The Significance of Learning the Slovak Language in an International Context.

Slovaks are generally hospitable people with a great facility and adaptability to learn foreign languages. Knowing the necessities and challenges of the globalisation we feel the necessity to beat the odds of the competitive world by being able to act and work in a multitude of languages. We accept willingly to learn new languages and at the same time, we like to share the knowledge of ours to those who have the willingness or feel the necessity to learn it. 

In the Slovak language, we have a proverb that says „ the more languages you know, the more times you are human“. This proverb may sound a little exaggerated but holds much truth in it. For our students’ knowledge of additional foreign languages translates into practice as a means of getting at more information with fewer limitations and enjoying the comparative advantage of linguistic background. This advantage could be effectively utilised in research, where of course most of the publications are written in English, but inspiration and missing information can also come from other sources.

To this end, EISB has identified a possibility for foreign learners to learn the Slovak language for beginners. This course is mandatory for all MYP students whose mother tongue is not Slovak but is ungraded.  Similarly, the school offers a masterclass of Slovak language where teachers and the wider school community can venture into discovering this beautiful language.

Learning Slovak is for foreigners by no means a pleasure cruise. It is an activity which requires a lot of regular effort.  Based on observations made during the course while teaching it a few tips or recommendations can be given:

  • Engage in simple conversations such as introducing yourselves, asking for the time, and do the shopping using the Slovak language. You will definitely not be shunned. On the contrary, your effort will be appreciated and although the situations of this kind can become humorous and funny, in the end, you will find these experiences rewarding.
  • Go about it the children´s way. Children pick up phrases without asking too much why we use this or that kind of sentence or word. Simple fairy tales are a good example, as in all languages after all. Understanding fairy tales will facilitate your being able to identify and understand the nuances of Slovak language where folklore has had a big impact on getting the language where it is now. 
  •  Do not stay limited to language textbooks. Reach out and try to watch TV. The News is recommended as the presenters use the formal and most acceptable form of language which is among other things well articulated. Slovaks generally don’t speak very quickly and articulate quite well.

Should you wish to discover more tips on how to learn Slovak effectively and what environments to be exposed to, please feel free to attend Slovak for beginners or Slovak masterclasses (0835-0920 Wednesdays)

Andrej Štubňa (Slovak for Beginners and DP Chemistry Teacher)

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