The Great Case of Full Cool

eng.jpgYesterday’s comments have evolved from talking Belgrade to talking slang… Namely, The Great case of Full Cool has surfaced once again and perhaps it is time that we try to put it to rest once and for all.

Even though the phenomemon of using English words in Slovene is best known for the term “full cool” it goes way beyond that and can (arbitrarily) be divided into three groups:

1. Words that have been adopted into coloquial/slang Slovene

These (usually) words have been adopted into everyday language, when written they usualy take on Slovene grammatical form but their meaning is the same both in Slovene as well as in English:

Cool (eng), Kul (slo) – both meaning something good, agreeable or nice. The word has been around for ages and looks like it’s here to stay

Sure (eng), Šur (slo) – both being affirmative, confirmatory. In late 80s “Šur” was developed into “šur da” (literally: sure, yes). It was gradually replaced in the 90s by Serbian “valjda”

Sorry (eng), Sori (slo)
– both expressing remorse – true or sarcastic. Also used to politely start a conversation or ask a question. A no brainer. My guess is its been around from early 90s on:)

2. Words that have been “hijacked” and have had their meaning changed

Not many of those, but the ones that do exist prove that Slovenian is an adaptable language.

Full (eng), Ful (slo) – English version is a quantificator (expressing a quantity of something – usually a lot of it), however, the Slovenian version is a qualificator (adding gravitas to the usually suceeding adjecitve). Thus ful kul denotes something that is really, really cool (so cool its ice cold). It can also be used for negative conotations (ful bed – more on that shortly). The word has been around for as long as I can remember.

Bad (eng), Bed (slo) – initially both meaning -well- something bad, but Slovene version was soon expanded to include meanings of remorse and similar feelings (A: my car broke down. B: Oh, bad). To the best of my knowledge the word entered sland at the end of 90s.

To cancel (eng), Skenslati (slo) – originatin within Slovene IT community, it described aborting any computer-related procedure. It was soon picked up by general public and its meaning expanded to shutting off any electronic device, breaking off relations with other people or otherwise eliminations objects and people in one’s vicinity: (This kind is a real pain in the ass. Cancel him). Its rise coincides with the rise of IT in Slovenia

3. Words which kept their meaning, are not slang but are used nevertheless

Probably the most obnoxcious type. Usually used by wannabes of all walks of life, most notably in Ljubljana. Speakers use diminiutives wherever posible (thus “sori” becomes “sorči”). Anyone using it should be shot on the spot. Examples:

Sorči k lajfam
Sorry (excuse me) for living

Greva dogija vokat
Let’s go walk the dog

Model se je z rufa skenslu
Dude “canceled himself” from the roof

Kruzam s karom
I cruise around in my car

Greva na drinko
Let’s go for a drink

Luckily none of these gained popularity of “full cool”. So… Did I miss anything? Please, fill in the blanks 🙂

Published by


Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

37 thoughts on “The Great Case of Full Cool”

  1. Look what I started with one joking/semi-serious comment. 🙂 lol

    Still, not sure why people started using “ful” when “zelo” seems to work fine in most cases…unless “ful” is just meant to be a level way above and beyond “zelo”.

  2. People from my part of Slovenia (soon to become Primorska pokrajina) do not speak that kind of stupid language. No need to bring a gun for the “shot on the spot” purpose. However, “ful” is really abused among youngsters causing those of 50+ to go: “Ma kej če rečt ta mona?” I really prefer the dialect in the style of Iztok Mlakar.

  3. @Michael N: Yes… “ful” is waaaay above “zelo” 😀

    @venera: This “sorči, srči” thing seems to be just a phase in growing up, since I don’t know of anyone older than 18 who uses it.

  4. Michael, the cases when “ful” is used seem to be the same like we in southern Germany use its German translation. It might perhaps be German hidden under English vocabulary.

  5. So: where I come from (soon to become a Republic again), we don’t use ZELO at all – it is way too Slovenian. We say FEJST. So of course it didn’t serve my popularity when I started using FUL within my dialect. I don’t use the German VOLL, though, even though I think there could be something about Dietmar’s theory.

    One more addition to English in Slovenia: When they built the very first warehouse in MS, they called it – ŠOPING. Officially! It even had a – SNACK BAR. I guess I am talking 70ies here. So maybe they thought: one day, we will invite the American president. And then, he can see we can go šoping, too!

  6. Another funny example of trying to “posloveniti” (SLOVENIZE) some new words:
    CD (Compact Disc) = zgoščenka, tlačenka, speštanka, zaplatek….

  7. Zaplatek is sometimes used on Radio Koper by one young person whose name now escapes me. Tlačenka really makes me think of something like savinjski želodec or sth similar.
    Why shouldn’t language serve to amuse us?

  8. I try my best to keep my Slovene clean and while constantly trying to improve my English and my other foreign languages, it did sadden me to witness a serious decline in the quality of spoken and written Slovene. What really got to me was the English and other foreign words companies love(d) to use in their names. Case in point, most Slovene catteries and kennels bear English names. Mine is Planika 🙂 and my last year’s top cat, for example, is named Planika Svarun. Consequently, most of the (CFA) cat fancy in the US and Europe know what “planika” means 🙂

    Note the use of past tense above. Is it just my personal perception or have things changed a bit and Slovenes are using their language with more confidence and pride now? Some of the company and product names are ingeniously clever!

    Oh, a scene from two weeks ago. Abecedarium restaurant in Ljubljana, evening, am in company waiting to be served. The sign says “Slovenian House” or sth to that effect. The waiter came and addressed me in English. I had to have my fun and carried on a conversation in my American English. Asking why he addressed me in English on the river bank of Ljubljanica in the so-called “Slovenian House”.

    Wow this got to be one long comment! Sorry, I’m really rambling on now, but this is a topic close to heart. Or it might just be that my morning Darjeerling just kicked in.

    Off my soapbox. This post is full cool, žur špon, fensi mislm, too much!

  9. What about: bye, babe, OMG (o my god), Fuck you… and shit (shitasta)…
    Jaz bi en kofi – I want some coffee

    Then aus deutsch: štacuna (store), štenge (stairs), špegli (glasses), zokne (socks) – that one si situated in Štajerska

    I don’t know where does “štumfi” come from…

    And my Primorska: špalince (streps), fjok (bow), škovace (garbage), botega (store), kalcete (socks), makina (car)…

  10. @dr. filomena: Just keep on truckin’, I’ve no problems with long comments 🙂

    Re: using Slovene with pride… I don’t thing it’s an issue of confidence. I’d say it’s more of a fashion than anything else. And it’s cyclical.

  11. The name of my small business is slovenian though I used to say I’ll have a company named Black rose, Black widow or Black something 🙂

  12. “voll cool” dominates the results of my search , but there’s also “voll schade” (it’s a great pity), “voll ausrasten” (to freak completely out?), and so on.

    I can remember my first Slovene teacher telling us, that hardly anyone in a shop in Slovenia understood “CD”, in Slovenia they use “zgoščenka”. A friend of mine, Slovene aswell, however told me the exact opposite. :mrgreen:

  13. @Morska: “Štumf” – from German “Stumpf”, I guess. Alcessa, Dietmar? 🙂

    But it’s no use going down that particular lane as almost half of Slovene coloquial vocaublary has German origins (in engineering the percentage goes up to 95%)

    Re: kofi: I remember my parents using that – so that one’s around for at least a generation.

  14. Stumpf? It was my first thought too … but then… I do remembers some stuff from learning german at school and I even checked the dictionary that says Stumpf is top, štrcelj or prisekan. :S

    I still ask for kapučin… people in LJ use “capuccino” as original.

  15. For the record: I NEVER use zgoščenka when translating. I always say and write CD. There is no way I am going to sell “predvajalnik zgoščenk” to you. Howq. 😀
    Dietmar, your teacher 😈 uses CD, too, I am sure.At least privately.

    As we can see here German loanwords even deserve a dictionary of their own….

  16. “štumf” – cool :mrgreen: German, yes. Aswell as “štrik” or “šraufenciger” or “rusak”. My favourite so far: “Gšeft mora laufat” (heard in Kamnik) something like “The business botta run”?

    I just imagine that teacher’s reaction, if she would hear it. I think she would kill you with her look calling her like that. Btw. she works at the uni LJ now 😉

  17. Dietmar: Yes, Kamnik has his own speach too 🙂 I’ve heard a lot of new words during my lving there… they even distinguish themselves by different parts of that bloody small town. 🙂

  18. ‘was interrupted while typing. We were beginners and had to believe her. But I never believed “okno 98” :mrgreen:

    @dr. filomena (abcedarium):
    Slovenes can be sooo funny, when they regard you as a foreigner. A conversation I once had with a waiter at Prešernov trg:
    D: “Eno laško, prosim”
    W: (looking pretty puzzled) “A bik von or a litel von?”
    D: “Veliko”
    W: “Hir ju ar”

  19. Exactly, Slovenes will try to accomodate a foreigner.
    When Italians come to my town, they ask for directions in Italian. They expect us to speak Italian. Sometimes I answer in English though I speak Italian.
    We might also ask Mr. Pengovsky why this site is in English when visitors like Dietmar, Michael M and others speak Slovene 🙂

  20. Ok, reading all this in Slovene would take me longer and would still be “ful naporno” to me 😉

    A Slovene student, born in Germany, who was with me at that mentioned conversation said, that some Slovenes can be overstrained with a tourist talking their language. And a “language terrorist” 😀 once said, that Slovene looks that complicated to some Slovenians, they deem it as impossible to learn that language. At dm-market in Portorož, a shop assistant once talked Italian to me, which was quite funny. My answer was a puzzled “prosim?” and she apologised and said she’d thought I’m a tourist :mrgreen:

  21. @Morska: Way to go! 🙂
    @Dietmar: It warms the cockles of my heart to see nonnatives learn Slovene. I know several Brits who’ve just begun and are doing really well. Do keep ordering your beer in Slovene 🙂 As a Ljubljančanka, however, I’d recommend a different brew 😉

    Communication is the Key

  22. My hometown is surrounded by Sabotin, Sveta Gora, Damber, Škabrijel…It is already one big casino (bolje rečeno “kažin” ali pa “kažot”) and is facing the danger of becoming a big money laundring machine. Not to difficult.

  23. I can immagine veliki maršal sitting with a big cigar in our casino, enjoying cognac and damsels in distress.

  24. @Venera: Hey just drove through there last night on the way back from Venice. Such a beautiful area! Very mixed emotions on the kažot project. Do you guys use loads of Italian vs English words in your Slovene?

    @Morska: Know what you mean. Have photos of grandfather *with* Tito 😉 Was more surprised to see a Tito sign at Koča pod Bogatinom, though! See pic here. And even more surprised to see a Tito photo hanging in a Sicilian home this spring. Right next to a photo of the previous Pope, of course. But there’s a long story to explain that one…

  25. We used to speak italian among kids when I was in elementary school. It was almost like slovene. That’s why I feel so bad cause I forgot a lot of it during the years here :S

  26. Ja, definitivno si spustil tole: “Dej passni mi sugar da si sweetkam my coffee”.

  27. na primer tudi kletvice
    F*ck v Sloveniji: F*k
    ali sem spregledal, ali pa nisi napisal tegale, ki je pogosto uporabljen:
    the best v Sloveniji: d best
    Tist, k si pa napisal že mal nižje, tist je pa v glavnem v Ljubljani 😉

  28. Point very well taken 😀 Thx!

    Aja – na tem blogu cenzura ni potrebna – tako da lahko z lahkoto napišek fuk ali fuck 😀 konec koncev slednjega najdeš tudi v slovarju 😉

  29. All the Slovenians I know, including my father, who came to Canada in the 60s and 70s will sometimes pull a number 3. But half the time it’s because they don’t know the words invented in the last 30 years. Sometimes they’ll use an English verb but Slovene-ize it, like using vakiti, but I guess it’s because they go the entire day speaking English (and where I live some French) and then later with friends and family an English word comes faster in their mind.

    I’ll point it out to him every single time it happens but even my Slovenian sucks so I shouldn’t really talk!!

Comments are closed.