Slovak Language Lessons for Beginners - Lesson 7

[Lesson Overview] [Personal Website]
[Lesson 1[Lesson 2] [Lesson 3] [Lesson 4] [Lesson 5]
 [Lesson 6] [Lesson 7]

Lesson 7
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.


napríklad = for example
tu = here
tam = there
teraz = now
vonku = outside
vnútri = inside
To ma mrzí. = I am sorry. (used to express sympathy, rather than to apologize; literally, something like: That saddens me., or even I regret that.)
Teším sa. = I am looking forward (to it).
Teším sa na... = I look forward to...
Teším sa na teba. = I look forward to (seeing) you. (informal)


minulý = previous (adj.)
minulý týždeň = last week
minulý mesiac = last month
minulý rok = last year
budúci = future (adj.)
budúci týždeň = next week
budúci mesiac = next month
budúci rok = next year


The Slovak language, unlike English, only has three tenses: past, present and future.

Recall, from [Lesson 1], the present tense forms of the verb 'to be' (byť):

ja som (I am), ty si (you are - sing. informal), on je (he is), ona je (she is), ono je (for neuter nouns; rare)
my sme (we are), vy ste (you are - sing. formal, and plural), oni sú (they are - group of males, and mixed groups), ony sú (they are - group of females)

To negate byť in the present tense, you can insert nie:

ja nie som (I am not), ty nie si (you are not - sing. informal), on nie je (he is not), ona nie je (she is not), ono nie je (for neuter nouns; rare)
my nie sme (we are), vy nie ste (you are not - sing. formal, and plural), oni nie sú (they are not - group of males, and mixed groups), ony nie sú (they are not - group of females)

In the past tense, the verb byť takes on the following forms:

ja som bol (I was; speaker is male)
ja som bola (I was; speaker is female)       my sme boli (we were)
ty si bol (you were - sing. informal; for males)
ty si bola (for females)                              vy ste boli (you were - sing. formal, and plural)       
on bol (he was)                                        oni boli (they were - group of males, and mixed groups)
ona bola (she was)                                  ony boli (they were - group of females)

To negate, use the prefix ne-:

ja som nebol (I was not; speaker is male)
ja som nebola (I was not; speaker is female)       my sme neboli (we were)
ty si nebol (you were not - sing. informal; for males)
ty si nebola (for females)                                    vy ste neboli (you were - sing. formal, and plural)       
on nebol (he was)                                              oni neboli (they were - group of males, and mixed groups)
ona nebola (she was)                                        ony neboli (they were - group of females)

Jeho stolička nebola dostatočne vysoká. = His chair was not high enough.
Ten náš kolega bol v pondelok poobede taký pracovitý. = That (male) colleague of ours was so hard-working on Monday afternoon.


In the future tense, the verb byť has these forms:

ja budem (I will be)                                  my budeme (we will be)
ty budeš  (you will be - sing. informal)        vy budete (you will be - sing. formal, and plural)       
on bude (he will be)                                 oni budú (they will be - group of males, and mixed groups)
ona bude (she will be)                             ony budú (they will be - group of females)

Again, use the ne- prefix to negate:

ja nebudem (I will not be)                                  my nebudeme (we will not be)
ty nebudeš  (you will not be - sing. informal)        vy nebudete (you will not be - sing. formal, and plural)       
on nebude (he will not be)                                 oni nebudú (they will not be - group of males, and mixed groups)
ona nebude (she will not be)                             ony nebudú (they will not be - group of females)   

Zajtra bude veterný deň, ale bude veľmi teplo. = Tomorrow will be a windy day, but it will be very warm.
Vo februári budem v Bratislave a v marci znovu v Amerike. = In February, I will be in Bratislava, and in March again in America.

IF..., WHEN...

Ak..., (tak)... = If..., (then)...
Ak je dnes sobota, tak zajtra bude nedeľa. = If today is Saturday, then tomorrow will be 
Ak bol predvčerom štvrtok, včera bol piatok. = If the day before yesterday was a Thursday, yesterday was a Friday.
Kedy...? = When...? (in questions)
Kedy bude medzinárodný filmový festival? = When will the international film festival be?
Keď..., ... = When..., ... (to introduce a clause)
Keď som bol mladý, bol som pekný, ale nebol som vôbec inteligentný. = When I was young, I was good-looking, but I was not intelligent at all.

SVETOVÉ STRANY = COMPASS POINTS (literally: 'world sides')

sever = the north
juh = the south
východ = the east
západ = the west
na severe = in the north
na juhu = in the south
na východe = in the east
na západe = in the west
Related adjectives:
severný = north(ern)
južný = south(ern)
východný = east(ern)
západný = west(ern)
severné Slovensko = northern Slovakia
Južná Amerika = South America
Severná Karolína = North Carolina
východné pobrežie = East Coast
západná Afrika = West Africa
východná Ázia = East Asia
južná Európa = southern Europe


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...
...pekne. = nice.
...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.
teplota = temperature
teplomer = thermometer
Koľko je dnes stupňov? = What's the temperature today? (literally: 'How many degrees are there today?')
Dnes... = Today... jeden stupeň. = (the temperature) is one degree.
...sú dva, tri, štyri stupne. = ...two, three, four degrees. (plus) päť, šesť, sedem stupňov. = (plus/positive) five, six, seven degrees.  (for 5 or more degrees) 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)

slnko = the sun
oblak (or mrak) = cloud
obloha = the sky
vzduch = air
vietor = wind
dážď = rain
mrholenie = light rain (neuter)
hmla = fog
sneh = snow
ľad = ice
mráz = frost, biting cold
búrka = storm
blesk = lightning (also flash on a camera)
hrom = thunder
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:


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:

The text is here, along with a translation, which I took from [a wikipedia article about the anthem]:

 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


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..."