How to become fluent in Czech in 3 months

Discussion in 'General Language' started by irishpolyglot, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    I guess I'm one of those 0.1%. :)
  2. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    Hee hee.. that reminds me actually someone I know is often put in the unfortunate position of translating Czech nuclear power reports into English. Basically writing about thins she has absolutely no idea about, and words that don't exist in most dictionaries! As well as the fact that these reports frequently contain abbreviations and acronyms with no key...!

    Can you imagine!

    All the same how many people are there with degrees in nuclear physics (and what not), and proficiency levels in both English and Czech.. and if you have a degree in nuclear physics how likely are you to want to be a translator?
  3. irishpolyglot

    irishpolyglot Member

    I actually know someone with similar qualifications (Just French-English though). Good friend of mine :D
    I'm a translator myself, but with a degree in Electronic Engineering (the only topic I ever translate). You could definitely find most language combinations for people specialised in topics (rather than a general translator like your friend), on a translator networking site like - I hope that translation was at least proof read by someone with qualifications for it! ;)

    Come on Sova, :p Little bit of a misquote there ;) "nuclear power" can be discussed (at least basically) by anyone who studied physics up to a certain level, that's not quite what čtyři said...

    (A "chuig choróin" ;) Is féidir "ú" a scríobh le ALT+0250 ... craiceáilte atá mé cinnte :D )
  4. rsalc1

    rsalc1 Well-Known Member

    Sova je velmi moudrý člověk, jako moudrá sova. 8)
  5. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    Hee hee millions and millions of people speak Fluent French and English (the two languages have a lot in common anyway), most of Canada for example, but fluent Czech and English, maybe thousands, fluent Czech and English + degree in nuclear physics, maybe dozens.. and willing to work as translators?

    That was my point.

    There are 5 native English speakers in this whole town, there are many many people with qualifications related to nuclear physics (most of the companies around here are satellites of the nuclear plant) , and 2 of the five are teaching them English!
    You have to remember almost no one even started learning English till after the Velvet Revolution, most of the people who work in these fields are middle aged and have a good knowledge of Russian (it was compulsorily) but not much English.
    Things are changing though, they have a great school system here, and most teenagers speak at least some English or German, so I imagine in 10 years the situation will be very different and my friend won't have to do horrible translations like that anymore.

    Thanks but of course I know how to write u fada on an English keyboard, but it doesn't work on a Czech one! (even if it were set to English) I could copy and paste, but easier to just use ů
  6. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    You underetimate here. Czech Universities produce significant number of people with degree in nuclear physics and practically all of them understand English.
    Well, a Czech (or Slovak) native with degree in nuclear physics and no knowledge of English is as rare breed as an English native with degree in nuclear physics and some knowledge of Czech.

    Almost no one is big exaggeration. English was studied even under communism. It was a must in many domains, mainly in the international trade and science (including nuclear physics/engineering).
  7. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    I spoke only from experience, but it seems that upper-intermediate / FCE is as high as they go, and this is knowledge they have garnered in the past few years.
    And of course most of the people in the high positions are not just leaving college now! They are in their thirties and forties and didn't study English in school!

    Almost no one is big exaggeration. English was studied even under communism. It was a must in many domains, mainly in the international trade and science (including nuclear physics/engineering).[/quote]

    Aha So every over 30 I have met is an exaggerator?
    I was told (by people speaking from personal experience) English was only taught in third level schools, you had to get special permission to study things (be a good communist) , and that English was particularly hard to get approved for.
  8. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    Well, I wonder who told you this nonsense?
    A foreign language (we could choose German, English, French or Spanish) was always obligatory in all kinds of high school education (I graduated in 1966 :roll: ) as well as in universities - my husband who studied psychology had to pass exams in three foreign languages (Russian, English and the third one chosen among German, French or Spanish). State language schools or at least language courses could be found even in smaller towns; so - who wanted to learn could find some way.

    And people who are now in their thirties and forties experienced the boom of travelling abroad after 1989 as youngsters or even kids, as well as the onset of exchange programs and student mobilities supported by a number of projects and funds (e.g. TEMPUS, Erasmus etc).
  9. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    With all respect, I doubt you have significant experience with Czechs educated in nuclear physics. There is big difference between having degree in nuclear physics, having degree in nuclear engineering and working in nuclear industry.
    For nuclear physicist (resp for any “hard scientists”), English was a must even under communism. For nuclear engineers, it was not needed. For workers in nuclear industry it was almost useless.

    Please, consider I speak about nuclear physicists and you speak about people you met in an one-horse town in the highland.

    No, it was commonly taught as facultative subject even in the grammar schools.

    And the language schools were available practically to anybody, as were the private lessons.

    No, that’s exaggeration. Most of the people were allowed to study at university the subject they wanted (if they were qualified), only some people were not allowed to study subject of “political nature” and only a few were not allowed to study at all.

    Only for the most political fields of study and for most lucrative fields of study, the access was restricted to the most loyal people (rather members of nomenklatura than good commies).

    In fact, the system pressurized the opponents of the regime into studies of apolitical, mainly technical, fields. Hence there was more nuclear physicists among the opponents of the regime than under standard circumstances.

    No, there were no restriction on learning English (and French and German and Spanish and Italian and…), it was only matter of “wanting”.
  10. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    Ah for feck sake, this isn't fair. I repeatedly said "related fields".

    And the stories I was talking about, the translation etc. weren't about nuclear physics.

    If you don't take the time to read what I say I won't take to time to read what you say, I am only repeating what my friends, who, (unlike you, I'm assuming) are old enough to have lived through it, and the words of my students who work in nuclear power plants, they're not here for you to tell them that their memories are wrong.
  11. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    That is very interesting, quite the opposite of what I heard!
    So many people have told me you could only study Russian, even when I first moved into my flat my neighbors told me about it, and just the other day my students told me how after the revolution their Russian teacher had to learn English or be out of a job, and she was always one chapter ahead of them in the book.

    As for the limitations on study, only one person has told me about it, it was honestly free?

    Hey wait! You graduated before the Russian occupation! I haven't spoken to anyone from your generation before.

    I imagine your experience was very different, as Duzrisova said.
  12. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    @Jana - I've heard the same as Ctyri koruny. Mostly from those born in the 1960's (came to the States in the 80's & 90's) who reflect on their years in school during communism. So perhaps things were different for the generation after yours.
  13. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Maybe you should read better. I never disputed your talks about related fields, I disputed this particular estimate of yours:

    It’s at least thousand.

    And I disputed your statement on impossibility of learning English under communism.

    That’s all, nothing else was disputed.

    I guess you both misunderstand the point. Russian was obligatory as the first foreign language. This was an effective ban of English for anybody who was not willing to learn a second foreign language. For the people who were willing to learn another foreign language, English was natural and frequent option.
  14. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    You are being ridiculous. I made an estimate, just as you are making, neither of us knows for certain.

    It wasn't so much my statement, it was me repeating what I was told by Czech people.
    I was told there were no school teachers who taught it and next to no native speakers in the country, while travel to countries where it was spoken was at best limited and at worst impossible.
    So who was teaching it? And those people who taught it, where did they learn it? Books on tape/record?

    I think there is evidence of this in the ridiculously poor quality of most Czech-english dictionaries (filled with spelling mistakes and mis-translations), the only good ones have been published or revised in the last few years.
    Not to mention some of the old school books my Maturita students showed me, which are absolutely filled with mistakes which could never have been prof-read, and they're expected to learn it off by heart!
  15. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    Well, there is a Czech saying - Kdo chce, hledá způsoby, kdo nechce, hledá důvody.
    And it applies to learning languages as well as to any other ability or knowledge. I could go on and on telling you about listening to Radio Luxembourg, smuggled LPs, reading English books in original (lots of them published in twenties and thirties by Penguin Books and cherished by anglophiles), about teachers of English who arrived here as wives of Czech pilots in RAF during WW II or elderly ladies raised in Swiss or French or English boarding schools who were giving private lessons etc. etc.
  16. bibax

    bibax Well-Known Member

    Obviously in the Czech and Slovak universities (in Prague, Olomouc, Bratislava, etc.).

    I think it is true especially for the dictionaries issued just after 1989. Many newly established publishing houses wanted to earn money very quickly and the older dictionaries were copyrighted.
  17. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    A selective quote, for certain, but not a misquote: <CTRL-C> doesn't lie. :) Besides, I was actually quoting you, not Čtyři!

    Sure anyone who studied physics up to a "certain level" will be able to discuss nuclear power at a basic level, but I wouldn't vouch for the scientific accuracy of what most of them might say--I should know, I've tutored enough of them. Also, not many Americans even reach that "certain level" of study in physics. So perhaps 99.9% may not be that far off.

    <and no, this isn't meant as a brag--you probably noticed I didn't left out the "psychological factors" in my selective quote--rather I think it's funny that when someone wants to make an example of a difficult-to-understand subject, invariably nuclear physics or rocket science comes up.>
  18. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    As to what wer said about the number of people in the world who both speak Czech and English, and are able to discuss nuclear power, I wholly agree with his comments. All of the Czech scientists (researchers, at least) in this field MUST learn English, at least at a level to understand technical journals (which by and large are published in English) in their field. So, this number of people is approximately equal to the number of Czech nuclear scientists.

    Again, "engineers" will not fit this analysis, as their interaction with the scientific community via journals, conferences, collaborations, etc. will be much more limited.
  19. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    @irishpolyglot: On the Czech (Windows-QWERTY) keyboard, you can type ú by pressing first the "=/+" key followed by the "u" key. The ů is typed by the ";/:" key.
  20. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    It was not an empty example
    Cambridge Objective Proficiency 2002 page 28: Psychological factors effecting road rage.
    Oxford CAE Masterclass 1999 page 141 and 142: Pros and cons of various power sources and as well as alternative fuels

    These were just the things that came into my head first.

Share This Page