How to pronounce Ljubljana?

more than a year ago

Ljubljana Pronunciation

Now that you've mastered how to pronounce Slovenia, it's only fair its capital city also rolls off your tongue as smoothly as butter on hot morning toast. Take a minute or two to practice your Ljubljana pronunciation. 

How Not to Pronounce and Write Ljubljana?

Regardless of its widespread efficiency, don't rely too much on Google Translate, as it will give you a pronunciation that only a misspelt "Lubiana" can be linked to. This way of saying it is also far from correct, but it does have its own charm.

Most commonly misspelt and mispronounced Ljubljana pronunciations:
  1. lubliana - ignoring the js will make you sound lazy. If you're going for that go all the way and read bellow for the slang way to say it, "lublana"!
  2. ljubljiana - just way too much going on here​​​​​​
  3. lublijana - you've blended 1. and 2. 
  4. ljublijana - no, just no. 
  5. ljubliana - not even close
  6. llubjana - double ls don't work here
  7. llubljana - they also don't work here
  8. ljublana - almost 
  9. ljubjana - you almost had it, and back to this again​​​​​​​
  10. ljubana - you'll make the locals laugh with this one for sure 
  11. ljubijana -  this one, too!
  12. lubjiana - this should be someone's name, it's too good to pass out on ​​​​​​​
  13. ljub - don't you have to finish something here?
  14. ljubjlana - still not quite there, but love the effort 
  15. lubjana - yeah, not really 

Proper Ljubljana Pronunciation

Depending what your language background is, the lovely Ljubljana might be a nightmare for you to pronounce, or a piece of cake. Most agree that  English phonetics of it all results in this :


Similar to the beloved craft brewery Loo-blah-nah, though taking out the "y" from Lyoo- and the -blyah- makes it intro the slang version, spelt "Lublana". 

Lublana je Bolana

We never want to blame anyone for wanting to sound cool. We always want to sound cool. If you know about Pankrti (the Bastards) and their legendary Lublana je bolana (Ljubljana is sick) song from 1978, you'll be cool. You'll be sick! Saying Ljubljana in the way they pronounce it in the song is the slang version. 

Since we're mentioning bands and city names, an important link established throughout Ljubljana's history, we might do well to mention one of the most recognised Slovene music groups Laibach, named after the German word for Ljubljana. 
Photo: laibach.org

What's the origin of the word Ljubljana?

Now that you've learnt how to pronounce it properly, you might be wondering what is means and where it comes from. The Romans formed a city here and called it Iulia Emona, meaning a flooding river. From the 12th century onwards, the German version for it, Laibach, was often mentioned, as well as the Slavic-Roman word Luwigiana. Romantic souls that most people are, it was just a matter of time before the story behind the capital city's name took a more popular twist: that Ljubljana actually comes from the word "Ljubljena", which means "beloved". 

To find out more about Ljubljana and listen to our traveller Will who knows how to speak Slovene really well, check out this video about Ljubljana

If you've mastered your Ljubljana pronunciation, check How to pronounce Slovenia?



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