Do you know how to say Good Morning in Serbian? You should be prepared with this phrase before spending the night in Serbia. Let's check this out and some other key phrases.
When we are talking about saying good morning in Serbian, people have the opportunity to say it the minute they open their eyes. As they stumble out of their rooms, they will say 'Jootro' (Jутро) to the rest of the family. Most probably, they will use a barely audible voice. 'jootro' means 'morning' and it's common to say it to family members or friends.
The next opportunity appears after the first morning coffee and /or cigarette. They will say 'dobro jootro!' (добро јутро) to their neighbor, a dog walker or a local grocer. That greeting is usually followed by a big honest smile and direct eye contact. You can include a nod as you say it too.
When you are in Serbia, the phrase 'dobro jootro!' (добро јутро) is usually only appropriate to say until 9 AM or 10 AM. After that time, you should say 'dobar dan' (добар дан) which means 'good day'. That is a more literal translation however. 'Good afternoon' would be a more suitable translation for the English language.
Even though it's still morning and we know that the afternoon starts as the word says - after the noon, native speakers use the phrase I mentioned before.
While researching the history of such “time division", I came across very interesting explanation. It dates from the period when people (mostly peasants) woke up at 4 AM or 5 AM to cultivate their land. By 10 AM, all the work in the field would be finished, and agriculture workers would consider the rest of the day as the afternoon.
I don't know if this explanation is reliable or true, but one thing I know for sure: if you say 'good morning' after 10 or 11 AM, the people will know that you wake up late.
So, until 10 AM you should use 'good morning' in Serbian and after that, like the native speakers, you should use “Dobar dan" (добар дан).
To say 'Good Evening', you should use the phrase 'dobro vyechye' (добро вече). So, when do we start using that greeting? Well, it actually depends on the season. When it starts to get dark, it's time to start saying 'Dobro vyechye'. In winter that would be about 5 PM or 6 PM. When we are talking about the summer, you can safely start saying 'good evening' after 7 PM or 8 PM.
'koo noć' (Лаку ноћ) is the phrase we say when we are going to sleep. If we literally translate that greeting, it means 'easy night' or 'light night'. In other words, we wish you a 'good sleep' or 'good night'.
If you want to say something else, you can use either ‘lyepo spavaј’ (лепо спавај), which means something similar to sweet dreams. Also, we can combine these and say ‘Lakoo noć i lyepo spavaј’ (лаку ноћ и лепо спавај), which means 'good night and sleep well'. There are also different ways to say Goodnight in Serbian that you can use for different people.
There is one greeting that is very specific for Serbians to use: 'zdravo' (здраво). The meaning of that word is 'healthy'. When someone says it to you, that person basically wishes you to be healthy.
It's a very neutral way to greet someone. Obviously, you can go with 'good morning' or 'good evening' but that can be a bit complicated because you need to use two words. The best thing about the word 'zdravo' (здраво) is that you can say it at any time of the day. So, you don't need to know whether it is 12 AM or 3 PM, or what you should say when it's day or evening, etc.
Serbs also use the international word 'ćao' (ћао) which is borrowed from the Italian language. It means exactly the same thing as 'zdravo' (здраво).
Native Serbian speakers have a bit of a strange sense of humor. When they are explaining something to someone over and over again and that person finally gets the point, they usually say 'dobro jootro!' (добро јутро). Yes, I know that that phrase actually means good morning in Serbian but it's a very common joke in the Serbian language to use the same words for completely different things.
My personal favorite greeting phrase of all times is 'treći put chastish' (трећи пут частиш). This means: 'if we meet for the third time, you need to buy me a drink'. That’s something you will usually hear when two friends accidentally meet for the second time in the street or in the store. What's more, there is always a small competition who will say this phrase first.
The funniest thing about that is that it doesn’t really happen and these people don't actually meet for the third time and have that drink. However, it’s a pretty common thing to say.
Good morning in Serbian and the other greeting words and expressions I have chosen for you in this post are some of the most used basic words that are worth learning before going to Serbia or talking to Serbian people in your country.
If you want to learn and practice these and many more phrases in a fun way, using Ling App could be a great option for you.