TALKING ABOUT THE WEATHER
Aké je dnes počasie? = What is the weather like today?
Ako je dnes? = What is the weather like today? (literally: How is (it) today?)
Ako je vonku? = What is the weather like outside? (literally: How is (it) outside?)
Dnes je... = Today, it is...
...škaredo. = ugly.
...nádherne / krásne. = beautiful.
...príjemne. = pleasant.
...akurát. = just right.
...oblačno. = cloudy.
...zamračené. = overcast.
...polooblačno. = 'semi-cloudy.'
...daždivo. = rainy.
...hmlisto. = foggy.
...veterno. = windy.
...chladno. = cold.
...teplo. = warm.
...horúco. = hot.
Note: All of the above are adverbs. It is quite easy to turn them into adjectives: From the adverb veterno ('windily'), for instance, you can derive the adjective veterný ('windy').
Prší. = It is raining.
Mrholí. = It is raining. (lightly)
Sneží. = It is snowing.
Mrzne. = It is freezing.
Svieti slnko. = The sun is shining.
Padá dážď. = Rain is falling.
Padá sneh. = Snow is falling.
Padajú krúpy. = It is hailing.
Fúka vietor. = The wind is blowing.
Blýska sa. = There is lightning.
Hrmí. = There is thunder.
Koľko je dnes stupňov? = What's the temperature today? (literally: 'How many degrees are there today?')
...je jeden stupeň. = (the temperature) is one degree.
...sú dva, tri, štyri stupne. = ...two, three, four degrees.
...je (plus) päť, šesť, sedem stupňov. = (plus/positive) five, six, seven degrees. (for 5 or more degrees)
...je mínus dvanásť stupňov. = ...negative twelve degrees.
Note: We use degrees Celsius in Slovakia, and do not understand - at all - the Fahrenheit scale. Here's a quick guide:
0°C - freezing point (bod mrazu)
20°C - room temperature (izbová teplota)
30°C - very warm day
100°C - boiling point (bod varu)
mrholenie = light rain (neuter)
mráz = frost, biting cold
blesk = lightning (also flash on a camera)
Rejoice: With all the language skills and vocabulary you now possess, you should be able to make sense of a Slovak weather forecast (predpoveď počasia). Play the video below, and see how you do:
The Slovak national hero (národný hrdina) is an early 18th century bandit by the name of Juraj Jánošík, or simply Jánošík. Jánošík was the leader of a band of outlaws in the Liptov region in northern Slovakia. He is said to have 'taken from the rich, and given to the poor' (bohatým bral, chudobným dával). Most of his band's victims were wealthy merchants. According to legend, Jánošík was arrested in a pub, after an old lady spilled peas on the floor: Jánošík slipped, and the authorities were able to apprehend him. He was then imprisoned, tried and executed in Liptovský Mikuláš: As was commonly the case for bandits, Jánošík was given the death sentence. The legend says that he died a particularly gruesome death: The authorities drove a hook through the left side of his book, and left him hanging on it. Right before he died, the legend goes, Jánošík said: Keď ste si ma upiekli, tak si ma aj zjedzte! ('Now that you have baked me, you should eat me as well!'). He then supposedly threw himself on the hook. As is often the case with folk tales, however, it is unclear how similar the historical figure of Juraj Jánošík was to the bandit from the legend.
The late Michal Dočolomanský, a famous Slovak actor, played Jánošík's part in a musical. Here's a very well-known song from it, in which Jánošík - aware that he is likely to be caught - is reminiscing about, and celebrating, his life:
NAD TATROU SA BLÝSKA - THE SLOVAK NATIONAL ANTHEM
The Slovak national anthem (národná hymna) is called 'Nad Tatrou sa blýska' ('There is lightning above the Tatras'). The words were written by Janko Matuška, a 19th century publicist, and the tune comes from a popular folk song. Compared to many other national anthems, the Slovak anthem is quite fast-paced and forceful. Listen to it here:
Nad Tatrou sa blýska, There's lightning over the Tatras,
hromy divo bijú. thunderclaps wildly beat
Zastavme ich, bratia, Let us stop them, brothers,
veď sa ony stratia, They'll just disappear,
Slováci ožijú. the Slovaks will revive.
To Slovensko naše That Slovakia of ours
posiaľ tvrdo spalo has been fast asleep so far
Ale blesky hromu But the thunder's lightning
vzbudzujú ho k tomu, is rousing it
aby sa prebralo to come awake
SLOVAK WEDDING TRADITIONS
In Slovakia, some people have their wedding (svadba) in a church, while others go to city hall. There is a lot of variation in the wedding traditions that families follow. In some families, furthermore, weddings are lavish affairs with many guests, while others prefer them to be intimate, and only invite their closest family members.
On the day of the wedding, the groom (ženích) and the bride (nevesta) often meet before the ceremony to take pictures (or video) together. After the wedding ceremony, the newlyweds and the wedding guests proceed to a reception/feast.
Traditionally, the owner of the space where the reception takes place throws a plate on the ground, and breaks it. The groom and the bride then take a broom, and have to work together to clean up the mess. According to some accounts, it is important that no broken pieces are left on the ground, as they symbolize how many children the groom would have with other women. After all the broken pieces are swept up, the groom carries the bride over the threshold into the reception area.
The newlyweds will often feed each other soup and other dishes during the dinner that follows. There is usually no best man to give a speech at Slovak weddings. After dinner, there is a lot of dancing. A popular dance is the broom dance: One person dances with the broom. When the music stops, that person drops the broom, as everyone finds a new partner. Whoever is left without the partner must spend the next round dancing with the broom. It is also customary for each wedding guest to dance at least once with either the groom or the bride: Guests are, moreover, supposed to pay for the privilege of this dance, and deposit some money in a hat that makes the rounds.
At some point during the reception, the bride will throw a bouquet of flowers behind her. Whichever woman catches the bouquet first will, according to the tradition, be the one most likely to marry next.
Around midnight, the groom's male friends may kidnap the bride, and take her to a nearby pub. When the groom finds her in the pub, his friends have usually already ordered drinks. To get his bride back, the groom, of course, has to foot his friends' bill.
You can download the entire lesson in MP3 format [here
]. Just right click, and choose "Save as..."