Serbian Music: Can It Help You Learn Serbian?

A man listening to music while studying Serbian language

Did you know that a night out at a Serbian kafana can help you learn Serbian quickly? Even if you are tipsy, some Serbian song will move you, and you’ll join the other guests singing, laughing, and crying. Before you know it, you’ll boost your vocabulary range in the most effortless and fun way.

Scientists agree that singing simplifies the language-learning process. If you aren’t a fan of kafana singalongs, you should visit Serbian music festivals. Not comfortable in crowded places? No worries, we’ve got a playlist for you to jam to at home.

We know that learning grammar can be frustrating and tiring. Would you bet with us that you will fall in love with Serbian music and grammar at the same time? Prepare your dancing shoes, some glasses to break, and tissues in case of tears, and let’s dive into the Serbian music hits that will push you in your learning endeavors. We recommend you open the lyrics to expedite your learning. 

Present Tense (Sadašnje Vreme) With Serbian Music Queen

Ti i ja se budimo skoro svaki dan vrlo rano

Oko pola sedam dižemo se lako kao da sve ima smisla

Novac ima smisla, idemo da radimo

A znamo tačno šta radimo

Idemo, radimo, idemo, radimo

Trošimo, radimo, trošimo, radimo

Kupujemo, putujemo, diskutujemo

 

You and I, we wake up every day so early

Around six thirty we rise with ease as if it all makes sense

Money makes sense, we go to work

And know exactly what we’re doing

We go, we work, we go, we work,

We spend, we work, we spend, we work

We shop, we travel, we discuss

 

Our beloved Eurovision representative, and once a potential Grammy nominee, Konstrakta, will hypnotize you with her catchy tunes, penetrating gaze, and the abundance of Serbian verbs used in the Present Tense.

Konstrakta uses the first-person plural form of verbs while she sings about life patterns and shallow values imposed on us by the modern world. You can also see examples of reflexive verbs (budimo se, dižemo se) in Mekano (The Soft).

Past Tense (Prošlo Vreme) With Ničim Izazvan

Ja sam se lomio i

gradio u istom trenu

u meni je zamah

leptirovih krila pravio oluje

 

Ja sam živeo u izmaglici

neprospavanih noći

ja sam plesao u tišini

ja sam plesao u tišini

 

I was breaking down and 

Rising up at the same moment

A butterfly’s wingbeat 

Stirred storms within me

 

I was living in the haze of

Sleepless nights

I was dancing in silence

I was dancing in silence

 

This is a more upbeat rhythm to introduce you to the Past Tense in the Serbian language. Rekla je (She said) teaches you to dance while mastering complex grammatical tenses and structures. The songs by Ničim izazvan will also present you with beautiful verses in the contemporary Serbian language. 

Future Tense (Futur I) In A Kafana

Polomiću čaše od kristala

Počupaću bokore od lala

Otkinuću još dve žice, još dve strune

Ostaviću violinu – neka trune

 

I’ll break the crystal glasses

I’ll pluck the tulips

I’ll break two more strings

I’ll leave the violin to rot

 

If this song doesn’t make you break the nearest glass, nothing will. Miroslav Ilić is a beloved Serbian folk singer whose songs are popular in kafanas, at weddings and other celebrations. This one will demonstrate the simple future form in the first person singular. These forms can be complex as well:

 

  • Ja ću polomiti
  • Ja ću počupati
  • Ja ću otkinuti
  • Ja ću ostaviti

Imperative In Pop, Folk, And Rock Songs

Obuci papuče, dodaj mi jastuče

Nežno me zagrli i ponašaj se prirodno

Skuvaj mi kafu, napravi sendvič

Put on your slippers, pass me the cushion

Hug me gently and be yourself

Make me a coffee, make me a sandwich

Rađaj sinove, idi drugome

Samo pusti me na miru

 

Give birth to sons, go to another man

Just leave me alone

Zadrži svoj dah

Zažmuri u mrak

Nemoj snagu svoju bacati uz put

 

Hold your breath

Close your eyes into the darkness

Don’t waste your strength along the way

 

Serbs like giving orders. These three Serbian music titans, each in their own genre, provide you with examples of imperative forms. Depending on your taste in music, and your level of Serbian, choose one of these songs and let all kinds of emotions flood you.

Conditional Clauses In Ex-Yu Pop Rock

A girl with glasses in deep thoughts, sitting at a laptop and listening to music using headphones
Nostalgy that Ex-Yu music evokes in people (Source: Pexels)

Ako ima Boga, u paklu goret ćeš

If there’s god, you’ll burn in hell

These are the lines from a song by famous ex Yugoslav rock band Bijelo Dugme (White Button).

Da nema sunca ni meseca, ja mogla bih

Da nema vode ni vazduha, ja mogla bih

 

I da imam gde da odem, ja ne bih otišla

Da imam šta da kažem, ja bih ćutala

 

If there weren’t the Sun or the Moon, I could survive

If there weren’t water or air, I could survive

 

And if I could go anywhere, I wouldn’t go

If I had anything to say, I would remain silent


Apart from making you cry, nostalgic ex-yu songs tell you that Serbian Conditional Clauses start with the prepositions ako or da (if). Here we have a heartbroken guy in the first song (Real Conditional), and a hopeful romantic girl in the second one (Unreal Conditional), who are addressing their SO.

Fashion Diminutives

A woman in satin dress, with hair rollers, and wearing pearls dances and sings
People always sing and dance to the songs by the pop legend Zdravko Čolić

Cipelice, bluzice, kompletići, šeširi

Baš je glupo biti zaljubljen u damu

 

Viklerčići, češljići, pomadice, parfemi

Baš je glupo biti zaljubljen u damu

 

We won’t translate these lyrics of this amazing song, but we’ll explain these numerous diminutive noun forms. THE pop legend in the Balkans, and the 80s heartthrob, Zdravko Čolić, prepared the diminutives in plural forms for you to dance to in the disco.

 

  • cipele (shoes) – cipelice
  • bluze (blouses) – bluzice
  • kompleti (suits) – kompletići
  • vikleri (hair rollers) – viklerčići
  • češljevi (combs) – ćešljići
  • pomade (creams) – pomadice

 

Diminutives in the Serbian language are a vast source for practicing the pronunciation of ć, č, and c sounds.

Serbian Adjectives In The Sunset

Crveno sija bakarno nebo

Krvava reka, kao da plamen podmukli izbija

Negde daleko čujem vapaj tihi

Dok sfinge nemo gledaju nebo zlatno

 

The red copper sun is shining

The river is crimson, as if the insidious flame was growing

Somewhere far away I can hear a muffled cry

While the sphinxes silently stare at the golden sky

 

If you’re into increasing your vocabulary range, you should listen to this poetry by Ivan Jegdić, a young promising Serbian musician. One of our most famous poets, Jovan Dučić, inspired Ivan to write and compose a song based on his poem of the same name. You can hear the Dučić’s poem recited here.

 

Now that you’ve learned new adjectives and phrases, you’re ready to impress your Serbian crush. 

Ready To Learn Serbian Quickly?

A person holding a black iphone is taking notes while listening to music
Don’t forget to write down the new vocabulary from Serbian songs! (Source: Unsplash)

You can now start exploring Serbian music on YouTube, or on any other streaming platform that you prefer. Add a little spice to your regular learning habits and improve your listening skills. We know that learning the Serbian language can be challenging and hard at times, so why not have some fun and facilitate the process? Our free study materials will help you break down the most complex structures in Serbian. If you want to further expand your knowledge and have a talk partner, contact us for online lessons.

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