Croatian Language Favourites: Which are Your Top Five Words?

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I will never be fluent in Croatian, but I speak well enough to get by quite well these days in the Croatian language. It has been a long linguistic journey, full of regional dialects and other impossible obstacles, but I can now make myself mostly understood. From the moment I learned my first word in Croatian (punomoc – power of attorney), it has been a linguistic voyage of discovery, and I have learned many cool words and phrases on the way. Here are my top five favourites.

1. The Croatian Language and Its Finest Phrase –  Ajme (meni)

Pronounced AY=meh, this has become the phrase I use most often, especially when things don’t work, which is often the case here. It translates as a mild form of Oh for F*** sake, and it is the one phrase I seem now to use whichever language I am speaking. I lost count of the number of times I said Ajme meni in public in Munich, only to see shocked faces from the many Croats in Munich who were in the city.  

2. One Man’s Pot is Another Man’s Signature – Potpis

This was the second word I learned in Croatian after ‘power of attorney’. It means ‘signature’, and there are no prizes for guessing that my reason for coming to Croatia was to buy a house. What makes this word funny for Brits is the English meanings of the two syllables. Pot and P***, and there is a very common phrase in English for people who have no money. The phrase is He doesn’t have a… see the photo below for the rest of the sentence. Some Australians on Brac were so impressed, they named their company Potpis d.o.o.

3. When the Croatian Language Embraces Free Love – Radodajka

A noun which appears in female form only. Literally, a female who is a happy giver… Having been happily married for years now, I have never met a radodajka, but I have heard they are fun.

4. Vukojebina

How to describe this one politely? A vukojebina mjesto is a place where wolves go to get romantic with each other. Usually a fairly wild place.

5. When the Croatian Language Combines to Find Woodstock (Almost) – Vukojebina radodajka

A girl from Newcastle on a Friday night. 

(Photo credit Piotr Witorski)

For more on the vagueries of the Croatian language, click here.


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