How do you pronounce Serbo-Croatian alphabet?

Nailing the pronunciation of the Serbo-Croatian alphabet can seem daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with Slavic languages. However, don’t panic. Each letter corresponds to one sound which greatly simplifies the learning process. Understanding and pronouncing the Serbo-Croatian alphabet can be broken down into two essential steps: getting to know the alphabet itself and learning how to pronounce the specific letter sounds.

A Look at the Serbo-Croatian Alphabet

The Serbo-Croatian language uses both Latin and Cyrillic scripts, with 30 letters in each. To make things easier, we will focus on the Latin script which is more familiar to, and commonly used by, Western learners.

Here are those 30 letters, including five that may be unfamiliar to English speakers: A B C Č Ć D DŽ Đ E F G H I J K L LJ M N NJ O P R S Š T U V Z Ž.

You’ll notice that some letters consist of two characters such as: DŽ, LJ, and NJ. These are special digraphs that are treated and pronounced as single letters.

Pronouncing the Serbo-Croatian Letters

Here’s a simple guide to help you pronounce each Serbo-Croatian letter correctly:

1. A as ‘a’ in “father”
2. B as ‘b’ in “book”
3. C as ‘ts’ in “bits”
4. Č as ‘ch’ in “cheese”
5. Ć as ‘ch’ in “church”
6. D as ‘d’ in “dog”
7. DŽ as ‘j’ in “jump”
8. Đ as soft ‘j’ in “juice”
9. E as ‘e’ in “bed”
10. F as ‘f’ in “four”
11. G as ‘g’ in “go”
12. H as ‘h’ in “hot”
13. I as ‘i’ in “sit”
14. J as ‘y’ in “yes”
15. K as ‘k’ in “kick”
16. L as ‘l’ in “love”
17. LJ as ‘ll’ in “million”
18. M as ‘m’ in “man”
19. N as ‘n’ in “no”
20. NJ as ‘ny’ in “canyon”
21. O as ‘o’ in “for”
22. P as ‘p’ in “put”
23. R as ‘r’ in “run”
24. S as ‘s’ in “sit”
25. Š as ‘sh’ in “ship”
26. T as ‘t’ in “tip”
27. U as ‘oo’ in “moon”
28. V as ‘v’ in “vet”
29. Z as ‘z’ in “zone”
30. Ž as ‘zh’ as ‘s’ in “measure”

Remember, the best way to get your pronunciation just right is through practice. Listen to native speakers as much as possible and don’t be afraid to take it one letter at a time. With patience and practice, you’ll be able to pronounce the Serbo-Croatian alphabet like a pro.