Written by: Olivera Tolimir

Learning Serbian Language from Scratch: Učiti or Studirati

Studiram srpski jezik sredom i petkom.

Did you use a sentence like this while describing your days of learning Serbian language?

If you did, you’re not alone! Let’s see why it’s not correct. 

Studying at the University

Whether English is your native language or you use it to communicate with your Serbian teacher, we bet you used the verb studirati at least once!

While this verb exists in Serbian, most English-speaking students mix it up with another verb at the beginning of learning Serbian language.

So, studirati means to study in Serbian. But it’s only used when talking about studying at a university.

For example, if your major is economics, you should say, Studiram ekonomiju. If you’re studying to become a doctor, say, Studiram medicinu.

If you’re interested in knowing what someone is studying at the university, ask them, Šta studiraš? It means What are you studying?

If you have been learning Serbian language for a while, you may have noticed what grammatical case we used after the verb studirati. We used the accusative.

So, if your field is ekonomijayou should say, Studiram ekonomijuIf your major is marketing, say, Studiram marketing.

Because marketing is in the masculine gender and it’s not a living being, it doesn’t change its form in the accusative.

Okay, now we’ve explained important details about the verb studirati. But what’s the correct way to say you’ve been studying Serbian language all day yesterday?

Studying All Day

If you’d like to say you’ve been studying all week for your finals, don’t use the verb studirati. Use the verb učiti.

Učiti also means to study but differently. It means learning; dedicating your time to a particular subject.

The verb učiti isn’t linked to formal education like studirati. If you’re learning Serbian language for three months, you can say, Učim srpski jezik tri meseca.

A girl in a white shirt and jeans sitting at the table, using her laptop and writing in her notebook. There's a flower vase on the table.
(If you're talking about learning Serbian language, use the verb učiti!)
If you’re talking about learning Serbian language, use the verb učiti!

Maybe you want to say you don’t really like learning Serbian language. In this case, say, Ne volim da učim srpski jezik.

For those of you who decided to learn to make gingerbread cookies this Christmas, be proud to say, Učim da pravim medenjake!

Also, the verb učiti has one more use in Serbian. Learning Serbian language, you might be surprised to hear there isn’t a difference between the verbs learn and teach. We use the same verb – učiti.

For teaching your niece to draw a house, say, Učim nećaku da crta kuću.

Learning Serbian Language Rules for Learning

So, to summarize:

  • If you’re studying a particular subject at a university with the idea for it to become your profession (studying medicine), use the verb studirati.
  • If you’re dedicating your time to inform yourself about something or are working on a set of skills (learning Serbian language), use the verb učiti.
  • If you’re teaching someone something (teach math), use the verb učiti.

If you’re interested in learning and mastering Serbian language rules, book an individual class with one of our Serbian teachers!