Tricky Words in this week‘s OVI
Cottage or chalet? Somewhere there are still old dictionaries going around which contain a bad English translation of the Slovak „chata“, and a lot of people have this bad translation fixed in their memory, so here we go again: a cottage is an old, traditional house in or near a village in the countryside (na vidieku). A gingerbread cottage has a witch living in it, waiting to catch children and roast them in her kitchen range. A chalet (say: /šalé/, because it's a French word) is a more modern building, often shaped like a capital A, built of stone at the bottom and wood up above, usually intended for weekend use by a family who normally live in an apartment in town. There are often chalet areas near lakes or in the mountains, but if it's high up in the Tatras, for example Téryho, Zbojnícka or pod Rysmi, then it's a mountain hut (or refuge, also from French).
The Christmas period, especially around the New Year, but also birthdays and namedays, are occasions which reveal a difference between Slovak and English speakers that might even lead to misunderstandings. The difference lies in the content (obsah or objem) of the wishes that people make on these occasions, because Slovak speakers (in the Slav tradition, I think) string together many positive ideas into a long wish, whereas English speakers tend to use short expressions, and wish one thing at a time. The ideas are the same (e.g. all the best, good health, luck, success, fortune, peace, family bliss, God's blessing), but Slovak wishes seem to go on and on, so English speakers might think they're exaggerated, while English wishes tend to be short, so Slovaks might think they lack feeling. Either way, looking into the other person's eyes will surely make your wish a success.