Croatian Mondays – Molim, Hvala, Izvoli, Oprosti

Total Croatia News

If you’re trying to learn Croatian, you will probably realise that Croatian language, as beautiful as it is, can represent quite a challenge and a daily struggle with its often unpredictable and various changes. So, we asked prof. Mihaela Naletilić Šego, a Croatian language teacher from the Croatian language centre CRO to go, to help us help you out with the little secrets of the Croatian language.

Molim? Hvala! Izvoli! Oprosti!

Prodajemo karte za tramvaj – This was handwritten with a black marker on a wrinkled piece of paper and taped to the glass of the little news stand which I was approaching that cold Wednesday morning a couple of days ago.

I was just about to open my mouth and ask: Oprostite, imate li karte za tramvaj? Excuse me, do you sell tram tickets?

But then I spotted that sign, so instead I just said:

– Jednu kartu, molim Vas! One ticket, please!
– Izvolite! There you go! – said the sales lady.
– Hvala! Thanks! – I replied – Oh, and you have a nice sign! – I smiled at her and wanted to leave, but that little sentence opened up Pandora’s box.

– I know! – the sales lady was obviously very upset – Can you believe every f*cking five minutes a person comes up to the f*cking news stand and asks me if I sell f*cking tram tickets!? Well, why don’t you ask me for the f*cking ticket and i will I sell it to you if I have it! I mean it’s just f*cking unbelivable! – she was yelling and frenetically waving her hands.

– Oprostite što sam nepristojna! I’m sorry I’m being so rude ! Hvala što ste me saslušali! Thank you for listening to me! Have a nice day! – she suddenly realised that she was talking to a customer, fixed her hair a bit and closed the little window in front of her.

It was nice of her to apologise, but in fact, if I put aside the swearing and yelling, she was actually quite polite and used all the little important polite Croatian words:

Molim? – I beg your pardon?

Izvoli! – Here you go

Hvala! – Thank you

Oprosti! – Please forgive me or excuse me

Lijepa riječ otvara i željezna vrata. A nice word opens even iron gates, as one nice Croatian saying would advise us. It might open the iron gate, but it certainly doesn’t open the gates of – Croatian bureaucracy!

I realised that one rainy January morning when I tried to get some information on the parking ticket that I’d received, by using – a telephone. You know, a telephone, that fancy new gadget that Alexander Graham Bell invented recently in order for people to get information they need by using a wire instead of walking to the other part of town on rainy Monday mornings.

I sat down that morning and dialled the Information centre of the city office.

– Molim? Yes? – A tiresome and utterly bored female voice answered my call somewhere in the wasteland of the city office after the phone rang for aproximately 45 times.

Yes, hello – I opened my mouth enthusiastically – I wanted to get some information about the parking ticket I received…
– Gospođo, Madam – the voice said slowly – You can pay your parking ticket in any bank or you can do it here in person…
– No, no, no, I don’t want to pay it, i just need some information…
– Where would I be if I gave out information to every person that rings here? asked the bored voice, interrupting me.

Erm… in the information office, I thought to myself, but out loud I just took a deep breath and said:

– Could you put me through to someone who can give me the information that I need?
– Of course. You should have said so in the first place, the bored voice replied utterly apathetically.
– Hva… I wanted to say thank you, but a sudden loud sound interrupted me.

La la la la. la la la. Ah, its Tchaikovsky, symphony No.3.

I was just about to fall asleep daydreaming to the nice music, when I finally got connected.

– Dobar dan! Good day!
– Yes, hello – I began happily – I was so happy I finally reached someone who I can ask…
– You reached the talking machine of the city office – the voice goes on – for citizen’s advice call on work days from 13:00 until 14:00…

I checked my watch. It was 08:15. So I redailed Miss Bored Voice and firmly decided to be a bit more tough with her this time!

La la la la. La la la. La laaaaa….

– Dobar dan! I want to talk to someone about my parking ticket, I don’t want to pay it, I don’t want to be put on hold and I don’t want to talk to a talking machine and if you don’t connect me to someone this second, I will…
– Nema problema, gospođo! No problem, Madam! – the new, male voice said – Samo polako! Take it easy!
– What do you mean, nema problema? – I asked with absolute mistrust.
– I will put you through, replied the voice

And so he did.
La la la la. La la la. La laaaaa…

– Moooolim! Hello! – a fluttery soft voice twitted to my handset a few seconds later – How can I asist you?
– Oprostite, sorry, is this still the city office?
– Yes, of course! Izvolite? What can I do for you? – This new, fluttery voice was music to my ears.

In the next few seconds I explained my parking ticket situation to the nice lady with the fluttery voice.

– Let me see what we can do about it. I’ll check on my computer.
– So, I don’t have to go down there in person? – I asked the nice lady rather timidly.
– Molim Vas! Oh, Please! Why should you have to? We’re all connected now you know! – she laughed candidly to me.

– However, I am with a client now, so if you could please just call back in ten minutes, we will solve your problem!

– But wait! Who should I ask for? – I yelled down the phone frantially. Too late. She was gone. Still, I waited politely for twelwe minutes and called the nice lady again.

La la la la. La la la. La laaaa…

– Molim? Yes? – Miss Bored Voice phlegmatically answered.
– Yes, I just called ten minutes ago and your colleague connected me to the lady who…
– Oh, it’s you again – Miss Bored Voice sighed. What colleague? I don’t have a colleague. I work alone.
– Well, maybe a ghost connected me then, how do I know? – I was getting a bit tired of this whole thing at this point, but Miss Bored Voice showed no reaction to my open provocations.
– Wait a minute – she sighed again.

Miss Bored Voice was obviousley on to something now.

– Maybe the doorman answered the phone while I went for a glas of water. My tooth hurts like crazy. Joooža! Jooooža! Did you answer the phone?! – Miss Bored Voice yells.

I could hear the poor doorman Joža minding his own business and just shrugging his shoulders all the way across town.

– Gospođo, Madam, the doorman doesn’t have a clue about any nice lady who gave you any kind of information. Hold on, I have another call. I’ll put you on hold…

– No, no, don’t put me on hold, I just need to talk to the nice lady!

La la la la. La la la. La la. Tchaikovsky. Symphony No. 3.

– Yes, Mirjana, yes – I could hear Miss Bored Voice geting much more excited about a cake recipe after some ten minutes of listening to the wonderful but repetitive Tchaikovky – Just put the flour in before the eggs, that’s the trick! Hahahahah yes, yes, what can you do! A kako je Damir? How is Damir? Pozdravi ga! Tell him I said hi!

– Molim? Yes? – she said as she finally addressed me – Oh, it’s still you… – the voice sounded pretty disappointed that I was still there.

And then I snapped.

– Look here, I had enough of this treatment. I want to talk to your supervisor this minute! – I screamed at her.
– Well good luck with that! I’ve been wanting to talk with him for days about my overtime working hours – I could even feel Miss Bored Voice smirking slyly over the phone.
– I’m not joking! – Now I was yelling. Put me through to your supervisor this minute!
– Nema problema gospođo! Izvolite! No problem, Madam! Here you go!

Of course, I was greeted with Tchaikovsky and symphony No.3 once again.

If you happen to see (or hear) the nice lady with a fluttery voice from the city office, please tell her I said hi!

If you want to learn more about Croatian language courses, click here.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment