Language & Phrasebook
Slovak is one of the western Slavonic languages like Czech and Polish. These languages are fairly similar and the ones that Slovaks understand best. However, this does not mean that they do not understand other Slavonic languages such as Croatian and Russian.
It’s as if Slovak were a kind of Esperanto of the Slavonic languages due to its geographical position in the centre and the fact that the difference between Slovak and the neighbouring language is never very big. Although there are only just over five million Slovak speakers, the speakers of this language are able to understand more than 300 million people.
Slovak grammar often poses the greatest problem for foreigners. To a large extent, it is influenced by Latin, so be prepared for declensions, grammatical cases, genders etc. At least you can console yourself with the fact that Slovaks themselves occasionally have problems with it.
School children often find it difficult to distinguish between the usage of “i” and “y”, especially when there is no difference in pronunciation. There is no other way – you just have to learn by heart.
Pronunciation might seem to be quite complicated; however, once you learn the basic rules, it is quite simple. In Slovak, the general rule “write as you hear it” is valid so there is one letter to every sound. The letter “ch” is the exception to the rule which exists as an independent letter in Slovak alphabet. It is not like English where one letter can be pronounced in a number of different ways nor is there the need for three letters to produce one sound as in German. The pronunciation of vowels and some consonants is similar to Italian or Spanish. Unlike most other Slavonic languages, the stress is placed on the initial syllable.
|ch||like loch in Scottish|
|r||as in Scottish|
|á, é, í, ó, ú||acute accent (it lengthens the vowel sound, like: father, air, knee, door, moon)|
|ď, ť, ň, ľ||a diacritical mark which softens the consonant, as in: duty, tube, canyon, lute|
|ä||similar to ae|
Vocabulary and Phrases
|Good afternoon||Dobrý deň|
|Good morning||Dobré ráno|
|Good evening||Dobrý večer|
|Hi / Hello||Ahoj / servus|
|Please here you are||Nech sa páči|
|Excuse me / Sorry||Prepáčte / Pardón|
|Yes / No||Áno / nie|
|How much is it?||Koľko to stojí?|
|Where is…?||Kde je…?|
|Good / Bad||Dobre / zle|
|Yesterday / Today / Tomorrow||Včera / dnes / zajtra|
|Right / Left / Straight||Vpravo / vľavo / rovno|
|My name is …||Volám sa …|
|I understand / I don’t understand||Rozumiem / nerozumiem|
|Mr / Mrs/ Miss||Pán / pani / slečna|
|Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday / Saturday / Sunday||Pondelok / utorok / streda / štvrtok / piatok / sobota / nedeľa|
|Day / Week / Year||Deň / týždeň / rok|