutra se budi u 6, pravi je ranoranilac. = He wakes up at six every morning, he really is a morning person.

If you stay at accommodation near Zagreb airport, you might become a ranoranilac too, woken up early every morning by the roosters living nearby.

Photo credit: Iva Antoliš

#8 Croatian visual dictionary: sumrak, zalazak sunca, mračan

#8-CROATIAN-VISUAL-DICTIONARY-sumrak,-zalazak-sunca,-mračan

sumrak: twilight
Sumrak je najljepši dio dana. = Twilight is the most beautiful part of the day.

zalazak sunca: sunset
Volim gledati zalazak sunca na plaži. = I like watching sunset at the beach.

mračan: dark, gloomy
Ne sviđa mi se taj stan, jako je mračan. = I don’t like that apartment, it’s very dark.

This is a photo of Siget, one of the neighborhoods in Novi Zagreb, across the river Sava from the old town. If you are a history buff, the name Siget might be familiar to you. It is also the name of a town and fortress in Hungary (in Hungarian, Szigetvár), where in the 16th century the greatly outnumbered Habsburg soldiers, led by the Croatian ban (a noble title, similar to that of a viceroy) Nikola Šubić Zrinski famously battled with Turkish invaders. Although Zrinski’s men lost the battle, the Turkish army was too weakened to continue with their plan to conquer Vienna. This battle is a significant part of Croatian and European history because it protected the Croatian, Hungarian and Austrian lands from the Turkish invasion. One of the most famous Croatian operas, Nikola Šubić Zrinski, is based on this historical event.

Photo credit: Iva Antoliš

#10 Croatian visual dictionary: drvored, kositi, bablje ljeto

#10 CROATIAN VISUAL DICTIONARY drvored, kosti, bablje ljeto

drvored: avenue of trees
U ulici imamo divan drvored kestena. = We have a wonderful avenue of chestnut trees in our street.

kositi: to mow
Moram pokositi travu, jako je narasla. = I must mow the grass, it has grown a lot.

bablje ljeto: Indian summer
Iduća dva tjedna čeka nas pravo bablje ljeto, a onda će zahladiti. = We will have a real Indian summer in the next two weeks, and then it will get colder.

In Croatia, bablje ljeto usually lasts for a few weeks at the end of September and the beginning of October.

The photo was taken in Sopot, Zagreb. 
Photo credit: Iva Antoliš

#7 Croatian visual dictionary: pogled, u daljini, planinariti

#7-CROATIAN-VISUAL-DICTIONARY-pogled,-u-daljini,-planinariti

pogled: view
Sa 16. kata imam divan pogled na grad. = I have a wonderful view of the city from the 16th floor.

u daljini: in the distance
U daljini se vidi grad. = The city can be seen in the distance.

planinariti: to hike
Volim planinariti hrvatskim planinama. = I like hiking the Croatian mountains.

In the photo, there are mountains and valleys of Slavonia, a region in the eastern part of Croatia. Slavonia is usually considered to be quite flat: compared with the mountainous regions like Lika or Gorski Kotar, that certainly is true as the highest peak in Slavonia, Brezovo Polje, is only 984 m high. However, although the mountains in Slavonia aren’t especially high, there are quite a lot of them, and they are an excellent choice for hiking if you want to enjoy stunning nature and don’t want a path that is too demanding.

Photo credit: Iva Antoliš 

#6 Croatian visual dictionary: palača, drevan, povijest

palača: palace
Kralj je živio u prekrasnoj palači. = The king lived in a magnificent palace.

drevan: ancient
Ljudi imaju slične običaje još od drevnih vremena. = People have had similar customs since ancient times.

povijest: history
Povijest je učiteljica života. = History is the teacher of life. 

In the photo, there is Dioklecijanova palača (Diocletian’s palace) built in the 4th century AD for the Roman emperor Diocletian in the city of Split. It is the heart of the old city, where you can see other remains of Roman times, but also beautiful buildings built during the reign of Venice and later periods of history. 

The photo was taken in Split, Dalmatia.
Photo credit: Iva Antoliš

#5 Croatian visual dictionary: rezanci, bistra juha, kokoš

rezanci: noodles
Volim juhu s puno domaćih rezanaca. = I like soup with lots of homemade noodles.

bistra juha: clear soup, broth
Za predjelo imamo bistru goveđu juhu. = We are having beef broth as a starter.

kokoš: hen
Kokoši nesu jaja. = Hens lay eggs.

In the photo, there is a soup made by my grandmother. It is also known as svatovska juha (wedding soup) because it is traditionally served at weddings in Slavonia. It is made with older chickens or hens and a lot of vegetables and herbs (carrots, celery, onions, parsley, garlic and lovage). It has to be cooked for a few hours. At the end, the bones, meat and vegetables are strained, and the broth is boiled again, this time with noodles. The meat can be used in sos i meso – boiled chicken meat and tomato or dill sauce. 

Photo credit: Iva Antoliš

#4 Croatian visual dictionary: pustolovina, zračna luka, prtljaga

pustolovina: adventure
Pustolovine čine život uzbudljivim. = Adventures make life exciting.

zračna luka: airport (also used in Croatian: aerodrom)
Dođite u zračnu luku dva sata prije leta. = Arrive at the airport two hours before the flight.

prtljaga: luggage
Prtljaga ne smije biti teža od 30 kg. = The luggage must not weigh more than 30 kilos.

In the photo, there is Zračna luka Franjo Tuđman in Zagreb. It has been recently redesigned and a new passenger terminal was opened in March 2017.

Photo credit: Iva Antoliš

#3 Croatian visual dictionary: bagatela, cjenkati se, buvljak

bagatela: dirt cheap
Ove knjige su bagatela na sajmu. = These books are dirt cheap at the fair.

cjenkati se: to haggle
Cjenkala sam se s prodavačem pa sam prošla jeftinije. = I haggled with the salesman so I got it cheaper.

buvljak: flea market
Idem u nedjelju na buvljak kupiti stare knjige i ploče. = I am going to the flea market this Sunday to buy old books and records.

The photo was taken at the biggest flea market in Croatia – Hrelić. It takes place every Sunday on the outskirts of Zagreb as part of a car market. As you can see in the photo, you can find very diverse produce – some new and some second-hand. In case you are looking for something a bit fancier and closer to the city center, go to the flea market at Britanski trg on a Sunday morning.

The photo was taken in Zagreb at the Hrelić flea market.
Photo credit: Iva Antoliš

#2 Croatian visual dictionary: baština, imanje, dvorište

baština: heritage
Moramo očuvati stara sela, to je naša baština. = We need to preserve our old villages, they are our heritage.

imanje: estate
Moj djed je imao veliko seosko imanje. = My grandfather had a big country estate.

dvorište: yard
Želim kuću s velikim dvorištem. = I want a house with a big yard.

In the photo, there is a traditional old house from the northwestern part of Croatia, Hrvatsko zagorje. Although today the Croatian countryside is mostly filled with modern houses, you can still find some traditional estates. Each region has houses of different styles, due to different climate and cultural influences. In recent years, rural tourism in the continental part of Croatia has developed, so you can visit restored old estates and explore agricultural practices and food that was typical in the past. 

The photo was taken in Desinić, Hrvatsko zagorje.
Photo credit: Mateja Horvat 

#1 Croatian visual dictionary: kod frizera, šišanje, skratiti vrhove

kod frizera: at the hairdresser’s
Idem kod frizera jednom mjesečno. = I go to the hairdresser’s once a month.

šišanje: haircut
Šišanje košta 50 kn. = A haircut costs 50 kunas.

skratiti vrhove: to trim the ends
Molim vas, samo mi skratite vrhove. = Please, just trim the ends.

As in other countries, in Croatia going to a hairdresser’s is also an opportunity for socializing. Many people tend to go to the same hairdresser for years, so they get to know the staff and other customers very well.

The photo was taken in Buzet (Istria).
Photo credit: Mateja Horvat 

Croatian culture and lifestyle blog posts

High schools in Croatia

Croatian educational system 101In the previous two blog posts, you could learn about the general structure of Croatian educational system (with its issues and good sides), and about elementary schools specifically. At the end of the blog post about elementary schools,...

In Slavonia it’s hard to be hungry (or sober)

The eastern part of Croatia is well known amongst Croatians as gastro-enological heaven. So, if you are a foodie, you should pack your stuff and go there. What can you expect there? Well, as I have already suggested, you can eat plenty of tasty food (in Croatian:...

Klapa Singing – the Sound of a Dalmatian Soul

If you’ve ever visited Dalmatia you must have heard of Klapa singing. If you haven't, then... well… you should. Even though these songs (in Croatian: pjesme) are usually sung in different dialects, hardly understandable even to Croatian people, the music is...

Elementary schools in Croatia

Croatian educational system 101 In the previous blog post on Croatian education, we presented a general overview of the whole Croatian education system and presented its good and not so good sides. In today’s instalment, we will present in more detail what Croatian...

What can you expect if you are invited to a Croatian wedding?

Have you seen the famous romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Did you think that it had to be exaggerated? I can’t say anything for actual Greek weddings, but traditional Croatian weddings aren’t that different. Although Croatia is a small country, there are...

Croatian superstitions: a few survival tips

I don't think any Croat would actually admit it, but if you spend more than a couple of weeks in Croatia, you’d probably start noticing that we are quite superstitious. Let me give you an everyday example right away. Just before I started writing this article, I’d...

How do Croatian schools function?

Croatian educational system 101 Taking a look at the Croatian educational system is useful not only for those of you who need to figure out how to educate your children (in Croatian: djeca) in Croatia. It also reveals a lot about our values, political system, and both...

Why do Croats have so many words for their family members?

If you have a family in Croatia, you probably have noticed that we have quite complex kinship terms. So, you wonder why the word 'aunt' is sometimes translated as teta, sometimes strina, but sometimes also ujna? You are in the right place to discover! Just take a look...

Rain, bura, snow – Croatia has it all

Which city first crosses your mind when I mention rain? London? No, this story is not about London. London is definitely not a number 1 when we talk about rainy days. This story is about the third largest city in „a small country for great tourism“, Croatia. This is a...

Croatian Chicken Soup

Although chicken soup is admittedly universally Croatian, let me begin with a personal story. My grandmother Marija makes the best chicken soup (or actually hen soup) I have ever eaten. It’s intensely yellow, very strong, almost sour. It has always been my favourite...