Slovak Language Lessons for Beginners - Lesson 1

NOTE: Slovak Language Lessons are UNDER RECONSTRUCTION after this website's move to the new Google Sites. I hope to have the audio clips back online as soon as I can.

SAYING HELLO AND GOODBYE

Dobré ráno! = Good morning!

Dobre rano.mp3

Dobrý deň! = Good day! (formal "hello" that is appropriate at any time of day)

Dobry den.mp3

Dobrý večer! = Good evening!

Dobry vecer.mp3

Dobrú noc! = Good night! (before going to bed)

Dobru noc.mp3

Ahoj! = hello/bye (informal; when talking to one person)

Ahoj.mp3

Ahojte! = informal hello/bye (informal; when talking to two or more people)

Ahojte.mp3

Čau! = hello/bye (informal and more relaxed than 'ahoj'; when talking to one person)

Cau.mp3

Čaute! = hello/bye (same when talking to two or more people)

Caute.mp3

Dovidenia! = goodbye (formal)

Dovidenia.mp3

When picking up the phone, you can say "Haló?" ('Hello?'), "Prosím?" ('please?') or "Áno?" ('yes?').

Haló?:

Halo.mp3

Prosím?:

Prosim.mp3

Áno?:

Ano_question.mp3

INTRODUCING YOURSELF

Ako sa voláš? = What's your name? (informal)

Ako sa volas.mp3

Ako sa voláte? = What's your name? (formal)

Ako sa volate.mp3

Volám sa Marek. = My name is Marek.

Volam sa Marek.mp3

HOW ARE YOU?

Ako sa máš? = How are you? (informal)

Ako sa mas.mp3

Ako sa máte? = How are you? (formal)

Ako sa mate.mp3

Dobre. = Good. (Literally: Well.)

Dobre.mp3

Veľmi dobre. = Very good. (Literally: Very well.)

Velmi dobre.mp3

Zle. = Bad. (Unlike in the US, it is not taboo to say so in Slovak.)

Zle.mp3

Veľmi zle. = Very bad.

Velmi zle.mp3

Áno. = Yes.

Ano.mp3

Hej. = Yes. (very informal; like 'yeah' in English)

Hej.mp3

Nie. = No.

Nie.mp3

Neviem. = I don't know.

Neviem.mp3

Viem. = I know.

Viem.mp3

Nech sa páči. = Here you are. / Here you go.

Nech sa paci.mp3

SAYING THANK YOU

Ďakujem. = Thank you.

Dakujem.mp3

Ďakujem pekne. = Thank you very much. (Literally: I thank you nicely.)

Dakujem pekne.mp3

Ďakujem veľmi pekne. = Thank you very much. (Literally: I thank you very nicely.)

Dakujem velmi pekne.mp3

Prosím. = You are welcome. (Also means 'please' and 'pardon?'.)

Prosim.mp3

THE VERB "TO BE" (byť)

byť = to be (infinitive)

byt.mp3

Note: The infinitives of Slovak verbs end in -ť.

ja som (I am) my sme (we are)

ty si (you are - sing. informal) vy ste (you are - sing. formal, and plural)

on je (he is) oni sú (they are - group of males, and mixed groups)

ona je (she is) ony sú (they are - group of females)

ja som = I am

Ja som.mp3

ty si = you are (informal one person 'you')

Ty si.mp3

on je = he is

On je.mp3

ona je = she is

Ona je.mp3

my sme = we are

My sme.mp3

vy ste = you are (when referring to multiple people, or formal one person)

Vy ste.mp3

oni sú = they are (groups of males, and mixed groups)

Oni su.mp3

ony sú = they are (groups of females)

Ony su.mp3

NEGATION:

ja nie som (I am not) my nie sme (we are)

ty nie si (you are not - sing. informal) vy nie ste (you are not - sing. formal, and plural)

on nie je (he is not) oni nie sú (they are not - group of males, and mixed groups)

ona nie je (she is not) ony nie sú (they are not - group of females)

ja nie som = I am not

Ja nie som.mp3

ty nie si

Ty nie si.mp3

on nie je

On nie je.mp3

ona nie je

Ona nie je.mp3

my nie sme

My nie sme.mp3

vy nie ste

Vy nie ste.mp3

oni nie sú

Oni nie su.mp3

ony nie sú

Ony nie su.mp3

ABECEDA = Alphabet

- Like English, Slovak uses the Latin alphabet, with some minor modifications:

a á ä b c č d ď dz dž e é f g h ch i í j k l ľ ĺ m n ň o ó ô p q r ŕ s š t ť u ú v w x y ý z ž

abeceda.mp3

Notes:

- The small / accent mark (dĺžeň - the "lengthener") above a, e, i, y, o, u, l, r makes the sound longer: á, é, í, ý, ó, ú, ĺ, ŕ

- The small \/ accent mark (mäkčeň - the "softener") above č, ď, dž, ľ, ň, š, ť, ž softens the consonant: It turns a c sound into an English "ch" sounds, a s sound into an English "sh" sound, and so on.

In e-mails, it is common to not include any accent marks.

In general, you read as you write, and vice versa. The one major exception to this rule is that you read

de, te, ne, di, ti, ni

softly as:

ďe, ťe, ňe, ďi, ťi, ňi (you would never write this, though)

de te ne.mp3
ditini.mp3

So, for instance, you would write dovidenia (goodbye) and nedeľa (Sunday), but pronounce it as if it was Doviďenia and ňeďeľa.

Rejoice: You can now read anything written in Slovak.

COMMON SLOVAK FIRST NAMES AND NICKNAMES

name --> nickname (English translation)

Ján --> Jano (John = Jack)

Jozef --> Jožo (Joseph = Joe)

Michal --> Mišo (Michael = Mike)

Martin --> Maťo (Martin = Marty)

Marián (male name) --> Majo

František --> Fero (Francis = Frank)

Lukáš (Lucas)

Matúš (Matthew)

Karol --> Kajo (Charles, Karl)

Vladimír --> Vlado

For male names that end in -slav (such as Miroslav, Jaroslav), the nickname is usually whatever comes before the ending (i.e., Miro, Jaro).

Katarína --> Katka (Catherine)

Zuzana --> Zuzka (Susan)

Mária --> Maja, Majka, Maruška (Mary)

Jana --> Janka (Jane)

Júlia --> Julka (Julia)

HOW TO ADDRESS PEOPLE

- Slovaks distinguish between the informal ty, which is used with friends, family and children, and the formal vy, which is used when talking politely to strangers (including young adults).

- When in doubt, use vy.

- We do not usually have middle names. My full name is Marek Hlaváč, and consists only of my first name (meno) and my family name (priezvisko)

- Female last names usually end in -ová. My mother's and sister's last name is thus Hlaváčová.

- We commonly add -ová to foreign last names as well: Hillary Clintonová, Michelle Obamová, Condoleeza Riceová.

pán Novák = Mr. Novák

pani Nováková = Mrs. Nováková or Ms. Nováková (both for married women, and women in general)

slečna Nováková = Miss Nováková

pan Novak.mp3

- If you are not sure whether a woman is married, or is a stranger, always use pani - it is much safer than slečna, which can occasionally come across as condescending.

MEETING PEOPLE

- It is customary to shake hands, like in the US, when meeting strangers in formal situations. In informal situations, a handshake is common, but not always necessary.

- Strangers do not kiss when they meet for the first time.

- However, it is common to kiss once on each cheek when meeting a family member or a good friend of the opposite sex. Such kisses are common, but (again) not necessary - some people kiss, others don't. In general, it is best to go with whatever your counterpart is going. I am not aware of any rule about which cheek goes first - just do what your counterpart is doing, and things will work out.

DOWNLOAD:

You can download the entire lesson in MP3 format [here].