Although there are a variety of common reasons to learn Croatian, the majority of our students – and probably many readers of this blog – choose to do so because their wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend is Croatian.

Let's start of with some of the most common pet names for the one you love:

dragi – dear (male)
draga – dear (female)
moj najdraži – my dearest (male)
moja najdraža – my dearest (female)
moja ljubav – my love

Using the vocative case to speak to people directly

When you address someone directly in Croatian, the vocative case is used. That means that if you’re talking to someone about “your love” you would say “moja ljubav”, but if you’re talking directly to your partner and calling them “my love”, you would say “moja ljubavi”.

Most nouns in Croatian have different nominative and vocative forms, here are few examples:

žena – wife vocative: ženo
muž – husband vocative: mužu
cura – girlfriend vocative: curo
dečko – boyfriend vocative: dečko

You can find out more about the vocative case and how to use it correctly here.

Using diminutives to make things smaller

Diminutives are also very common when talking to your partner in Croatian. Here are some general rules on how to create diminutives in Croatian.

Croatians lovingly refer to their partners using a whole host of different animals names. For example, you can say “You are my mouse” (“Ti si moj miš”) or “You are my little mouse” (“Ti si moj mali miš” / “Ti si moj mišić”).

WordDiminutive formVocative forms
miš – mouse mišić – little mouse mišu, mišiću
zec – rabbit zečić/zeko – little rabbit zeko, zečiću
slon – elephant slonić – little elephant slonu, sloniću
lav – lion lavić – little lion lavu, laviću
riba – fish ribica – little fish ribo, ribice
mačka – cat mačkica – little cat mačko, mačkice

Exercise: Can you guess what the following phrases mean?

Volim te Answer I love you

Jako te volim Answer I love you a lot

Fališ mi Answer I miss you

Jako mi fališ Answer I miss you a lot

Kada ćemo se opet vidjeti? Answer When will we see each other again?

Idemo li večeras van na večeru? Answer Shall we go out to dinner tonight?

Večeras ja kuham! Answer I’ll cook tonight

Nađimo se u ... sati Answer Let’s meet at … o’clock

Molim te, baci smeće Answer Please take the trash out

Danas je tvoj red za čišćenje Answer It’s your turn to clean today

Idemo spavati Answer Let’s go to sleep

Ti si moj mali slatki medo Answer You are my sweet little teddy bear

Gdje je tvoja kreditna kartica? Answer Where’s your credit card?