Aha! Learning Croatian: Vocabulary #002
To laugh, or to smile?
Or not be permitted to do either? Or to be mixed up?
Does anybody else who is learning Croatian mix up the words for “smile” and “laugh”?
“To smile” is smiješiti se.
“To laugh” is smijati se.
Ne znam da li da se smijem ili da se smiješim. I don't know whether to laugh or to smile.
Here are some corresponding conjugations of these two verbs:
Smijem se. I am laughing. Smiješim se. I am smiling.
Smijemo se. We are laughing. Smiješimo se. We are smiling.
Smijala se. She was laughing. Smiješila se. She was smiling.
Smij se! Laugh! Smiješi se! Smile!
Smijem se Smiješim se
Cartoon by Christian Dorn from Pixabay Cartoon by Dmitry Abramov from Pixabay
By the way, smijati se and smiješiti se are both the continuous (imperfective) form of the verbs. The finished (perfective) forms are nasmijati se and nasmiješiti se. So …
Nasmijali su se. They laughed. Nasmiješili su se. They smiled.
A reminder: That little word se is so, so important.
Yes, smijem se means “I am laughing”.
But what happens if we drop the se? Smijem means “I am allowed”!
Ne smijem ići u kino. I am not allowed to go to the cinema.
Ne smijem da se smijem ni da se smiješim. I am not allowed to laugh nor to smile.
[Forgive my lack of acting ability.]
By the way, my wonderful teacher Mateja tells me that a preferable way of saying “I am not allowed to laugh nor to smile” is
Ne smijem se smijati niti se smiješiti.
To complicate things, smijem se (I am laughing) is from the infinitive verb smijati se.
But the infinitive of smijem (I am allowed) is smjeti.
Let me just finish off with a killer punch ....
Depression has set in again. I must admit that ponekad se smiješam.
No, that does not mean “Sometimes I smile” - nor “Sometimes I laugh”!
Rather, that says “Sometimes, I am confused/mixed up." (between smijati se and smiješiti se, of course)
“To become mixed up” is smiješati se – and not smiješiti se ( to smile)!
Ne znam da li da se smijem ili da plačem!
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