Slovak Matters: One word, a hundred meanings

A discussion on prefixes takes a journey from mistakes through to toilets and alcohol - because they are related of course.

Toilets, alcohol, and their relation.Toilets, alcohol, and their relation. (Source: Image by Alexa from Pixabay)

Last week, a reader very gently pointed out that the author of this column had bungled the simplest piece of information he had proffered on how to fill out a form. We (blame is always more bearable when shared) had mistakenly written that forms asking for your meno wanted your surname, while priezvisko demanded your first name. It is, in fact, the other way around.

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It was the kind of mistake (chyba) that can make readers doubt (pochybovať) whether we know what we're talking about, thus casting doubt (spochybňovať) on the accuracy of the information we provide. That's why, in this week's column, we'd like to draw your attention away from the chyba and focus instead on what is going on at the front end of the word - the Slovak prefixes s and po, literally meaning 'with' and 'after'.

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