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Hockey Guide: Language

Read more about the Ice Hockey World Championship in Slovakia in our Hockey Fan Guide.

Ice hockey stadium(Source: Tomáš Benedikovič)

Read more about the Ice Hockey World Championship in Slovakia in our Hockey Fan Guide.

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.


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


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.
a short -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


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.

Basic phrases / Základné frázy

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.
We are in a hurry. - Ponáhľame sa.

Read more about the Ice Hockey World Championship in Slovakia in our Hockey Fan Guide.

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