Slovak Language Lessons for Beginners - Lesson 22

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[Lesson 21[Lesson 22] [Lesson 23]

Lesson 22
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.


umenie = art
umelec, umelkyňa = artist (m, f)
výstava = exhibition
múzeum = museum
galéria = gallery
výtvarné umenie = creative art (meaning largely painting or drawing)
dielo = work of art
majstrovské dielo = masterpiece
sochár, sochárka = sculptor (m, f)
socha = sculpture
maliar = painter
obraz = painting, picture
kresba = drawing
koláž = collage
plátno = canvass
štetec = (paint)brush
vystúpenie = performance (artistic, musical, etc. event) 
koncert = concert
opera = opera
orchester = orchestra
filharmónia = philharmonic
dirigent = music conductor
predstavenie = theatrical performance
divadelná hra = theatrical play


knižnica = library
kníhkupectvo = bookstore
kniha = book
leták (or letáčik) = leaflet
príručka = handbook
slovník = dictionary
literatúra = literature
spisovateľ, spisovateľka = writer (m, f)
beletria = fiction literature
náučná literatúra = non-fiction literature
odborná literatúra = specialized, expert literature
žáner = genre
román = novel
novela = novella
príbeh = story
krátky príbeh = short story
životopis (or biografia) = biography
autobiografia = autobiography
cestopis = travel account, travel narrative
učebnica = textbook


When a preposition is absent, we use the genitive case in Slovak when, in English, we would usually use the 'of' preposition. In the English sentences below, I have underlined parts that would require the use of the genitive case in Slovak:

The cause of the deadly disease remains unknown.
I don't recall the name of the businessmen.
No one likes the color of the new bicycle.

In [Lesson 8], we learned about the possessive forms of names: Michalov román = Michael's novel, Kristínina učebnica = Kristína's textbook. We should now add that you can extend the same rule to all nouns that represent people - not only people's names. A policeman's car would therefore be policajtovo auto, and the wife's favorite book would be manželkina obľúbená kniha.

So where does the genitive case come in here? It turns out that the rule from [Lesson 8] is only appropriate when the 'possessor person' is described by a single, unmodified noun. If we, however, want to further describe the possessor, for instance, by using possessive pronouns or adjectives, we need to use the genitive case:

If we want to say young Michael's novel in Slovak, then, we really need to say the novel of young Michael: román mladého Michala.
My sister Kristína's textbook would really be the textbook of my sister Kristína: učebnica mojej sestry Kristíny.
The polite policeman's car and my wife's favorite book would be, respectively, the car of the polite policeman and the favorite book of my wife:
auto slušného policajta and obľúbená kniha mojej manželky.

Note that, in the examples above, I have underlined the parts that require the use of the genitive case.

Finally, there are several prepositions that require the use of the genitive case. These will be covered in the next lesson.


As with the other cases, how we form the genitive case depends on the gender of the noun that is being modified:

Masculine gender: If the genitive noun is a person or an animal, we need to add the -a suffix. Otherwise, we usually use the -u suffix instead.

 nominative case (basic form)     genitive case        example:
 policajt = policeman             policajta            Uniforma toho policajta je príliš malá. = That policeman's uniform is too small.
 strom = tree                     stromu               Auto narazilo do stromu. = The car crashed into a tree.

Feminine gender: We change the final -a into an -y ending if the -a is preceded by a hard or 'dual' consonant (d, t, n, l, h, ch, g, k, b, p, m, v, r, z, s, f). If the final -a is preceded by a soft consonant (ď, ť, ň, ľ, c, dz, j, dž, č, ž, š), we change it into an -e ending.

 nominative case (basic form)     genitive case         example:
 spolužiačka = classmate          spolužiačky           Názor mojej spolužiačky nie je dôležitý. = My classmate's opinion is not important.
 práca = work                     práce                 Vidíš výsledok jej práce? = Do you see the result of her work?

Neuter gender: The -o ending changes into a -a.

 nominative case (basic form)     genitive case         example:
 mydlo = soap                     mydla                 Od takého mydla veľa neočakávam. = I am not expecting much from such soap.
 lietadlo = airplane              lietadla              Zlomilo sa krídlo toho veľkého lietadla. = The wing of that big plane has broken.


You can form the genitive case of possessive pronouns in this way:

masculine                  feminine                   neuter
nominative    genitive     nominative
    genitive     nominative    genitive

môj = my      môjho        moja = my     mojej        moje = my     môjho
tvoj = your   tvojho       tvoja = your  tvojej       tvoje = your  tvojho
jeho = his    jeho         jej = her     jej          jeho = its    jeho

náš = our     nášho        naša = our    našej        naše = our    nášho
váš = your    vášho        vaša = your   vašej        vaše = your   vášho
ich = their   ich          ich = their   ich          ich = their   ich

svoj          svojho       svoja         svojej       svoje         svojho

Netušíš náhodou, ako sa volá pes jeho suseda? = Don't you, by any chance, have any idea what their dog's name is?
Chcel ísť na školu svojho brata, ale nakoniec išiel na školu svojej sestry. = He wanted to go to his brother's school, but in the end went to his sister's school.


Here is how you form the genitive case of pronouns such as this (tentotátototo), that (tento) and that over there (tamtentamtátamto): 

masculine                  feminine                   neuter
nominative    genitive     nominative    
genitive     nominative    genitive     

 = this  tohto        táto          tejto        toto          tohto
 = that    toho         tá            tej          to            toho
tamten        tamtoho      tamtá         tamtej       tamto         tamtoho

Notebook tamtoho muža nebol drahý, ale počítač tej ženy bol. = That man over there's laptop was not expensive, but that woman's computer was.
Motor tohto nového auta musí byť veľmi silný. = This new car's engine must be very strong.


Masculine gender: We replace the final  with -ého:

 nominative case (basic form)     genitive case     example:
 mladý = young                    mladého           Obraz toho mladého pána je naozaj nádherný. = That young man's painting is truly beautiful.
 žltý = yellow                    žltého            Golier jeho žltého trička sa mi nepáči. = I don't like to collar of his yellow shirt.

Feminine gender:  Replace the final  with -ej:

 nominative case (basic form)     genitive case   example:
 vysoká = high, tall              vysokej         Príčinou vysokej ceny je nízka ponuka. = The cause of the high price is low supply.
 vtipná = funny, witty            vtipnej         Už sa teším na príbehy našej vtipnej babičky. = I am already looking forward to our
                                                  witty grandma's stories.

Neuter gender: Here, we will replace the final  with the suffix -ého (just like with the masculine gender):

 nominative case (basic form)     genitive case   example:
 národné = national               národného       História Národného divadla je dobre známa. = The history of the National Theater is well-known. 
 bývalé = former                  bývalého        Meno môjho bývalého priateľa si nepamätám. = I don't remember the name of my ex-boyfriend. 

You can download the entire lesson in M
P3 format [here]. Just right click, and choose "Save as..."