The way we say it in Split

Those of you who have studied Croatian probably already know that Croatian language differs a lot from one region to another. There are certain words by which you can directly tell from which part of Croatia someone comes from.

I come from Split and I live in Zagreb. I preserve and cherish words from Split and one can tell from just a few seconds of talking to me that I come from the south. I can even use standard Croatian but I speak loudly as many people in Split do and I have certain intonation and a way to pronounce words by which you can tell that I originally come from Dalmatia. Many people from Split tend to increase the tone of their voice when they speak; they can even stand very close to eachother, but still loudness is something that we’re good at (I’m a natural…don’t even have to try hard).

Another thing is excessive use of hands and body language in general – hands and gestures, we use them a lot, and I believe people from the south are totally unaware of how loud they are and how they tend to increase their hands movement or the tone of their voice as they talk passionately about something or when they are trying to prove their point. It’s not an argument. It’s just a conversation, no hard feeling included.

Below you’ll find a list of words that are typical for Split, so use them only when in Split. I’ll also put the standard version of the word so that you can see the difference in between the two. And of course, please use them if you’re visiting Split. That’s what this post is for. 🙂

  1. Gaće (standard: Hlače) . This is the first word that came to my mind as it causes outbursts of laughter in other parts of Croatia. Gaće (hlače) is the word that we use for trousers, pants; any type of trousers. So for the long trousers, we’ll say ‘duge gaće’, and for short, summer-style trousers, we’ll say ‘kratke gaće’. What’s so funny about this word?

Well, in standard Croatian word ‘gaće’ actually means panties. So when a person from Split and Zagreb says that he or she bought ‘gaće’ they are not talking about the same thing. A person from Split has just bought trousers, and a person from Zagreb has just bought panties. Imagine a situation where 2 girls from Split are standing in a line in the students’ restaurant in Zagreb, one at the beginning and the other at the end of the line, and the one at the beginning of the line shouts to the other one whose at the end ‘Kupila sam super nove gaće!‘ (I bought new, cool trousers!), and the one at the end shouts back to the one at the beginning ‘Aj mi ih pokaži!‘ (Show them to me!)…and you see all the guys in the line turning their heads toward the one who bought the new trousers, because they expect to see panties.

True story!

  1. Peškarija (standard: Ribarnica) Peškarija is a word for the fish market in Split. If a person tells you ‘Idem na peškariju.’, he’s telling you that he’s on his way to the fish market.
  2. Pazar (standard: Tržnica). If you want to go to the market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, you’ll ask the local Oprostite, di je pazar? (Excuse me, which way to the market?)
  3. Di? (Standard: Gdje?) When we want to ask ‘Where have you been so far?, we’ll say ‘Di si do sada?’Di means ‘Where?’
  4. Fala. (Standard: Hvala) Most of you have already heard this word before. Tourists really love to say fala, because it’s a much easier way to say ‘thank you’. People who are learning Croatian as a second language often find it hard to pronounce letters h and v when they follow one another, and very often instead of saying hvala, they end up saying something that sounds like koala. It’s still a nice try, and we appreciate you trying to speak Croatian!
  5. Šugaman (Standard: Ručnik) If you are going to a beach, then you’ll definitely need šugaman. Šugaman means ‘a towel’. If somebody asks you Jesi ponija šugaman(Standard: Jesi ponio ručnik?), the person is asking whether you’ve brought a towel with you.
  6. Kapula (Standard: Luk) This is a funny fun! If you happen to find yourself at Split market and you want to buy onions, then definitely ask for ‘kapula’, and don’t use the standard word for onion – luk. In Split if you ask for luk you’ll get garlic, and if you want onions, then make sure to remember this word – kapula!
  7. Luk (Standard: Češnjak) To get you confused even more, I’m introducing the word for garlic. Standard word for garlic is češnjak, but in Split we say luk for garlic. You see what I mean??? 🙂 Even we get confused sometimes!

Hope you enjoyed the post so far, I’ll add some other words soon as well. In the meantime, if you have any questions…you know how to reach me! 🙂 Ciaooo


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