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Slovak

Minority Languages

The Slovak Sound Foreigners Can’t Pronounce

Learning a new language is always difficult. You have to learn a completely new form of expressing yourself.

My personal experience learning this new language was quite funny. I learned Slovak language during an exchange year; so most of my learning consisted in listening to conversations and repeating the words I understood and remembered. But as in every language there was a catch.

Slovak language like a lot of Slavic languages has letters or sounds that for Latin speakers could be very very difficult to pronounce and vice versa.

One example of this is the letter “Ť” that sounds like a combination between t and q so the sound which can be a real challenge for a non Slavic speaker, and a Latin speaker is probably going to pronounce it the wrong way, usually is a combination with t and ch. For Slavic speakers it’s quite funny how Latin speaker pronounce this letter or sound.

In the opposite case Slavic speakers tend to have a problem pronouncing a lot of vowels smoothly because their languages consist on a lot of consonants together, so when they speak Spanish for example they tend to pronounce the consonants really hard and for Spanish speaker sounds also funny.

Like this there are a lot of sounds in Slavic languages that are quite hard to pronounce, but what is actually really hard to learn are all the terminations for each word. What I mean is that in Spanish the variation of the words depends only in quantity and gender. For example a group of girls is niñas while a single girl is niña and a group of boys niño and a single boy is niño. As you can see it doesn’t change a lot, but in Slovak language they have seven different terminations, which I still don’t quite know when to use or not, and it’s also really funny for them because sometimes I keep using the wrong termination. An example maybe can be your own name. I will make a table of how to say something in Spanish and Slovak

Phrase Spanish Slovak
I’m going with Regina Voy con Regina Ídem s Reginou
Regina’s brother El hermano de Regina Reginin brat
Regina’s sister La hermana de Regina Reginina sestra
Regina’s phone El móvil de Regina Reginini Mobil
We are going for Regina Vamos por Regina Ideme po Reginu

 

This is just a tiny bit of what Slovak language is, it is quite difficult to learn, especially if you have never even heard it before, but it’s also a very interesting language. 

I can’t say I know how to speak it fluently because I don’t, I would say I can decently communicate; but trying to learn this language has been one of the biggest challenges in my life, but I love challenges and learning.

If you are looking for learning a challenging language I would totally recommend you any Slavic option being these Czech, Polish, Slovak, Serbian, etc. because also afterwards you will be able to understand a bit of each it so it will be pretty cool.

If you are currently learning a very different language from yours don’t sweat it, it is normal to mispronounce things and it may take some practice to get it right, but also people will really love that you speak in their language. They will totally love it, as Nelson Mandela said

 

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that’ll go to his head. If you talk to a man in his language, that’ll go to his heart.”

 

Written by Regina Vidrio A.