Slovak Alphabet and Pronunciation

(aka Slovakian Alphabet)

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Example English Deutsch Franais 8 Espaňol 9
A a asi, čas cut, funny Stadt, Waffe mal amigo, azul
no far, father Zahn, Haag, Rad fromage * hermano
pť * fat, mad * hnlich * sais, cette, gnral * ella
B b byt, ryba bet, baby Bahn, best bleu, bombe * bueno
C c cel, vec pizza, Pulitzer Zeit, Witz tsar, ts-ts, tsigane -
Č č čas, nič church, switch, future deutsch, Peitsche tcheque, match chico, ocho
D d dom, voda day, ready Schade, Dorf deux, monde da, ciudad
Ď ď ďakujem, den *1 dew, duration * Nadja, Mdchen * dieu -
DZ dz medzi odds, Leeds - - -
D d dem jam, George - - *11 ella
E e sen bet, debt Grenze, Edikt sais, cette, gnral ella, doce
in fair hnlich premiere, mer * negro
F f farba fine, deaf, tough Fisch fois, neuf fiesta
G g geografia big, game gut, Krieg gaz, vogue grande, gusto
H h hra, noha hot, Idaho Haus, Hoheit - -
CH ch chlapec, dych *2 loch Buch, Wache - 13 Jorge, rojo
I i tri hit, city Witz, wissen si, cri directo
zl meet, eat Frieden, Dieb vivre, dire * s, amigo
J j ja, mj yes ja, jung yeux, dieu soy, yo
K k kedy, rok *3 car, kick *3 kein, Kampf coup, chaque rico, que
Example English Deutsch Franais 8 Espaňol 9
L l les, stl, vlk luck, mall Lohn, Schall, Kln langue, belle lobo, mal
Ĺ ĺ stĺp * little - * veule -
Ľ ľ ľud, soľ - * Weilchen * milliaire, million *10 ella
M m more, dom moon, home mehr, Strom main, pomme maňana, amigo
N n noviny, sen nine, one neu, Sohn noir, personne bueno, negro
Ň ň deň *1 new * Tanja Cognac, oignon seňor, Espaňa
O o okno *5 dog, sport Schokolade orange, gauche rico
milin ball, door * Not, Sohn eau, fort ocho
stl, vna * quote *6 -uo- *6 -ouo- -
P p pozor *3 part, top *3 Preis, Sport pas, coup puerto
R r rozum * real, hero *drei, rot *zro, rien rico, color
Ŕ ŕ vŕba - - - * zorro
S s sen, nos son, glass Wasser, fast source, pass seňor
tyri, shine, fish, mission Stein, Fisch chef, gauche -
T t tri *3 time, hot *3 Tag, rot trois, toute todos
Ť ť deti, byť *1 steward, tune * Katja * rentier, question -
U u zub put, book Schutz fou, vous funcin
rok cool, full Buch, Kuh jour, rouge uno
V v vec van, Dave Wasser, Revolution vin, fleuve * vino
Y y syn hit, city Witz, wissen si, cri directo
zl meet, eat Frieden, Dieb vivre, dire * s, amigo
Z z zub zero, crazy Riese, Sand zro, onze -
ivot pleasure, - dja, gnral *12 ella
Example English Deutsch Franais 8 Espaňol 9

* approximate - because no exact equivalent (corresponding sound) exists
h existed in French several hundred years ago
1 UK pronunciation    2 Scottish pron.    3 without aspiration    4 rolling tongue as in Italian, Scottish, or some Bavarian dialects    5 shorter than in English
6 no words contain the sound    8 French: accent grave is displayed as underscore_    9 Spanish: ~ is displayed as Slovak v mark (caron)    10 only in some dialects
11,12 in some countries of Latin America    13 the sound can be found in Arabic names, French transliteration is "kh"

This page features the official Slovak alphabet with all its letters, or more precisely, all phonemes (sounds), because sometimes more characters are used to represent a single phoneme (e.g. "ch", "dz"). To view special Slovak characters correctly, your computer should be able to display the Latin-2 character set (Central and East European characters, ISO-8859-2). Windows98 systems with Navigator 3 or Explorer 4 or higher support this feature. The table contains words with corresponding sounds (to each Slovak phoneme) in English, German, French and Spanish.

The Slovak language (aka Slovakian) uses the Roman (Latin) alphabet with four so-called diacritical marks ("accent signs"):

a, The acute mark (prolongation mark, dĺeň) indicates that a vowel is long. If no prolongation mark is present, the vowel is short. Long vowels are 2-3 times longer than corresponding short vowels. In Slovak, "y" is a vowel, not a consonant. The letters "l" and "r" can function either as a vowel (long or short) or as a consonant.

b, The caron (palatalization mark, "softmaker", mkčeň) indicates that a consonant is soft. If no caron is present, the vowel is hard. The letters "d", "t", "n", and "l", however, are made implictly soft if followed by an i or an e. However, there are a few exceptions to the implicit softness, such as in the words "teraz" and "teda". And also in the words of foreign origin (e.g. "demokratick") this rule does not applie. Appart from this exception, the Slovak orthography follows the principle "Write as you hear (it)". Note that while every Slovak vowel can be either long or short, not all Slovak consonants have a soft counterpart. (In some cases the Slovak caron can be demonstrated as analogy of "h" in English: Slovak s+caron is equal to English s+h and c+caron is equal English c+h. In various European languages also the letters Z, Y, J were/are used instead of caron.) The consonant "l" exists also in the soft form, but especially in the position preceding "i" or "e" (where caron should be omitted) it is pronounced soft only by a few speakers nowadays and sounds archaic. In other positions it should be pronounced soft (although many west Slovakia speakers do not speak that way), being still a standard pronunciation used also on TV and radio. Carons associated with certain lower case letters ("d", "t" and "l") look often more like apostrophes (than like carons) in typed/printed text (for typographical reasons).

c, The circumflex (vokň) exists only over the letter "o" which it turns into a diphthong.

d, The diaresis (umlaut, "dve bodky" = two dots, "irok e"  = broad "e") is used only over the letter "a". The quality of this sound was originally substancially different from the "normal" Slovak "e". Today also the pronunciation equal to the one of the Slovak "e" is also generally accepted and actually most frenquently used (except theater actors, "old school" academicians and some central Slovakia speakers).

Lexicographic ordering of the Slovak alphabet is very similar to the English alphabet: A B C D E F G H CH I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z. The major exception is that the Slovak diagraph "ch" is considered to be a single letter following "h". The characters with diacritics follow the same character without diacritics. Additionally, the letters "q" and "w" are only used in so-called foreign words, never in native Slovak words. Some of frequently used foreign words were Slovakized, i.e. they are spelled the Slovak way, e.g. weekend is "vkend", the Latin word "qualitas" (quality) is spelled "kvalita". Names of persons and geographic names are usually spelled as in original e.g. Washington, New York, of course except the names written in non-Latin alphabets (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Cyrillic, Greek, etc) and except few geographical names that were Slovakized in previous centuries, e.g. Vieden (Vienna, Wien, Vindobona), Londn (London, Londinium).

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