Good morning and good night

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Good morning and good night

Postby Lorenzo » 06-May-02 1:34

Hi again!
I don't know if I'll ever go that far and buy "Teach yourself Czech" but at the moment all I have is just a little phrase book that was really both useful and fun to use while I was in Prague :-)
I came to grips with greetings and civilties and now I know at least how to start a conversation in Czech...
One thing I'm curious about now is greetings... wishing someone a "good morning". I know there are at least three ways to do that: "Dobry den" this is for the whole day and this is clear, "Dobry rano" and here I know "rano" means "morning" and finally "Dobry jitro" and this is not that clear... I suppose "jitro" means "morning too but what's the difference between "rano" and "jitro". The word "jitro" reminds me of the Polish "jutro" which means "tomorrow". I think these two words have a common root being Polish and Czech closely related but what does "jitro" exatly mean? Can this word be used to talk about the early hours of the day? Can we say "It's a beautiful morning" in Czech using both "rano" and "jitro"? "Je nejaky rano/jitro (this is my rough attempt at translating this sentence).
I know only one way to wish someone a good night and that's "Dobrou noc" but what has always puzzled me is the answer I often get that is just "dobrou".
Now this is not a big deal but I'm just curious that's all :-)
I know that "Hello" in Czech is "Ahoj" but I often heard people say a word sounding like "Cau". Is that Czech at all? It reminds me of the Italian word "Ciao". Could it be?
By the way I'm Italian myself ;-)
Thank you again for your help and attention!!
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Postby Heather » 09-May-02 22:15

Hi Lorenzo,

I am a new study of Czech language but one who is studying very hard. It is my understanding that "Dobre rano" is only appropriate to very early morning hours.

"čau" means both "hi" and "bye" as well as "ahoj"

As I said, I am fairly new at this, so don't take it as the gospel, but I believe this is correct. I will be interested to see a reply from someone who really knows what they are talking about !
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Location: Duncan, OK, USA

Postby Heather » 09-May-02 22:17

my "c" with harky above doesn't look right !! but I hope you get the point :-)
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Postby Dana » 10-May-02 0:33

Ciao Lorenzo!

Ok, here's the explanation:

"Dobry den" as you know can be used during the whole day, until the evening. Once it gets dark, you want to say "Dobry vecer". These two greetings are only used with people you don't know very well and who are over age 20-25 (i.e. people with whom you would use "Lei" in Italian - remember, Czechs are a little more formal than Italians overall). With friends and young people ("tu" in Italian), you would use the more informal greeting, such as "Ahoj" or "Cau". I'll get to those later.

"Dobre rano" and "Dobre jitro" mean exactly the same thing, which is "Good morning", and are only used in the early part of the day, e.g. over breakfast or when you see someone approximately before 10 a.m. Both "rano" and "jitro" mean "(early) morning" ("jitro" doesn't mean "tomorrow" in Czech although it does in Polish). The only difference between "rano" and "jitro" is that "jitro" is a little old-fashioned and bookish and is used less frequently than "rano". "It's a beautiful morning" would be translated as "To je krásné ráno". If you said "To je krásné jitro", you may have a few people chuckle because you'd sound like someone from 1930...

(Just a note: The correct way to say Good morning is "Dobre rano/jitro", not "Dobry ...")

To wish someone a good night, you can either say "Dobrou noc", which is the normal greeting (Buona notte) or you can shorten it and say just "Dobrou", which is more informal. It's like saying "Notte" in Italian or "Night" in English.

"Cau" (with a hacek above the "c") is a very common way to say "hi" or "bye" between friends (it's informal). It must be derived from the Italian "ciao" but it is a normal part of the Czech vocabulary. It is interchangeable with "ahoj".

Good luck with your Czech!

Postby Lorenzo » 11-May-02 18:42

Thank you Heather and thank you Dana for your replies!!
Dana, you're always so attentive!!
I'm learning!, I'm learning! :-)
Grazie!! :-) Dekuji!
This site rocks!!


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