Do you have a Serbian friend or partner and want to learn what to say when leaving? Let's learn both formal and informal phrases commonly used to say goodbye in Serbian.
There are many different phrases you can use to say goodbye in Serbian. Depending on the situation and the person you're talking to, they vary from formal to completely informal.
If you use Google translate (or any other online translator) to find out how to say goodbye in Serbian, you will get the word "zbogom" or "doviđenja" as a result. However, people in Serbia usually don't use those words when saying goodbye to a friend since those are formal ways, and they are not used very often.
This blog post will talk about the most used words and phrases that people say when parting with someone.
In general, Serbians tend to be very informal in all of their conversations, so in order to feel like one of them, it's encouraged to talk informally. Having that in mind, we will start with:
Did you know that you can say "Ćao" and "Zdravo" to greet someone and say goodbye in the Serbian language? These expressions are both used as informal 'hello' and 'goodbye.' As in many other languages, Serbian have adapted Ćao from the Italian 'Ciao.'
"Čuvaj se" means "take care" in English. Serbians use this phrase when saying goodbye to the person they care about. Čuvaj se became a pretty used phrase during the Covid 19 pandemic since we all want our loved ones to take care of themselves and stay healthy.
You can use this phrase when saying goodbye to family members or good friends we will see soon. "Vidimo se" see you, but it's actually saying that we will see each other soon. Actually, this is grammatically incorrect because, as I said before, we see each other "we see" - in the present tense. It would be grammatically correct to say "Videćemo se" (I'll see you), but no one really speaks like that.
However, when you know that you will talk to your Serbian friend or partner on the phone and say goodbye, you should say "Čujemo se." It literally means: "we hear each other." However, you will say those two words when you want to say, "I'll talk to you over the phone."
People tend to be more precise about the time when they will see each other or speak again over the phone or via Skype. Then they use time-related words like later danas (today), sutra (tomorrow), sledeće nedelje (next week), za vikend (over the weekend), etc. The Serbian language is rich in words about the time, and you should use them as much as you can to be more precise when arranging the next meeting or phone call.
Sometimes we use both "Čujemo se" and "Vidimo" in one sentence: "Čujemo se sutra da se dogovorimo kada se vidimo za vikend!" (We'll talk tomorrow to agree when we see each other for the weekend!)
Serbians love to stay late when they are in good company. When that happens, and they need to "call it for tonight," they will say "Laku noć" before going home. However, you can use this phrase informal situations as well.
"Kuckamo se" is a phrase that is very popular among young people in Serbia. It means "we will type" over Messenger, Viber, or any other social media platform. So, you can say "Kuckamo se večeras" (we will type tonight) or "Kuckamo se prekosutra" (we will type the day after tomorrow).
"Doviđenja" is the word you should say when saying goodbye to an older person or informal communication. If you literally translate it, it means "until seeing" or "Until next time we see each other"
It would be best if you used the word "Prijatno" when talking to old people. Literally translated, it means "pleasantly."
The funny thing about the word "Prijatno" is its dual usage; the first one is a greeting, and the second one is "have a nice meal." Having in mind the Serbian obsession with food and eating, that is the word every foreigner in Serbia should learn. 🙂
Also, you can use it to say that something is pleasant: "Prijatno veče za šetnju" (It's a pleasant evening for a walk).
Tip: If you want to be extra polite to someone, you should combine these two words: "Doviđenja, prijatno."
As I already mentioned before, Google Translate will give you the result "Zbogom" when you ask how to say goodbye in Serbian. I hate to tell you that "zbogom" is an old-fashioned word that no one uses nowadays. So, if you want to blend with the locals while visiting Serbia, never use this word to say goodbye to anyone.
If you have the privilege to talk to old people, you can surprise them when saying goodbye and use the word "Uzdravlje" (to our health). Unfortunately, this is a very archaic way to say goodbye to someone in Serbian.
On the other hand, you can use "Uzdravlje" when you want to toast with someone, in addition to "Živeli", which was also used as a goodbye interjection in the past.
I hope you learned what to say to your Serbian friends when leaving. If you can't remember when to say which phrase, you can say "Doviđenja," and you won't be wrong. Also, "Zdravo" is the word that can be used both for saying Hello and Goodbye.
I also hope that you learned both formal and informal expressions commonly used to say goodbye in Serbian.
If you really want to learn and exercise what to say to your Serbian friends when leaving, you should consider using some language learning apps like the Ling App.
Until the next time, or I should say – Doviđenja!