Lesson 3 Dialog: How much?

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We are still at the restaurant, where you ordered bryndzové halušky and beer. You are still enjoying your meal, when Mišo notices his friend Juraj (George).

Juraj passes by. After a short introduction, he asks if we shall have coffee.
Mišo: Juraj, nazdar!
Juraj: Hej Mišo, nazdar! Čo je nové?
Mišo: Nič moc. Tu je môj známy, Michael.
Juraj: Michael? Vy ste Angličan?
You: Nie, ja som Američan. A vy, vy ste Slovák?
Juraj: Áno, som. Dáme si kávu?
You, Mišo: Dobrý nápad!

Mišo flags down the waiter and asks how much is coffee.
Mišo: Pán čašník, koľko stojí káva?
Čašník: Káva je jedno euro (€1).
Mišo: Dobre, doneste štyri (4).

It’s time to pay. Mišo calls the waiter again.
Mišo: Zaplatíme. Koľko je to?
Čašník: Dokopy dvadsať päť eur (€25).
Mišo: Dobre, tu máte tridsať (30).

Juraj has to get going. He thanks for the coffee and says goodbye.
Juraj: Ďakujem za kávu. Už musím.
Mišo: Tak dovi.
Juraj: Dovidenia!

The Dialog, in details:

This dialog starts off with Mišo noticing his friend Juraj. He calls to him: nazdar means something like salut. It’s a common greeting used between friends. Juraj is pleasantly surprised to run into Mišo. Hej Mišo, nazdar! means Oh hey Mišo, howdy!. Juraj then asks what’s happening. Čo je nové? means what is new?. Not a whole lot: nič moc means (bit colloquially) nothing much. He then introduces you. Známy means an acquaintance, and tu je môj známy is here is my acquantance. You guys then talk bit about your nationalities, stuff you learned back in Lesson 1 (Greetings). Piece of cake. Juraj finally suggests to have a coffee. Dáme si …? means Will we have …?. The Slovak word for coffee is káva, but due to the various conjugation rules, it becomes kávu in sentences like this one. For those interested in grammar, this is because coffee is in the accusative case in this sentence. You all think this is a good idea, dobrý nápad.

Mišo thus calls over the (Mr.) waiter pán čašník. It’s customary to show bit of formality when addressing the wait staff. After all, they are the ones in carrying your food. Also, back in the day, the level of customer service was quite different from what you may be used to in the United States. Instead of the waiter coming by every few minutes asking if you need anything, or offering you free refills (which are very rare in Slovakia), you had to go out of your way to flag the waiter down. Things are changing, especially in the big cities, but don’t be surprised if you have to work a bit to get service in a restaurant. This doesn’t mean you are not welcome there, this is just the way things are.

To ask how much something costs, you use koľko stojí …?. Literally, this phrase means how much stands …?. Coffee is one euro, jedno euro. Until January 1st, 2009, the official currency of Slovakia was the Slovak Crown, slovenská koruna. Then Slovakia became the first country of the former eastern block to switch to the euro. The first former communist country to switch was Slovenia (which was part of Yugoslavia), but since Yugoslavia was not as “tight” with the Soviets as was, let’s say, Czechoslovakia, they are not generally considered to had been in the Soviet block. Mišo tells the waiter bring four (coffees), doneste štyri.

Since there never is a free lunch (unless somebody else pays, that’s it), it’s time to pay. Mišo tells the waiter that we will pay, zaplatíme. He again asks how much is it, but this time the phrase is slightly different. Since we are not asking for the price of something in particular, but rather something abstract, we use koľko je to?, how much is it?. Dokopy (altogether) the bill comes to 25 euro. Mišo gives the waiter little extra. Tu máte tridsať is here you have thirty. When I was growing up, tipping consisted of leaving just few pieces of coin on the table – perhaps just the change the waiter brought back. But things are changing, partly due to the influx of foreign tourists who are used to tip the 15% in their home countries.

Finally, it’s time to say good bye. Juraj thanks for the coffee, and says (he) already must (get going), už musím (ísť). The word for goodbye in Slovak is dovidenia, which translates as “to (the next) seeing”. Friends will often use the abbreviated form, dovi, when parting. Tak means in that case. Zatial dovidenia, goodbye for now!

Now continue onto the grammar and vocabulary sections to learn the basics of using numbers and the numbers in Slovak.