How to Beat a Slovak to the Bill

Paying the Bill

February 4, 2016

Allan Stevo

Here’s a piece from the archives on 52 Weeks in Slovakia on the importance of being quick at the draw in Slovakia.

Tip: In a face-to-face competition, you will always lose.  No matter where you are from, no matter how poor your host is, you will have the bill paid by the Slovak you are visiting with.   A Slovak is like a well-trained cowboy from the Wild West – he’s always the first to the draw.

Before you even realize that the waiter has brought the bill, the Slovak will have already paid for the bill. You’ll still be trying to figure out where your wallet is, and the waiter will already be walking away, money in hand.  Without fail, the Slovak will always beat you to the bill.  If there were an Olympic discipline in who can pull out his wallet most quickly, Slovaks would win the gold, silver, and bronze each time.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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Ash Wednesday Comes and Social Ball Season Ends

Ples

February 2, 2016

Allan Stevo

With Lent right around the corner, starting this year on February, 10, 2016 (Ash Wednesday), social ball season will come to an end in Slovakia. Here’s a piece from the archives of 52 Weeks in Slovakia about that tradition.

It was once commented to me “In Slovakia every minority has their own ples.”  And I’ve found that in many ways to be true.  Ples is the Slovak word for “social ball.”  They take place en masse at this time of year.  (BratislavaGuide.com usually lists a few of them on their English language events calendar.)

This is the carnival season, or “Fasiangy” in Slovak, and during this time Pleses abound.  From the Crystal Ball (a fancy event) to the International Businessman’s Ball (a high ticket price event) to the Homeless Ball (2 euro to enter if you’re an authorized vendor of Nota Bene – the Bratislava-based magazine sold by the homeless), from the Policeman’s Ball to the 90th Annual Doctor’s Ball, the Orava Ball (thrown by people from Orava now living in Bratislava) to the Electro-technic Faculty Ball or the Theological Seminary Ball, the Russian Ball to the U.S. Marine Corps Ball—dozens of balls are held each weekend, catering to scores of different sub-cultures, both large and small, in Slovak society.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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Google Doodles About Slovakia

January 26, 2016

Allan Stevo

Google is always coming up with interesting “doodles” for the front page of its website. Here are a handful related to Slovakia, from the archives of 52 Weeks in Slovakia.

Sometimes when you go to Google.com, there’s a special design on the Google front page commemorating some interesting anniversary.  The concept is called “Google Doodles” by the company.  A few aspects of Slovak culture have been the subject of these doodles in the 13 years (since 1998) that Google has been playing with their logo for special events.

Incidentally, Google Doodles has a pretty enjoyable webpage for those browsing the internet looking to learn about what figures and anniversaries might be important in other cultures or about what interesting anniversaries take place in the U.S.  The Google Doodles page (http://www.google.com/logos/) combined with a Wikipedia search is a playful way to just dabble a little in the history and culture of other places.  To suggest an important anniversary deserving of Google altering their logo for a day, you can email proposals@google.com.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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5 Slovak Resources that I Use Every Day

Resources in Slovakia

January 21, 2016

Allan Stevo

Below is a piece from the archives of 52 Weeks in Slovakia that many have found helpful.

I’ve been in Slovakia about 8 years now and have come across some useful tools that make life easier for me here and keep me more connected to what’s happening around Slovakia.

1. Slovak – World – I know Google is the cool email program to use, but Google has nothing as good as Slovak – World.  It’s a Yahoo group, but it’s membership is open to all, regardless of what company you have your email with.

Click here to keep reading 5 Slovak Resources that I Use Every Day

Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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How Slavs Greet Each Other

Belarus | Photo: cache.boston.com

Belarus | Photo: cache.boston.com


How Slavs Greet Each Other

January 15, 2016

Allan Stevo

Anton Bernolak was a Slovak linguist and Roman Catholic priest who passed away on January 15, 1813. He was the first codifier of the Slovak language and presented a codification that was later replaced by the codification of Ludovit Stur. This week, I present to you a series of posts from the archives of 52 Weeks in Slovakia on the topic of the Slovak language.

“Dobry den” was a term I knew from growing up in Chicago, or at least had been exposed to that phrase. The phrase was corrupted in my mind because of the many variations of it that I had been exposed to.

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Slavs | Photo: mic.com

Slavs | Photo: mic.com

Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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Klobasa and other Slavic ways to say Sausage

Klobasa | Photo: T(h)om, thomuv.blog.cz

Klobasa | Photo: T(h)om, thomuv.blog.cz


Klobasa and other Slavic ways to say Sausage

January 15, 2016

Allan Stevo

Anton Bernolak was a Slovak linguist and Roman Catholic priest who passed away on January 15, 1813. He was the first codifier of the Slovak language and presented a codification that was later replaced by the codification of Ludovit Stur. This week, I present to you a series of posts from the archives of 52 Weeks in Slovakia on the topic of the Slovak language.

The Slavs, the good people that they are, tend to feel a sort of affinity for each other when they are away from their homes and in places like the U.S. or Canada.

Language helps to form the way a person thinks, or maybe thinking helps to form language.  Whichever it is, the two are closely linked – thinking and language. If you bring your former Slovak student to the Western Open to work parking lot detail with you (as I did) you should not be surprised that after 2 weeks of being surrounded by Americans, he will, out of the 3,000 people he encounters that day, be drawn to the one guy that immigrated to Chicago from Poland 20 years earlier.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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Changing Languages Changes Your Personality

Lingual Personality

January 14, 2016

Allan Stevo

Anton Bernolak was a Slovak linguist and Roman Catholic priest who passed away on January 15, 1813. He was the first codifier of the Slovak language and presented a codification that was later replaced by the codification of Ludovit Stur. This week, I present to you a series of posts from the archives of 52 Weeks in Slovakia on the topic of the Slovak language.

Last night I saw someone I hadn’t seen in a few years. We spoke English with each other. After a while we switched into our other common language.

I was reminded that as you switch languages you switch personalities.

In English we struggled a bit for a topic to discuss. In Slovak it flowed smoothly. In English we spoke about more banal topics – at least for a while. In Slovak we jumped to central issues of identity.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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The Great Vowel Shift

The Great Vowel Shift

January 13, 2016

Allan Stevo

Anton Bernolak was a Slovak linguist and Roman Catholic priest who passed away on January 15, 1813. He was the first codifier of the Slovak language and presented a codification that was later replaced by the codification of Ludovit Stur. This week, I present to you a series of posts from the archives of 52 Weeks in Slovakia on the topic of the Slovak language.

The concepts of The Great Vowel Shift according to William Labov’s Principles of Linguistic Change:  Internal Factors (here for free)(here for purchase) were first mentioned by Otto Jespersen in 1909.  In 1949, in a book of his, Jespersen finally introduced the term “the Great Vowel Shift.”  Jespersen was a Danish linguist that specialized in English grammar.

The Great Vowel Shift is something that took place in English that caused English vowels to sound so different than Slovak vowels.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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