Posted by: Moon | October 29, 2009

a,b,c’s ….

Remember when you were 3 years old … remember when you parents first started to teach you your a,b,c’s… now try to remember how you first said ‘a’ …. hard to show in a written blog, but a is pronounced by a 3 year old as ‘a’pple … got it ….


Well, I am 100% sure you won’t remember when you first spoke your native language, I certainly don’t. I was born speaking English, (not very well, and VERY badly written)  some of you readers were born speaking American, Australian, Irish and of course my Slovak readers.

I am also sure that some of my readers will be fluent in a second or even third language, I doff my cap to you !!!


I am learning Slovak. I have had my first two lessons, and I can tell you, it’s not an easy language to learn. (I am sure my Slovak friends will tell me that English was tough too) However, I feel there is no logic behind the language. I can understand how to pronounce certain letters, soft, long etc.. thats ok, I can cope with that, what I can’t cope with is the ‘male’ ‘female’ side of things …. ?? How am I supposed to know that a Dog is Male, and Spring is female … ?!?!? There is zero logic, and no way I can know this, I just have to learn it !!

Also, for us English speakers it is logical for the words “I am going to Bratislava today” to come in that order, in Slovak (and I am sure many other languages the direct translation is “I go today to Bratislava” .. kinda makes some sense, but alien to me !


I am starting to pick up on certain words in conversation, but it scares me how far I have to go. Milan and Anka are very patient with me, and Miska is a saint… however.. Miska cannot be my teacher. We just argue !! Strange, I cannot take criticism from her, and I argue over the logic of what she is trying to teach me !… terrible from me !… however, Miska forgets that in this sense (and in a few others) I am a child, and she tries to make me run, in fact do a marathon, before I can even toddle along. It will help me no-end to be here, and being forced to learn the language, everyone is supportive and my teacher, a 55 yr old from Levice has her work cut out I can tell you. For 8 Euro’s an hour… my god she is a saint to be trying to teach me.

I will give it my all, and I am sure it will click in the future, but for a stubborn, non academic Englishman, they could seriously be taking Greek to me !, in fact, I understand The Clangers better then these guys sometimes !… Question, when foreign speakers hear the English language, does it sound as though the speaker has just rubbed 2g’s of Speed into their gums ?????

So, it’s back to my best teacher, the fella I get on best with and the little man who never loses his patience with me, always smiles, is very happy to go back to “Jeden, Dva, Tre” time and time again, as long as he gets some Cokolada…..





  1. I really, really hate trying to learn languages where things are male and female and the native speakers know exactly which is which, and male or female changes the way a sentences ends, etc. It’s makes it so complicated, so I know where you’re coming from.

    Though, as you said, you’ll learn more there now, because you’re ‘on the job’ and hearing it all around you.

    Well done Moon, great effort with it all. Wish there were more ways to help, but using all you know, as often as you can, will be the best way to learn and remember.

    Oh, one tiny thing that helped me was to write labels for everything around the house, and stick the labels up, to remind me of the words. So, I can at least say ‘cup’ ‘knife’ ‘kitchen’ and so on.

    Sending all the encouragement possible.

    • How funny, I already have sticky labels around the kitchen !!!… and even written on my hand !!! It is tough when everyone knows it, and you are the onloy ‘stupid’ one around… but, in for a penny, in for a pound !

  2. You have my sympathy, not because you suffer, but because it is going to be sooooo hard. I think you will make it though, as you do not strike me as the type to give up! Tough slogging, but worth it in the end. Good luck my friend!

    • Well, as you know how hard i practice my golf, well, I have to go at this the same way, I have no choice, I have to learn …

  3. Languages were never my strong point at school and I am so jealous of friends and family who can speak second or third languages so fluently when I struggle with the basics.

    I say well done you and keep at it – you will get there in the end 🙂

  4. I have no choice Taffy, and it seems a very long road…

    • Practice makes perfect you know and you can get lots of practice there!

  5. lol. i sort of you know how you feel. i did a german a level and they put the verbs at the end of their sentences… however sounds like Slovak is even harder. i think its great that you’re learning a new language. i keep promising myself that i’ll learn irish…that’s another mad language! x

    • I guess any other language is crazy… no logic unless you speak it !… so, I will have to get my head down and learn .. no simple tricks, just learn !!!

  6. The sticky label thing works. I had them all over the place before Clare did the big trip, she was learning Spanish. I imagine having your wife teach you a language is a bit like having your mum teach you to drive!

    • Spot on, I feel, as an equal, I am allowed to argue and to say the Slovak language is wrong… with my teacher, I can’t do that !!.. so, learn the basics first, and no trying to run before I can walk … I’ll get there

  7. You’ll be speaking the language badly but competently in no time soon. Welcome to the world of Gender and Neuters, makes you appreciate that we only have to inflect for tense and numbers in English and we keep all that sex in pronouns. Happy Halloween, don’t know if that is celebrated in Slovakia.

    • I am speaking it … VERY badly, but we are having some fun along the way, but I think if I went back 3 weeks, my vocab had increased 500% …. We’ll get there !

      As for Halloween… we’ll see todays post is the best way to explain ..

  8. Stick with it, Mr Moon! It’s really only the first part which seems to be overwhelming (or so I’m told) after you have a basic grasp, it’s just a matter of adding the trimmings (vocabulary). I’m sure once you’ve been able to make yourself understood once or twice by a native, you’ll have MUCH more confidence.

    This pep talk is aimed at me as much as you, by the way. I’m about to embark seriously on learning Italian, because it would seem I’m going to have a genuine born-in-Italy daughter in law at some point in the near future. Her parents do not speak English well, but her mother can make herself understood and has offered to teach me, via Skype. I’m extremely nervous!!

    • Confidence is def the key as well, and it’s something I lack… I hate to look a fool and to be spoken to like a child, but I realise that is all part of the process. As for your learning Italian, good luck, I think most of it is spoken with the hands !!! You will be surprised, once you get the reason for learning, and in your case, a very big reason … you will find the motivation … the early part I believe is the hardest !

  9. Yes, I agree, Slovak is not the easiest languagge. Just don’t despare, there are some foreiners speaking Slovak. My friend’s husband is Swiss and by now his Slovak is excelent. But when he started we had so much fun – he used to leave notes for me and I could never understand what he wanted to say. All the words were in Slovak, but together they didn’t make any sense whatsoever.
    Good luck, I’m sure your Slovak will improve and everyone will apriciate it.

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