The wonders of Slovenščina – The Slovene Language!

Why does it so often seem to happen that the weather is beautiful all week whilst we are all hard at work then, come the weekend, its all change? This is exactly what happened this past weekend when after a week of sunshine and unseasonably mild temperatures I had a head full of ideas about where I was going to go hiking at the weekend. Alas, it was a cold, wet weekend spent largely indoors working, so I’m afraid I have no snowy hikes to report this week. All rather frustrating since my shoulder is now ok(ish) and I’m raring to go! Still, there will be plenty more opportunities, as I don’t plan on being anywhere other than here in Radovljica, in Slovenia – my home!

There’s still plenty of snow around, and more due this week, for lovers of the white stuff and winter sports, and Slovenia’s winter sports stars are, again, making the country proud; in particular the ski-jumper, Peter Prevc, as seen below, who set a new world record last week of 250metres in Vikersund, Norway. He also uses skis made right here in Radol’ca, specifically at ELAN, and hails from Kranj, so the nation, unsurprisingly, is immensely proud of him. ELAN skis are based in Begunje na Gorenjskem, where they have been manufacturing skis, as well as snowboards and marine vessels, since 1944. There is also a shop open to the public. You can read more about ELAN here – http://www.radolca.si/en/elan/

prevc 1   prevc2

When I decided to move to Slovenia, I already knew a little about the complexities of Slovenščina – the Slovene language, however, it wasn’t until I started learning it that I realised just how complicated it is; the more I learnt, the more complicated it became. When I say ‘learn’ what I actually did, or rather ‘do’, is to just speak it, read it, and attempt to write it (that for me is the hardest part). I haven’t attended courses other than briefly in the early days after my move here. I am, however, constantly complemented on my Slovene, which I know is far from perfect but is ‘good enough’ – at least for now – as it is widely acknowledged as being an incredibly difficult language to learn due to, among other things, its use of the dual form (only one other European language uses this), 6 cases meaning a myriad of possible variations of each word, and over 50 dialects for a population of just 2 million people who, in some areas, don’t even understand each other!

It’s not simply enough to know a word, you have to know how to use it, and recognise it, in all its different forms. For example, the word ‘pes’ means ‘dog’, and if you look in a Slovene/English dictionary, this is what you will find. However, the word ‘psom’ also means ‘dog, as does ‘psu’, as well as a number of other variations – none of which are found in a dictionary – so one can be left clueless as to what this mystery word is!

Anyway, far be it from my to try and explain it, for a brief introduction to the language and its uniqueness, this is a fascinating read – http://lingvo.info/en/lingvopedia/Slovene

Since I am nothing if not determined, I didn’t let the difficulty of Slovene deter me. I know other expats who have either tried and been defeated by it or, worse still, not even tried since one can easily, in the main, get by using just English. However, I had a strong desire to integrate into society here and speaking the language was/is, for me, a crucial part of it. It has often been challenging, especially in the early days when my Slovene wasn’t great and people tended to speak English with me and, in many cases Slovenes, who by the way largely speak outstandingly good English (better than some of the English, believe me!) want to speak English with me, whereas I want to speak Slovene with them! Nowadays, I only speak Slovene in meetings, correspondence, social gatherings etc. and all my hard work and dedication has paid off since I’m now able to make, or at least supplement, my living from translating. Learning and perfecting the language is, however, most definitely an ongoing process!

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

 

2 thoughts on “The wonders of Slovenščina – The Slovene Language!

  1. Hello, just stumbled across your page while looking for information on Slovene language courses. I agree, not the easiest language to learn! I recently moved to Bled, I’m looking to do a basic Slovene language course to help me get started, would you know of anywhere local running courses? Any help would be very much appreciated. Hvala Lepa 🙂

    • Hello Claire, as I mentioned in my blog post, I have found the best way to learn Slovene is just to get out there and speak it (not easy in Bled though as EVERYONE speaks, and wants to speak, English!). I went to a few lessons here and there but didn’t find any of the classes particularly useful or dynamic. However, I’ve heard the best place is the Centre of Language Studies at University of Ljubljana. Good Luck!

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