Slovak Language Lessons for Beginners - Lesson 18

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[Lesson 21] [Lesson 22[Lesson 23]

Lesson 18
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.


Vďaka. / Díky. (or even Dík.) = very colloquial versions of 'thank you' (as opposed to the more formal Ďakujem.)
vieš čo = you know what (often used to introduce a suggestion; extremely common in Slovak - much more so than in English)
(To) nevadí. = (It) does not bother (me). / It's ok.
Dlho sme sa nevideli. = We have not seen each other in a long time. (='Long time, no see.')
Netuším. or Čo ja viem? ('What do I know?') or very colloquially: Nemám šajnu. = I have no idea.


chladnička = fridge, refrigerator
mraznička = freezer
sporák = stove
rúra (or, in some dialects, trúba) = oven
mikrovlnná rúra (or simply mikrovlnka) = microwave oven
varič = cooker
umývačka riadu = dishwasher
práčka  = washing mashine
sušička = dryer
žehlička = iron (the household appliance, not the material)
televízor = TV set
diaľkový ovládač (or simply ovládač) = remote control
počítač = computer
notebook (or, more recently, also laptop) = laptop (i.e., portable computer)
tlačiareň (fem.) = printer
fén = hairdryer
kulma = hair curling iron
žehlička na vlasy = hair straightener (literally: 'iron for the hair')
ohrievač = heater
radiátor = radiator


Kde? = Where?
Kam? = Where to?
Odkiaľ? = Where from?
Tam. = There. (both for location and direction.)
Tu. = Here. (expresses location; an object is already there)
Sem. = Here. (meaning 'To here.'; expresses direction of movement)
naspäť = back
Nikde. =  Nowhere.
Nikam. = (To) nowhere. (when talking about direction of movement)
Všade. = Everywhere.
Kedy? = When?
Odkedy? = Since when?
Dokedy? = Until when?
odvtedy = from then
dovtedy = until then
odteraz = from now on
doteraz = until now
odjakživa = since time immemorial; since anyone remembers
navždy  = forever


The verb ísť ('to go') is quite irregular in Slovak.

In the present tense, the verb ísť takes on the following forms:

ja idem (I am going)                              my ideme (we are going)
ty ideš (you are going)                           vy idete (you are going)
on/ona/ono ide (he/she/it is going)         oni/ony idú (they are going)

And this is how we negate the verb in the present tense:

ja nejdem (I am not going)                              my nejdeme (we are not going)
ty nejdeš (you are not going)                           vy nejdete (you are not going)
on/ona/ono nejde (he/she/it is not going)         oni/ony nejdú (they are not going)

Past tense forms (positive):

ja som išiel (I went - speaker is male)
ja som išla (I went - speaker is female)                    
my sme išli (we went)
ty si išiel / išla (you went)                                         vy ste išli (you went)
on išiel / ona išla / ono išlo (he/she/it went)             oni/ony išli (they went)

Negation in the past tense:

ja som nešiel (I didn't go - speaker is male)
ja som nešla (I didn't go - speaker is female)                       
my sme nešli (we didn't go)
ty si nešiel / nešla (you didn't go)                                         vy ste nešli (you didn't go)
on nešiel / ona nešla / ono nešlo (he/she/it didn't go)          oni/ony nešli (they didn't go)

Future tense:

ja pôjdem
(I will go)                                     
my pôjdeme (we will go)
ty pôjdeš (you will go)                                   vy pôjdete (you will go)
on / ona / ono pôjde (he/she/it will go)          oni/ony pôjdu (they will go)

We negate the future tense forms in the usual way - by adding the ne- prefix: ja nepôjdem, ty nepôjdeš, etc.

Note: You may notice that the future tense forms of ísť do not follow the pattern we learned in [Lesson 11] (i.e., budem, budeš, bude... + infinitive). The precise reason why this is so is probably beyond the scope of an introductory language course. For now, suffice it to say that Slovak, like many other Slavic language, has a grammatical feature called 'aspect.' Aspect is used to distinguish between actions that take place repeatedly or continuously (roughly equivalent to English continuous tenses) and those that are completed once they have taken place. When an action takes place repeatedly or continuously, we can rely on the future tense pattern we learned in [Lesson 11]. If not, things get too complicated for a first course in Slovak.

Kam ideš? Teraz idem do mesta, ale neskôr pôjdem aj na záhradu.
= Where are you going? I am now going to town, but later I will also go to the garden.
Naozaj sme nikam nešli, lebo sme nemali žiadne vozidlo. = We really didn'tgo anywhere, because we did not have any vehicle.
Nepôjdeš niekedy čoskoro už domov? = Won't you go home sometime soon already?


You can use the word aby in a way that is similar to the English 'so that' to express intention. You can also use this word with modal verbs, such as chcieť (to want), potrebovať (to need) and others, to say things like: 'I need you to do this.', 'I want him to come back.', and so on. You get the idea.

Note: The verb that follows aby is, as a rule, in its past tense form.

Išiel som na univerzitu, aby som mohol byť ekonóm. = I went to university so I could be an economist.
Robíme to len preto, aby ste mohli zajtra byť doma. =  We are doing it only so you can be at home tomorrow. (note that preto = for that reason)
Chcela by si, aby som ho volil? = Would you like me to vote for him?
Tamtá úradníčka žiada, aby sme sa vrátili o dva dni. = That (female) bureaucrat requests that we return in two days.


You can use akoby, or sometimes ako keby, to express the English 'as if.' Please note that the clause that follows akoby and ako keby must be in the past tense.

Nemáte niekedy ten pocit, akoby ste žili na planéte opíc? = Don't you sometimes have that feeling, as if you were living on a planet of monkeys ('on the Planet of Apes')?
Vyzerá to, ako keby si vôbec nechcel vedieť pravdu. = It seems, as if he didn't want to know the truth at all.


kým = while (when followed by positive - non-negated - verb)
dovtedy, kým ... = until ... (usually followed by negative future tense); can also be simply kým, followed by a negative verb
Kým je šéf stále v úrade, nikto nemôže ísť domov.
= While the boss is still in the office, no one can go home.
Nechcem kupovať novú žehličku, kým sa tá stará nepokazí.
= I don't want to buy a new iron until the old one breaks.
Musíte na ňu čakať dovtedy, kým nebude mať nový pas.
= You have to wait for her until she has/gets a new passport.


If you want to practise your understanding of spoken Slovak, check out the video below. It comes from a TV show called Aj múdry schybí where regular people on the street are asked questions about their general knowledge, with predictably terrible results.

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