Learn Serbian reading, Serbian writing and Serbian speaking with these free words and sentences about greetings, saying Hello and common phrases. All words and sentences are spoken by real Serbian natives and this helps you in learning the correct pronunciation.
Our ten Serbian lessons teach you some of the most important Serbian words and phrases. We will try to make your learning Serbian as easy as possible and give you a lot of resources about Serbian.
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Lesson 1: Introduction
How are you?
Dobro sam, hvala.
I'm fine, thank you.
Ja se zovem Tanja.
My name is Tanja.
Drago mi je što smo se upoznali.
Nice to meet you.
Da li govorite engleski?
Do you speak English?
Da, govorim engleski.
Yes, I speak English.
Ne, ne govorim engleski.
No, I don't speak English.
How to learn Serbian?
- Write simple phrases and words from a Serbian Phrasebook on Flashcards and memorize them
- Serbia uses two writing systems, Cyrillic and Latin script. Decide which one you want to learn. For Westerners its easier to start with the Latin one
- Serbian grammar is highly complex. This means nouns, verbs and adjectives change their form frequently. , e.g. how to construct questions, pronunciation etc. Therefore it is essential you use a good grammar book!
- Try and find a good Serbian teacher or other person to talk with you or enroll in a Serbian language class or visit Serbia for more immersion
- Use a spaced repetition vocabulary builder to learn words and phrases and especially Serbian grammatical word forms!
Check out our comprehensive Serbian learning App L-Lingo which contains 105 lessons with grammar notes, thousands of words and high quality audio.
Serbian is one of the many Slavic Languages spoken in Eastern Europe, and it will be our pleasure to guide you through its grammar and unique characteristcs, so that you too can speak it!
In Serbia, both the Cyrillic and a variaton of the Latn alphabet are used, making it one of the very few European countries where such phenomenon occurs.
One of the things that make Serbian so easy to read and to write is that the Serbian alphabet was created having the phonemic principles in mind, meaning that each of the 30 letters that constitutes it has one single phoneme – it always sounds the same whenever you read it!
For this we’ll use the modifed version of the Latin alphabet, which has 8 unique letters that were added to it in order to compensate for the missing phonemes that already existed in Cyrillic. They are as follows, together with their corresponding examples in English:
Č – (ch)ocolate
Ć – blea(ch)
Dž – (G)eor(g)e, (j)unk
Đ – (j)uice
Lj – non-existent in the English Language
Nj – non-existent in the English Language
Š – (sh)e, lea(sh), (s)ure
Ž – plea(s)ure
Even though it’s extremely easy to learn how to read and write in Serbian, due to its usage of seven different cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative, instrumental and locative), when it comes to using nouns and pronouns it requires a bit more effort to understand the language and put it to practice.
The Serbian Language makes a clear distinction between three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter). Most masculine nouns end with a consonant (i.e. “man” – “čovek”), while most feminine nouns end with a vowel (i.e. “woman” – “žena”). Neuter nouns always end either with the letter “o” or the letter “e” (i.e. “wine” – “vino”).
The nouns in the Serbian Language also contain information about number – either singular or plural.
Singular and Plural
As we’ve already learned, in the Serbian language nouns can be singular or plural, so when using numbers, just like in English, you have to add the plural ending if you are not using the number “one”.
jedan čovek – one man
dva čoveka – two men
jedna žena – one woman
dve žene – two women
jedno dete – one kid
dva deteta – two kids
Adjectives, unlike nouns, can belong to all three genders depending on the noun that the adjective describes.
Lep – beautiful (masculine)
Lepa – beautiful (feminine)
Lepo – beautiful (neuter)
In the Serbian language the infinitive form of every single verb ends with “-ti” or sometimes with “-ći“.
In present tense you’d conjugate the verbs by removing their infinitive ending and adding the respective present tense’s endings, which are as follows:
“sedeti“ / to sit
ja sedi-m – I sit
ti sedi-š – you sit
on/ona/ono sedi – he/she/it sits
mi sedi-mo – we sit
vi sedi-te – you sit
oni sed-e – they sit
To make the past tense in Serbian, you would use the auxiliary verb “biti” / “to be” in the present tense, together with the past participle.
Mačka je pila.
The cat drank.
And here’s the complete conjugation of this very same verb:
Ja sam pio/pila – i drank
ti si pio/pila – you drank
on/ona/onoje pio/pila/pilo – he/she/it drank
mi smo pili – we drank
vi ste pili – you drank
oni/one/ona su pili/pile/pila – they drank
As you can see, for the first and second person singular there’s a specific form for masculine and feminine. And in the third person singular and plural, besides masculine and feminine, there’s also neuter.
(Note: For the past tense formation, you generally use clitic (shorter) forms of “jesam”: ja jesam, ti jesi, on/ona/ono jeste, mi jesmo, vi jeste, oni/one/ona jesu.)
To build the future tense, this time you would use the auxiliary verb “hteti” / “will” in the present and infinitive forms of the main verb. Take a look at our example:
Mačka će piti.
The cat will drink.
Please take a look at the same verb in the future tense:
ja ću piti – i'll drink
ti ćeš piti – you'll drink
on/ona/ono će piti – he'll/she'll drink
mi ćemo piti – we'll drink
vi ćete piti – you'll drink
oni/one/ona će piti – they'll drink
But there’s another scheme to create the future tense and it’s done by using the present tense of “hteti“ + da + present tense of the main verb.
Mačka će da pije.
The cat is going to drink.
ja ću da pijem – I am going to drink
ti ćeš da piješ – you are going to drink
on/ona/ono će da pije - he/she is going to drink
mi ćemo da pijemo – we are going to drink
vi ćete da pijete – you are going to drink
oni/one/ona će da piju – they are going to drink
This is the most common way of expressing the future tense.
Even though there is a little difference in the meaning, if this scheme is harder for you, in Serbian you can always use the first one with the infinitive.
The Serbian language has two auxiliary verbs “biti“/ to be and “hteti“ / will and, as you’ll see, they have irregular conjugation:
ja jesam (sam) – I am
ti jesi (si) – you are
on/ona/ono jeste (je) – he/she/it is
mi jesmo (smo) – we are
vi jeste (ste) – you are
oni jesu (su) – they are
ja hoću (ću) – I will
ti hoćeš (ćeš) – you will
on/ona/ono hoće (će) – he/she/it will
mi hoćemo (ćemo) – we will
vi hoćete (ćete) – you will
oni hoće (će) – they will
In parentheses you can find the shorter form – the one that you would usually use in every day conversation, such as: “I am“ becomes “I'm“, and “I will“ becomes “I'll“.
When using prepositions in the Serbian language, you have to have in mind that each preposition requests a specific case. In the Introduction we have just informed you about cases, so before we start explaining more about prepositions, we will introduce you to 3 cases that we will use, and those are Nominative, Genitive and Locative.
The nominative case is the subject in the sentence, and it’s used to reply to the following questions: “ko?” / “who?” and “šta?” / "what?”.
The usage of the genitive case is very complex since it has several meanings. We can use it when we want to express possession or it can be used according to a specific preposition. Except the preposition “ispod” / “under”, it follows many others, such as: “iznad” / “above”, “blizu” / “near”, “pre” / “before”, and many others. The genitive case is used to answer the following questions: “koga?” / “whom?” and “čega?” / “what?”.
In order to indicate the location and space in which a given action occurs, we must use the locative case. It’s the only case which is always used with a preposition, and that’s the reason why we call it the “prepositional case”. The locative case is used with following prepositions: “na” / “on”, “on top of”, “u” / “in”, “inside of”.
The preposition “in”, translated into “u” in Serbian, requests the Locative. Take a look at the example:
“automobil” / car is in the neutral case – Nominative – and by putting a preposition in front, the noun will receive its respective ending. For instance, if we’d like to say “in a car”, the right way to do it would be: “u automobilu”.
Preposition “on”, in Serbian “na” has the same case – Locative:
Bicikl na automobilu. / A bike on a car.
Don’t get confused when you see in one example the English preposition “in” being translated as “na”. The English preposition “in” can be translated into Serbian as “u”, meaning actually being inside of something, as well as “na”, which means being on top of something or inside something that is not in between a closed space.
Please consider the following example:
Čovek na železničkoj stanici. / A man in a train station.
To ask a question “pitanje” in Serbian you would use the following question words “upitnereči”:
ko? – who?
šta? – what?
kako? – how?
zašto? – why?
gde? – where?
And in order to make a sentence you’d simply proceed using the exact same formula as you find in the English language.
Šta žena radi?
What is the woman doing?
Gde je čovek?
Where is the man?
This is just a short introduction to Serbian. If you like to get a free comprehensive Serbian Grammar, subscribe to our Seven Day Email Course which includes a 20 page Grammar Book!
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