There are many languages out there that are nothing short of a pain in the ass when it comes to finding learning tools and resources for and Slovene is just one such example.
Recently, an LATG patron reached out and asked whether I could help find some materials for Slovene. So naturally I began doing some digging and lo and behold – he was right. It wasn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be to find learning materials.
Still, I was able to dig up at least a few resources that should at least set Slovene language learners in the right direction!
Slovene can boast around 2.5 million speakers living mostly in Slovenia (obviously) and neighboring countries such as Austria, Italy, Hungary and Croatia.
Unfortunately, this number is in decline due to the increasing prevalence of other major world languages, not to mention a decreasing birth rate all across Europe. However, this could also play in your favor if you’re looking for work in Slovenia or as a translator.
The decrease in speaker count could also lead to increased demand.
Glass half full and all…
Slovene belongs to the Slavic language that also includes such languages as Polish, Russian, Ukrainian and more.
I found that I was able to understand and read a considerable amount of it just having spent some time studying Russian. Still, it is different enough that you probably can’t quite skate by without spending some time learning Slovene itself.
In any case, speakers of other Slavic languages will certainly have a strong advantage over their non-Slavic speaking counterparts.
Resources for Learning Slovene
Very Important Note:
This language can be called Slovene or Slovenian. When running searches for Slovene learning tools you need to remember to search for both terms. This makes a huge difference when it comes to courses on Memrise or iTalki. They’re the same language, but the keyword matters.
Saw that one coming, didn’t you? Of course I’d include Memrise. We all know by now that it’s one of my go-to secondary language resources for pretty much anything and everything. If you’re not already familiar with it though, here’s the tl;dr.
Memrise is a mnemonic learning system that functions sort of like a glorified flashcard browser (and mobile!) app. It allows users to create courses for other learners and allows you to create your own mnemonic indicators for words you struggle to remember. These little gems are called “mems”.
It’s totally free and if you’re not already using it you need to stop doing what you’re doing and go check it out.
It’s a really great resource for learning pretty much anything, but it has a few Slovene courses that I’ve linked for you right here:
Remember, they’re the same language. Two different search terms leads to two different course selections.
In addition to these courses, there are also Slovene language courses available in languages other than English available on Memrise.
If your native language is not English and you’re more comfortable with your own, or you’re one of those hardcore learners who studies one language by studying another language in that language – in which case I salute you.
If you want to learn more about Memrise I’ve written a much, much more in-depth review here.
Slovene.si is a cool little website devoted to offering you free Slovene lessons at the A1 level.
It’s pretty basic stuff, but if you’re new to the language or are looking for a fairly quick refresher course I highly recommend that you check it out.
It won’t devour a huge amount of your time and it certainly won’t make you worse.
slovene.si also comes with a plethora of fun little Slovenia facts for you to feast your mind on. Who knows, maybe it will even help to inspire you to take a trip there some day!
Unfortunately, it’s not going to carry you too far and the website is kind of bare-bones. It looks like something from 1998. Still, it’s not about what’s on the outside… it’s the inside that counts.
Or something like that.
Amazon has a ton of books!
About two years ago I ran a survey on this site that asked visitors like you what your favorite language learning resource type was. It listed things like mobile apps, online web browser programs, personal lessons, and of course books.
I wasn’t expecting this at all, but books were by far the champion when it came to popular language learning tools. Not exactly my personal preference, but the people have spoken.
If you’re one of those book lovers I’ve got good news for you. There is a fairly wide range of Slovene learning material on Amazon available in both hard copy and Kindle versions.
Check out this list. It includes a wide variety of language materials including Mike Knight’s stupidly large collection “Slovenian Language Builder.”
And if you haven’t already started using Kindle you can check it out for free right here. It’s available on pretty much all devices (and your desktop) and might allow you to save some money on those books.
There are a lot of dictionaries and machine translators out there for you to use, and I personally use several. I like Pons for German, and WordReference for Spanish and bab.la just because they’re super cool and have a bunch of languages available (but not Slovene …yet).
But Forvo stands out in my mind as a particularly useful tool for Slovene learners in that it focuses not just on word translations but on pronunciation. In fact, that’s its primary purpose.
Slovene – and indeed all Slavic languages – can throw some serious pronunciation curveballs at learners unfamiliar with Eastern European languages.
I think a pronunciation guide of some sort is one of the best resources anyone learning a language – especially if they aren’t familiar with Slavic tongues – can invest in and Forvo really delivers. In addition to Slovene, Forvo also supports a number of other languages and is well worth a look for any learner.
The Martindale Center has what is possibly the ugliest website I’ve seen since the 90s and it clearly isn’t being maintained by someone born in the last 30 years.
Nevertheless, Martindale’s offers a whopping selection of language learning resources for a shockingly large number of languages.
All it really is is a link list broken down by languages. You pick the language you’re looking for (which is annoying because it’s an enormous list with crappy structure) and it offers lots of links to further reading and other resources.
These resources include everything from full university courses to places you can purchase Slovene keyboard stickers.
It’s ugly as sin and bluer than the Blue Man Group eating a salad of blueberries and smurfs, but it’s well worth the retinal discomfort.
I’m not actually much of a fan of the 101languages site in general. I find it to be too simplistic, a little bit fallacious in its wording and assumptions, and otherwise unappealing. I think the quality of the website is generally low.
Typically I wouldn’t recommend 101languages but it does offer a huge selection of resources in a a huge number of languages and in the case of some of these harder to find tongues, you kinda have to take what you can get.
One good thing that I have to say about 101 is that it behaves mostly as a resource for finding other resources. It offers a selection of suggestions for learning Slovene in case you’re not satisfied with my own list.
I like my list better though, and I hope you will too, but if not you don’t really have much to lose by checking it out. It’s not going to make you worse.
Slovene radio apps
If it’s listening practice you want, it’s listening practice you’ll get.
Both the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores have a large number of Slovene radio apps that you can download for your mobile devices.
These apps allow you to tune in to real online Slovene radio stations for free and listen to current (or classical!) Slovene music. It’s a great way to surround yourself with the sounds of Slovenia.
Here are a few of your options:
You can probably find more Slovene radio station apps for your mobile device. If you happen to find any others that aren’t on these lists feel free to say so in the comments and I’ll be happy to add more.
While we’re on the subject of online radio – I’ve got one more for you.
TuneIn is a fantastic online radio service that lets you select music, talk, news and more from nearly every corner of the globe. This is one you don’t want to miss for any language project, let alone Slovene.
I highly recommend checking this one out. It offers dozens of free channels from all over Slovenia and is essential to anyone who enjoys using music as a supplement for language listening skill development.
Why don’t you check out TuneIn’s Slovene options right now.
And because you know how much I love mobile stuff – TuneIn Radio also has a mobile app available for both iOS and Android platforms.
iTalki is yet another classic language learning course platform that allows you to take courses or form language exchanges – either for free with other learners or via paid professional teachers – in pretty much any major language you can think of including many you can’t.
iTalki is a tried and true means of learning another language. When it comes right down to it – you’re never really going to succeed the way you need to if all you do is listening to your audio apps and read books. It takes real speakers devoting really time and energy to helping you learn.
iTalki has a number of Slovene learning partners that you can pair up with. You can find a few of them by going here.
Audible is another one of my favorite language listening resources and another that you can take advantage of for free.
The Audible service – available as a mobile app for your device – is Amazon’s audio book provider and it truly has an overwhelming number of language learning resources in a very, very wide selection.
The coolest thing is that you can get two audio books of your choosing absolutely free by signing up for their 30 day trial and then cancelling your payments immediately after making your selection. You get to keep the books and can purchase more at any time. Alternatively, if you find that you like the service, by all means continue. It’s a cost effective means for finding fantastic listening resources.
If you want to get started with Audible, go ahead and make an account here. As soon as you’re done, run a search for Slovene (or Slovenian) language and see what turns up! I was able to find at least 10.
I’ve outlined the process in much greater detail in this article that will help walk you through how you can get your books as well as the unsubscribe process that took me a while to figure out myself when I did my own trial.
WeSpeke is a free social networking site for language learners looking to exchange languages with a native speaker (or more advanced learner).
It asks you to set up a profile; inputting your personal information as well as a list of interests and other aspects about yourself that the system then uses to pair you with what it deems to be appropriate partners.
Generally it does a pretty good job. I’ve found the people I’ve worked with over the past year or so to be generally very helpful and genuinely interested in exchanging languages.
However, I have heard that the experience may be a little bit different for women. A few of the women I spoke with on WeSpeke said that they weren’t always happy with it because some partners got a little… you know, creepy.
In any case, it does give you the option to only work with other members of the same sex, so there’s always that.
Other than that, it’s a pretty solid system and well worth checking out.
You can check out my review of WeSpeke for a lot more info here.
This book course comes highly recommended and goes above and beyond some of the other books available on Amazon.
A number of versions of Colloquial Slovene exist including one that comes with an audio CD. This option costs considerably more and is unnecessary.
Learners using the Colloquial Slovene coursebook can download the MP3s that go along with the course from their website.
This iOS app functions very similarly to WeSpeke. It’s yet another social networking platform that allows users to match their interests and language goals with those of another learner looking to exchange tongues.
The app is, sadly, only currently available for iOS platforms but is free and well worth checking out.
It does a slightly better job of keeping the “datey” aspect out of the learning exchange but as with all things Internet, you know, just be careful.
Again, I’ve written a thorough review here that you should look over.
This German language website offers a number of free, basic Slovene vocabulary units with audio for you to look over before you decide whether to continue and purchase their product or not..
A $30 software course is also offered. I have not tried it myself and thus cannot attest to its quality or success, but the fact that the website is in German shouldn’t really slow you down. Most of the content appears to be in Slovene anyway – as it should be – and for those also learning German this could be a really cool tool for killing two birds with one stone.
If you have used or do end up using SprachenLernen24 please let me know how it went for you. I dislike recommending products I haven’t used, but since Slovene is – once again – not the easiest language to find tools for, beggars can’t be choosers.
**Edit** as of September 2016 ilanguages appears to no longer be active. I have left it here on this list in the hopes that it will return. If anyone hears anything about it, please mention it in the comments section!
A new resource that I only just discovered in my hunt for resources for learning Slovene, ilanguages.org is a nifty little site that points you in the direction of a number of grammar, vocabulary and phrases for you to add to your burgeoning Slovene knowledge.
It doesn’t look like the kind of resource that will get you very far in the long run, but for those just starting out it could definitely be worth a look.
ilanguages comes prepared with audio and focuses primarily on the most common words you’re likely to encounter.
More advanced Slovene learners are unlikely to find this especially useful, but it’s still worth checking out.
EuroTalk is another language learning software that I’m not actually a huge fan of myself.
It’s another one of those websites that says “Learn a language for free!” and then proceeds to teach you 10 words, congratulating you on your Herculean feat and then ushering you towards a product page to continue learning.
I tend to despise companies that do that.
However, EuroTalk isn’t super expensive and has a a multitude of different course offerings to choose from. Furthermore – and this is one of the features that warrants it being included on this list – EuroTalk supports its courses in over 50 languages for native speakers to choose from, not just English.
This is useful not only because it’s convenient for natives who may have a limited grasp of the English language but also for learners of other languages looking to flex their brains a bit.
If you’re interested in checking it out, you can find EuroTalk Slovenian here.
There is also a EuroTalk Slovenian app available for iOS for $9.99 if you discover that you enjoy the program and want to go mobile.
Learn Slovenian Online
This is another one that I haven’t tried myself.
It’s another reasonably priced software packagethat comes fully equipped with private lessons, which as we all know by now really is the way to go.
Membership, lessons and access to the course material costs $30, which really isn’t that bad when you take into consideration the prices of other formal lessons or courses. If the quality of the instruction is any good this would be a highly cost effective means of studying Slovene.
Furthermore, before you commit to anything, you can sign up for a trial lesson. So what do you really have to lose?
Give it a shot and let me know how it goes!
Slovene language resources aren’t exactly the most abundant things to find, but I hope that some of these tools will be found useful for you.
The Slovene language truly is beautiful to hear and anyone with any aspirations of traveling or working in the area would do well to educate themselves in Slovene.
What other resources for learning Slovene do you know about? Share them in the comments below!
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