Krížom Krážom

Slovak is very different to any other language I speak. I don’t usually face difficulties in learning new languages, but I do have a major problem with making grammar mistakes in front of native speakers. I know, native speakers, especially those of not very popular languages, are very happy to hear that you’re trying anyway. Still, whenever I’m aware of the fact that I’m about to severely butcher some grammar rules, I stop. And yes, I know, I should get over it, otherwise I will never learn.

With English and Spanish was fairly easy. Native speakers are used to people trying to learn their language and they can feel it in the accent whether you are a foreigner or not. With Slovak, things are a bit different.

I have a very rich vocabulary in Slovak (for a beginner), yet I can barely put a sentence together. And this is because of too many grammar rules I have to get used to. Moreover, as Romanian phonetics are very similar to any Slavic language phonetics, my pronunciation of Slovak words is almost perfectIn many cases, when I give short answers, people believe I am Slovak. Therefore, if I carry on with perfect pronunciation and poor grammar, chances are great that I will sound like an illiterate Slovak. I’ve done it before and I’ve received back too many perplexed looks.

I tried learning the basics with Livemocha. The website is great, but all the classes for all the languages available follow the same structure. Unfortunately, this confused me a lot, so I had to give it up. E.g. it was impossible for me to understand why the plural changes after number four using only Livemocha. For those who don’t know what I mean: for numbers 2, 3, 4 you must use the nominative case plural, and for more than 4 you must use the genitive case plural; something like jeden pes – one dog / dva psy – two dogs / tri psy – three dogs / štyri psy – four dogs / päť psov – five of dogs, and so on…

So I decided to buy a book to help me learn Slovak. As I was told the Krížom Krážom books were the best, I bought the one for level A1 😀 It’s pretty big and it comes with two CDs. Found it in Panta Rhei for €27. I’m still looking for the A1-A2 workbook though!


6 thoughts on “Krížom Krážom

  1. I have never realised this grammar clause with counting. I praise everyone non-native who is able to start learning and speaking slovak.

  2. Found this blog while trying to buy myself the Krizom Krazom book, I have recently completed a year’s beginner course in the UK and read your comments about the plural ending of words with a smile. I don’t think we ever got a full explanation of why this happens, it was something we had to accept and learn. 🙂

    The grammar rules in Slovak are mind blowing, I was never very good with English grammar rules…

  3. How are you getting on with the book?

    I have been using Krizom Krazom since March and find it good but I think you will still need the help of a teacher or helpful Slovak person! It’s not really a self learn book. I don’t have many opportunities to use the language, so I am limited to basic interactions at the moment, so I must set aside more time to practise.
    I am around halfway through the A1 book, and that is having 1 lesson per week with a little bit of homework.

    My local bookshop managed to order the workbook for me although it took a couple of weeks.

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