Nikdy sa nevzdávaj – never give up
Today’s Slovak word of the day is actually a phrase. There’s a story behind this. I recently met a young Slovak police officer with the English phrase “never give up” tattooed on his forearm. He spoke very little English. With my limited Slovak and his limited English, we somehow managed to have a brief but rather amusing conversation. He told me his dream was to visit New York City someday. He said he had been learning English for a year. He had the phrase tattooed on his forearm to motivate himself to learn English. I told him in my broken Slovak that I should probably tattoo the same phrase but in Slovak on my forehead. Not sure if he got my joke but he smiled politely.
I told him that I’m learning Slovak. He gave me a surprised look and then he said, “Slovak is a very difficult language to learn”, as if to warn me. He then proposed that we should have language exchange lessons. I smiled and said, “samozrejme!”, but it was a lie and I knew it wouldn’t work. Through the years, countless of Slovakians have offered me language exchange lessons. It’s always the same proposal. They teach me Slovak and at the same time they get to practice their English on me. It sounds like a great idea but in reality, it takes a lot of patience to teach someone a new language. The fact is, not everybody is a good teacher. It’s like you agree with a friend to swap cars for a week and then you realize what a bad idea it is because your friend’s car is a piece of junk.
Anyway, I really admire this young officer’s determination to learn English. I do hope he will achieve his goals. As I’m writing this I realize I’m way behind with my Slovak words this month. Nikdy sa nevzdávaj!