By Strahinja Grubljesic, teacher and content writer for LingoLearn.com
Whether you live in a house, in a flat, or in a hippie commune, it’s your home; where you relax, eat, sleep, watch TV (mostly fighting with someone regarding what channel to watch) – basically, where you belong. Most young people in Serbia live with their parents (roditelj/-i), but there are some who dare to go to the unknown and live on their own. Mom (majka/-e, mama/-e) and dad (otac/oci, tata/-e) are, of course, always there to send some home-cooked food, and a few Dinars (Serbian currency), just to be on the safe side.
An average apartment (stan/-ovi) for a younger person in Belgrade is a 30-sqm studio (garsonjera/-e), somewhere in the outskirts of the city, where the public transport comes, as we say, “like an antibiotic, once in 3 hours”. The word “garsonjera” is not Serbian, but is a borrowed French phrase which translates roughly to “young man’s room”. So, let’s describe the average apartment – not a garsonjera though, because we would be finished quickly. An apartment usually has a big living room (dnevna/-e soba/-e), where you sit or lie down on your couch (kauč/-evi) or armchair (fotelja/-e) when you come back from work, college or when you just want to chill and flip channels. Nowadays you can choose between a variety of programs on Serbian TV, as long as they’re either the new season of Big Brother (brat/braća), or a new episode of your favorite Turkish telenovela (Yep, we have evolved, no one watches the Latin American ones :)).
Serbs are very passionate about cooking heavy, greasy food, so the kitchen (kuhinja/-e) is the second most important place in a Serbian apartment. The fridge (frižider/-i), that Holy Grail which keeps the most sacred of all things, food, is the centerpiece of it. I might be a bit biased in that area, but once I start cooking, I fall into a state of utter blissfulness, and new recipes (recept/-i) keep popping out of my head. In order to cook (kuvati) you need a stove (šporet/-i). Although many young people have seen it and even touched it, not a large number of them have actually bothered to see how it works or used it to prepare food. The faster it’s done, the better. Some people say that if it takes more time to cook it than to eat it, it’s an inefficient waste of time. While some like eating in front of the TV, you would usually have to have a table (sto/-lovi*) and a chair (stolica/-e). These are located in a part of the apartment called “dining room” (where else? bedroom?), or in Serbian – trpezarija/-e.
We have now gone through most of the apartment; the only things left are the bathroom (kupatilo/-a*) and bedroom (spavaća/-e soba-e). If you were to translate spavaća soba to English, it would mean “sleeping room”, so spavaća doesn’t mean “bed” – it is rather a verb. Bed is krevet-i. Of course, a perfect morning would not be complete without a cup of coffee (kafa/-e) on the terrace (terasa/-e), unless you have a neighbor who likes to cook early, and all the smells come up and add flavor to your coffee. I do, unfortunately, so I have to settle and sit happily by the computer (računar/-i, kompjuter/-i), reading the news.
That ends the tour of the apartment; now go outside, summer has already begun (according to the temperatures, anyways)!
*Note that the words Sto and Kupatilo end with an -“O”, which according to standard grammar rules means that they are neutral gender. But table (sto) is an exception of a male gender, whereas bathroom (kupatilo) is neutral. Also note that the word STO is exceptional in another way. To arrive at its plural form, you would need to add not just an “-I”, as in most cases, but the suffix “-lovi”. This is similar to the word KAUČ –evi. Unfortunately for students of the Serbian language, these are plural forms which have to be learned by heart. Fear not though – it’s not as hard as it seems! 🙂
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