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- Greeting people
- Introducing yourself and others
- Asking and answering questions
- Asking about prices
- Telling the time
- Talking about the daily routines
- Describing people
- Becoming familiar with the both Cyrillic and Latin script in Serbian
- No special requirements, except a PC / notebook / iphone/ipad...
Serbian 101 consists of :
- video lessons with detailed grammar and vocabulary explanations for each mini topic
- follow-up classroom practice videos with which you start making short sentences in Serbian from the very start (speaking )
- follow-up written exercises with an instant feedback (writing & grammar)
- simple video texts based on the previously taught vocabulary, together with the follow-up exercises (listening / reading comprehension)
Once you enroll the course you'll be able to watch the video lessons and do the tasks at your own pace. Depending on your previous knowledge of Serbian, this course can take a month or two for you to finish it, but you can always come back for revision. I made all the video lessons downloadable, so you can have them on any device. Furthermore, I'm always there to answer your questions if you happen to have any, so make the most of it !
- Real beginners in Serbian
- False beginners in Serbian
Latin Alphabet used in Serbian
Besides the Serbian Cyrillic script, you'll see that the Latin Alphabet has been equally used, although the Cyrillic script has become the official language of Serbia.
In the very beginning, it's easier for you to start learning the language following the Latin script, while in the following courses you can slowly acquire the Serbian Script which is not difficult at all, once you are familiar with the language.
I tend to use the same texts, done in the first lessons, to introduce you to the Cyrillic, so you both feel familiar with the text and you can easily pick it up.
That's why we'll start this course using the Latin Alphabet. You can watch the video exercise below, as well as the attached file! If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the discussion section on the right.
Although there are only five + one vowels in Serbian: A, E, I, O & U + R, one must take into account that there is also a distinction between long and short vowels. This difference is not seen in orthography, but the stressed ones are more often the longer ones.
Today I simply want to introduce you to the simplicity of the pronunciation of the basic five vowels, and then in the following videos we'll work on the pronunciation of the "sixth vowel" in Serbian, the syllable forming R, as well as the long and short vowel pronunciation and stress within a word.
The aim of this game is to recognize a letter in Cyrillic script flying across the screen, and eliminating it by typing its Latin script counterpart. You can pronounce the letter as it is moving together with me. Once you understand how to do this, please join my Serbian Activator to get a direct link to the game!
Serbian Cyrillic Script
Serbian (Serbian Cyrillic: српски, Latin: srpski, pronounced [sr̩̂pskiː]) is a standardized register of the Serbo-Croatian language used by Serbs, mainly in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (mostly Republika Srpska), Montenegro, Croatia, and Macedonia.It is official in Serbia and one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is the principal language of the Serbs.
Ja sam Marina = I am Marina
Watch the video and afterwards try to imitate me by doing the same tasks in the following video exercises.
In this first lesson you will learn how the verb TO BE (biti) works in Serbian. The basic short form is as follows:
- Ja sam
- Ti si / Vi ste
- On je
- Ona je
- Ono je
- Mi smo
- Vi ste
- Oni su
- One su
- Ona su
How to do the Classroom Practice ?
Watch the video and afterwards try to imitate me by doing the same tasks in the classroom* or during our online lesson.
*If you take 1:1 lessons with me, you can access your own virtual classroom 24/7, with all these Serbian teaching materials.
In order to do this exercise, you'll need to revise the previous lesson and use the following words:
1. čovek = man
2. žena = woman
3. dete = child
4. kuče = puppy
5. mlad = young
6. star = old
7. na poslu = at work
8. kod kuće = at home
9. igrači = players
10. porodica = family
11. srećan/srećni = happy
12. lep/lepi = beautiful/handsome
13. ptice = birds
14. kolege = colleagues
15. deca = children
When learning new words, it's essential to write down next to each word its gender:
m. = masculine
f. = feminine
In the future, when you learn the plural form, it's also useful to write down it next to its counterpart in singular.
It's also advisable to learn the noun gender together with the demonstrative pronoun: taj/ta/to - ti/te/ta (this - these), because this is the only way the native speakers feel which gender is the noun.
These little tips are going to make a huge difference in the future, when you start learning more complicated stuff and have to go backwards and check the gender of the noun. So, let's learn smartly from the very start:
- 1. taj čovek m.= man
2. ta žena f. = woman
3. to dete n. = child
4. to kuče n. = puppy
5. mlad = young
6. star = old
7. na poslu = at work
- 8. kod kuće = at home
- 9. ti igrači m.pl.= players, taj igrač m. = player
10. ta porodica f. = family
11. srećan/srećni = happy
12. lep/lepi = beautiful/handsome
13. te ptice f.pl. = birds, ta ptica f.sg. = bird
14. te kolege m.pl.= colleagues, taj kolega m.sg = colleague
15. ta deca n.pl. = children, to dete n.sg = child
Exercise 1 - Simply add the appropriate form of the verb TO BE
Exercise 2 - Simply add the appropriate pronoun
How do I use To Be ?
In Serbian the verb BITI (to be) is used similarly to the English language:
* to say who we are ( with a NOUN)
" Ja sam Marina. Ja sam profesor."
* to say how we feel (with an ADJECTIVE)
" Tom je gladan. Ana nije gladna."
* to say where we are (with a PREPOSITION + place)
" Jovana je u pošti."
What is this lecture about?
Simply watch the video and try to figure out which form to use, before you hear me. If it is too difficult, listen to me first, and then turn off the sound and try to be faster than me :)
Best of luck! = Srećno!
p.s. How well did you do Exercise 1?
Meeting and Greeting
In the Cyrillic script:
2. Ја сам Марина
3. Драго ми је
4. Драго ми је
6. Ја сам из Србије
7. Ја сам из Америке
In the Latin Alphabet:
1. Zdravo! = hello! (when arriving ) bye! (when leaving)
2. Ja sam Marina = I am Marina
3. Drago mi je = Pleased to meet you
4. Drago mi je = Pleased to meet you, too (the most appropriate response)
5. Iz = from
6. Ja sam iz Srbije = I'm from Serbia
7. Ja sam iz Amerike = I'm from America
Fleeting -a in Adjectives
OnA je lepA = She is beautiful.
OnE su lepE = They are beautiful.
Vidim lepU devojkU = I see a beautiful girl.
Idem sa lepOM devojkOM = I'm going with a beautiful girl.
How to ask questions ?
Practise asking questions and giving short answers with these adjectives. There are two ways of asking questions:
Da li si ti srećna ? Possible answers: Da, jesam / Ne, nisam.
Jesi li srećna ? The possible answers are the same as above.
Jesam li srećna ? Jesam / Nisam
Jesi li srećan ? Jesi / Nisi
Je li (on) srećan ? Jeste / Nije
Je li (ona) srećna ? Jeste / Nije
Je li (ono) srećno ? Jeste / Nije
Jesmo li srećni ? Jesmo / Nismo
Jeste li srećni ? Jeste / Niste
Jesu li srećni ? Jesu / Nisu
Greetings in Serbian exercise
English Greetings Serbian Greetings:
Good morning! Dobro jutro!
Good afternoon! Dobar dan!
Good evening! Dobro veče!
Welcome! (to greet someone) = Dobrodošli (pl)
How are you? Kako ste? (polite); Kako si?
I'm fine, thanks! Dobro. Hvala.
And you? A vi? (polite); A ti?
Good/ So-So. Dobro/Kako – tako.
Thank you (very much)! Hvala (puno)!
You're welcome! (for "thank you") Nema na čemu!
What's new? Šta ima novo?
Nothing much Ništa
Good night! Laku noć!
See you later! Vidimo se kasnije!
Good night! Laku noć!
See you later! Vidimo se kasnije!
You can do this speaking classroom practice in a variety of ways:
1. You can simply make sentences "She is young" = Ona je mlada.
2. You can ask questions and give short answers "Is she young ? " "No, she isn't" = Da li je mlada ? Nije.
3. You can make negative sentences "She isn't young" = Ona nije mlada
- Da li si ti srećna ? Possible answers: Da, jesam / Ne, nisam.
- Jesi li srećna ? The possible answers are the same as above.
1. Restoran = restaurant
2. Muzika = music
3. Hamburger = hamburger
4. Burek = a kind of a cheese pie
5. Pita = a pie
6. Vino = wine
7. Voda = water
8. Jogurt = Yoghurt
9. Dobar = good
Different forms of DOBAR
Let's see how DOBAR changes in order to agree with the noun:
Masc. Sg. DOBAR
Masc. Pl. DOBRi
Fem. Sg. DOBRa
Fem. Pl. DOBRe
Neut. Sg. DOBRo
Neut. Pl. DOBRa
To greet people more formally, in the morning, until 9 or 10 o’clock, you can say “Good morning” = DOBRO JUTRO.
The common response to DOBRO JUTRO is DOBRO JUTRO, also.
Most students ask me why “dobar dan” and then “dobrO jutro”?
The reason for the change is that “dobar” is an adjective which agrees with the noun it describes. In Serbian, most times it rhymes with the noun. With words in Neuter Sg., such as JUTRO or VEČE, the adjectives will end either in O or E.
- DOBAR DAN
Use DOBAR DAN to greet people formally during the day, from nine in the morning until six or seven in the afternoon, when we switch to “good evening” (dobro veče).
This greeting is formal, and that is why it is often followed by “Kako STE?”, meaning “How are You?”.
The appropriate response to DOBAR DAN is DOBAR DAN.
When you meet someone you can greet them formally or informally:
Informal greetings are:
- Ćao! = Hi!
- Zdravo! = Hello!
The follow-up phrase is usually "How are you". In Serbian, it has a different form, depending whether it is formal or informal:
- Kako si (ti)? How are you?
- The possible responses are:
- Dobro, hvala / Hvala, dobro = Fine, thanks.
- Nije loše = Not bad
- Super = Super
- Odlično = Great
- Ne pitaj! = Don't ask (me) (meaning something bad has happened)
DOVIĐENJA is a greeting you use to say GOODBYE in Serbian. Unlike ZDRAVO and ĆAO, which can be used both when you meet someone and when you are leaving, DOVIĐENJA is used only at the end of a conversation, in the same meaning as GOODBYE.
It is a formal greeting and the best way to respond to it is either to say DOVIĐENJA or PRIJATNO!
PRIJATNO is a word which has three different meanings. One of them is commonly used as a response to DOVIĐENJA, or instead of doviđenja. Basically, it means HAVE A PLEASANT DAY, and the word “pleasant” is the actual translation of the word.
The same word is also used to say “Bon appetit” and as an adjective or adverb, meaning “pleasant” e.g. Vreme je prijatno = Weather is pleasant.
In the evening, or after six or seven in the afternoon, people tend to say DOBRO VEČE to each other.
The best response to DOBRO VEČE, is also DOBRO VEČE.
Since it is a formal greeting, it can be followed by “How are You?” KAKO STE, as well.
Numbers in Serbian
BROJEVI na srpskom
---------------------- od 0 do 10
------------------------ od 11 do 20
------------------------ od 21 do 99
21 DVADESET JEDAN
32 TRIDESET DVA
43 ČETRDESET TRI
54 PEDESET ČETIRI
65 ŠEZDESET PET
76 SEDAMDESET ŠEST
87 OSAMDESET SEDAM
98 DEVEDESET OSAM
0 = нула
1 = један
2 = два
3 = три
4 = четири
5 = пет
6 = шест
7 = седам
8 = осам
9 = девет
10 = десет
When you ask this question "koliko košta vino?" it means "How much does the wine cost". Pay attention just to use the singular and give the answer accordingly: "Vino košta sto dinara".
koštati = to cost
to košta 100 dinara = it costs 100 dinars
but for plural, you'd use it "koštaju"
Plural: Hamburgers cost 100 dinars = HamburgerI koštaJU 100 dinara
10 - deset
30 - trideset
40 - četrdeset
50 - pedeset
60 - šezdeset
70 - sedamdeset
80 - osamdeset
90 - devedeset
100 - sto
22 - dvadeset dva (the two numbers are separated, but when the numbers are written on the cheque or for the purpose of accounting, they are written together)
A: Dobro jutro.
B: Dobro jutro.
A: Ja sam Kerin. Ja sam iz Amerike.
B: Ja sam Marina. Ja sam iz Srbije
A: Drago mi je.
B: Drago mi je.
A: Ovo je moja mama, Sophie. Ona je takođe iz Amerike.
B: Ovo je moj muž, Jeremija. On je iz Srbije.
C: O, drago mi je, Sofi.
D: Drago mi je, Jeremija.
- Moje ime je Marina
- Moje prezime je Petrović
- Moj broj telefona je +318.104.22.168.313
- Moja adresa je Bulevar oslobođenja 3
- Moja mejl adresa je
- Ja sam udata.
- Ja sam iz Srbije.
- Moje devojačko prezime nije Simić
POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVES = prisvojni pridevi
Moj = my
Tvoj = your
Njegov = his, its
Njen = her
Naš = our
Vaš = your
Njihov = their
Possessive adjectives in Serbian being adjectives take on endings to agree in number, grammar gender and case with the corresponding now. That is why you will come across slightly different forms of them, depending on the noun they describe. Luckily, most of them "rhyme" with the noun. For example:
- Ovo je mojA kućA. (sg. fem.)
- Ovo su mojE kućE. (pl. fem.)
- Ovo je njegovA ženA.
- Ovo su njeni automobili. (pl. masc.)
- Daj mi njihovu vodu. (sg. fem. accusative)
Koje je tvoje ...
... ime = first name
... prezime = surname
... bračno stanje = marital status
Koja je tvoja ...
... adresa = address
... mejl adresa = e-mail address
... nacionalnost = nationality
Koji je tvoj ...
... broj telefona = telephone number
... broj mobilnog = mobile telephone number
... broj fiksnog = landline telephone number
Let's practise this dialogue with some useful phrases:
- Izvoli = here you are (informal)
- Izvolite = here You are (formal)
- Hvala = thank you
- Molim = not at all (other ways of saying this are: NEMA NA ČEMU, U REDU JE (it's ok), I DRUGI PUT )
- Upaljač = lighter
- Cigarete = cigarettes
VERBS connected with FOOD
JESTI = to eat
PITI = to drink
DORUČKOVATI = to have breakfast
RUČATI = to have lunch/dinner
VEČERATI = to have dinner/supper
VOLETI = to like
Hleb = bread
Džem = jam
Med = honey
Maslac = butter
Margarin = margarine
Pirinač = rice
Jogurt = yoghurt
Sok = juice
Viršla = vienner sausage
Kobasica = sausage
Riba = fish
Šunka = ham
Supa = soup
Voda = water
Kafa = coffee
Jaje = egg
Mleko = milk
Meso = meat
Question Words: ŠTA = what
Šta jedeš za doručak ? - Obično jedem hleb i maslac.
Šta doručkuješ ? - Često doručkujem šunku i sir.
Šta ručaš ? - Uvek ručam ribu i supu.
Šta jedeš za ručak ? - Uvek jedem meso i salatu.
Šta večeraš ? - Nikad ne večeram
Šta jedeš za večeru ? - Nikada ne jedem jaje, džem i hleb za večeru. Samo popijem jogurt.
Let's learn the most common phrases when
------------------- asking questions:
- Koliko je sati ?
- Koliko ima sati ?
- U koliko sati ručaš ?
---------------------- giving answers:
- Pet! Tačno pet ! Pet je sati.
- Još nema pet !
- Obično ručam u/oko pet.
--------------telling the precise time :
- 5.25 = pet i dvadeset pet posle podne
- 5.30 = pola šest
- 5.45 = petnaest do šest pre podne
- 5.45 = pet i četrdeset pet
- Watch the video and try to recall what the time is.
- Make more complicated sentences by telling what you usually do at the time shown on each clock:
For example: 1.12 = Jedan i dvanaest. Obično ručam u jedan i dvanaest posle podne.*
*POSLE PODNE = p.m. is written as one word when used as a noun, but as two words when written after the exact time.
---------------- Verbs which end in -AM:
- RUČATI - to have lunch/dinner
- VEČERATI - to have dinner/supper
- GLEDATI - to watch
--------------- Verbs which end in -JEM:
- USTAJATI - to get/stand up
- PITI - to drink
- DORUČKOVATI - to have breakfast
----------------- Verbs which end in -EM:
- PISATI - to write
- JESTI - to eat
- ZVATI se - to be called
----------------- Verbs which end in -IM:
- ŽELETI - to wish/ want
- ZATVORITI - to close
- VOLETI - to love / like
- UČITI - to learn
- TRAŽITI - to search / look for
- RADITI - to work
- PRAVITI - to make
- OBLAČITI (se) - to dress
- NOSITI - to wear
- DOLAZITI - to come
- BUDITI (se) - to wake
Introduction to the Present Simple (Sadašnje vreme) in Serbian and its conjugations. All the verbs in this group end in -ati, and I chose the ones which denote daily routines, so you can combine them with adverbs of frequency in the follow-up activities and video lessons:
Word Order :
+ Ja ustajem u 6. (Emphasizes that it's "me" who's getting up, not somebody else)
+ Ustajem u 6. (Sounds more natural)
- Ja ne ustajem u 7.
- Ne ustajem u 7.
Da li (ti) ustaješ u 8 ? (Formal)
Ustaješ li (ti) u 8 ? (Colloquial)
Je l' ustaješ (ti) u 8 ? (Colloquial)
Let's practise the verb conjugation of "gledati" (to watch)
Listen to this video and try to do the same kind of exercise in the classroom, on your own.
The conjugation suffixes = endings for the Simple Present are as follows:
8 classes of verbs, with basically 4 types of endings:
-EM, -EŠ, -E, -EMO, -ETE, -U
-JEM, -JEŠ, -JE, -JEMO,-JETE, -JU
-AM, -AŠ, -A, -AMO, -ATE, -AJU
-IM, -IŠ, -I, -IMO, -ITE, -E
------ Verbs which require Accusative:
ČITATI + knjigu
GLEDATI + televiziju
PEVATI + pesmu
PRIČATI + priču
SLUŠATI + radio
SVIRATI + klavir
ČEKATI + autobus
---------------------- Accusative in Singular:
PITI - to drink > PIJEM sok/vodU/pivo
PISATI - to write > PIŠEM izveštaj/mejl/knjigu
VOLETI - to like > burek / pitu / meso
JESTI - to eat > hamburger/ picu / žito
------------------------- Accusative in Plural:
PITI + sokOVi = PIJEM sokovE
PISATI + izveštajI = PIŠEM izveštajE
VOLETI + hamburgeri = VOLIM hamburgerE
JESTI + pitE = JEDEM pitE
This is a short intro to what we'll be learning in the following Module:
- Revising and extending the list of verbs which require the Accusative case. In this section we will be practising the verb to go to =IĆI U + Akuzativ (Only with the singular form of the nouns: there is only one change with the Feminine.Sg. nouns, which drop the final -a and add -u instead: PRODAVNICA: Idem u prodavnicU)
- Intro to the Instrumental case (Module 6) which is necessary after the BY preposition: Idem na posao autobusOM (by bus)
VERBS of MOVEMENT which take the Accusative case:
IĆI u = to go to
DOLAZITI/DOĆI u = to come to
POSEĆIVATI/POSETITI = to visit
List of nouns that can follow the verbs mentioned above:
MUZEJ = museum
GRAD = city
HOTEL = hotel
INTERNET KAFE = internet cafe
AERODROM = airport
CRKVA = church
GALERIJA = gallery
SKUPŠTINA = assembly
PRODAVNICA = shop
BANKA = bank
PIJACA = market
ULICA = street
ZGRADA = building
POŠTA = post office
ŽELEZNIČKA STANICA = railway s.
AUTOBUSKA STANICA = bus s.
MESTO = place
SELO = village
Now, it's turn for you to practice :)
You can speak in pairs or on your own, asking the following qestions:
- KADA ... = when ...
- GDE ... = where...
- Kada ideš u restoran ? (When are you going to the restaurant?)
- Gde ideš ? (Where are you going to ?)
And giving answers:
- Idem u restoran uveče. (I am going to the restaurant in the evening.)
- Idem u prodavnicu. (I am going to the shop.)
Let me write the Present Simple Tense conjugations of the verbs to go to, to come to and to visit
IĆI : to go ( Ja) idem... ( Ti) ideš... ( Vi) idete... ( On ) ide... ( Ona) ide... ( Ono) ide... ( Mi) idemo... ( Vi ) idete... ( Oni) idu... ( One) idu... ( Ona) idu...
DOLAZITI : to come ( Ja) dolazim... ( Ti) dolaziš... ( Vi) dolazite... ( On ) dolazi... ( Ona) dolazi... ( Ono) dolazi... ( Mi) dolazimo... ( Vi ) dolazite... ( Oni) dolaze... ( One) dolaze... ( Ona) dolaze...
STIZATI : to arrive ( Ja) stižem... ( Ti) stižeš... ( Vi) stižete... ( On ) stiže... ( Ona) stiže... ( Ono) stiže... ( Mi) stižemo... ( Vi ) stižete... ( Oni) stižu... ( One) stižu... ( Ona) stižu...
With this video you can check how well you cope with:
- Conjugations of the verbs: to go to, to come to, to arrive, to visit, to see, to like / love
- Use of the accusative form of the nouns in Singular after the previously mentioned verbs
You can work with this video in several different ways by:
- Asking and answering questions as you watch the video
- Recording your voice as you do it via Audioboo and posting the links in the forum on the right hand side.
- Writing short questions / sentences in the forum on the right.
If you want to ask for directions, the best phrases to use are:
Izvinite (formal) or izvini (informal) = Excuse me...
---> Gde se nalazi ... ? = Where is a ... ?
---> Gde je ... ? = Where is a ... ?
---> Ne znam gde se nalazim. = I don't know where I am.
---> Možete li mi pomoći ? = Can you help me ?
Directions = uputstva
Informal vs. Formal
- IĆI - TO GO : IDI = (you ) go / IDITE = (You) go
- STATI - TO STOP : STANI / STANITE = stop
- PREĆI - TO GO OVER / CROSS: PREĐI / PREĐITE = cross
- UĆI - TO GO INTO: UĐI / UĐITE = come in
- SKRENUTI - TO TURN : SKRENI / SKRENITE = turn
- LEVO = left DESNO = right
Banka je sa desne strane
Molim te = Please (inf.)
Molim Vas = Please (form.)
As you can see in the video lecture, the simple question "What is your name" which literal translation is "Koje je tvoje ime", can be asked as:
- Kako se zoveš ? = What are you called ?
This more common usage of "Kako se zoveš? - Zovem se..." instead of "Koje je tvoje ime" made me create this video in order for you to see what happens with the word order. I know that "se" makes things complicated:
- Zovem se...
- Ja se zovem ...
but try simply to learn this question as a phrase and don't think much about grammar and word order for now !
Having Meals - Conjugations
Practising conjugations of :
- užinati (to have a snack )
- ručati* (to have lunch / tea/ dinner, depending on time)
- večerati (to have dinner / supper)
In Serbia people usually have "ručak", as the main meal of the day from 1pm to 5 pm, depending on many factors.
Children in Serbia go to school in shifts, so before they leave for school or when they come back home they have it at around 13.30. In some families, "ručak" is eaten when the parents are back from work, after 4pm.
Ručak almost always consists of at least three courses: soup, main course and dessert.
So as you can see, although it's eaten at "lunch" time, it's actually "dinner", so the translation may depend on the context.
"Večera" in Serbia is the meal which people usually have after 6pm and it's very similar to breakfast, so the accurate translation of this word would be "supper", but regarding the time, the word "dinner" can fit as well. So, again, the translation will depend on the context.
Moja porodica obično ruča oko 1 ili 2 posle podne. Uveče obično večeramo oko 8 - 9 sati. Kada vi ručate?
Text 1 - Cyrillic Version
Ово је мој брат, Бранко. Он је млад и има двадесет пет година. Његова жена је млада и лепа. Она се зове Биљана и има двадесет три године. Ово су њихова деца, Маја и Игор. Они су близанци и још су мали. Њихово куче се зове Џеки. На овој слици су испред своје куће. Они су срећна породица.
After watching the video, turn the volume down and try to read the text on your own.