Slovak language

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Slovak (slovenčina)

Spoken in

SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia United States Canada Serbia Hungary Romania Czech Republic Australia Ukraine Croatia Western Europe
United StatesUnited States 
Czech RepublicCzech Republic 
speaker 6 million
Official status
Official language in SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia Vojvodina ( Serbia ) European Union
Flag of Vojvodina.svg SerbiaSerbia 
European UnionEuropean Union 
Recognized minority /
regional language in
CroatiaCroatia Croatia Austria Poland Romania Czech Republic Hungary
Czech RepublicCzech Republic 
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2 ( B ) slo ( T ) slk
ISO 639-3


The Slovak language (Slovak slovenský jazyk ) belongs together with Czech , Polish , Kashubian and Sorbian to the West Slavic languages and thus to the Indo-European language family. Slovak is spoken by around five million Slovaks in Slovakia and around two million emigrants, around one million of them in North America ( USA , Canada ). Since May 1, 2004, when Slovakia joined the European Union , Slovak has been one of the EU's official languages.

Czech and Slovak

Slovaks and Czechs understand each other quite easily. This was promoted by the common history in Czechoslovakia from 1918 to 1992. However, the younger Czech generation, who grew up after the separation of Slovakia and the Czech Republic, is having a much harder time. Official documents in the other national language are automatically recognized in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The right to use the other language in official dealings is enshrined in the Slovak Minority Language Law and the Czech Administrative Code. Television programs in the other language are almost always broadcast in Slovakia and often untranslated in the Czech Republic.


Monument for Anton Bernolák with his request “Slováci, píšte po slovensky!”, German “Slovaks, write in Slovak!”, In Trnava

Slovak originated in the 10th century after the fall of the Great Moravian Empire from the language of the slověne (pronounced roughly [sloan] (open e) or [sloven] (middle e)), that is, the population of this empire (see under Slavs ), in the form of several dialects. From the 10th to the 19th century in the Kingdom of Hungary (of which Slovakia had become a part in the 11th century), Latin was predominantly used as the official and literary language. In addition, German and Hungarian were partly used. In addition, especially the bourgeoisie of Slovakia began in the 13th and 14th centuries to use their own language as a (parallel) official language, although soon (at the end of the 14th century) they switched to this function and later also as To use the Czech literary language . The reasons for this were initially mainly that it was a "ready-made" written language of a related country with a famous university in Prague , in the 15th century also the influence of Czech Hussites in Slovakia and later also the influence of Czech Protestant emigrants in Slovakia. Conversely, the four most important innovators of the Czech language in the 18th and 19th centuries were two Slovaks, Jan Kollár and Pavel Jozef Šafárik . The Czech texts were very often (consciously or unconsciously) provided with Slovak elements (so-called Slovakized Czech, see also Žilina ). The respective Slovak dialects were of course still used orally.

Although there were attempts to establish a common written Slovak language as early as the 16th century, the first correct uniform written language was only established in 1787 by Anton Bernolák on the basis of the West Slovak dialect from the Trnava area . Today's written Slovak language was determined by Ľudovít Štúr in the 1840s on the basis of a central Slovak dialect (see National Revival of the Slovaks ). The late codification of the language made it possible to keep essential areas of the Slovak formal system simpler than the Czech.


Slovak is a highly inflected language with six grammatical cases .


Basic rules:

  • In Slovak, the first syllable is always stressed, but not in all dialects.
  • The letters marked with the “ Dĺžeň ” (= extension sign) (á, é, í, ó, ú, ý, ĺ, ŕ) are pronounced long. The two rare consonants ĺ and ŕ are pronounced clearly long. Long and stressed syllables do not necessarily coincide, which means that there are also unstressed lengths.
  • The letters marked with the “ Mäkčeň ” (= soft sign) (ď, ň, ľ, ť) are pronounced softly, that is, they are usually articulated with an echo of a j after the consonant. In phonetics, this is known as palatalization and denotes the pronunciation of a consonant with the middle of the tongue raised towards the hard palate. This diacritical mark is also used to denote sibilants (č, dž, š, ž). Confusingly, the Mäkčeň is always written as ˇ for capital letters and for small č, dž, ň, š, ž, after small ď, ľ, ť mostly as an allographic variant of the apostrophe belonging to the letter .
Before e and i, d / l / n / t are pronounced palatalized, i.e. articulated with an echo of a j after the consonant. The tongue goes to the front palate. There are a number of exceptions to this rule, especially in foreign words (for example, the word telefón is pronounced as it is in German), but also in a smaller group of native words such as teraz "now".

Most letters are pronounced like in German. Spoken differently (partly due to the basic rules mentioned above):

Pronunciation of Slovak sounds Pronunciation in German with examples
á, é, í, ó, ú, ý [aː], [ɛː], [iː], [ɔː], [uː], [iː] long a, e, i, o, u, i á no, pekn é , slovn í k, m ó da, kult ú ra, nov ý W ah Sa fe ty, M er ne, L ie be, english a ll, H uh n, L ie be
Ä [æ] or [ɛ] very open e or simply ä p ä ť roughly like the cold in northern Germany
O [u̯o] uo st ô l pronounced uo, a diphthong
c [ʦ] voiceless tz, e.g. c eruzka z ( Z always)
dz [ʣ] voiced dz, e.g. me dz a Italian organi zz are, Greek dz ügos
č [ʧ] voiceless ch sle č na ch (deu ch )
ch [x] voiceless ch, also at the beginning of the word ch loving as dt. ch in Ba ch , Na ch t
[ʤ] voiced j em dsch ( Dsch ungel)
s [s] voiceless s s lovník wei ß
z [z] voiced s z ošit s (Ro s e)
š [ʃ] voiceless sch š kola SCH ( Sch ule)
ž [ʒ] voiced sch ž ena french gara g e
ď [ɟ], [dʲ] palatalized (soft) d ď akujem roughly like in Na dj a
ť [c], [tʲ] palatalized (soft) t robi ť roughly like in Ka tj a
ň [ɲ], [nʲ] palatalized (soft) n de ň French Avi gn on, Spanish ñ or inaccurately reproduced Ta nj a
ľ [ʎ], [lʲ] palatalized (soft) l učite ľ like gli ... in Italian or ll in continental Europe. Spanish
l [ɫ] hard l neutral l l with a strongly lowered tongue (similar to numerous German dialects, e.g. Swiss German or Kölsch )
r [r] always tongue-r r yba r eden (tongues-r)
v [v] voiced w v áza w ( W ater)

Please note:

  • In contrast to German, e and o are always about half-open
  • v is pronounced like a bilabial u [u̯] at the end of the syllable , for example dievča [ďieu̯ča]
  • h is always pronounced (not like yawning) and approaches the ch in the final syllable
  • ck = c + k ( not like Ha ck e, but like him zk atholic)
  • sch = s + ch ( not as Sch ule, but how bi ssch s)
  • sp = s + p ( not as sp eziell but as Ra sp el)
  • st = s + t ( not as St unde but as Wur st )
  • eu = e + u ( not as Eu ropa but as Mus eu m)

The rhythmic shortening

The rule known as "rhythmic shortening" is characteristic of Slovak. According to this rule, two long syllables cannot follow each other in Slovak. If two long syllables should follow one another, the second is usually shortened, for example:

  • krátky - normally the “y” would also be written with Dĺžeň (adjective ending -ký ), ie * krátký , which is avoided by the rhythmic shortening, because krá is already a long syllable
  • biely - here's bie been a long syllable ( ie is a diphthong ), thus comes with 'y' no Dĺžeň ago

There are, however, a number of exceptions, such as the possessive adjectives in (e.g. vtáčí / vtačí “belonging to the bird”), nouns with the suffix -ie (e.g. prútiesticks ”) and the like. a. m., in addition, the ending of the 3rd person plural is never shortened to -ia . However, the number of exceptions steadily decreases in everyday use and accordingly with each new codification of the language. So it was said z. B. up to the 1990s píšúci (writing), mliekáreň (dairy), kamzíčí (belonging to the chamois), but since about 1997 already píšuci, mliekareň, kamzičí etc.


The three major dialect groups of Slovakia: 1. West Slovak, 2. Central Slovak and 3. East Slovak dialects.

The spoken Slovak is divided into numerous dialects. However, these can be divided into three main groups:

Sometimes a fourth group is also given, the so-called lowland dialects (Slovak dolnozemské nárečia ), which are spoken in today's south-eastern Hungary (around Békéscsaba ), Vojvodina (Serbia), western Romania and Croatian Syrmia , i.e. outside the borders of today's Slovakia. In addition to local influences, the dialect shows similarities with the Novohrad dialect.

For a more detailed description of the regions see List of Traditional Regions of Slovakia .

The Slovak script and its diacritical marks

This is how you write it on the web:

Large Unicode description Small Unicode description
Á & # 193; A with dĺžeň á & # 225; a with dĺžeň
Ä & # 196; A umlaut Ä & # 228; a umlaut
Č & # 268; C with mäkčeň č & # 269; c with mäkčeň
Ď & # 270; D with mäkčeň ď & # 271; d with mäkčeň
É & # 201; E with dĺžeň é & # 233; e with dĺžeň
Í & # 205; I with dĺžeň í & # 237; i with dĺžeň
Ľ & # 317; L with mäkčeň ľ & # 318; l with mäkčeň
Ĺ & # 313; L with dĺžeň ĺ & # 314; l with dĺžeň
Ň & # 327; N with mäkčeň ň & # 328; n with mäkčeň
O & # 211; O with dĺžeň O & # 243; o with dĺžeň
O & # 212; O circumflex O & # 244; o circumflex
Ŕ & # 340; R with dĺžeň ŕ & # 341; r with dĺžeň
Š & # 352; S with mäkčeň š & # 353; s with mäkčeň
Ť & # 356; T with mäkčeň ť & # 357; t with mäkčeň
Ú & # 218; U with dĺžeň ú & # 250; u with dĺžeň
Ý & # 221; Y with dĺžeň ý & # 253; y with dĺžeň
Ž & # 381; Z with mäkčeň ž & # 382; z with mäkčeň

Language example

Universal Declaration of Human Rights , Article 1:

“Všetci ľudia sa rodia slobodní a sebe rovní, čo sa týka ich dôstojnosti a práv. Sú obdarení rozumom a majú navzájom jednať v bratskom duchu. "

(All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should meet one another in a spirit of brotherhood.)

Standardization texts

The Slovak language is regulated, standardized and codified by the Jazykovedný ústav Ľudovíta Štúra SAV (Linguistic Ľudovít-Štúr Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences ). The current editions of the following 4 works are absolutely mandatory by law for any official use of the language:

Ján Doruľa and others (later editions edited by J. Kačala J., M. Pisarčíková and others): Krátky slovník slovenského jazyka. [Short dictionary of the Slovak language] (abbr. KSSJ; this is an equivalent of the German Duden - German universal dictionary):

  • 1st edition: Veda, Bratislava, 1987
  • 2nd edition: Veda, Bratislava, 1989
  • 3rd edition: Veda, Bratislava, 1997
  • 4th edition: Veda, Bratislava, 2003, online version: + (PDF; 493 kB)

Various authors: Pravidlá slovenského pravopisu. [Rules of the Slovak spelling] (abbr. PSP; this is an equivalent of the German Duden spelling dictionary):

  • 1st edition: Státní nakladatelství, Prague, 1931
  • 1st ("2") edition: Matica slovenská, (?) Martin, 1940
  • 1st ("3") - 11th ("13") edition: Vydavateľstvo SAV, Bratislava, 1953–1971
  • 1st ("14") edition: Veda, Bratislava, 1991
  • 2nd ("15") edition: Veda, Bratislava, 1998
  • 3rd ("16") edition: Veda, Bratislava, 2000, online version:

Ábel Kráľ: Pravidlá slovenskej výslovnosti. (Rules of Slovak pronunciation) (abbr.PSV; this is an equivalent of the German Duden pronunciation dictionary):

  • 1st edition: SPN, Bratislava, 1984
  • 2nd edition: SPN, Bratislava, 1988
  • 3rd edition: SPN, Bratislava, 1996
  • 4th edition: Matica slovenská, Martin, 2005
  • J. Ružička and others: Morfológia slovenského jazyka. (Morphology of the Slovak language) (abbr. MSJ), Vydavateľstvo SAV, Bratislava, 1966, online version

Large dictionaries

  • Anton Bernolák : Slowár Slowenskí, Česko-Laťinsko-Ňemecko-Uherskí, see Lexicon Slavicum Latino-Germanico-Ungaricum auctore Antonio Bernolák. (Slovak Czech-Latin-German-Hungarian dictionary, seu…) I-VI, Ofen (now Budapest), 1825–1827. Vol. 1
  • A. Jánošík, E. Jóna: Slovník spisovného jazyka slovenského. (Dictionary of the Slovak written language), Matica slovenská, Martin, Vol. I (A – J) appeared 1946–1949 (this was to become the first monolingual large dictionary of Slovak, but its publication was suspended after the restoration of Czechoslovakia after the Second World War)
  • Š. Peciar: Slovník slovenského jazyka . (Dictionary of the Slovak language). Volumes I-VI. Vydavateľstvo SAV, Bratislava 1959–1968 (abbr. SSJ; this is an equivalent of the German Large Dictionary of the German Language ), + (PDF; 753 kB)
  • K. Buzássyová, A. Jarošová and others: Slovník súčasného slovenského jazyka. (Dictionary of contemporary Slovak language). Veda, Bratislava, Vol. I (A – G) appeared in 2006/2007, Vol. II (H – L) 2011, Vol. III (M – N) 2015. (Abbr. SSSJ; this is practically a complete revision of the above mentioned dictionary)
  • Historický slovník slovenského jazyka. (Abbrev. HSSJ) (Historical Dictionary of the Slovak Language), Veda, Bratislava, Vol. I – VII, 1991–2008 (this dictionary is a dictionary of the Slovak language from before the end of the 18th century), online version from Volume V (R – Š)
  • Slovník slovenských nárečí. (Dictionary of Slovak dialects), Veda, Bratislava Vol. 0 (Introduction; 1980), Vol. I (A – K; 1994), Vol. II (L – P; 2006)

Bilingual dictionaries

German-Slovak / Slovak-German (only the largest dictionaries)

  • M. Čierna, L. Čierny: Slovensko-nemecký slovník. (Slovak-German dictionary) Ikar, Bratislava 2012, ISBN 978-80-551-2312-7 .
  • M. Čierna, L. Čierny: Nemecko-slovenský slovník. (German-Slovak dictionary) Ikar, Bratislava 2012, ISBN 978-80-551-2311-0 .
  • Nemecko-slovenský a slovensko-nemecký veľký slovník. (German-Slovak and Slovak-German large dictionaries) Lingea, 2011, ISBN 978-80-89323-69-2 .
  • T. Balcová: Veľký nemecko-slovenský, slovensko-nemecký slovník. (Large German-Slovak, Slovak-German dictionary) Kniha-Spoločník, 2009, ISBN 978-80-88814-66-5 .
  • Slovensko-nemecký slovník. (Slovak-German dictionary) Slovenské pedagogické nakladadeľstvo, Bratislava 1997, ISBN 80-08-00276-X .
  • M. Čierna, M. Juríková, E. Géze, E. Menke: Nemecko-slovenský slovník. (German-Slovak dictionary) Slovenské pedagogické nakladadeľstvo, Bratislava 1991, ISBN 80-08-01408-3 .
  • J. Siarsky: Slovensko-nemecký slovník. (Slovak-German dictionary) Amos, Bratislava 1991, ISBN 80-85290-01-4 . (unchanged reprint of the first edition 1973, out of date)

Czech-Slovak / Slovak-Czech

  • Magdaléna Feifičová, Vladimír Němec: Slovensko-český a česko-slovenský slovník na cesty. (Slovak-Czech and Czech-Slovak travel dictionary) 3rd edition. Kava-Pech, Dobřichovice, CZ, 2009, ISBN 978-80-87169-14-8 .
  • J. Nečas, M. Kopecký: Slovensko-český a česko-slovenský slovník rozdílných výrazů. (Slovak-Czech and Czech-Slovak dictionary of different expressions) 2nd edition. Státní pedagogické nakladatelství Praha, 1989.
  • Ž. Gašparíková, A. Kamiš: Slovensko-český slovník. 3. Edition. Státní pedagogické nakladatelství Praha, 1987.
  • G. Horák and others: Česko-slovenský slovník. 2nd Edition. Veda Vydavateľstvo Slovenskej akadémie vied, 1981.


With the support of the EU , the e-learning project was created , which enables free language learning over the Internet.


  • Josef Vintr: The Slovak. In: Peter Rehder (Ed.): Introduction to the Slavic languages . With an introduction to Balkan philology by Wilfried Fiedler. 6th edition. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2009, ISBN 978-3-534-22794-5 .


  • Olga Monte: Slovak just in case. Modern textbook for nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, locative and instrumental. omninum, Bad Vöslau 2014, ISBN 978-3-99031-006-9 .
  • Slavomíra Jesenska-Körnerová: Praktická slovenčina. with audio CD. Vienna 2011, ISBN 978-3-200-02366-6 .
  • Brigita Gericke, Bogdan Kovtyk: Slovak: Textbook for beginners and advanced learners. With two audio CDs. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2009, ISBN 978-3-447-05210-8 .
  • Renáta Kamenárová, Eva Španová, Hana Tichá, Helena Ivoríková, Zuzana Kleschtová, Michaela Mošaťová: Krížom-krážom. Slovenčina A1. Univerzita Komenského, Bratislava 2007, ISBN 978-80-223-2441-0 .
  • Renáta Kamenárová, Eva Španová, Helena Ivoríková, Dorota Balšínková, Zuzana Kleschtová, Michaela Mošaťová, Hana Tichá: Krížom-krážom. Slovenčina A2. Studia Academica Slovaca, centrum pre slovenčinu ako cudzí jazyk, Univerzita Komenského, Bratislava 2009, ISBN 978-80-223-2608-7 .
  • Christa Lüdtke, Katarína Augustinová: Textbook of the Slovak language. With the collaboration of Mathias Becker and Ulrike Hoinkis. Illustrated by Beate Rehmann (= West East Passages - Slavic Research and Texts, Volume 10). Georg Olms Verlag, Hildesheim / Zurich / New York 2008, ISBN 978-3-487-13600-4 .
  • Emília Nemcová, Viera Nemčoková: Slovenčina interkultúrne B1. Lettera, Plovdiv 2009, ISBN 978-954-516-636-5 .
  • Eva Tibenská, Mária Zatkalíková: Slovenčina slovo za slovom. Slovak word for word. City School Council for Vienna, Europe Office, EdQ Center, Bratislava / Vienna 2007, ISBN 978-80-969715-9-6 .
  • Yvonne Tomenendal-Wollner: Slovenčina new - Slovak for beginners and advanced learners. 3rd updated edition. Verlag oebv & hpt, Vienna 2007, ISBN 978-3-209-03181-5 .
  • JK Viktorin: Grammar of the Slovak language. Prepared for school and self-instruction ... Ofen 1862.

Web links

Wiktionary: Slovak  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Slovak  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Markéta Kachlíková: Slovak is a foreign language for young Czechs , broadcast by Radio Praha on February 27, 2013, accessed on June 6, 2017
  2. Zákon č. 184/1999 Z. z .; Zákon o používaní jazykov národnostných menšín, digitized
  3. Zákon č. 500/2004 Sb .; Zákon správní řád, digitized