Something typical from Vinkovci

A whole range of influences can be heard in the daily conversations in Vinkovci – from Šokača ikavica, Turkish and German loanwords, to a multitude of specific localisms. For example, someone here tells you to go to budica. Budica is a local term for newsagents. One unusual, but typical verb used in Vinkovci is widely known – if you find young people sitting on the benches in the park, for example, and ask them what they are doing, they will probably answer: Nothing, lapimo. (It means the same as hlapimo (evaporate), but with the letter h at the beginning of the word being silent in typical Šokci style.) Lapiti expresses passive rebellion of young people, typical for Vinkovci, which means we are idling, doing nothing, as if to spite the traditional image of the diligent and hardworking Slavonian man.

The expression De, dobro je (It’s OK) is a bit more difficult to explain. It is a way for the people of Vinkovci to make you to stop talking – de, dobro je also means that they don’t want to listen or discuss something anymore. It means they don’t believe you completely. They might even be a little angry. So, paradoxically, it is not very good, but the discussion is over.

You may have noticed that there is a red telephone box in the park in the town centre, the kind you may know from English movies? It is a telephone box that all the inhabitants of Vinkovci feel as their own, and it is a gift from an Englishman (his name is Steve Gaunt) who came here to fight in the Homeland War. Then he stayed and became an inhabitant of Vinkovci, and the telephone box became ours.

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