How to Learn Serbian Without a Teacher: 8 Practical Exercises for Fluency

A man walking by a sign with a huge pencil, with the writing “Love to learn"

Having a tutor when learning a new language can be helpful in many ways — you practice speaking with a pro who can correct your mistakes, provide handy tips, and tell you about language, culture, and more. But if you’re wondering how to learn Serbian on your own, you’ve come to the right place.

In case you can’t afford a teacher, or even if you have one but want to practice Serbian outside of class, there are numerous ways to practice Serbian on your own.

So, here are 8 practical exercises for fluency.

1. Record Yourself Speaking Serbian

Kako ubiti dve muve jednim udarcem (How to kill two birds with one stone)? It’s simple. With this exercise, you can practice both speaking and listening in Serbian.

All you need to do is record voice memos using your smartphone. Whenever you bump into a new phrase or sentence, just hop on your device and start recording.

Likewise, when using a textbook or other resources, you can record all the expressions and then listen to them later. This way, whenever you have time to kill, simply reach for your earphones and listen to those phrases. Remember, it takes up to ten times to hear a vocab before you can memorize it.

On top of that, by listening to your own pronunciation, you’ll be able to analyze it and notice if your accent or pitch is off. From there, practice pronouncing the tricky phrases until you nail it! 

2. Make Shopping Lists in Serbian

Making shopping lists (spisak za kupovinu) is unavoidable in adulting. So why not turn this dull task into a useful one by doing it in Serbian?

By frequently writing or typing your shopping lists in Serbian, you’ll memorize vocabulary for food items, household supplies, everyday objects, and more.

This practice is useful in another way if you’re staying in Serbia. Namely, while shopping can be tiring in general, doing it in a foreign language is doubly frustrating.

Luckily, this exercise will help you learn the names of the items that you frequently buy, so next time you’re at a supermarket, you’ll easily recognize the names of the things you need.

A shopping list with basic supplies written.
Spisak za kupovinu 🛒

3. Label Your Furniture

Speaking of vocabulary, here’s another way to learn new words. As most people spend a lot of time at home, that’s where you’ll find many learning opportunities.

A great way to turn your furniture, devices, and other items in your home into learning props is to label them in Serbian. Just use sticky notes to write Serbian words — stolica, lampa, mačka, frižider —  and paste them accordingly.

As you walk around home doing other things, they’ll catch your eye allowing you to memorize them without focusing. Who says that picking up new words can’t be prosto k’o pasulj (a piece of cake)?

A pink sticky note on an alarm clock with the word budilnik on it
Label everything with sticky notes 🙂

4. Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts are a popular tool for improving listening comprehension. Just pop those earphones, play your favorite podcast, and go about your day as usual.

This way, you can perform routine tasks (e.g., doing the dishes, folding laundry) or exercise (e.g., walking your dog, going for a jog) and listen to your daily dose of Serbian.

Here are a few podcasts you can check out:

Bonus tip: Shadowing

Shadowing is a technique for improving your pronunciation. All you need to do is use earphones, listen to Serbian podcasts, and repeat simultaneously.

Maybe, at first, it will be hard to pronounce each word, but reducing the speed can help with that. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to speak as you listen at a natural tempo.

In addition to podcasts, try shadowing while you watch movies, TV Series, and cartoons.

By the way, did you know that we created the first Serbian pronunciation course? Check it here if you want to improve your pronunciation fast.

5. Make a Story in Serbian

This one can work as both a speaking and writing practice.

First, start by brainstorming and writing down all the keywords on a particular topic. After that, if you prefer speaking, try to tell a story using all the words you wrote down previously.

Alternatively, do the same, but this time write it down. If you go down this road, you’ll be able to revisit your story, improve your writing, and add new words and sentences once you level up your Serbian.

Ideally, choose the topics that interest you. That way you’ll be more invested and enjoy it. After all, speaking about things you care about in a foreign language enhances your retention.

On the other hand, if you can’t come up with a topic, you can always use free random topic-generation tools, such as LearnHip.

6. Immerse Yourself in the Language

If you’re staying in Serbia, use it to your advantage. Namely, immersion is one of the fastest ways to learn a language. That’s because wherever you go, there’ll be learning opportunities.

So, for example, if you’re riding a bus, try listening to people’s conversations and think about how you can use them in your daily life.

Likewise, if you’re at a supermarket, park, or at a shopping mall, try to make sense of what others are saying and maybe even write down some useful phrases.

Sure, eavesdropping (prisluškivanje) isn’t nice, but if it’s a way to improve your Serbian, we’re all for it!

There’s a way to achieve a similar effect even in your home country. You can create artificial immersion at home by surrounding yourself with as much Serbian content as possible.

And the best thing is, you won’t have to look further than YouTube. This platform allows you to watch (and listen to) so much Serbian content that you won’t ever have to leave home.

So, try watching Serbian movies and TV series with English subtitles. For beginners, watching cartoons in Serbian is a fun and easy way to expose themself to the language.

If you want to try this out, check out this article for recommendations.

7. Listen to Serbian Music (and Sing Along)

Also, try listening to Serbian muzika (music) on YouTube. Find the genre you like, and in no time you’ll be singing along in Serbian. In this way, not only will you be picking up new vocab and sentence patterns, but you’ll also improve your accent and get used to the melody of the language.

If you don’t believe this works, just look at Laura, an influencer from Spain. Namely, after she heard Balkan music, she liked it so much that she decided to learn Serbian. Her passion for music helped her stay on track and today she speaks Serbian and also sings ex-yu songs beautifully.

So if you want to be like Laura, start listening to Serbian music today.

A woman lying behind an old-fashioned radio.
Srpska muzika🎶

8. Try Language Exchange

Many years ago, there were no computers or the Internet. If you wanted to chat with a foreigner, you had to send letters and wait weeks or months for a reply.

Today, finding a pen pal is much easier —  just hop on your smartphone and find a language exchange app. This way, you can chat with as many people as you like.

This is the perfect opportunity to practice your Serbian conversation skills with either a native speaker or a learner like you. And who knows — maybe you’ll even make a new friend or two that way.

HelloTalk, Tandem, and HiNative are just some of the apps you can use for language exchange. So, try them out and chat away in your free time!

Practice Away

Now that you know how to learn Serbian on your own, all that’s left to do is practice, practice, practice. The more time you put in, the better results you’ll get.

And as we mentioned in the beginning, having a teacher can do wonders for your language skills. So, to speed up the learning process, check out our Serbian online lessons and watch yourself become fluent in no time!

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