The Rapper’s Guide to Learning Serbian
What does hip hop and Serbian have in common? More than you might think. Throughout my struggles learning the langauge, I’ve recalled the wisdom (or at least the lyrics) of rappers to remember key words. Here’s a three word guide to the RHOB/Rapper’s Way to Srpski-speak.
Lesson one: hvala (thank you). This is one of the first words visitors ask to learn. It’s not easy for Americans to pronounce an H and a V next to each other, or to semi-slur the remaining letters together. Luckily, Missy Elliott gets us most of the way there. Just listen to her Holla! and merge a “v” after the H. Hvala indeed, Missy.
Lesson two: čeka (wait). Useful when you have a fast-walking Muz, a dog that pulls at his leash, or a ringing phone that you can’t locate. Thanks to DMX, it’s as simple as remembering a microphone…checka. Forward to the 12 second mark to see what I mean.
Lesson three: omiljen (favorite). This word eluded me for months. I would struggle to remember it, stick a d or a z in there somewhere, and utterly confuse the people I was trying to compliment. (Think, Oh, krempita! My favorzheutz…hud.) I needed to remember one little trick: more accurately, one Lil’ Wayne. Omiljen sounds almost exactly like the background chant to “A Millie.” Especially if you misheard it as “uh million” for years. The first ten seconds should suffice. Then you’ll either go crazy or start dancing, depending on your musical taste.
Thanks for the tips, rappers! Maybe Kanye and Jay-Z will come out with a version of The Mountain Wreath and take my Serbian to the next level. A domaćica can dream…