Slovak Language Lessons for Beginners - Lesson 12

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Lesson 12
 

USEFUL WORDS AND PHRASES

Fakt? = Really? (literally: 'Fact?')
a tak ďalej (abbreviated as atď.) = and so on
všetko = everything
niečo = something
nič = nothing
všetci = everybody, everyone
niekto = someone
nikto = nobody, no one
doma = at home
domov = (to/towards) home

ZÁĽUBY = HOBBIES

Čo rád robíš? Čo rád robíte? = What do you like to to? (when the person you're asking is male; informal and formal, respectively)
Čo rada robíš? Čo rada robíte? = What do you like to to? (when the person you're asking is female; informal and formal, respectively)
Čo radi robíte? = What do you like to do? (either plural 'you', or formal for both sexes)
Note: rád/rada/radi literally means 'gladly.'

Rád Rada... + present tense = I like to...   (use rád if the 'liker' is male, and rada if the 'liker' is female)
 ... pozerám televíziu. = ...watch TV.
 ... počúvam hudbu. = ...listen to music.
 ... hrám futbal. = ...play soccer.
 ... hrám na gitaru. =  ...play the guitar.
 ... varím halušky. = ...cook halušky.
 ... pečiem koláč. = ...bake a cake.
 ... chodím do kina. = ...go to the movie theater.
pozerať (stem: pozerá-) = to watch
počúvať (stem: počúva-) = to listen
spievať (stem: spieva-) = to sing
tancovať (stem: tancuje-) = to dance
variť (stem: varím-) = to cook
piecť (stem: pečie-) = to bake
jesť (stem: je-) = to eat (Note: past tense - ja som jedol, ty si jedla, ...)
piť (stem: pije-) = to drink
behať (stem: behá-) = to run, to jog
kráčať (stem: kráča-) = to walk
chodiť (stem: chodí-) = to go (somewhere) regularly
spať (stem: spí-) = to sleep
hrať (stem: hrá-) = to play
hrať + accusative case = to play (a game or a sport)
hrať na + accusative case = to play (a musical instrument)
jazdiť (stem: jazdí-) = to drive, to ride
fajčiť (stem: fajčí-) = to smoke
televízia = TV
hudba = music
rádio = radio
tanec = dance
pesnička (or pieseň [fem.]) = song
futbal = soccer, (European) football
hokej = hockey
tenis = tennis
volejbal = volleyball
basketbal = basketball
bejzbal = baseball
americký futbal = (American) football
gitara = guitar
klavír = piano
husle = violin
bubon = drum
flauta = flute
trúbka = trumpet

PREPOSITIONS: WITH, WITHOUT, FOR, ABOUT

s (or so) = with
bez = without
pre = for
o = about (a topic)
Včera som bola nakupovať s mojou kamarátkou. = I went shopping with my (female) friend yesterday.
Neviem, ako sa dostanem do mesta bez fungujúceho auta. = I don't know how I'll get into town without a functioning car.
Táto vetrovka je môj dar pre Jakuba. = This winter coat is my gift for Jakub.
Moja nová kniha je o histórii. = My new book is about Slovak history.

VOCABULARY: NATURE

príroda = nature
prostredie  (neuter) = environment
hora (or vrch) = mountain
pohorie  (neuter) = mountain range
kopec = hill
dolina (or údolie) = valley
les = forest
strom = tree
tráva = grass
kvet = flower
lúka = meadow
rieka = river
potok = stream, creek
breh = (river) bank
jazero = lake
kameň = stone
skala = rock (very large piece of stone)
more (neuter) = sea 
oceán = ocean
vlna = wave
pobrežie (neuter) = shore, coast
ostrov = island
pláž (fem.) = beach
sopka = volcano
jaskyňa = cave
púšť (fem.) = desert
piesok = sand

PAST TENSE CONJUGATION OF VERBS WITH -IEŤ INFINITIVES

In [Lesson 11], we saw how to conjugate verbs in the past tense: First, remove the final . Then, attach the appropriate suffixes.

If a verb infinitive ends in -ieť, however, we also have to remove the 'i' from '-ieť' in the past tense. Let us take the verb vedieť ('to know') as an example:

vedieť (stem: vie-) = to know

In the past tense, vedieť will conjugate as follows:

ja som vedel (I knew- speaker is male)        
ja som vedela (I knew - speaker is female)        my sme vedeli (we knew)
ty si vedel (you knew - you are male)
ty si vedela (you knew - you are female)            vy ste vedeli (you knew)
on vedel (he knew)                                          
ona vedela (she knew)                                    oni vedeli (they knew - mixed group, or a group of males)
ono vedelo (it knew; for neuter - rare)               ony vedeli (they knew - group of females)
Note: It will NOT conjugate as 'ja som vediel', 'ty si vediel', and so on.


UP, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT

hore = up
dole = down
vľavo (or naľavo) = on the left
vpravo (or napravo) = on the right
doľava = to the left
doprava = to the right
The corresponding adjectives are:
horný = upper
dolný (or spodný) = lower
ľavý = left
pravý = right

REFLEXIVE VERBS WITH "SA" AND "SI"

Some verbs in Slovak are reflexive: Their actions refer back to the sentence's subject. 
Reflexive verbs come in two flavors: 
- One type uses the word 'sa,' which indicates 'oneself' as a direct object of the verb. 
- The other type uses 'si,' which means 'to oneself.'


As an example of a "sa" reflexive verb, let us take volať sa ('to call oneself'):

non-reflexive:      volať (stem: volá-) = to call
reflexive:            volať sa (stem: volá- sa) = to call oneself (i.e., to be called), as in "Volám sa Marek." ('My name is Marek.')

Let us conjugate volať sa in the present tense:

ja sa volám                 (I call myself)                           my sa voláme       (we call ourselves)
ty sa voláš                   (you call yourself)                     vy sa voláte          (you call yourselves)
on/ona/ono sa volá     (he/she/it calls itself)                oni/ony sa volajú  (they call themselves)
In the future tense:

ja sa budem volať                 (I will call myself)                           my sa budeme volať       (we will call ourselves)
ty sa budeš volať                   (you will call yourself)                     vy sa budete volať          (you will call yourselves)
on/ona/ono sa bude volať     (he/she/it will call itself)                  oni/ony sa budú volať     (they will call themselves)
In the past tense:

ja som sa volal (I called myself - speaker is male)        
ja som sa volala (I called myself - speaker is female)        my sme sa volali (we called ourselves)
ty si sa volal (you called yourself - you are male)
ty si sa volala (you called yourself - you are female)          vy ste sa volali (you called yourselves)
on sa volal (he called himself)                                          
ona sa volala (she called herself)                                    oni sa volali (they called themselves - mixed group, or a group of males)
ono sa volalo (it called itself; for neuter - rare)                  ony sa volali (they called themselves - group of females)

For an example of a "sa" reflexive verb, let us use myslieť si ('to think [to oneself]'):

non-reflexive:      myslieť (stem: myslí-) = to think (as a cognitive process), in sentences such as: "Humans think, but stones do not."
reflexive:            myslieť si (stem: myslí- si) = to think to oneself (i.e., to have a thought) - this is the usual equivalent to the English 'to think' in sentence such as "I think that this is a good idea."
Let us now conjugate myslieť si in the present tense:

ja si myslím                 (I think [to myself])                           my si myslíme       (we think [to ourselves])
ty si myslíš                   (you think [to yourself])                     vy si myslíte          (you think [to yourselves])
on/ona/ono si myslí     (he/she/it thinks [to itself])                oni/ony si myslia   (they think [to themselves])
In the future tense:

ja si budem myslieť               (I will think [to myself])                           my si budeme myslieť (we will think [to ourselves])
ty si budeš myslieť                 (you will think [to yourself])                     vy si budete myslieť    (you will think [to yourselves])
on/ona/ono si bude myslieť   (he/she/it will think [to itself])                  oni/ony si budú myslieť (they will think [to themselves])
In the past tense (note that I am leaving out the i's, as the verb's infinite ends in -ieť):

ja som si myslel (I thought [to myself] - speaker is male)        
ja som si myslela (I thought [to myself] - speaker is female)               my sme si mysleli (we thought [to ourselves])
ty si si myslel (you thought [to yourself] - you are male)
ty si si mysela (you thought [to yourself] - you are female)                  vy ste si mysleli (you thought [to yourselves])
on si myslel (he thought [to himself])                                          
ona si myslela (she thought [to herself])                                           oni si mysleli (they thought [to themselves] - mixed group, or a group of males)
ono si myslelo (it thought [to itself]; for neuter - rare)                         ony si mysleli (they thought [to themselves] - group of females)

SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS: "ŽE" AND "ČI"

že = that (used to subordinate clauses)
vidieť (stem: vidí-) = to see
Vidím, že čítate knihu. = I see that you are reading a book.
Vedeli ste, že tam nikto nehovorí po anglicky? = Did you know that no one spoke English there?
Nemyslím si, že je to dobrý nápad. = I don't think that's a good idea.

byť rád, že = to be glad that...
Som rád, že máš rád polievku. = I am glad that you like the soup. (speaker is male)
Moja dcéra je rada, že čítala knihu. = My sister is glad that she was reading the book. 

či = whether/if
Neviem, či mám dosť peňazí. = I don't know if I have enough money.
Viete, či tu bol môj brat? = Do you know whether my brother was here?


SLOVAK PROVERBS AND SAYINGS

The Slovak language is quite rich in proverbs and saying. Let us take a look at a few:

Bez práce nie sú koláče. = Without work, there are no cakes.
Aká matka, taká Katka. = Like mother, like little Catherine. (similar to 'Like father, like son.')
Mýliť sa je ľudské. = To err is human.
Trafená hus zagágala. = The hit goose has cackled. (hard to translate, similar to 'the pot calling the kettle black')
Láska ide cez žalúdok. = Love goes through the stomach.
Komu niet rady, tomu niet pomoci. = For the person who does take advice, there is no help.
Čo sa v mladosti naučíš, v starobe akoby si našiel. = What you learn in your youth - in old age, it's as if you found it.
Opakovanie - matka múdrosti. = Repetition - the mother of wisdom. (somewhat similar to 'Practice makes perfect.')
Kto chce psa biť, palicu si nájde. = He who wants to beat a dog, will find a stick.
Dobrá rada nad zlato. = Good advice above gold. (i.e., Good advice is worth more than gold.)
Kúpil mačku vo vreci. = He bought a cat in a bag. (means: He didn't know what he was really buying.)
Nechváľ deň pred večerom. = Do not praise the day before the evening.
Pomaly ďalej zájdeš. = Slowly, you'll get further.
Učený nikto z neba nespadol. = Learned, no one has fallen from the heavens.
Keď neprší, aspoň kvapká. = When it does not rain, at least it drips. (means: Something is better than nothing.)
Iný kraj, iný mrav. = Another country/region, another set of morals.
Dovtedy sa chodí s džbánom po vodu, kým sa nerozbije. = You can only go with a jar to get water, until it breaks.

In the same way that English fairy tales usually begin with 'Once upon a time', Slovak fairly tales usually begin with:
Kde bolo, tam bolo, bol raz jeden... = Where there was, there it was, there was once a ...


THE LEGEND OF SVÄTOPLUK

Svätopluk was an important 9th century ruler of the most of Great Moravia (Veľká Morava), an early state that - at the peak of its power - covered much of Central Europe. According to a legend that often appears in Slovak popular culture and history, the old and sick Svätopluk asked his three sons to come to his death bed, and bring twigs (small tree branches). Svätopluk gave one twig to each of his three sons. "Go ahead and break the twigs," he told his sons. Surely enough, breaking a single twig was no problem for any of the sons. Svätopluk then told his sons to put three twigs together and weave them into one another. "Now go ahead and break the twigs," he told them. None of the sons could break the three twigs, when they were weaved together. Svätopluk then told his sons: "You see, sons, if you argue and don't stick together, your enemies will break you quite easily, just like each of you could break a single twig. However, if you work together, no enemy will be able to defeat you." For a couple of years after Svätopluk died, the brothers indeed worked closely together and were able to withstand enemy raids. Eventually, however, they started arguing, and Great Moravia ultimately fell to the Franks, a tribe from the north.

For much of its history, the current Slovak capital Bratislava was known under different names, most notably the Greek Istropolis ('City on the Danube'), the German Pressburg, and the Hungarian Pozsony. Only in 1919 did its official name become Bratislava - a name that was chosen by Slovak intellectuals. It is supposed to hark back to the city's first recorded name Brezalauspurc, which is most likely derived from Predslav, the name of one of Svätopluk's sons. In modern Slovak, the word Bratislava appears to consist of two parts: brat (meaning 'brother') and sláva (meaning 'glory' or 'fame'). The city's name can therefore be, very loosely, translated as 'The Glory of the Brothers' - an image that, again, evokes the legend of Svätopluk,


LASICA AND SATINSKÝ

Below, please see an older video of two very well-known Slovak comedians and intellectuals, Milan Lasica and (the late) Július Satinský. With the vocabulary you have built up in this course so far, you should be able to understand a good chunk of their (rather absurd) conversation.



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