Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian (BCS): Jesi li video moju jelku

Can anyone translate this for me? The girl that wrote it is Serbian, but as I understand these three languages are pretty similar, so I don't know if it makes a difference... It should be something about a christmas tree :)

Thanks in advance!
 
  • Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Can anyone translate this for me? The girl that wrote it is Serbian, but as I understand these three languages are pretty similar, so I don't know if it makes a difference... It should be something about a christmas tree :)

    Yes, it means: "Have you seen my Christmas tree?" (Literally, it says "fir" rather than "Christmas tree", but this word is commonly used for Christmas trees in general, even those that aren't actually firs.)
     

    dudasd

    Senior Member
    Serbo-Croatian
    Yes, it means: "Have you seen my Christmas tree?" (Literally, it says "fir" rather than "Christmas tree", but this word is commonly used for Christmas trees in general, even those that aren't actually firs.)

    A small correction: I guess you meant opposite, fir (both the tree and the word) is used for New Year only, and Christmas tree is oak (yule-log) in Serbia and it's never called "jelka". So this can be only a New Year fir-tree.
     

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    A small correction: I guess you meant opposite, fir (both the tree and the word) is used for New Year only, and Christmas tree is oak (yule-log) in Serbia and it's never called "jelka". So this can be only a New Year fir-tree.

    I had in mind the usual meaning of the English phrase "Christmas tree", i.e. an evergreen tree (usually a pine or fir) that one puts into the living room and decorates around the holidays. I figure that the custom of badnjak is generally unknown to people in the West, so I don't think there's much potential for confusion there. :) On the other hand, the phrase "new year's tree" sounds very unusual in English; everyone says "Christmas tree" over here.

    However, isn't the expression božićna jelka or just jelka also used in Serbia nowadays? I remember seeing it in Serbian newspapers, and an experiment with Google suggests that it is used at least occasionally. In Croatia, jelka is definitely the usual word (interestingly, in Bosnia we used bor rather than jelka).
     

    dudasd

    Senior Member
    Serbo-Croatian
    No, jelka really isn't used (at least I never heard it or read it) in the meaning of "Christmas tree", except in translations. Everyone say "novogodišnja jelka", and "božićna jelka" can be only a bad translation of some foreign text on Serbian customs. (I don't count non-Orthodox Christians, they do say "božićna jelka" here, the same one me and my children are going to adorn tomorrow :) ).

    Now I remember that in our English books it was always "fir-tree" (I think I can guess the reason ;) ), but that doesn't make your translation "bad", of course. I just wanted to make a distinction between the fir-tree and the yule-log (I guess the readers of epic fiction know pretty lot about yule-logs, they somehow go well with all those warriors :) ). So be it a Christmas tree or a fir-tree... happy holidays. :)
     
    Thanks for your help! I'm completely sure that she means Christmas tree though, since, as you mention, it would make no sense to talk to me, a "westerner", about a "New Year's tree" :)

    She is originally a Bosnian Serbian but has lived in Denmark since she was 7, so perhaps her original mother tongue has become a bit rusty...

    Merry Christmas!
     

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Thanks for your help! I'm completely sure that she means Christmas tree though, since, as you mention, it would make no sense to talk to me, a "westerner", about a "New Year's tree" :)

    She is originally a Bosnian Serbian but has lived in Denmark since she was 7, so perhaps her original mother tongue has become a bit rusty...

    It's also possible that her family has accepted the local custom and prepares the tree already for December 25. (Just in case you don't know, to complicate matters further, Serbian Orthodox Christmas is celebrated according to the Julian calendar, on January 7.)

    Merry Christmas!

    Merry Christmas to everyone (whether in two or fifteen days :))!
     

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Now I remember that in our English books it was always "fir-tree" (I think I can guess the reason ;) ),

    Oh yes, in the old days it was always funny to watch how translators of Western movies desperately tried to work their way around any mentions of religious imagery, and I suppose the same was the case with textbooks. :D I remember many movies in which "Christmas" was translated as "New Year", "Christmas Eve" as "New Year's Eve", etc. in the subtitles. It must have been rather confusing to viewers who didn't know any English why none of those Americans were getting smashed on their "New Year's Eve" or suffering from hangover on their "New Year's Day"! :D

    However, the funniest example I remember was from a Polish movie I watched as a kid, in which a character yelled enthusiastically: "Święty Mikołaj!!!" Even though this utterance was perfectly understandable to any Slavic speaker who had ever heard of St. Nicholas, the translator faithfully followed the guidelines and subtitled it as "Djed Mraz"! :D
     

    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    However, isn't the expression božićna jelka or just jelka also used in Serbia nowadays? I remember seeing it in Serbian newspapers, and an experiment with Google suggests that it is used at least occasionally. In Croatia, jelka is definitely the usual word (interestingly, in Bosnia we used bor rather than jelka).

    No, jelka really isn't used (at least I never heard it or read it) in the meaning of "Christmas tree", except in translations. Everyone say "novogodišnja jelka",
    :confused:. Of course everyone says just "jelka" in everyday speech -- how else? Yes, one may say "novogodišnja jelka", but that's against the principle of language economy. "Jelka" nowadays means almost exclusively "Christmas tree"; when referring to a fir in e.g. woodworking contexts, one would say "jela".
     

    dudasd

    Senior Member
    Serbo-Croatian
    :confused:. Of course everyone says just "jelka" in everyday speech -- how else? Yes, one may say "novogodišnja jelka", but that's against the principle of language economy. "Jelka" nowadays means almost exclusively "Christmas tree"; when referring to a fir in e.g. woodworking contexts, one would say "jela".

    It was my clumsy sentence (but Althauf grasped the point). Jelka means Christmas tree (božićna jelka) in language of Catholics and other non-Orthodox Christians, of course, as well as božićna jelka, but in Serbia generally it's a symbol of New Year only (be it novogodišnja jelka or just jelka) because Christmas is mostly connected with badnjak (oak log or branch). Plus the reason pointed out by Athaulf. :) And there's even one practical reason - every year I am struggling to find a fir-tree so that my husband can have a real Christmas and we never can find it before December 27-28th, so it's not Christmas tree anymore. (Except this year, now we will have it on Christmas for the first time.)

    Anyway, Andreas got his reply, so I think I should stop here. :)
     
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