Slovak Language Lessons for Beginners - Lesson 10

[Lesson Overview] [Personal Website]
[Lesson 1[Lesson 2] [Lesson 3] [Lesson 4[Lesson 5[Lesson 6[Lesson 7[Lesson 8[Lesson 9[Lesson 10] 

Lesson 10
You can download the entire Slovak course as a book in PDF format [here]. I am thankful to Alan Morelli of Bergamo, Italy for putting the book together.


dôležitý = important
zaujímavý = interesting


mäso = meat
kuracie mäso = chicken meat
hovädzie mäso = beef
bravčové mäso = pork
chlieb = bread
rožok = roll of bread (longer than it is wide)
žemľa = bun
mlieko = milk
polievka = soup
slepačia polievka = chicken soup
soľ = salt
cukor = sugar
korenie = spice
med = honey
tanier = plate
vidlička = fork
lyžička = spoon
nôž = knife
príbor = silverware
príloha = side dish
dezert = dessert
koláč (or zákusok) = cake (small, or one piece)
torta = cake (big, like a birthday cake)
zmrzlina = icecream
Mám chuť na... = I feel like having... (literally: 'I have a taste for...')
Dnes má Jozef chuť na pivo. = Jozef feels like having a beer today.


Recall that, in [Lesson 8], we learned the present tense forms of the verb mať (to have):

ja mám (I have)                                 my máme (we have)
ty máš (you have - sing. informal)        vy máte (you have - sing. formal, and plural)       
on má (he has)                                 oni majú (they have - group of males, and mixed groups)
ona má (she has)                             ony majú (they have - group of females)
ono má (it has; for neuter - rare)

In the past tense, the verb mať takes on the following forms:

ja som mal (I had - speaker is male)        
ja som mala (I had - speaker is female)        my sme mali (we have)
ty si mal (you had - you are male)
ty si mala (you had - you are female)            vy ste mali (you had)
on mal (he had)                                          
ona mala (she had)                                    oni mali (they had - mixed group, or a group of males)
ono malo (it had; for neuter - rare)               ony mali (they had - group of females)

Minulý týžden sme mali návštevu. = Last week, we had a visit.
Včera som mal chuť na zákusok, ale mal som iba chlieb. = Yesterday, I felt like having a cake, but I only had bread.
In the future tense, the verb mať takes on the following forms:

ja budem mať (I will have)                                 my budeme mať (we will have)
ty budeš mať (you will have)                              vy budete mať (you will have)       
on/ona/ono bude mať (he/she/it will have)         oni/ony budú mať (they will have)

As usual, you can use the prefix ne- to negate:
Nikdy som nemal rád špenát, ale vždy som mal rád mrkvu. = I have never liked spinach, but I have always liked carrots.
Ak nebudem mať peniaze, nebudem mať auto. = If I don't have money, I will not have a car.
Tento piatok budem mať skúšku. = This Friday, I will have an exam.


raňajky = breakfast
obed = lunch (at around noon)
večera = dinner, supper (in the evening)
The following two words are most commonly used when talking about schoolchildren's meals:
desiata = mid-morning snack (at around 10 a.m.) 
olovrant = mid-afternoon snack
na raňajky = for breakfast
na obed = for lunch
na večeru = for dinner
Čo budeme mať zajtra na večeru? = What will we have for dinner tomorrow?
Čo je dnes na obed? = What is for lunch today?
Čo ste mali včera na raňajky? = What did you have for breakfast yesterday?
Dnes som mal na raňajky chlieb, kávu a banán. = Today, I had bread, coffee and a banana for breakfast.
Zajtra budeme mať na večeru polievku, koláč a zmrzlinu. = Tomorrow, we'll have soup, cake and icecream for dinner.


dom = house
byt = apartment
bytovka (or panelák) = apartment building
okno = window
dvere = door
strecha = roof
stena = wall
komín = chimney
schody = stairs
výťah = elevator
miestnosť = room (in any building)
izba = room (in a house or apartment)
chodba = corridor, lobby
kuchyňa = kitchen
spálňa = bedroom
obývačka = living room
detská izba = childrens' room
kúpeľňa = bathroom
toaleta, wc or záchod = toilet
pivnica = cellar
povala = attic
posteľ = bed
gauč (or pohovka) = couch
vaňa = bathtub
umývadlo = washbasin
skriňa = closet


Let us now learn about some commonly used Slovak prepositions. For now, it is enough that you learn how to recognize them in a sentence, and get a general sense of their use. They are typically associated with particular grammatical cases, and often require changes in the forms of adjectives and nouns that follow. These are quite difficult to learn, and you should not worry about them yet.

na = on, onto
nad = above
pod = under, below
Kniha je na stole, ale časopis je pod stoličkou. = The book is on the table, but the magazine is under the chair.
Nad gaučom sú hodiny. = Above the couch is a clock.

, vo = in
do = into
od = from
z = out of
k, ku = to, towards
Note: vo is used instead of v, and ku is used instead of k, when v or k would have been difficult to pronounce: This can happen, for instance, when the following word begins with the letters v or k. It is easier to say 'vo vetre' ('in the wind') or 'ku kolesu' ('to the wheel') than it would have been to say 'v vetre' or 'k kolesu.'

V koši je odpad. = Trash is in the trash can.
Prosím, vstúpte do nášho bytu! = Please, step into our apartment.
Tento biely vták prilieta z horúcich krajín. = This white bird is flying in from hot countries. 
Každé ráno vychádzam z domu o ôsmej. =  Every morning I come out of my house at 8am.
Som zo Spojených štátov amerických. = I am from the United States of America.
Poď bližšie k oknu, lebo je tam sviežy vzduch. = Come closer to the window, because there is fresh air there.

= in front of (spatial), before (chronological)
za = behind (spatial), for ( = in exchange for, as in 'for five dollars'), in favor of
po = after
pri (or vedľa) = next to, beside, at
Pred jeho domom parkuje susedovo auto. = The neighbor's car is parking in front of his house.
Po prírodnej katastrofe bolo veľa škôd. = After the natural disaster, there was a lot of damage.
Za plotom je veľká záhrada a pri dome stojí nová garáž. = Behind the fence is a big garden, and a new garage is standing next to the house.
Vedľa mňa sedí predseda vlády. = Next to me sits the Prime Minister.

= between, among
proti = against
oproti = opposite
okolo = around (also 'approximately')
Stolička je medzi stolom a skriňou, ale posteľ je oproti zrkadlu. = The chair is between the table and the closet, but the bed is opposite the mirror.
Všetci sme proti tomuto návrhu, pretože je hlúpy a kontraproduktívny. = We are all against this proposal, because it is stupid and counterproductive.
Mesiac krúži okolo Zeme. = The Moon revolves around the Earth.

These days, Slovak traditional music, dances and costumes can mostly be seen at outdoors folk festivals, which usually take place during the summer. The two most famous folk festivals are held in the village of Východná (in the Liptov region in northern Slovakia) and in the little town of Detva (in central Slovakia). Most of these traditions are no longer part of contemporary culture - very few regular Slovaks, especially those living in cities, have a good knowledge of folk traditions.

Slovak folk costumes are quite diverse: Each regions has its own style, color pattern and decorations. Men around the town of Detva in central Slovakia have traditionally worn a very interesting costume: The men's shirts do not cover their stomachs: According to legend, men from Detva used to steal, and not covering the stomach is a way of making sure they don't put anything under their shirts.

A traditional Slovak musical instrument is the fujara, most commonly associated with the shepherds of central Slovakia. The following documentary gives a very good overview of the instrument, even though it badly mispronounces its name:

Slovak folk dances involve a lot of jumping around and turning, and are accompanied by lively violin music. There is a lot of movement, and relatively little touching between the men and the women. Below, you can watch two performances by Lúčnica, a famous professional folk dance group. In the latter performance, the men (who are supposed to represent shepherds) wield a traditional, mostly decorative, Slovak axe called the valaška.

You can download the entire lesson in MP3 format [here]. Just right click, and choose "Save as..."