Slovak Language Lessons for Beginners - Lesson 4

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Lesson 4


USEFUL WORDS AND PHRASES

znovu = again
naopak = the other way around; can also mean 'inside out' and, at the beginning of a sentence, 'on the contrary' or 'conversely'
Ako sa máš? = How are you?
V pohode. = Alright. (very youthful; can also be used to give permission)
Ujde to. = It's alright. (literally: something like 'It will run away.')
Ako-tak. = So-so. (literally: 'How-so.' or 'As-so.')


ADVERBS

It is quite easy to turn adjectives into adverbs. In most cases, you simply need to replace the final vower (say, -y/, -a/, -e/) with -o. For instance:

rýchly = fast (adjective)  --->   rýchlo = fast (adverb)
lenivý = lazy (adjective)  --->  lenivo = lazily (adverb)
dlhý = long (adjective)     --->   dlho = 'longly' (adverb)       (Note: This means 'for a long time.' I know 'longly' does not really exist in English, but you get the idea.)
krátky = short (adjective) --->   krátko = 'shortly' (adverb)   (Note: Unlike in English, where 'shortly' means 'soon', krátko means 'for a short time' in Slovak.)
For many adjectives that end in -ný, -ná, -né, the corresponding adverb will end in -e. For example:

pekný = nice (adjective)         ---> pekne = nicely (adverb)
úprimný = sincere (adjective) ---> úprimne = sincerely (adverb)
The above rules, of course, have exceptions. Here's a very common example:

dobrý = good (adjective)   --->  dobre = well (adverb)
Based on what I wrote above, you might expect the corresponding adverb to end in -o, but this is not the case here.

QUALIFIERS

veľmi = very
celkom = quite
príliš = too (meaning 'excessively')
vôbec = at all
naozaj / skutočne = really
úžasne = awesomely
príšerne / hrozne / strašne = very (somewhat exaggerated; literally: 'monstrously', 'awfully' or 'horribly')
relatívne / pomerne = relatively

tak = so
taký (masc.), taká (fem.), také (neut.) = so; such a...
Táto hnedá topánka je veľmi úzka. = This brown shoe is very tight.
Moja nová vetrovka je celkom pohodlná, ale je príliš veľká. = My new winter coat is quite comfortable, but it is too big.
Tá jeho zelená mikina vôbec nie je škaredá. Naopak, je naozaj pekná.  = That green sweatshirt of his is not ugly at all.
Som tak dobrý ako ty. = I am as good as you are.
Naozaj neviem, prečo je vaša teta taká príšerne šialená. = I really don't know why your aunt is so terribly crazy.
To je taký pekný sveter a je pomerne lacný. = That's such a nice sweater, and it is relatively cheap.

dosť = enough
In English, 'enough' usually comes after the adjective. In Slovak, we put dosť before the adjective. (You can also use 'dostatočne' to express 'enough.')

Ten chlapec nie je dosť inteligentný. = That boy is not intelligent enough.
Jeho nová škola nie je dostatočne dobrá. = His new school is not good enough.
A už dosť! = That's enough! (literally: 'And enough already!')

In affirmative/positive sentences, dosť means something like 'very' or 'pretty':
Jeho auto je dosť pekné, ale jeho motorka nie je dosť silná. - His car is pretty nice, but his motorbike is not strong enough.

..., ISN'T IT? ..., AREN'T THEY? ..., AREN'T I? ..., RIGHT?

To ask for confirmation at the end of a sentence - the way 'isn't it?' is used in English - you can use však.
In Slovak, we don't care about the 'it', 'they', 'I', etc. part - you can use však regardless of what you are referring to.

Ich záhrada je veľmi veľká, však? = Their garden is very big, isn't it?
Táto informácia je tajná, však? = This information is secret, right?
Som celkom atraktívny, však? = I am quite attractive, aren't I?
You cannot use však as an answer. Instead, use áno or nie.


ČÍSLA = NUMBERS

0 = nula
1 = jeden (masc.), jedna (fem.), jedno (neut.)
2 = dva (masc.), dve (fem. and neut.)
3 = tri
4 = štyri
5 = päť
6 = šesť
7 = sedem
8 = osem
9 = deväť
10 = desať
11 = jedenásť
12 = dvanásť
13 = trinásť
14 = štrnásť
15 = pätnásť
16 = šestnásť
17 = sedemnásť 
18 = osemnásť
19 = devätnásť
20 = dvadsať
30 = tridsať
40 = štyridsať
50 = päťdesiat
60 = šesťdesiat
70 = sedemdesiat
80 = osemdesiat
90 = deväťdesiat
100 = sto
1 000 = tisíc
1 000 000 = milión
1 000 000 000 = miliarda      (Note: In American English, this would be a billion)
1 000 000 000 000 = bilión    (Note: In American English, this is a trillion)
Note: We do not separate thousands by commas - instead, we insert a blank space. If a number has decimal places, we separate them by a decimal comma, not a decimal point: 3,14

The above numbers can be quite easily combined to create just about any other number you may need. When you do so, you can write them out as a single word:

35 = tridsaťpať
142 = stoštyridsaťdva
3251 = tritisícdvestopäťdesiaťjeden
83% = osemdesiattri percent

We read years as though they were regular numbers, and do not separate the hundreds from the rest: 
The year 1984, for instance, would not be 'nineteen eighty-four' in Slovak, but rather 'one thousand nine hundred and eighty-four.'

1997 = tisícdeväťstvodeväťdesiatsedem
2011 = dvetisícjedenásť

SLOVENSKÁ POLITIKA = SLOVAK POLITICS

The Slovak Republic (Slovenská republika) is a parliamentary democracy. The relationship between the branches of government, as well as the powers of national political actors, are outlined in the Constitution of the Slovak Republic (Ústava Slovenskej republiky). If you are bored, you can read it [here].

We have a president (prezident) who is elected for a five-year term in office (funkčné obdobie) through a direct popular vote. The president, however, has very limited powers: Although he is the official head of state (hlava štátu) and is - in theory - commander-in-chief (hlavný veliteľ) of the armed forces, his role is largely ceremonial. [Here] is the president's website.

Every four years, national parliamentary elections (parlamentné voľby) are held. All Slovak citizens who are at least 18 years old can vote. In the parliamentary elections, we vote for political parties (politické strany), which prepare party lists with up to 150 candidates. If voters prefer some candidates to others, they can select up to four specific candidates on the party list that they'd like to support. The entire country is, in effect, a single electoral district: Voters do not vote for candidates that would formally represent their regions. Instead, people living in all parts of the country select from the same national candidate lists. 

Political parties that receive at least 5 percent of the popular vote obtain seats in the parliament (parlament), whose official name is the National Council of the Slovak Republic (Národná rada Slovenskej republiky). There are 150 Members of Parliament (poslanci), and seats are divided up between parties based on a proportional representation system: Parties that got a higher share of the popular vote will obtain more seats. The Members of Parliament are drawn from the top of the party lists, with some adjustment for preferential votes for specific candidates. The parliament's website is [here].

Since a single party does not usually obtain a majority of seats in the parliament (so far, it has never happened), several parties typically have to form a coalition (koalícia) that would have the support of a parliamentary majority and could thus form the executive government (vláda). The leader of the most successful coalition party usually becomes the Prime Minister (predseda vlády or premiér), the most important political office in the country. The cabinet (vládny kabinet) consists of the Prime Minister and all the ministers. Each minister leads a ministry (ministerstvo), which is an institution that is responsible for a specific policy area (similar to a Department in the United States). Two of the more important ministries are the Ministry of Finance (Ministerstvo financií), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerstvo zahraničných vecí). The minister's deputy is called a state secretary (štátny tajomník). Ministers and state secretaries are roughly equivalent, respectively, to Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries in the U.S. executive. The executive government's website is [here].

The parties that made it to the parliament, but were unable to join a coalition government are collectively referred to as the opposition (opozícia).

On the municipal level (samospráva - literally, 'self-administration'), each city, town and village has its own mayor. In larger cities, the mayor is called a primátor, whereas in smaller towns and villages, the mayor is a starosta. Municipal elections take place every four years: Voters pick from a selection of specific candidates for mayor, and can also vote for party lists that include candidates for local parliaments (miestne zastupiteľstvá).


IDENTIFICATION CARDS

Every Slovak citizen who is at least 15 years old, and whose permanent residence (trvalé bydlisko) is in Slovakia, has a national ID card (občiansky preukaz, or simply občiansky - literally, 'a citizen's identification card'). Showing one's national ID card is the most common way of proving one's identity, when dealing with the government or, say, banks or insurance companies. Every person born in Slovakia, furthermore, is assigned an identification number (rodné číslo - literally, a 'birth number'), which is often used on official documents.

A driver's license (vodičský preukaz, or simply vodičský) entitled its holder to drive a car. One has to be at least 18 years old to drive a car. Unlike in the United States, the driver's license is only good for driving a car, and does not substitute for any other form of government-issued ID.

Finally, many Slovaks have a passport (cestovný pas, or simply pas), which they can use when traveling abroad.


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