Part Two: Expressing quantities and special wishes

Worst Case Scenario Nr. Two: You have just discovered somewhere 😉 how easy it really is to get drinks in Slovenia. So you actually find yourself in a real Slovenian pub, having already decided to risk ordering a beer in Slovenian.

Here we go: A waitress appears and says “Prosim?” or “Izvolite?” and you know this is your cue. You say “Pivo, prosim” (pee-vo) and steal a quick glance at her, awaiting her positive reaction because you have been told before that it would follow immediately.

a) She says “Laško, Union, Tuborg … ?

b) She says “Točeno?”

c) She says “a big von or a litel von?”*

As if by thunder and lightning, you become aware that life is complicated. Possibly even more complicated than an average tax return.

Let me tell you: It’s not that bad.

So, how do you really order your drinks in Slovenian? Let’s go:


a) First of all, you will have to guess which brand might suit your wishes best. As to Slovenian brands, there are two that are important and the choice between them has political implications, too. They are Laško and Union. Pronunciation: Lush-ko. And: Oo-ni-on. Pronounce the foreign brands as suits you best, at least at this point.

b)Točeno” means “draught/draft beer” and this word should be written on your beverage list as an option with some beers. Pronunciation: Say to-che-no or make a corresponding hand movement.

c) So she wants to know if you … want a big one or a little one (*the question above is actually a courtesy/bad experience of a friend). If you want a little beer (0,3 litre/liter), say “Malo, prosim” (Mah-lo). For the big one (0,5 l), say “Veliko, prosim” (Ve-lee-ko). For the big effect, use your favourite quantity information right at the beginning:

W: Želite, prosim?

You: Veliko Laško pivo, prosim. / You: Malo Union pivo, prosim.


So someone told you you can just walk into a Slovenian pub and say “Kavo, prosim” and you will get a cup of delicious coffee?

Time for a reality check: You won’t. You will be first asked complicated things like:

W: Z mlekom? S smetano?

You see, “Kavo, prosim” means you want a cup of coffee with sugar. To make sure you don’t want, say, milk or cream with it, they will ask you all these questions. Yes, sometimes life’s all work.

So if you do want some milk with it, just say it: Z mlekom.

Pronunciation: Say Z-, make a short pause, and then say mle-com: Z_ mle-com.

If you wish some cream instead, you will again have to do some work: S smetano. (S_sme-tah-no).

W: Želite, prosim?

You: Kavo z mlekom, prosim. / Kavo s smetano, prosim.

Of course you can avoid any trouble by simply ordering a cappuccino or an espresso. Latte macchiato will do, too.


Red or white?

Red: rdeče (r_de-che)

White: belo

W: Želite, prosim?

You: Rdeče vino, prosim. / Belo vino, prosim.

Needless to say you should get a glass of wine. And I am not going to tell you how to order a bottle of wine, I don’t support binge drinking.


Just order from the list (if relevant, make the necessary change from –a to –o) and say “prosim” at the end. In most cases, this should be enough.


6. ADMITTEDLY, you might get hungry soon, what with all this drinking. Use your hands at this point. Or use words like: sandwich, tiramisu, pizza, spaghetti. They will be happy to serve you and I might tell you more about the food some other time.



  • DarkoV

    In ordering kavo, well at least in the Land of the Croats, an option offered is Americko, which seems to basically mean, “Give me coffee and that in large quantities, but not hot enough to burn my sensitive lips, which are necessary to converse in this tongue-twisting language..Oh, and put a 1/4 of a kilo of sugar in it to stabilize the cup so that I don’t spill the liquid.”

    Is that option also offered in the Land of the Slovenes?

    Just wonderin’.

    Oh, and what happened to your earlier posts, specifically the initial post on beer ordering?!?!?

  • alcessa

    Hi Darko,
    I don’t know about Americka kava, but in Slovenia, you will get, like, normal quantities of coffee to which you have to add sugar by yourself. Of course if you visit someone at home, they will probably make you the so-called Turkish coffee (brewed coffee served with dregs remaining in the cup) with lots of sugar.

    Tongue-twisting language? I don’t know, I think Croatian sounds really nice.

    My earlier posts should all be there, I mention beer also in the second one (there are even links at Lasko and Union, which are not visible yet) and by the way, thanks for the links to your favourite beer brands, they are great.

    Which coffee do you drink in the tiny state of Delaware? Starbucks?

    And: May I ask you the obvious: are you (partly?) Slovene/Croatian or something? You must be…

  • DarkoV

    Roden sam u Zagrebu i dosao sam u SAD kada sam bio 6-7. Vratio sam se 7-8 puta Hrvatskoj gdje, barem mislam ja, raj je na zemlji kada sam na more. Moja baka je bila rodena negdje u Sloveniji, mislim oko Maribora.

    Izvini moj Hrvaski; when I’m in Croatia my cousins usually end up rolling in the floor with laughter when I’m doing the speaking thing. My butchered Croatian (only a sadist could have desinged the grammar!!) does come in handy. If they mis-behave or unkind, I promise them I’ll be speaking to them in Croatain at the most embarassing times, say at funerals, when laughing is not a good thing.

    There are some decent coffeee places here; personally I stay away from Starbucks as the quality is lacking. But to get a great espresso or Turska Kava, it’s off to Philadelphia. Delaware is the pits for that authentic coffee strength.


  • Christian

    Danke für den Unterricht!

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