25 phrases you should learn before visiting Slovakia
Slovak language is quite difficult to learn as it has so many exceptions. Nouns, adjectives and pronouns have different suffixes connected with prepositions and verbs differ according to the person, number and time. In spite of this, it is a lovely language with rich verbal folk art based on a word game.
We bring you several phrases that you will easily learn and definitely use while visiting Slovakia. You will have fun, surprise the local people and make your holidays more comfortable as sometimes you will not be understood speaking English.
- Ahoj. [ahoi]
- Hore zdar! [horae zdar]
- Dobré ráno. [dobrae rano]
- Dobrý deň. [dobree daen]
- Dobrý večer. [dobree vaechaer]
- Dobrú noc. [dobru nots]
People in Slovakia greet each other in several ways.
‘Ahoj‘ is the most common greeting used when people know each other, are of the younger age or want to be very friendly. While ‘Ahoj’ is derived from ‘Ahoy’ which was used by sailors, there is a phrase which is usually used among tourists in the mountains – ‘Hore zdar!‘. This literally means that a person is greeting the mountains, but it also shows a thoughtful spirit of a tourist.
There are also more formal greetings whishing Lovely, Good day as ‘Dobré, Dobrý’ means ‘Good’. ‘Dobré ráno‘ – ‘Good morning’, ‘Dobrý deň‘ – ‘Good day’, ‘Dobrý večer‘ – ‘Good evening’, ‘Dobrú noc‘ – ‘Good night’. Generally in Slovak language we use ‘Good day’ – ‘Dobrý deň‘ during a whole day and do not distinguish between ‘Good morning’ and ‘Good afternoon’.
- Ďakujem. [dakuyem]
- Prosím. [proseem]
- Volám sa/Som… [volam sa / som]
- Ako sa máš? [ako sa mash?]
If you want to be polite and thankful, you can use word ‘Ďakujem‘ for ‘Thank you’ and word ‘Prosím‘ for ‘Please’. For introducing yourself you can use phrase ‘Volám sa Peter‘ – ‘My name is Peter’ or ‘Som Peter‘ – ‘I am Peter’. Although Slovak people may seem conservative, you can use phrase ‘Ako sa máš?‘ for breaking the barriers and be friendly.
In a restaurant:
- Dal by som si halušky, pirohy, pivo… [dal be som se halushki, perohi, pevo]
- Dobrú chuť. [dobru hoet]
- Na zdravie! [na zdravye]
- Vypi, bo naľato, naľej, bo vypito. [vepe, bo, nalato, nalay, bo vepeto]
- Dať si do nosa. [dat se do nosa]
- Bolo to vynikajúce! [bolo to venekayutse]
When you are in a restaurant you can use phrase ‘Dal by som si… ‘ for expressing what you would like to order. Specialities of Slovak cuisine which you should definitely try include halušky (halushky – potato gnocchi with traditional sheep cheese and roasted bacon or sauerkraut) and pirohy (potato dumplings filled with traditional sheep cheese) with ‘milk’ – ‘mlieko‘. If you want to order beer you say ‘Pivo, prosím‘.
Slovak are very kind while serving and hence before eating it is polite to say ‘Dobrú chuť!‘, which means enjoy your meal, literally ‘Bon Appétit’, and before drinking to say ‘Na zdravie!‘ – ‘Cheers!’. When you are in the eastern part of Slovakia which is famous for lots and lots of home alcohol, you can hear, say phrase in the local dialect – ‘Vypi, bo naľato, naľej, bo vypito!’ which is like a ‘perpetuum mobile’ – You should drink because the glass is full and you should pour more because the glass is empty. Also another slang phrase ‘Dať si do nosa.‘ exists which means to drink alcohol (literally – you drink with your nose). For praising the meal you can say ‘It was delicious’ – ‘Bolo to vynikajúce.’.
Looking for accommodation:
- Nemáte ubytovanie na 3 noci? [naematae ubetovanyae na tre notsi]
Sometimes may happen that you are travelling without having booked accommodation and hence you can ask in the local guest houses using phrase ‘Nemáte ubytovanie na 3 noci?‘ meaning if they have accommodation for 3 nights.
Asking for price:
- Koľko stojí…? [kolko stoye]
If you want to ask for a price you start with the phrase – ‘Koľko stojí…? ‘.
Phrases in the High Tatras:
- Páčia sa mi Vysoké Tatry. [patschia sa me vesokae tatre]
- Dnes je krásny deň. [dnaes ye krasne daen]
- fauna – kamzík, svišť, medveď [kamzeek, svesht, maedvaedth ]
- flora – plesnivec, horec [plaesnevaets, horaets]
- babie leto [babye laeto]
When you visit national parks, especially the High Tatras, you can easily use phrases as ‘Páčia sa mi Vysoké Tatry.‘ – ‘I like Hight Tatras.’, ‘Dnes je krásny deň.‘ – ‘Today’s a lovely day.’ as you will definitely love the nature.
To know the original inhabitants of the High Tatras, you should learn words kamzík – chamois, svišť – marmot, medveď – bear and from flora it is plesnivec – edelweiss and horec – gentian. These are also the symbols of the High Tatras so you will find them on souvenirs.
Hiking in the High Tatras is wonderful during the whole year. However, in September, sometimes October, the Tatras are the most beautiful. This period is called late, old, grandma summer – ‘babie leto‘. It is known for its dry sunny and warm days without strong winds and spider webs flying in the air. This ‘babie leto‘ is a parallel to the Indian summer known in North America.
- Strč prst skrz krk. [strch prst skrz krk]
- Nebuď z cukru. [naebut s tsukru]
As a bonus, you can learn also some idioms which come from the Slovak folklore. Phrase ‘Strč prst skrz krk.‘ is probably the hardest phrase your tongue will ever try to say in Slovak as it includes only consonants. It literally means to put a finger through a neck.
Sometimes the weather in Slovakia is not as forecasted, especially in the Tatras. Sometimes you are too hot and sometimes too cold. Therefore, Slovaks use to say ‘Nebuď z cukru.’ – ‘Do not panic, be irritated, be afraid. It literally means that you are not a sugar cube that can easily melt in the water, so you should not comment the weather and be strong, continue. Hence, this should be your motto while hiking in the High Tatras.
We hope you like our post and find the information useful. You can share it and teach your friends.