Slovene language

Ljubljana Culture

An extremely basic guide.

Slovene is a Slavic language that is distinct and separate from it’s former Yugoslav neighbours. For such a small country, there is a huge variety of dialects that can make learning difficult for foreigners. But if you’re just visiting for a week, a few basics and an understanding of the alphabet will get you through; mainly because almost everybody there seems to speak perfect English.

You may notice the letters Q, W, X and Y are missing from the alphabet and instead we have Č, Š and Ž added, each with a v-shaped tick above them. The addition of this mark means they should be pronounced as though they have a letter H following. While we don’t have a “zh” in written English, the spoken sound is a combination of the letters S and Z.

  • Č as in Choice or rich
  • Š as in Shop or fish
  • Ž as in Genre or measure

Most of the other letters in the Slovene alphabet are spoken in a similar way to English with the exception of these two:

  • C as in pizza
  • J as in Yes

When you’re driving in Slovenia, or trying to read menus in smaller cafes that might not have an English version available, the casual visitor can get close to the word by simply pronouncing the letters within them. There are fewer exceptions to watch out for than in English for example. While I grew up speaking Slovene and English together, I’ve gotten embarrassingly rusty over the years. I’m trying to address that but right now, I’m miles from being qualified to teach it. So instead, I’ve added a few resources below.


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