you're listening to...
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslavia (Jugoslavija), Rock, Serbo-Croatian (Srpskohrvatski)

“Bolje Biti Pijan Nego Star” (Plavi Orkestar)

Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Verse: Am E Am / Am C
Dm    Am / C E Am
Chorus: Am E Am
G  C
Dm  E  Am
C   E  Am
“Bolje biti pijan nego star”

Kad pomislim na te, stara ljubavi,
žao mi je što smo bili samo dobri drugovi
žao mi je što smo bili samo dobri drugovi

A život leti, leti, mladost kraća je
sve će jednom da se vrati samo ona ostaje
sve će jednom da se vrati samo ona ostaje

Bolje biti pijan nego star
bolje biti pijan nego star
vino ne zna da smo nekad bili sretni par
bolje biti pijan nego star

A kada dođe zima i prve pahulje
čekaću te, moja Buco kraj prve gimnazije
čekaću te, moja Buco kraj prve gimnazije

A nećeš, nećeš doći znam te dobro, znam
možda je i tako bolje navik’o sam biti sam
možda je i tako bolje navik’o sam biti sam


“Better to be drunk than old”

When I think of you, old love,
I’m sorry we were just good friends

But life flies, flies, adolescence is shorter

Better to be drunk than old
Wine doesn’t know that we were once a happy couple
Better to be drunk than old

And when winter comes and the first snowflakes
I’ll wait for you, my Buca, at the end of first gimnazija

But you will not, you will not come, I know you well, I know
Perhaps it was even better, I was used to being alone




posmisliti na – to think about
ljubav – love
žao mi je  – I’m sorry
život – life
letjeti  – to fly
mladost – youth
kraća – shorter (feminine); from adjective kratak (short)
jednom – once, at one time
vratiti se – to return
ostati  – to stay
bolje…nego – better…than
pijan – drunk
sretan – happy
doći – to come
zima – winter
pahulja – flake
čekati – to wait
kraj – end
znati – to know
navikiti – to get used
sam – 1) I am; 2) alone

Grammar notes – Cases and prepositions

There are seven grammatical cases which uniquely mark adjectives and nouns in Serbo-Croatian.  Each case corresponds to one or more grammatical functions and works with certain prepositions and verbs.

I.  The simplest case to learn is the Nominative case.  Dictionaries usually record adjectives and nouns in this form, so they do not require any declensions, or changes.

Functionally, the nominative case is used when (1) the noun is the grammatical subject of the main sentence, or (2) when two nouns/adjectives are equated with one another.

(1) vino ne zna da…
the wine does not know that…

Vino is a neuter noun, here in its singular nominative form as the subject of the sentence.

(2a) …smo bili samo dobri drugovi
…we were just good friends

(2b)…smo nekad bili sretni par
….we were once a happy couple

In (2a)  drugovi is plural nominative form of drug, a masculine noun being equated with an implied “we” (mi) indicated by smo bili (were, first person plural).  For masculine nouns in the plural nominative, both the noun as well as any adjectives end in -i, hence dobar becomes dobri before drugovi.

Similarly, in (2b), sretni par is equated with “we”, but this time using the singular nominative, paralso a masculine noun.  In such cases of equation, the adjective, sretan, takes an -i ending.

II.  The Accusative case is generally used for Direct ObjectsDirectionand Duration.

(3) kad pomislim na te
when I think about you

(4) znam te dobro
I know you well

(5) čekaću te
I will wait for you

In these three examples, the direct object of the verbs is “you”, which in the accusative case in Serbo-Croatian can be either tebe or te.  The accusative case is necessary because case is linked to the verb (or sometimes verb-preposition combination), thus posmiliti na (to think about), znati (to know), čekati (to wait, wait for).  Other common verbs that require accusative are dati (to give), čitati (to read), pipati (to touch), doneti (to bring), pisati (to write), čuti (to hear), pitati (to ask), poslati (to send), piti (to drink), gledati (to watch), jesti (to each), kuvati (to cook), videti (to see), voleti (to love).

Note that the common verb imati (to have) is not on this list of verbs that take nouns in the accusative.  Imati indicates possession, which is generally a function of the Genitive case.  Hence, in the following examples (not from the song), the feminine noun pitanja (question) takes an -e ending, and the neuter noun vrijeme (time) takes an -a ending.

(6) imam pitanje
I have a question

(7) nemamo vremena
we don’t have time

The accusative case is also used for Direction and Duration.  While there are prepositions that indicate direction of an action, the duration function is usually implied by the accusative form. For instance u (in, into), o (on, against), na (on, onto, at), po (for, by, through), za (for), prema (toward), as well as kroz (through), niz (down, downward), uz (up, upward, alongside), među (among, between), pod (under), nad (above), pred (in front of, toward).  In the following examples (not from the song), the feminine noun Amerika takes an -u ending, and the masculine noun dan (day) takes an -a ending, with its adjective ceo taking the -og ending.

(8) ideš za Ameriku
you’re going to the U.S.

(9) čekati celog dana
to wait the whole day

Note that for masculine and neuter nouns and their adjectives, the accusative singular and the genitive singular forms are identical.  Hence, the following form, following the genitive preposition tokom (during), remains the same as in (9) when the duration was simply implied.

(10) tokom celog dana
during the whole day

III.  The Genitive case is used with verbs of Possession, and often with Prepositions.  As shown, the verb imati (to have) generally the genitive, although it still takes what could be considered a direct object.  Hence, in example (11), the object of voliti (to love) is a feminine noun in the accusative form, but the object of nemati (to not have) is a neuter noun in the genitive.

(11) Volim ovu pjesmu ali nemam vremena.
I love this song but I don’t have time.

Possession can be indicated between two nouns without the need for a preposition in-between.  For example,

(12) kraj prve gimnazije
the end of first gimnazija (high school)

Additional, a number of reflexive verbs and prepositions require the genitive case.  For example, verbs include bojati se (to be afraid of), prihvatiti se (to accept), kloniti se (to avoid), sećati se (to remember);  common prepositions include zbog (because of, due to), bez (without), do (unto, until), od (from), kod (at, chez), oko (around), posle/nakon (after), prije (before), protiv (against), preko (across), (u)mjesto (in place of), između (between), osim (except for), poput (such as).

There are a number of additional prepositions that would seem to indicate direction or location but are nonetheless used with the genitive case, such as blizu (near), duž (along), iznad (above), ispod (below), ispred (in front of), iza (behind), etc…

(13) sećam se moje prve ljubavi
I remember my first love

(14) pjesma protiv rata
a song against war

(14)  osim toga
besides [except for that]

(15) zbog toga
because of that

(16) kod mene
at my place

(17) bez tebe
without you

IV.  The Dative and Locative cases are similar and straight-forward.  In terms of form, they are identical.  The difference is in function: while dative case is used for Indirect Objects (since the direct object is marked by the accusative case) and some verbs of Motion, the locative case is used to indicate the Location of a noun or an action (whereas its motion or direction is covered either by the accusative or dative).  Additionally, two small sets of prepositions also distinguish their functions.

(18) šta kupiti prijatelju?
what to buy for a friend?

In (18), the masculine noun prijatelj (friend) is in the dative form, ending with -u, because it is the indirect object of the verb kupiti (to buy).  A number of common verbs may require the dative: dati (to give), nedostajati se (to miss), pomoći (to help), etc.

Direction is also indicated by Dative.

(19) Idemo kući.
Let’s go home.

(20) Kući smo.
We are (at) home.

In both (19) and (20), the feminine noun kuća (home) takes an -i ending; however, in (19), the case required by the verb ići (to go) is dative, while in (20) the location indicated by biti (to be) requires the locative case.

Notice, in the following pairs of examples, how the case changes according to the preposition, even when the verb is the same:

(21) Idemo u školu.
Let’s go to school.

(22) Idemo prema školi.
Let’s go toward the school.

In (21), the preposition u requires the accusative case, that is that the feminine noun škola (school) take an -u ending.  In (22), similarly, the preposition prema requires the dative, hence the -i ending to feminine noun.  Other prepositions that require dative are k/ka (toward), nasuprot (counter), unatoč/uinat (in spite of), u(s)prkos (in spite of), saglasno (according to), shadno (in accordance with).

The locative case is used to indicate where some thing or action is or takes places, often with common prepositions such as u, na, po, o, pri, and prema.  While these same prepositions can be used with accusative adjective and nouns to identify directionality, the context will dictate which case should be used to indicate location.  Let’s take two examples without context:

(23) …u Ameriku

(24)…u Americi

The feminine noun is Amerika.  In (23), the -u ending indicates the accusative case, and thus directionality, that is, something/someone is going to America.  In (24), the -i ending indicates the locative (as well as dative) case, suggesting that something is taking place in America, or that someone is in America.

V.  The Instrumental case is often used to indicate Means.  Here are a few simple examples:

(25) idem autobusom.
I go by bus.

(26)  sa tobom
with you

(27) crnogorskom
in/using Montenegrin

Like the other cases, there are some verbs and prepositions that tend to require the instrumental case, such as hvaliti se (to brag about) and verbs of transportation like putovati (to travel), doći (to come), šetati (to walk), hodati (to walk),  s(a) (with, animate/food), za (after, for), medu (among, with), nad (above), pod (under), pred (in front of).

Notice that in (27), one could also say “na crnogorskom” which would be in the locative case, more completely as “na crnagorskom jeziku” (in the Montenegrin language).

VI.  Finally, the Vocative case is used when Addressing someone or something.  In this song, there are two examples:

(27) stara ljubavi
old love

(28) moja Buco
my Buca






No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: