I thought it might be helpful to write a post about some useful words and phrases when visiting Croatia. When I first stepped off the plane back in 2007, I only knew a few words from my little Lonely Planet pocket phrasebook and boy have I had my share of embarrassing language mishaps along the way. Want some examples? I told Ivan I was going to kill him on one of our first dates (I’m surprised he stuck around :), I told a woman I liked her new body hair (seriously strange reaction), I asked a neighbour to help me bring my bike into the butt-hole in the basement (definitely the most awkward reaction to date), and the list goes on.
Croatian is not an easy language. I’m going to try and save you some trouble and lay down the real basics you need to know. The alphabet and Croatian letters mostly look and sound similar to their English counterparts, except for a few new ones: č ć š j ž đ nj lj
a like apple
e like end
i like bee
o like otter
u like moo
There! Now you have all the sounds of the alphabet. The great thing about Croatian is that all the letters only have one sound, so it's super easy to read. Now let’s put it all to use.
Phrases - these are going to be the only ones you really need to know while travelling around (although almost everyone speaks English, so it’s more about showing an effort in speaking the local language, rather than out of necessity that you might want to learn a few).