About Slovenia

Slovenian Dialects and the Language Dual

The small country of Slovenia has been the meeting point of contrasting cultures so consequently it has many linguistic differences. 47 clearly defined dialects are spoken in Slovenia. They are divided into six regional groups; Carinthian, Upper Carniolan, Lower Carniolan, Littoral Royte, Styrian and Pannonian dialect.

With such varieties in the everyday spoken language it is not surprising that in some cases even Slovenians can find it difficult to understand each other. Being from Ljubljana – central Slovenia – I certainly do not understand the dialect from Prekmurje – a region near the Hungarian border. The Primorska dialect – near the Italian border – that I manage.

Apart of being the result of different geographical, political, historical and social conditions the Slovene language has its roots in the Indo-European language group from which it derives and preserves the dual grammatical forms. For example, Slovenian plural starts with three or more people, in most of the countries starts with two or more.

The dual is a very unstable grammatical category but been perfectly preserved in the Slovenian language. Though rare in world languages grammar, the dual forms is also used in the Breton language, the Arabic and the Hebrew.

And the Slovenians certainly stick to it!

Dictionary

Whenever you are in a foreign country the native speakers are absolutely thrilled if you thank them in their language. To know some other expressions might also be helpful.

Here you have some words that you might like to know:

Greetings

How to introduce yourself

Wish someone something

Solving a misunderstanding

Slovenian expressions and words

Note pronunciation!

– the leter “č” is the English “ch” like in “change”

– the leter “š” is the English “sh” like in “shoe”

– the leter “ž” is similar to English “g” in “mirage”

Traditional Slovenian Food

We have a saying in Slovenia that “love goes through the stomach” and the traditional Slovenian food confirms just that. Though Slovenia is a small country it has a lot of traditional dishes, that differ greatly from one another – depending on the region they are from. Let us introduce you to some of the best known among the locals and the visitors.

Kranjska Klobasa

This is a sausage, one of the most famous Slovenian dishes and since 2015 its name is protected. According to the rules for making the “Kranjska Klobasa” it contains at least 68% of pork, 12% beef and not more that 20% bacon and it must be smoked. It originated in the Gorenjska Region from where it spread throughout the whole of the country.

The storytellers of old Ljubljana consider it as an important part of the menu at ceremonial and important events.

Potica

The most typical Slovenian desert made of different types of dough and various fillings – more than 80 different kinds, from which tarragon (»pehtranova«), walnut, cracknels (»ocvirki«) and poppy seeds fillings are the most famous.

In Slovenian households there is no Christmas or Easter without The Potica.

Prekmurska gibanica or Prekmurje Layer Cake

A juicy dessert, stuffed with poppy seeds, cottage cheese, walnuts and apples originally from the Preknurje Region in the north-eastern part of Slovenia. Like the Potica it is protected by the “Recognised trademark of traditional reputation”.

The funny literal translation of this Slovenian food is “Over-Mura Moving Cake” – The Mura being the main river of the region.

Kraški pršut – Karts Proscuitto

A top product of the centuries-old tradition of salting and drying the meat of the pork thigh on the Karst bora. The “bora” is a wind at home in the Karst Region of Slovenia. It goes extremely well with the wine of the region like The Teran or the Karst Red.

Štruklji

A traditional Slovenian food made from a dough and filled with variety of fillings. Thay are prepared from different types of dough, they can be baked or cooked, savoury or sweet. They are served as an individual dish or a side dish.

They are a “must try” before leaving Slovenia!

Jota (Yota)

“Jóta” is a Karst and Friuli (Italy) national single dish or stew. Today, she is virtually no longer known in the Friuli, while she quite at home all over The Primorska Region. Jota is the dish of our grandmothers – as there were fewer foods in the winter they had to be quite clever with the use of the ingredients. Jota is mainly made of turnip, cabbage, potatoes and beans with some dried pork ribs or even s kranjska klobasa.

If cold, the “Jota” will definitely warm you up and it is therefore available in any Slovenian mountain cottage.

Slovenian National Anthem – is a ‘toast’

Article 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia states. “The national anthem of Slovenia is Zdravljica.” We translate the word ‘zdravljica’ into English as ‘a toast’. It is a poem written 1844 by our greatest poet France Prešeren wrote it inspired by the principles of ‘Liberté, égalité, fraternité’ – how inspiring it is for in 1991 newly emerged country.

Let’s listen to its words!

A Toast

The vintage, friends, is over,

And here sweet wine makes, once again,

Sad eyes and hearts recover,

Puts fire in every vein,

Drowns dull care

Everywhere

And summons hope out of despair.

 

To whom with acclamation

And song shall we our first toast give?

God save our land and nation

And all Slovenes where’er they live,

Who own the same

Blood and name,

And who one glorious Mother claim.

 

(…)

 

God’s blessing on all nations,

Who long and work for that bright day,

When o’er earth’s habitations

No war, no strife shall hold its sway,

Who long to see

That all men free

No more shall foes, but neighbours be.

From the above words you can figure out that Slovenians are a nice people. We care for each other and seldom have preconception. We want peace to reign in the world, we want no violence and no wars. We want a peaceful coexistence among all nations and all peoples. And we also enjoy our wines!