Written by: Olivera Tolimir

Are you attentive to the lyrics while listening to the music you love?

There are two types of people in the world:

  • Type 1: “This is my favorite song. What do you mean – what is it about? I have no idea. But listen to the bass!”
  • Type 2: “God, this lyric is so emotional. Let’s dance! Um, yes, I’m not very good at catching rhythm.”

OK, it’s a bit of an exaggeration. Most of us pay attention to the music i lyrics. In our favorite songs, we love both.

But did it ever occur to you to learn Serbian online with music? We’ve already mentioned this way of learning Serbian here.

If you’ve always wanted to learn Serbian in a fun way but weren’t sure how to do it, we’re here for you! Here’s a list of five songs to help you learn Serbian online!

Learn Serbian Present & Past Tense with Songs

Our first song for today is Rintam by Zeljko Joksimovic (Željko Joksimović). Rintam is a one-word term for I work like a dog. The singer is confronting his girlfriend about taking advantage of him while he’s collapsing to give her everything she wants.

This song contains most Serbian tenses, but the past and present tenses prevail.

First, we have verbs in the past tense. But before that, learn Serbian past tense here!

Rekla si mi sve što si imala,

godinama si ćutala.

Rekla si i da si me volela,

zaboga, jer si morala.

(You told me everything you had,

for years you were silent.

You also told me you loved me,

for God’s sake, because you had to.)

Then, there’s the conditional mood:

Da sam Dunav, ti bi me presušila!

(If I were Danube, you would dry me up.)

In the chorus, there’s the present tense. If you’re not familiar with it yet, change it here!

Ja rintam, rintam

po celu noć i dan,

samo tebi da dam

rintam! I druge ne gledam,

vidiš kako propadam!

(I work, I work

all day and night,

only to give it to you,

I work! And I don’t look at any others,

you see how I’m collapsing!)

Learn Serbian Imperative with Music

At the end of Joksimovic’s song, there’s an imperative. We use it to tell someone what to do.

Stani malo, stani! Zar te nije sram?!

(Stop for a second, stop! Aren’t you ashamed?!)

We’ll find more imperatives in the romantic song Dodirni me by the band Galija. The song is about a guy who’s confused and smitten by a girl. So, he tells her to touch and kiss him for a second and then leave, as he doesn’t want to ruin the magic.

Dodirni me sasvim slučajno,

poljubi me filmski nestvarno

i najlepše kad je, prestani,

okreni se i nestani.

(Touch me completely accidentally,

kiss me like in a movie, unrealistically,

and when it’s the best, stop,

turn around i disappear.)

In this song, the singer is talking directly to a girl. But sometimes, we want someone else to pass the message to a third party about what we want them to do. In these cases, we also use imperative, but it has a different form: neka/da + present tense. It means let them do (insert your verb here).

For example:

  • Neka uči! (Let him/her study!)
  • Neka uče! (Let them study!)

We find beautiful examples of this imperative form in the song Samo da rata ne bude by Djordje Balasevic (Đorđe Balašević). It’s an anti-war song.

Znaš šta?

Nek se doba preokrenu,

nek se zvezde uznemire,

nek se planine pokrenu.

Pa šta?

Vetri nek pomahnitaju,

nek se vulkani probude,

samo rata da ne bude.

(You know what?

Let the seasons mix up,

let the stars get upset,

let the mountains move.

So what?

Let the winds go crazy,

let the volcanos wake up,

just don’t let the war be.)

Learn Serbian Conditional Mood with Songs

To learn Serbian in a lighter mood, listen to the song Gace (Gaće) by the band Tap 011. It’s a song where a girl lists impossible things she would do for her beloved boy. The funny part is the chorus where the male cast of the band starts repeating, Would you wash our underpants, babe?

It makes you think about all the grand promises we make in devotion. We often forget it’s more about doing boring everyday stuff for the person we love! Let’s search for some great examples of the conditional mood!

U vatru i vodu ja skočila bih,

i nebo i zemlju ja spojila bih,

i Bog bi se plašio kada bi znao

koliko te volim, koliko te volim!

Zbog tebe ja na ježa bosa bih zgazila,

zbog tebe ja i miša bih mazila!

Zbog tebe ja i stene bih topila,

zbog tebe ja i otrov bih popila!

(…)

Da li bi prala naše gaće, mače?

(I would jump into fire and water,

I would bring the sky and Earth together,

Even God would be afraid if he knew*

How much I love you, how much I love you!

For you, I would step on a hedgehog barefoot,

For you, I would even pet a mouse!

For you, I would melt stone,

For you, I would drink poison!

(…)

Would you wash our underpants, babe?)

*We use the conditional mood here.

Did you notice how the girl uses bih when she talks about herself? When she talks about God, she uses bi, and guys also use bi when talking about her. It’s not a coincidence. When she talks about herself, the verb is in the first person in the singular (“I” talk). And when she talks about God (or guys about her), it’s in the third person in the singular (“he/she/it” talk).

Also, she’s female, so the main verb ends in –la, and God is masculine, so his verbs end in –o). Did you realize the second part of the conditional mood is the same as in the past tense? It’ll make it easier for you to learn Serbian conditional mood!

A woman typing on a laptop with her headphones on. She's sitting in front of a piano.(When learning Serbian through songs, it's useful to write new words as you hear them.)
When learning Serbian through songs, it’s useful to write new words as you hear them.

Learn Serbian Future Tense with Music

Let’s look at the example for a song with numerous future tense examples! It’s great for practicing both versions of the future tense. If you still haven’t done it, learn Serbian future tense here!

Zdravko Colic (Zdravko Čolić) is one of the most beloved Serbian singers of all generations! His cute song Zivis u oblacima, mala (Živiš u oblacima, mala) shows one tiny part of why that is!

It’s about a girl who lives in her world. Colic promises to take her with him and shower her with love, not money!

Ukrašću te jednog dana

iz tvog tako lijepog stana,

odvešću te u svoj skromni dom!

Ni bogatstvo, ni sreću, ja ti nuditi neću,

ali ljubav ćeš nać’ u srcu mom!

(One day, I will steal you

from your beautiful apartment,

I will take you to my humble home.

I won’t offer you fortune, or happiness,

But you’ll find love in my heart!)

Do you believe now you can learn Serbian online in a fun way? 🙂 Schedule your lesson if one of our teachers!