It’s PETAK! My Struggle to learn the Croatian language Part 2

Todays word is Petak –Friday!

Seemed appropriate (posted on a Friday) and it is one that I feel confident enough to pronounce, yah for Friday!

A Friday fishing expedition

While I can now recognise most of the days of the week when I see them written down – (this is no mean feat, see below) Friday and Saturday are the two that I am the most confident with.  Petak, (pronounced pay-tak) and Subota two great week days!

Have a look at the rest of the week here and you will see what I mean about Petak and Subota being the easiest to deal with; Ponedjeljak, Utorak, Srijeda, cetvrtak, Petak, Subota & Nedjela (aka Monday – Sunday).

There are so many new words and new ways to pronounce the letters that I have grown up speaking and mumbling for all these years.  I feel like I have been making some progress but think my major stumbling block is lack of confidence in my pronunciation skills.   I know this is a big mistake on my part and that people here will not mind my fumbling with their language so I must persevere/try harder!!

Now that our business is closed for the season I can no longer use the ‘I’m too busy’ excuse.  It has been true, Doka and I have worked really hard since arriving back in Korcula in March.  Now we are enjoying some lazy starts to the days and visit our shop to use the internet and Doka is still creating beautiful filigree jewellery.

My new language comes with it’s own new alphabet and a new way of pronouncing most things, and I have no idea what to do with the grammar – the grammar aspect can wait for a later date/month/year.

I am finding it quite touching how some of our friends here are impressed with my minimal language skills – really I only have a few greetings, some random words (kisha = rain, zima = cold etc), and some numbers, that I am confident with.

For the most part I feel pretty embarrassed about my lack of language skills.  I have been living in Korcula for 7 months now and feel like I have made such a small amount of progress, it is just as well that everyone’s favourite word here is Polako – slowly!  See My Struggle with the Croatian Language, part 1, for more on that.

Growing up in New Zealand I didn’t envisage spending so many years living in Europe or marrying someone from Croatia! We had the choice of learning either French or German when I was in high school and I ignored both of these choices.  I hope that after a quiet winter here in Korcula I will be able to report in with some more positive updates on my language skills for you in the new year!

If you want to keep track of my progress sign up for updates on the top right of this page.

About Seba Silver

In June 2011 my wife and I opened a small store on the beautiful Dalmatian Island of Korcula. Our store (Seba Dizajn) showcases stunning filigree jewellery, all work is made on site offering you the fascinating chance to see filigree jewellery being made. Visit us at to see and purchase some of our filigree jewellery. The Seba family have been working, and creating beautiful pieces of filigree jewellery for over 500 years.
This entry was posted in Business Start Up & Growth, Croatia, Korcula and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to It’s PETAK! My Struggle to learn the Croatian language Part 2

  1. Helz-Design says:

    petak aka pay-tak sounds similar to the german word freitag = fri-tak for friday

    and zimmer aka cold is the same spelling as the greman wordk for room
    zimmer = room

    lack of confident in speaking – that was the worst struggle for me in english (i overcame)

    and you will manage too 🙂
    do you have the possibility to watch movies in croatian – i mean movies you know but in croatioan language
    that.s how i train english with my son
    most movies are dubbed in – so he knows the german way
    an than boom baam has to watch them in english

    • Seba Silver says:

      Hi and thanks for the tips re:movie watching in Croatian. I do try and watch some on Croatian TV but most of the movies tend to be in English with Croatian subtitles, while this is somewhat helpful I don’t pay much attention to the sub-titles. I try watching the news etc with Doka but generally tune out when I have no idea what is going on. I have found an on-line course that I will try this week and see what new words I can add to my vocab.

  2. Hilary says:

    I sympathise. I am also handicapped by the inability to speak even if I know the word/phrase. I think this is why, no matter what other language you learn in addition to English (e.g. Gaelic, Welsh etc) even if it is not widely spoken, will help you to learn a new language – you are used to difference. I found speaking Danish with children (I was an au pair) was very helpful. They are not critical but they will correct you in a simple, non judgemental way. You can ask them what the word for ‘that’ (pointing at something) is and they will tell you without complication. Find some children to practice on…

    • Seba Silver says:

      Hi & thanks for the ideas! I know when I was first here that Doka’s niece was stunned that I could only speak english – she was 11 at the time and speaks good english, and german & maybe another language alongside of her native tounge (Croatian). She used to write me small tests and mark them – that was how I learnt to count to 10 – must start visiting with her again!

  3. zima is the word for cold, not zimmer 😉
    I can already tell you something fun; prepositions don’t exist in Croatian (YAY!). You don’t have to worry which to use. Enjoy your study 🙂 !

    • Seba Silver says:

      THANKS!! I meant to check the spelling on that and forgot – will change it right NOW! thanks for stopping by and leaving your Croatian spell check and no prepositions news, fantastic!

  4. Keep persevering Ruth! I know you can do it! Try putting words you learn on little cards and stick them to objects so you see them every day – eg names of rooms or furniture and put the pronunciation with the word so you learn it at the same time … try little steps at a time and feel proud of what you achieve as you make achievements. Remember English is a nightmare to learn because of all its exceptions and you have already mastered that language. Everything else should be easy!

    • Seba Silver says:

      Thanks Jenny, I brought some wee post-it notes especially for that purpose, must write on them now!! (brought them b4 we left NZ in March!! – polako, polako!) hmmmm, not sure that I have mastered English & had a slight heads up with it seeing as it was the only language I really heard for my first 20ish years. Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. now for sure you’ll remember the changes you made! 🙂

Would love to hear your comments and feedback, please leave your comments below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s