Tricky Words in this week's OVI
Moral and morale. These words have different spelling and different pronunciation: /mor l/ and /moráál/. Moral can be translated as "morálny/a", as in strong moral character, or unshakable moral
values. A person who has those qualities possesses strong morals. The moral of a story, especially of a fable (bájka), is the lesson (poučenie) which can be learnt from it. Morale on the other hand
is a measure of a person's feeling of happiness or confidence (dôvera) when they are faced with a task or situation involving some difficulty. Going into battle, soldiers' morale can be high if
they have confidence in their leaders and believe in their victory, but if they are wet, tired and hungry, their morale will probably be low and they may well surrender.
I've been asked to explain an idiom (which in fact I would say is more of a saying - porekadlo - or even a proverb - príslovie), namely "A stitch in time saves nine". Let's say you have a little
hole in the toe of your sock. You could go to the shops and buy a new pair, or you could take a needle and thread and with one stitch (steh in Slovak) you can repair the little hole. If you leave
it because you're too lazy to put in even one stitch, very soon the hole will be much bigger, and closing it up will require nine stitches, which means much more work than if you had darned it
earlier, in time. The message is that it's better to make a small effort to deal with a problem as soon as it appears, because the effort needed to solve it later will be much bigger.