Avoiding awkward silences by talking about nothing significant requires a special set of skills, as well as a selected repertoire of possible topics and patterns of communication. What is typical and polite in one language and culture, might be strange in the other.
Small talk ( čavrljanje) is an important part of Croatian culture. Croatians enjoy chatting and they’ll always find time to comment on the political situation, to discuss the poor organization of the garbage removal or to complain about health problems. In this blog entry you’ll find out more about the art of small talking in Croatia.
These phrases are usually used in small talks when two people unexpectedly bump into each other on the street:
Jesi se naspavao?(m) / Jesi se naspavala?(f) → Did you sleep well?
Mogao bih još.(m) / Mogla bih još.(f) → I could do with some more.
Kako su tvoji? → How’s your family doing?
Dobro su, hvala na pitanju! → They’re doing well, thanks for asking!
Interestingly, an invitation for coffee is an open and universal invitation for any kind of drink, so when going “for a coffee”, you can end up drinking beer. Very often though, it’s just a pleasant way to end a conversation and you’ll probably end up not seeing that person again for another few months.
Jesi za kavu? → Are you up for a coffee?
Mogli bismo ovih dana na kavu! → We could grab a coffee one of these days!
Javi se za kavu! → Let me know when you are up for a coffee!
If you don’t know what to talk about, you can always moan. Croats are the masters of complaining! You can complain about the weather, about your job and annoying boss, about your loud neighbours… Here’s just a few suggestions.
If it’s sunny, a Croat would prefer it to snow. If it’s cold, longing for summer is what Croats do. Read more about the weather-related vocabulary here!
Pretoplo je za ovo doba godine! → It is too warm for this time of the year!
Sve se izokrenulo! Prije nije bilo ovako! → Everything’s upside-down! It wasn’t like this before!
Temperature su se naglo spustile! Još jučer sam nosio/la kratke rukave. → Temperatures suddenly went down! Yesterday I still had short sleeves on!
Prošle godine u ovo vrijeme mogao si sjediti na terasi i piti kavu. → This time last year, you could be sitting on the terrace and drinking coffee.
Snijeg bi trebao padati za Božić, a ne u veljači! → It should be snowing for Christmas and not in February!
Ne znam što obući! Kada idem na posao, trebam jaknu, a kada se vraćam kući onda je prevruće. → I don’t know what to wear! When I go to work I need jacket, and when I go back home than it is too warm!
Dosadne alergije! Baš ne volim proljeće! → Stupid allergies! I really don’t like spring!
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Ova vrućina je neizdrživa! Tek predvečer čovjek može malo prodisati. → This heat is unbearable! You can only start breathing in the evening!
Već danima ni vjetra ni kiše! Sve je to zbog globalnog zatopljenja! → No wind and no rain for days! It is all because of the global warming!
Sunce je jednostavno prejako! Prije nije bilo ovako! → The sun is simply too strong! It wasn’t like this before!
Opet kiša! Svaki dan kiša! → Rain again! It’s raining every day.
Moaning about your job or boss is a common social activity.
Kako ti je na poslu? → How it is going with your work?
Ma, samo radim! Posao-kuća! Ništa ne stignem! → Ah, I’m constantly working. Office-home! I have no time for anything else!
Kako ti je sa šefom? → How are things going with your boss?
Ma, bolje da ne govorim! Misli da je najpametniji! → Ah, better not to comment! He thinks he is the smartest!
Although you might assume that Croats are grouches, as they frequently complain and moan, they often do it in a funny, warm and cheerful way. They’re also always in the mood for coffee, especially if it’s sunny outside, so never hesitate to spontaneously suggest grabbing a drink. That’s a perfect opportunity to further practice your conversational skills! 😊
By scheduling a free trial lesson you have the opportunity to find out more about the features of our online course. You can see the virtual classroom and meet your teacher in person, whereby you can find out whether online lessons suit you.