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.
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
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.