Slovene with Subtitles: Watching TV for Fun and Profit

By , 23 Oct 2017, 10:21 AM Lifestyle
Screenshot from Taxi Driver (1976) Screenshot from Taxi Driver (1976)

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Learning Slovene with subtitles.

Subtitles are a great way to learn a language, as the same multiword expressions and chunks are thrown up again and again, held on-screen a short time, hardly long enough at first, so you’ll need to pause and study them, and then soon they seem to hang there for a while, until you can get from one end to the other, making out most or all of the meaning. Here I’ll write about Slovene subtitles with English audio, then, for more advanced learners, with both in Slovene.

I started learning the language with food and drink, the supermarkets full of realia - apples under the jabolko sign, the cheese sitting there under sir. I made a point of writing shopping lists in Slovene as soon as possible, and then got into watching cooking shows in English and with Slovene subtitles. From there I moved onto basic comedies, the subtitles staying there a little longer as the punchline paid off, and I tried to make the connection between the words and meaning, pen and paper in hand, remote nearby to pause and study closer.

If you have cable TV then you get all this as standard - Slovene subs with foreign media. If you watch things on your computer or other device, and subtitles aren't included, then you might be able to find an .srt file with Slovene subtitles, or slovenski podnapis. The best site I've found for this seems to be local one,

YouTube has some material if you search for clips with “slovenski podnapis,” although it mostly seems to be conspiracy, truther and self-help. Today I've been enjoying a short video singing the praises of multi-level marketing schemes, and also exploring what the local site moj video has to offer (a lot of low resolution movies, but also some pleasant surprises).

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Words of inspiration from this multi-level marketing video with English audio.

But all of the above is about English (or German, or Spanish) audio and Slovene subs. What if you're beyond that and want everything Slovene? Here's the great stumbling block for adult learners of the language - a real lack of local media to dive into. That said, while there may not be the hundreds of telenovelas one could enjoy into if learning Spanish, and you're unlikely to find your new favourite show, there is still plenty of material to enjoy, on cable TV and online.


Screenshot of Kdo bi vedel, zabavni kviz, from the RTV site

If you have Teletext on your TV, then you can get Slovene subs for a lot of shows on the national broadcaster’s SLO 1 and 2. Just turn on the Teletext and set the controls for 771 for SLO 1 or 772 for SLO 2. While this is great if you're watching at home with family or friends, you're still limited to whatever those two channels are showing at the time, as pause and rewind isn’t possible, and the commercial stations don't seem to have this service.

But if you have computer, tablet or smartphone then you’re in luck. RTV has a pretty good website (click here for all the shows with subs), and an excellent app (faster, for me at least, than the former). These both have categorised archives, and by simply clicking on the CC icon on the app, or the ear with the line through it on the website, you can find all the shows with subs. The categories include news, culture, children, teenagers, sport and so on, and if you're at the stage where Slovene audio and subs are of interest, then the site's easy enough for you to explore.

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Screenshot of the RTV app, showing some of the programmes with subtitles

Finally, if standard, clearly spoken Slovene is easy enough and you want to dig a little deeper, going far beyond my current abilities, then I think I recommend checking out the YouTube series Pr'Hostar, the independenly produced comedy that went on to spawn the most commerically successful Slovene movie of all time. As far as I can tell it's about the crazy adventures of some lazy hotel staff working in the middle of nowhere, and you can choose between Slovene and English subtitles in the settings.

Episode 01 of Pr'Hostar

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