Slovak language

West Slavic language spoken in Slovakia

Slovak is the language spoken in Slovakia, a country in Central Europe. It is a language from Slavic language family. It is very similar to Czech, and Czechs and Slovaks understand each other quite well when they speak their own language. Polish and Sorbian are also quite similar. All of them belong to the western branch of Slavic languages. Slovak is spoken by more than 5 million people.

slovenčina, slovenský jazyk
Native toSlovakia; minority language in Czech Republic, Serbia, Hungary
Native speakers
over 7 million (2001 census)
Latin (Slovak alphabet)
Slovak Braille
Official status
Official language in
 European Union
 Czech Republic[1]
 Serbia (Vojvodina)

Recognised minority language in:

Regulated byMinistry of Culture of the Slovak Republic
Language codes
ISO 639-1sk
ISO 639-2slo (B)
slk (T)
ISO 639-3slk
Linguasphere53-AAA-db < 53-AAA-b...-d
(varieties: 53-AAA-dba to 53-AAA-dbs)
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Pronunciation change

Slovak is written using the Latin alphabet, but some letters have special signs (called diacritics).

The letters č, š, ž and dž are like the English sounds in chin, shin, vision and juice.

The letters ď, ľ, ň, and ť are called “soft consonants” and are pronounced with the blade of the tongue at the roof of the mouth.

The letters c, dz and j are also soft, like ts in bats, ds in rods, and y in yes.

Signs over a vowel show that the vowel is pronounced long: á, é, í, ó, ý ú. A long vowel is never followed in the next syllable by a short vowel.

The letter ô is like English woman, and ä is the same as the letter e.

The letter ch is like ch in Scottish loch. V is more like English w.

The letters b, d, ď, dz, dž, g, h, z, ž are voiceless when they are at the end of a word (for example, 'd' will sound like 't').

The accent is always on the first syllable of the word. That is different from Russian, for example, in which the stress can be anywhere.

Like other Slavic languages, Slovak is difficult for English-speakers to pronounce., especially because several consonants often come together. In the sentence: “Strč prst skrz krk!” there is not one single vowel (it means: “Stick a finger through your neck!”)!

Grammar change

The grammar is similar to Russian, but there are some differences. Slovak, unlike Russian, has a separate word for “to be”:

  • Ja som Angličan (I am English).

Unlike English, Slovak does not have articles (such as “the” and “a”).

There are three genders in Slovak, therefore it is important to know whether a noun is masculine, feminine or neuter. There is no article to make it obvious (unlike in German), but it changes the adjective's ending.

Like many other European languages, Slovak verbs agree with the person, and there are different forms for 'I', 'you', 'he', etc. Verbs have different aspects to show whether or not the action is complete. There are also different cases that show how a word is used in a sentence. Different prepositions use different cases. All of that makes grammar quite complicated for English-speakers.

Sample words and phrases change

The numbers from 1 to 10 are jeden, dva, tri, štyri, päť, šesť, sedem, osem, deväť, desať.

Use the familiar form when talking to a child, and the polite form when talking to an adult.

  • Ahoj–Hello
  • Dobré ráno–Good morning
  • Dobrý deň–Good day (Used during the day)
  • Dobrý večer–Good evening
  • Dobrú noc–Good night
  • Vitaj!–Welcome! (familiar form)
  • Vitajte!–Welcome! (polite form)
  • Volám sa John - My name is John (Literally: I call myself John)
  • Ako sa voláš–What is your name? (Familiar form)
  • Ako sa voláte?–What is your name? (Polite form)
  • Ja som Američan–I am American (If speaker is male)
  • Ja som Američanka–I am American (If speaker is female)
  • Ako sa maš?–How are you? (familiar form)
  • Ako sa máte?–How are you (polite form)
  • Ďakujem, dobre–Thank you, I am well
  • Ujde to–Not too bad
  • Zle!–Bad!
  • Prosím–Please
  • Ďakujem–Thank you
  • Nech sa páči/Nie je za čo– You are welcome (this is a reply to “Ďakujem”)
  • Dobrú chuť - Enjoy your meal


References change

  1. E.g. law 500/2004, 337/1992. Source: