These articles were published in the Spectacular Slovakia travel guide, published annually by The Slovak Spectator since 1996. The latest editions can be obtained from our online shop.



Some useful Slovak phrases

Language

Slovak is one branch in the Slavic language tree, though Slovaks will insist (we agree) that their language is the cleanest of them all. Regardless, it’s a tough language, laced with conjugations and myriad endings, depending on the case being used. Take heart, though, more and more Slovaks speak English, German or both, and if not, the little phrase you pucker out will impress them mightily. We’ve included a little guide for those hardy souls who want to wrestle with the language.

Pronunciation

Assume a British accent, if you don’t already have one, for the following examples.

Vowels

The vowels a, e, i, o, u are pure sounds, as in Spanish or Italian, rather than English. Vowels can be either short (a, ä, e, i, o, u, y) or long (á, é, í, ó, ú, ý). Long vowels are simply prolonged versions of their short counterparts, preserving the same color.

ashort -a- as in the “aaah” you say to your dentist, e.g. mapa /ma-pa/ map
á long -a- as in a prolonged “aaah” to your dentist, e.g. dáma /dhaaa-ma/ lady
ä -e- as in bed, e.g. mäso /mae-so/ meat
e close to the -e- in bet, e.g. teraz /te-raz/ now
é prolonged -e- as in there, e.g. prvé /pr-vhe-e/ first
i short -i- as in graffiti, e.g. pivo /pi-vo/ beer
í long -i- as in need, e.g. víno /veeee-no/ wine
o -o- as in log, e.g. okno /ok-no/ window
ó prolonged -o-, like the -a- in talk, e.g. móda /moh-da/ fashion
ô the diphthong -uo-, like “whoa!” to a horse, e.g. môžem /mwhoa-zhem/ I can
u -u- as in shoot, e.g. ruka /ru-ka/ hand
ú prolonged -oo- as in school, e.g. údolie /oooo-do-lye/ valley
y, ý the same as i, í

Consonants

The consonants b, d, f, g, l, m, n, s, v, and z are pronounced approximately as in English. Meanwhile, k, p, and t are like in English, but without aspiration. The carrot “ v “ over some consonants softens them. Example: čo, pronounced /choh/, which means what. To complicate things, d, n, and t are usually softened when followed by e or i, becoming equivalent to ď, ň or ť. Examples: deti /dye-tyee/ children, neviem /nye-vyem/ I don’t know, držte /drzh-tye/ hold on, hold this.

c -ts- as in oats, e.g. ocot /otsot/ vinegar
č -ch- as in child, e.g. človek /chlo-vek/ man, human being
ď -dy- as in duty, e.g. ďakujem /dyak-oo-yem/ thank you
dz like -ds- in heads, e.g. medzi /me-tsi/ between
like our -j- in jam, e.g. džús /juice/ juice (they gave our word a phonetic spelling!)
ch -ch- as in the Scottish loch, e.g. chata /kha-tah/ cottage
j -y- as in you, e.g. kraj /krai/ region
ľ -ly- as in lurid, e.g. ľad /lyad/ ice
ĺ long l (no English equivalent) e.g. stĺp /stlllp/ pole
ň -ny- as in news, e.g. deň /dyeny/ day
r rolled (like a Scottish r), e.g. ryba /rrri-ba/ fish
ŕ prolonged, rolled r, e.g. mŕtvy /mrrrrrrrtvee/ dead
š -sh- as in she, e.g. šesť /shesty/ six
ť -t- in tune, like spitting through your front teeth, e.g. dosť /dost/ enough
w becomes -v- as in van (found only in foreign words), e.g. WC /ve-tse/ WC
ž like -s- in pleasure, e.g. žena /zhe-na/ woman

Select Glossary

Numbers

0 nula
1 jeden
2 dva
3 tri
4 štyri
5 päť
6 šesť
7 sedem
8 osem
9 deväť
10 desať
11 jedenásť
12 dvanásť
20 dvadsať
30 tridsať
100 sto
1000 tisíc
2000 dvetisíc

199 is said as one hundred ninety-nine, sto deväťdesiat deväť, but without “and.”

The year 2001 is two thousand one, dve tisíc jedna.

Basic phrases

Please Prosím
Thank you Ďakujem Vám (Ti)
Good morning Dobré ráno!
Good day/hello Dobrý deň
Good night Dobrú noc!
Hi Ahoj, Čau (familiar)
Goodbye Dovidenia, čau (familiar)
Cheers! Na zdravie!
Yes/No Áno/Nie
Excuse me!/I’m sorry Prepáčte!
Bon appetite! Dobrú chuť!
You’re welcome Prosím
Not at all! Niet za čo!
Welcome! Vitajte!
Excuse me, do you speak English? Prepáčte, hovoríte po anglicky?
Do you understand? Rozumiete?
I don’t understand. Nerozumiem.
I don’t understand Slovak Nerozumiem po slovensky.
Please write it down for me. Napíšte mi to prosím.
I beg your pardon? Prosím?
Where is...? Kde je...?
Could you help me? Mohli by ste mi pomôcť?
What does....mean? Čo znamená....?
How much is it? Koľko to stojí?
What is your name? Ako sa voláte?
My name is XX. Volám sa XX
Nice to meet you Teší ma
How are you? Ako sa máte? (máš)
Take care! Majte sa dobre!
Is there a phone box near here? Je tu niekde telefónna búdka?
Where is the bathroom? Kde je toaleta (WC)?
What time is it? Koľko je hodín?
Do you have any vacancies? Máte voľné izby?
Where is my luggage? Kde je moja batožina?
Would you call a taxi for me, please? Zavoláte mi prosím taxík?
How far is it to ..........? Ako ďaleko je to do..........?
Can you tell us when to get off? Môžete nám povedať, kde máme vystúpiť?
What is the fare? Koľko stojí lístok?

Useful phrases at a restaurant

Do you have an English menu? Máte jedálny lístok aj v angličtine?
The bill, please. Prosím, zaplatím!
Is this table reserved? Je tento stôl rezervovaný?
May we have ............ Môžeme poprosiť...........
A bottle of red wine. Jednu fľašu červeného vína
A beer. Jedno pivo
Another beer. Ešte jedno pivo.
Ponáhľame sa. We are in a hurry.

Days of the Week

Monday pondelok
Tuesday utorok
Wednesday streda
Thursday štvrtok
Friday piatok
Saturday sobota
Sunday nedeľa
Weekend víkend

Months

January január
February február
March marec
April apríl
May máj
June jún
July júl
August august
September september
October október
November november
December december

Food and Drink

Nápoje Drinks
pivo beer
červené víno red wine
biele víno white wine
minerálna voda mineral water
čistá voda tap water
jablkový džús apple juice
pomarančový džús orange juice
káva coffee
čaj tea
Jedálny lístok Menu
Predjedlo Appetizers
Polievka: Soups:
zemiaková potato
šošovicová lentil
hovädzia beef
hrachová pea
slepačia chicken
paradajková tomato
zeleninová vegetable
Hlavné jedlo Main course
Mäso Meat
šunka ham
čevabčiči spiced meat balls
hovädzie beef
pečienka liver
kačica duck
klobásy sausages
kuracie chicken
salám salami
slanina bacon
teľacie veal
bravčové pork
morčacie turkey
Ryby Fish
kapor carp
makrela mackerel
pstruh trout
treska cod
Zelenina Vegetables
zemiaky potatoes
cibuľa onion
cesnak garlic
huby, šampiňóny mushrooms
hrach pea
karfiol cauliflower
paradajka tomato
špenát spinach
kapusta cabbage
paprika pepper
šalát salad
Ovocie Fruits
banán banana
broskyňa peach
citrón lemon
hrozno grapes
hruška pear
jablko apple
marhuľa apricot
pomaranč orange
čerešne cherry
Iné Extras
ryza rice
opekané zemiaky roasted potatoes
varené zemiaky boiled potatoes
hranolky chips (British) french fries (American)
chlieb bread
pečivo bread roll
maslo butter
syr cheese
džem jam
vajce egg
niva soft blue cheese
oštiepok smoked curd
tvaroh curd cheese
soľ salt
korenenie pepper (spice)
horčica mustard
arašídy peanuts
vyprážaný fried
zapečená baked
zmrzlina ice cream


These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2009, which you can obtain from our online shop.

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