Dalmatian Language Explained: 15 most important words

Icon October 24, 2022
Icon By natalija
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You may need the dalmatian language if you have come to Croatia as a tourist for the first time, if you have come from another part of Croatia, and it is especially useful to know the most important expressions if you are a fan of Dalmatia and a frequent visitor of Dalmatian towns, cities, and islands.

Below we present the 15 most important and probably most common words that you will hear from residents, read on various walls and signs, and which will make it easier for you to find your way around Dalmatia and understand the way of life.

Speech and pronunciation may differ from place to place, the islands have their specificities, and the hinterland of Dalmatia, but it will be a good first step for you to understand your hosts and find your way around more easily. You will surely remember some terms of the dalmatian language and use them in your everyday life because they simply perfectly describe some needs and conditions.

AE

You will hear this short exclamation or rather a sigh often and its application is universal. Expresses agreement, surprise, acceptance, confirmation, question, and questioning. In short, if you want to, you can express a lot with “ae” and save on words. 

POMALO 

This word from the dalmatian language is more of a life philosophy than just a word. It would mean slowly, taking it easy, but also relaxing or having patience. It means a way of life without rush, unnecessary stress, panic, and annoyance. First, this philosophy plan puts enjoyment and pleasant things, and everything else will be reached. Later.

FJAKA 

You’ve heard of siesta, Italian dolce far niente, and you’ve undoubtedly heard of Danish hygge and Swedish Fika, but fjaka is a level up. It denotes a state similar to nirvana, blissful semi-sleep and rest, most often in the sun when a person has no will for anything other than relaxation. It is identical to contemplation, and it is a proven way of relaxation and an ideal way to rest. Fjaka usually comes after lunch.

MARENDA 

It is a snack, in the morning or the afternoon, but in reality, it is a sacred ritual. Especially at work, “going to marenda” is an indispensable part of the day, an opportunity to relax. It usually has no limited duration, it can turn into a real bacchanalia, often including a glass of good wine.

GUŠT 

Translated, it means pleasure, and it encompasses a wide variety of phenomena and habits. It can refer to daily habits, to food, to a hobby, to the way of life in general, to going out, to travel. Also, it is a well-established rule that everyone has their own “gušt” and that they have the right to it, regardless of what others think about it.

HAJDUK

An untranslatable word. Religion, deity, shrine, way of life, the reason for living. Love, passion, despair, stress. The most important thought. A member of every family. An indispensable topic of every conversation. The greatest constant of Dalmatian lives. A reason for celebrations of indescribable proportions, a reason for collective sadness and low mood. Cause of quarrels. Every child’s dream. Pure emotion.

And never, ever, make the mistake of saying it’s just a football club.

RIVA 

It adorns many Dalmatian towns, although the most famous is the one in Split. Promenade by the sea, a central place for social events, sometimes a catwalk, and a favorite meeting destination. Waterfronts are often the places where the biggest celebrations and protests take place.

KAVA 

The central social event, the basis of socialization, the basis for making deals, and the beginning of marriages. A multi-hour ritual that does not necessarily have to include coffee. It is an integral part of every Dalmatian’s day. It usually includes a nice sunny place, a place with a good view. It is equally adored in winter and summer.

REDIKUL 

Although at first, it may seem like a derogatory word, it is not exactly so in every case. It denotes a person who is ridiculed and (sometimes brutally) joked with by everyone, who is in some way specific, special, and not quite following norms and good behavior.

BURA 

The wind is typical for winter, although it also blows in summer. Known for its unpredictability and strength, as well as hurricane strikes that affect normal life, especially traffic. It can be scary for those who experience it for the first time. Read more about bura.  

JUGO 

Another wind important for the life of Dalmatia is known for its influence on the mood and general psychophysical state of Dalmatians. It causes nervousness, impatience, and irrational actions, and everyone agrees that it is better to sleep on such days. Read more about jugo. 

AJME 

Another short exclamation with multiple meanings. It can indicate surprise, disappointment, delight, sympathy, lamentation, or agreement with another who is recounting his or her plight.

ĆAKULA 

If we are going to translate quite literally, it is literally about chat. It’s a casual conversation on the street when you meet someone you know, but it’s also a long conversation while drinking coffee for several hours. Ćakula can also refer to gossip that circulates about someone or something, and everyone enjoys Ćakula. Ćakulon or Ćakulona are also derived from this noun, and they denote persons (male or female) who especially enjoy ćakula.

KONOBA 

Another indispensable place of social life in Dalmatia. More important than discos, clubs, and cafes. Unthinkable without spiza (and this is an important word that denotes food), wine and song. Strictly speaking, konoba is a part of a house, the ground floor, or the basement, which is used for storing food and drinks. Earlier, all traditional Dalmatian houses had it, and today it more often denotes restaurants where you can taste local dishes. The word konobar (waiter) comes from the word konoba.

MATER 

See Hajduk and add some more love, respect, and authority. Although our language also knows other words such as mama, majka, mamica, the word mater is above all for Dalmatians. Mater is a saint, a law, a counselor, and a guide, and as the mater says, so it is. There is no greater authority in Dalmatia than the mother.

 

How many of these words of the dalmatian language did you already know and which ones would you add to the list?

We believe that after visiting Dalmatia, you will have your little dictionary, among which these will certainly be included!

 

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