Word – Hello hello!


First thing you do when you meet a person is say hello. Or go fuck yourself, but most people tends to kick things off with hello. Hello comes in various shapes and sizes, depending on the person you are greeting. This is very important since the wrong type of greeting could result in an instant death or something far, far worse.

Here are some examples:

a) First a few general greetings, useful in any situation. If anything, these will make you look a little snotty, but no harm done. These are the most formal greetings and are usually used when addressing a complete stranger, keeping the situation neutral.

If you are greeting a person before ten o`clock in the morning, it`s – Dobro jutro / good morning
If you are greeting a person until seven o`clock in the evening, it`s – Dober dan / good day
If you are greeting a person after seven o`clock in the evening, it`s – Dober večer / good evening

b) Secondly, there is a set of greetings which are less formal and are used when adressing someone you know and are friendly with and are not bound by the time of day. These vary more from the location and you can tell from where the person is coming by the way he or she says hello. These come in no particular order.

Živjo (zhivjo),
dan (an abbreviation of “dober dan”),
… and so forth.

These informal greeting are not so strict as the formal ones and you can always make up your own. And then hope others will play along. Same goes for greetings when saying goodbyes. These vary from plain nasvidenje to the french version of adieu which is spelled adijo to italian ciao which is almost exactly the same in pronounciation and is spelled čao to a dadaistic papa and the idiotic version of ciao which is spelled čavči and pronounced chawchi (do not use this last one, unless you are an idiot, talking to an idiot).

c) Thirdly, you have greetings that are said on certain occasions

Dobrodošli! (Welcome!)
Nasvidenje! (Goodbye!)
Zbogom! (Farewell!)

The difference between Nasvidenje and Zbogom is that with Nasvidenje you are expressing a wish to see this person again, while Zbogom is a polite way to say “Go fuck yourself and I hope you rot in hell and die of gonorrea!”.

d) Fourthly, there is a class of greetings which are used primarily in written communication, for instance, letters and such. If you are writing to someone for the first time or an unknown person, you`d probably be best off to start a letter with “Spoštovani!” which is similar to english “Dear sir/madam!“. If you know a person you are writting to, you can start a letter with almost any greeting, just be careful to keep the greeting in the same tone as the body of the text. For instance, don`t start the letter with “Ojla!” and then go on saying that your mother died (yes, examples are going to be morbid!).

This is the intro in introductions, if you have any questions, post them in comments. All greetings are written in third person, plural as we will get to the issue of sex and numbers later on. Things will get slightly complicated.

Homework (oh yeah, we`re having this too):

Think of the best way to greet a conductor, your grandmother and your girlfriend/boyfriend.


6 komentarjev na “Word – Hello hello!

  1. ill-advised

    I disagree that “zbogom” is merely a polite way of saying “go fuck yourself”. It could certainly be used in this sense, but it could also be used as a perfectly decent way of saying goodbye, especially by a conservative speaker who appreciates its religious connotation. I personally avoid using “zbogom” not because I would feel that there is a “go fuck yourself” implication to it but because, as an atheist, I feel uncomfortable mentioning god in a greeting.

  2. plav trg

    I don’t have a Slovene keyboard and (at risk of revealing my total inadequacy with computers) would ask if anyone knows how to get round this.

    Zbogom, erm I mean adijo.

    Is there a literal Slovene translation of “go fuck yourself”? Just curious

  3. domen

    oh, and as for “slovene letters” like č,š,ž

    I think you can replace them by using the c,s,z equivalent or replace č with ch, š with sh and ž with zh. Either way works.

  4. plav trg

    Homework –

    For either a bus/train conductor or for the person waving a baton at the Ljubljana Philharmonic I would tend to go for the formal dobro jutro, dober dan or dober večer, depending on the time of day. (Why is dober jutro not a valid greeting when the word “dober” seems to be pronounced as “dobro” anyway?)

    To a girlfriend I would use one of the informal greetings such as hej, ojla or ola, although my wife would not be at all happy.

    Živjo sounds more appropriate for a grandmother, although if it was my own grandmother I would have to fall back on the traditional, “Fuck me!! What are you doing here? You’ve been dead for 13 years” (I should perhaps point out that the use of “Fuck me!!” in this context is a standard English expression of great surprise, rather than any sort of invitation)

    I’ve solved my č š ž problem by setting up shortcut keys from the font Sylfaen. It only took me 3 hours to find them. How’s that for commitment? Can I have a gold star please?

  5. domen

    hehe. well done on all three greetings!

    Why is “dober” different from “dobro”? Well, now we come to the tricky part.

    In english, there is only one “good” and it does not matter whether you are using it to say that he is good, she is good or it is good. In slovene, the word “dobro” changes according to the sex of the noun.

    For example….you say dobrO jutro (good morning) as jutro is a word of middle sex. DobEr dan (good day) as dan is a word of masculine sex and DobrA glasba (good music) as music in slovene is a word of feminine sex.

    These things tend to get tricky and represent a higher level of slovene language.


Vpišite komentar

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.