Your reasons for learning Czech

Discussion in 'General Language' started by uuspoiss, Dec 23, 2004.

  1. uuspoiss

    uuspoiss Well-Known Member

    Going through the posts on these boards I'm beginning to wonder how come so many people are interested in learning Czech? I'm sure there are very different reasons for each one of you, but what are they?
  2. cechofil

    cechofil Well-Known Member

    Hi. I am interested in learning Czech because I met someone when I was there recently in October. He knows English but I would really like to surprise him by learning Czech. I am waiting for my Pimsleur tapes to arrive so I can begin. Also, this was my second visit to Czech Rep. and I learned the hard way that not very many people speak English outside of Prague. I wished I would have at least known the basics. It seems arrogant I guess, expecting the natives of any country to accommodate me by speaking my language. I think CZ. Rep. is one of the most fascinating and beautiful countries I have been to and since I hope to be going back I figured I should at least attempt to learn the language. Unfortunately for me, I speak no other foreign languages and I know this will be difficult but I am motivated. Why are you wanting to learn Czech?
  3. uuspoiss

    uuspoiss Well-Known Member

    Well, I don't really know... I was in CR for the first time this summer, visiting Praha, Liberec and Brno. I don't think I need to tell any of you how beautiful the country is, but I doubt that it would be the only thing to motivate me. I guess it's that I really like the sound of the language (nobody has agreed with me about this yet, but to me it sounds like somewhere between Russian and French:)) and I would like to know another foreign language besides English and Russian. So it's sort of an intellectual challenge probably. For me, Czech is not just a small language somewhere in Europe. My own native language is being spoken by about 10 times less people than Czech ;)
  4. cechofil

    cechofil Well-Known Member

    I also like the sound of the Czech language. I cannot disagree with you about it sounding closest to Russian and French but I am afraid I am not much of an authority on languages. Maybe someone more knowledgeable can comment about that. I have not been to Estonia. What is your language most similar to, Russian? I wish you well in your endeavor to learn Czech.
  5. Ritchie

    Ritchie New Member

    As I can remember from the high school Estonian is a strange (I mean non-Indo-European) language. I guess it could be similar to Finnish. (To be honest, I don't know Estonian neither Finnish.) I will probably have to learn some basics of Estonian because I want to visit Baltic states. I've heard it is very difficult, even more than learning Czech.
  6. strange_too

    strange_too Active Member

    I'm learning Czech for one reason, my girlfriend. She speaks good english, but there is no reason why I shouldn't learn her language. I'm also finding out as much as I can about her culture. I even have my Czech language CD's in my car, so I can practice when I'm stuck in traffic.

    Veselé Vánoce!


  7. uuspoiss

    uuspoiss Well-Known Member

    True - it's a Finno-Ugric language, being related to Finnish (quite similar), Hungarian (I see no similarity there:)) and some smaller languages most of which are unfortunately no longer spoken. It is not similar to Russian at all except a few loan words from the Soviet times.

    So they say:) If you need any help, please feel free to PM me.
  8. uuspoiss

    uuspoiss Well-Known Member

    What I neglected to mention before is that Jaromír Nohavica should also get some credit for my growing interest in Czech. I've been listening to his music a lot since I saw the movie Rok ďábla (Year of the Devil) - it was screened on the national television here a few months ago. Anyone interested in Czech language and culture should definitely see it!
  9. babicka

    babicka Well-Known Member

    My father, who came to live in England during the second world war, always had wonderful stories to tell me about Prague, including Czech culture and philosophy, and naturally about his life in Prague. He also has that noteable subtle Czech sense of humour!! For some strange reason, my mother, despite the fact that she was an infant school teacher, would not let my father teach me Czech as a second language when I was a young child. In the past, I have visited my grandparents and other relatives in Prague, and each time I have gone there it has felt like going home, as though I belong there more than in England. I have tried to learn Czech over the years, but everyday day life, for whatever reason, has intervened. I now have more time on my hands, and so finally at long last I am determined to learn Czech.
  10. Usal

    Usal Well-Known Member

    I have the same reason as strange_too. My girlfriend also speaks very good English but like him I don't see why I should not learn her language. I also have had a similar experience as cechofil. I returned from my first visit to Praha and Olomouc in mid-December and although I knew a few Czech phrases while I was there I wished I had known more. Also, like strange-too I have language CD's in my car. I am also using the Local Lingo site to learn while I'm at work.

    Veselé Vánoce!

  11. Coccinella

    Coccinella Guest

    Hello everyone!

    It's interesting to see how different reasons for taking up a language can be...Of course it's hard to imagine someone learning Czech because it is useful worldwide, though I must admit I have managed to communicate with a Japanese girl in Czech! :)
    As for me, I studied Russian interpreting at University, so when I picked up Czech I had a solid base in a Slavic language already.
    I was once on a train going from Vienna to Warsaw - there was a girl sitting in front of me in the same compartment. All of a sudden she got a phone-call on her mobile and...I really fell in love with the language she was speaking!!! That's how we got to know and exchanged our email addresses. A couple of months later I went to Prague to celebrate New Year's Eve with her and her friends and from that time on I have become a Czech language "junkie"! I don't know whether someone could really learn a language for the sake of it without really appreciating the country where it is spoken and the people who speak it...
    I like Czech people, I think they strike a happy compromise between Russians and Western Europeans - that's quite logic too!
    Estonian is supposed to be much harder than Czech...are there many foreigners learning it? I am attracted to Baltic languages too, but I wouldn't even know where to get the material to start from...
    I am planning to travel across Baltic countries on my honeymoon...:)
    Alright, let's make our little contribution to spread the popularity of beautiful Czech with supporting this site! ;) I don't know what the situation is like in other countries, but you can hardly find even a self-teaching course in Czech in our largest bookshops!
  12. babicka

    babicka Well-Known Member

    Hi Coccinellla!! Yes, as that saying goes:- "You hit the nail right on the head!!" Czech people do strike a happy compromise between the Russians and Western Europeans. I just hope that the Czechs will never lapse into the Western European ways!!; especially now that they are a part of the European Common Market, not to mention foreign investment by other countries, especially by the U.S.A. Foreign western countries who will only be too happy to take advantage of the cheap Czech labour market.
    I too have found it difficult to find suitable self-teaching courses in Czech. I am waiting for someone to make such a course on CD Rom for the computer. There are definetly enough people out there who would buy such a CD Rom, so that in turn it could prove a very profitable enterprise for someone so inclined to produce one for the open sellers' market. Although, naturally it would take more than one CD Rom!! It is one thing memorizing declensions etc. not to mention feminine, male and neuter endings, but what is really needed is plenty of translation exercises during each stage of the learning process; something similar to how Czech children are taught Czech in schools, where there is a gradual build up of knowledge. All of this could easily be provided on CD Roms. I have two CD Roms by One is basic and the other is intermediate, but there is too much of a jump from the basic one to the intermediate one, so although a very good idea, has not been carefully thought out, but I think these are mainly meant for people going on holiday, as opposed to others who would seriously like to learn Czech. I have also heard of a few more that have been produced, but again they have not received a very good write up, so I have not bought any of them.
    Have a great new year!!
  13. metamorph

    metamorph Member

    Hi everyone,

    I am just beginning to learn Czech because I visited Prague in October and have been fortunate to have become friends with a Czech girl, with whom I have been working in the UK for the last few months. I have become fascinated with the culture and the people and want to know more. It seems that to travel outside Prague it helps greatly to know some Czech. Also there is a bit of arrogance in expecting everyone to speak English!

    I am using Colloquial Czech by James Naughton. This has 2 CDs with the book which help greatly with pronounciation. There seems to be a good balance between grammar and conversation- but it is early days yet.
  14. uuspoiss

    uuspoiss Well-Known Member

    I have the same one. Suprisingly it was available here in a university bookstore without even having to pre-order. I've found it very helpful, even though I haven't gone all through it yet. I had to place an order and wait for two weeks to get a decent dictionary though.

    Well there's definitely a lot of Russians and other local people learning it, but I don't really know about non-local foreigners. I know one American and one Englishman who have been able to learn Estonian very well, but they have both been living here for a while. Estonian is said to be taught in a fairly large number of foreign universities though, so I guess there are people out there who are interested.
  15. babicka

    babicka Well-Known Member

    "Colloquial Czech" by James Naughton (1999) - This is the write up that I read about this book:- It is a new improved version of an older textbook. The old book was not well-structured and suited to learner's needs. The new book, therefore, is much improved but may be still difficult for complete beginners. More advanced learners, however, might profit from listening to the tape. Some people like the provided grammatical explanations, but given the amount of material presented it contains relatively few exercises, and a modest dictionary. The language is also much less colloquial than the situations. The tape may be good for learning pronunciation of some less common or more complex phrases. It also gives you a chance to listen to fairly realistic dialogue, and the recordings are very professional..
  16. Usal

    Usal Well-Known Member

    Hi everyone, I also read that review of "Colloquial Czech" by James Naughton (1999) or one similar to it and was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for a CD and textbook based Czech language course for someone that until about 6 months ago had never even heard the language before. Currently I have In Flight Czech (not good for a beginner) and I have been using the Local Lingo site. I'm very determined to learn Czech but I really need help and suggestions on learning materials. I have tried to find a tutor in the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area but so far no luck the closest tutor I can find is in Orlando and that is a little to far away. Any suggestions or recommendations will be greatly appreiciated.


  17. cechofil

    cechofil Well-Known Member

    Ahoj. I just received the Pimsleur method of learning Czech. It is still in the box so I am unable to post a review at this point. This method is audio only and is predicated on the way in which a child learns to speak through hearing and repetition of about 2500 base words. I am only hoping to learn proper pronunciation from it, not grammar. It is currently only available in cassette form but I have someone looking into transferring it to CD for me. I can't imagine learning the language without any visuals though so I am also looking for suggestions on beginners level books or materials. Dekuji.
  18. Local Lingo

    Local Lingo Active Member

    Hello everyone,

    This is a great thread. We would just like to remind you to try to stay on topic in your posts. Discussing Czech learning material and language courses is very helpful to many users and they would not think of looking for such discussions under a topic called "Your reasons for learning Czech". In addition, once a thread veers off, some users may become discouraged to make a post that addresses the original topic.

    There are already several threads in the General Language and Language Exchange & Czech Classes forums discussing Czech textbooks, learning techniques and language courses.


    Your Local Lingo Team
  19. Malnik

    Malnik Well-Known Member

    You all make me feel bad! I should learn Czech, but i dont but i will.......honest. I married a Czech lady and we live in the UK. The reason I want to learn Czech is so that when we visit i can talk and converse with her family, i can watch the news and understand whats happening and i can answer the phone!!! The only English language TV channel my mother in law has is Eurosport. I am now an expert on downhill skiing champions, rules and distances. Sometimes when we visit its like i am going to a time warp and when we leave i have no idea whats going on. I can watch the pictures on the news and have a guess....that makes life really interesting. (I was the only guy on the planet that thought Monica Lewinsky dripped Ice cream on her dress...)
    I have never had a problem finding English speakers out of Prague. We go to Moravia and i have never really had a problem. Its not that i am arrogant...far from it....i dont expect anyone to speak my language, its my choice to muddle on.....people visit all kinds of places and its impossible to learn every language of the countries i've been to. So its just.....hard!
    But i now have a tape, I now have a book and i now have......

    :roll: ..............A headache!

  20. Vortex70

    Vortex70 New Member

    I learned Czech in perhaps the worst setting imaginable: Prague, where one runs into many fluent in English. I was certainly very shy when called upon to speak, and so I didn't make the strides in spoken Czech that I might have had there been an element of necessity.
    I've since returned to NY, but keep up at the very least an excellent passive knowledge of the language (I read Czech newspapers on line) Plus, I'm going to go for a visit to Moravia this summer, which is a fire under my re-activation of the language.

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