Slovenian 101

There are twenty consonants in Slovene. They can be voiced or unvoiced. They are pronounced as they are spelled (refer to the alphabet).

the 'b' in "best"

the 'ts' in "bets"
the 'ch' in "chocolate"

the 'd' in "day"

the 'f' in "far"

the 'g' in "go"

the 'h' in "heat"

the 'y' in "Yankee"

the 'k' in "kick"

the 'l' in "left", but 'w' after another consonant or at the end of a word

the 'm' in "mom"

the 'n' in "nothing"

the 'p' in "path"

the 'r' in trilled like spanish 'r' in "rico", or 'er' when used as a vowel

the 's' in "seven"
the 'sh' in "shock"
akin to 'shch' in "fresh cheese", but melded together

the 't' in "taxi"

the 'v' in "vase", but sometimes 'w' (see below)

the 'z' in "zero"
the 'su' in "pleasure" or 'ge' in "garage"

The voiced consonants are: b, d, g, j, l, m, n, r, v, z, ž. The unvoiced consonants are: c, č, f, h, k, p, s, š, t.

Look carefully at the letters č, š, and ž. They are typical for Slovene and some other Central and South European languages. Also note how you pronounce j and h in Slovene.

Certain letters will at times be grouped with certain other letters and have a slightly different pronunciation. The same happens when they occupy a certain position in the word. For example:

When l is at the end of a word or placed after any other consonant than j it is pronounced as w as in bel (BEW, "white"), popoldan (POPOWDAN, "afternoon").

"V" is pronounced as v before vowels (vaja "exercise", voda "water"), before the consonants r (vrt "garden", vreme "weather") and before vowels within a word (živeti "to live", zvezek "notebook"). When v is at the end of the word, after a vowel or before a consonant (except for r and l) it is pronounced as w, as in prav ("OK"), kovček ("suitcase"). When v is at the beginning of the word or when it appears between consonants or before two or more consonants it is pronounced as u as in vprašati ("to ask"), vhod ("entrance"). The Slovene r is pronounced strongly, slightly rolled. It is pronounced as er when it stands before another consonant or when it stands between two consonants.

In a few words where they appear, two identical vowels or consonants are pronounced as one long one, as in priimek ("surname"), oddelek ("department").

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