About Slovenia's language - not essential to your holiday, but nice to know

Slovenian Language

Slovenian is reckoned to be one of the most difficult languages to master... but you're on holiday and you're not actually required to speak the language before you arrive, let alone master it.

Of course, as with travel to any foreign land, it is always polite to at least show willing, while you may well find that the goodwill you receive for even attempting to speak Slovenian will far outweight the effort of learning at least the pronunciation (unless you're a football pundit/commentator, in which case you're not supposed to be arsed). And honestly, with just the teansiest bit of concentration, it's really quite easy.

Letter Pronunciation
A A short as in hut
E E short as in vet
I I short as in him
O O short as in hot
U OO but short as in foot
C TS as in bats
Č CH as in chose
H Always aspirated
J Y as in yabba dabba doo
R R slightly rolled
Š SH as in shop
V Usually W as in water, sometimes V as in vat
Ž ZH as in pleasure
English Slovenian Pronunciation
Entrance Vhod oohod
Open Odprto odprto
Police Policija politsia
Toilet Stranišče, WC stranishche
Carpark Parkirna Hiša parkirna hisha
Hospital Bolnišnica bolnishnitsa
Castle Grad grad
Church Cerkev tserkew
Valley Dolina dolina
Hill Hrib hrib
River Reka reka
Bridge Most most
English Slovenian Pronunciation
Water Voda voda
Wine (white, red) Vino (belo, rdeče) veeno (belo, rdetche)
Salad Solata solata
Fish Riba riba
Trout Postrv postrew
Octopus Hobotnica hobotnitsa
Prawns Rakci raktsi
Beef Govedina govedeena
Turkey Puran pooran
Goulash Golaš golash
Duck Raca ratsa
Potato Krompir krompeer
Sauteed potatoes with onions Pražen Krompir prazhen krompeer
Rice Riž rizh
Tomato Paradižnik paradizhnik
Mushrooms Goge gob_e
Strawberry Jagoda yagoda
Cherry Češnja cheshnya
Pancakes Palačinke palachink_e
Walnut Cake (although can have other fillings, depending on the region) Potica poteetsa
Soup Juha yooha
Sea bass Brancin brantsin
Squid Lignji lignyee
Sole Morski list morski list
Mussels Školjke shkolkye
Lamb Jagnje yagnye
Chicken Piščanec pishchanets
Sheftali Čevapčiči chevapchichi
Pork Svinjina svinyina
Chips Pomfri pomfree
Onion Čebula chebula
Pasta Testenine testenin_e
Garlic Česen chesen
Apple Jabolko yabooko
Raspberry Malina malina
Strudel Zavitek zaveetek
Apple, poppyseed and cottage cheese cake Gibanica gibaneetsa
English Slovenian Pronunciation
Beer Pivo peevo
Juice Sok sok
Brut (sparkling wines) Zelo juho zelo yooho
Dry Suho sooho
Medium Dry Polsuho polsooho
Medium Sweet Polsladko polsladko
Sweet Sladko sladko




I have coeliac disease

Imam celiakijo

Imam tseliakiyo

I have a gluten allergy

Alergičen/alergična sem na gluten

Alergichen/alergichna sem na gluten

I must not eat wheat, barley or rye

Ne smem jesti pšenice, ječmena ali rži

Ne smem yesti pshenitse, yechmena ali rzhi


Alternatively, you can download this as a Word document, or a PDF, so that you can print it out to take with you.


Slovenes are an interesting bunch of people: comparatively happy with their lot, but always ready to apply the phrase,

“I hope my neighbour’s cow dies”.

Historically, they have invariably preferred to talk and trade, rather than resort to violence. Indeed, when a Slovene wants to vent their spleen, the strongest insults they have to hand are a bit dippy:

  • “Tristo kosmatih medvedov” - Three hundred furry bears
  • “Naj te koklja brcne” - May you be kicked by a chicken
  • “Krščen Matiček” - Holy Matthew

So Slovenes swear in Serbian: much more satisfying.