Category: Slovenian language

Learning and speaking the Slovenian language

Slovene for Walkers


It is fortunate for foreign visitors that the Slovenians are excellent linguists. You will find that most young people speak at least some English while the older generation will understand German. Their language bears few similarities to English and the grammar is complex, but do try to use some words – your efforts will be much appreciated. Below we have listed basic words and phrases that should help in an emergency, and others that you will frequently come across while you are walking and touring. We have also included on another page a simple guide to Slovene pronunciation.

    A few useful phrases and words.

    Hello, Good morning Dober Dan
    Good evening Dober večer
    Goodbye Na svidenje
    Please/you’re welcome/can I help you? Prosim
    Thank you Hvala
    Yes, No Ja, Ne
    Do you speak English? Ali govorite angleško?
    Help! Na Pomoč!
    I’m lost Izgubil/Izgubila sem se (m/f)
    How do I get to…? Kako pridem do…?
    Where is…? Kje je…?
    Straight ahead Naravnost naprej
    Turn left/right at the… Zavijte na levo/desno pri…
    Up/down Zgoraj/spodaj
    To go up/down gor/dol
    North, east, south, west Sever, vzhod, jug, zahod
    Entrance, exit Vhod, izhod
    Open, closed, diversion Odprto, zaprto, obvoz
    Hotel Hotel
    Inn, inn with accommodation Gostilna, gostišče
    Room Soba
    Toilets – men, women Stranišče – Moški, ženske

Below are some other useful words encountered on the maps and in our text in the book, as well as on Slovenia-Walking

    Slovene English English Slovene
    Bivak Bivouac/hut Alpine pasture Planina
    Cerkev Church At/by/near Pri
    Cesta Road Bivouac/hut Bivak
    Dolina Valley Bridge Most
    Dom Mountain hut/hostel Castle Grad
    Gora Mountain Cave Jama
    Gozd Forest Church Cerkev
    Grad Castle Corner Kot
    Hrib Hill Forest Gozd
    Jama Cave Gorge Soteska
    Jezero Lake Great V. (Veliki)
    Koča Mountain hut Hill Hrib
    Korito Ravine Hut (mountain) Koča
    Kot Corner Hostel (mountain hut) Dom
    M. (Mali) Little Lake Jezero
    Most Bridge Little M. (Mali)
    Naravni most Rock bridge Lower Sp. (Spodnji)
    Planina Alpine pasture Middle Sr. (Srednja)
    Po On/upon/by Mountain Gora
    Pod Under/below On/upon/by Po
    Pot Path/trail Pass/saddle/col Sedlo
    Potok Stream Path/trail Pot
    Pri At/by/near Ravine Korito
    Razglednik Viewpoint River Reka
    Reka River Road Cesta
    Sedlo Pass/saddle/col Rock bridge Naravni most
    Slap Waterfall Stream Potok
    Soteska Gorge Street Ulica
    Sp. (Spodnji) Lower Summit Vrh
    Sr. (Srednja) Middle Under/below Pod
    Ulica Street Upper Zg. (Zgornji)
    Vrh Summit Valley Dolina
    V. (Veliki) Great Viewpoint Razglednik
    Zg. (Zgornji) Upper Waterfall Slap

Please, if you think we should add some other words to these lists (or spot a mistake) please leave a comment below or contact us.

Thanks to Bojan Kralj who kindly spotted and reported a few typos and suggested another entry.

Slovene – pronunciation

Slovene pronunciation guide. (Taken from “Slovenian for Travelers” with kind permission from the author, Miran Hladnik).
The Slovenian language has 25 letters. It does not have the letters W,Q,X,Y but it does have three others. These  are Č, Š and Ž. The mark above the letters is called a strešica or “little roof”.

    A Father or but M Mom
    B To be N Nothing
    C Switzerland O Horn or hot
    Č Chocolate P Path
    D Day R Road
    E Bed, fat or the S Seven
    F Far Š Shock
    G Garage T Taxi
    H Spanish Juan or Scottish loch U Soon
    I See or hit V Vase
    J Yes or hey Z Zero
    K Kick Ž Pleasure
    L Left

    L and V at the end of a word or before another consonant are pronounced like the English W.
    D and Ž together are pronounced like English J.
    Slovenian has some words that have few or no vowels. They are easier to pronounce than you might think e.g. the mountain Krn sounds like Kern and vrh (summit) sounds like ver.

Learning the Slovene language


I’m not a linguist. I failed my CSE French with a grade E or F, so getting to grips with Slovene was never going to be easy! (Sarah is much better and has a working grasp of both French and German). We have been travelling to Slovenia since 2001 and our Slovene is very basic. We have no excuse! Except, perhaps, that the Slovenes we bump into are usually very good English speakers and make life very easy for us. It is frustrating though when you meet someone, such as the shepherd on the summit of Golica, and you cannot communicate. However, we do try and we sense that our efforts are appreciated.

If you want to practise a few phrases and learn a few words then check our Slovene pronunciation guide and our Slovene for Walkers guide.  These two guides are also included in our book.

Slovenian for TravelersOne excellent online resource that we are happy to recommend is “Slovenian for Travellers“, written by Miran Hladnik and Toussaint Hočevar (Slovene and Slovenian seem to be interchangeable). On their website you can click on words or phases and hear how they should be pronounced. It is very instructive and gives you a head start. Sections include a pronunciation guide, common expressions, language for situations, eating out, where to buy what, personal services and recreational activities. They have CDs for sale as well

If you are looking for a phrase book or want to delve a bit deeper into the Slovene language, then choose a book or two from those below, available at


Language notes for using Slovenian timetables

Just like any other timetables, Slovenian ones can be a bit complicated and you may need some help reading the service notes. So here a few words, phrases and terms that you may come across.

On the bus or train, “please – prosim”, “thank you – hvala” and a smile will be appreciated. If you cannot pronounce the name of where you want to go, simply point to it on a map or guidebook. Once on the journey it is natural to worry about getting off! – we find that most rural bus drivers will make sure that you get off at the right stop.

We also have a handy Slovene pronunciation guide and a Slovenian vocabulary for walkers on the website, as well as in the book.

  • Vozni red – timetable
  • Avtobus – bus
  • Vlak – train
  • Remiza – bus station/depot
  • Avtobusno postajališče –  bus-stop
  • Železniška postaja – railway station

Days of the week

  • Ponedeljek – Monday
  • Torek – Tuesday
  • Sreda – Wednesday
  • Četrtek – Thursday
  • Petek – Friday
  • Sobota – Saturday
  • Nedelja – Sunday

Months of the year –

  • Januar – January
  • Februar – February
  • Marec – March
  • April – April
  • Maj – May
  • Junij – June
  • Julij – July
  • Avgust – August
  • September – September
  • Oktober – October
  • November – November
  • December – December

Some phrases/terms –

    • Vozi vsak dan od 1.7. do 31.08  – Runs  every day from 1.7. do 31.08. to 31.08
    • Vozi ob delavnikih od ponedeljka do petka – Runs on weekdays from Monday to Friday
    • Vozi ob nedeljah in praznikih – Runs on Sundays and holidays
    • Vozi ob sobotah v času od 1.6.-31.8 – Runs on Saturdays in the period 1.6.-31.8
    • Vozi od ponedeljka do petka, julija in avgusta – Runs from Monday to Friday, July and August
    • Vozi ob delavnikih od ponedeljka do sobote – Runs on weekdays from Monday to Saturday
    • Vozi ob delavnikih razen sobote – Runs on weekdays except Saturdays
    • Vozi v dneh šolskega pouka – Runs in the days of school lessons
    • Vozi v dneh šolskih počitnic – Runs in the days of school holidays
    • Ne vozi – Not running
    • Ne vozi od 27.12. do 31.12 – Does not run from 27.12. do 31.12 to 31.12

Please, if you can add anything else to this list (or spot a mistake) please leave a comment below or contact us.