Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Feelings

Polish
Jestem szczęśliwy/ szczęśliwa. – I’m happy. (yestem shchen-shleev-ee/a)
Jestem smutny/smutna. – I’m sad. (smootn-ee/a)
Jestem zmęczony/ zmęczona. – I’m tired. (zmen-choe-n-ee/a)
Jestem wdzięczny/ wdzięczna. – I’m thankful. (vuhjenchn-ee/a)

Czech
Jsem šťastný/šťastná. – I’m happy. (yuhsem shtyah-stn-ee/a)
Jsem smutný/smutná. – I’m sad. (smootn-ee/a)
Jsem unavený/unavená. – I’m tired. (unaven-ee/a)
Jsem vám vděčný/ vděčná. – I’m grateful. (vahm vuhdyechn-ee/a)

Slovak
Som šťastný/šťastná. – I’m happy. (som sh-tyah-stn-ee/a)
Som smutný/smutná. – I’m sad. (smootn-ee/a)
Som unavený/unavená. – I’m tired. (unaven-ee/a)
Som vďačný/ vďačná. – I’m grateful. (vuh-dyachn-ee/a)

You’ll notice that all these expressions take a form that readily translates “I am…” In Slavic languages, adjectives have to agree in gender and number with the noun they refer back to. Therefore, if you’re male, you use the masculine forms (ending in y/ý); if you’re female you use the feminine forms (ending in a/á).

Using the pronunciation guide is simple: Pretend you’re from the Midwest U.S. and charge through what I’ve written (complete with added syllables to get you over the consonant clusters) as resolutely as you can. We offer a 100% guarantee you won’t be mistaken for a native, but you’ve got a fair shot at being understood without having to learn what all the accent marks mean.

The student who wants a better accent will, of course, need to find a native speaker or good cassette program as some of these sounds and sound combinations don’t really exist in English and must be heard to be learned.