Realistic for foreigners to speak Czech fluently?

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hribecek
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Postby hribecek » 19-Feb-10 11:29

Thanks, but I think 'master' is too strong. For me, to master a language is to feel as comfortable in a language as you do in your own and know everything about that language and maybe even know stuff that natives don't know but still be recognisable as a non-native due to a slight accent and peculiarities in your way of speaking.

By the way, what is your level of Czech because you write very well (maybe fluently!) and if you can speak like that too then you're not far off fluent.
Languages are my passion and Czech is my favourite language.
scrimshaw
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Postby scrimshaw » 19-Feb-10 17:38

My level of czech is, how should I say it, minimal, somewhere between poor and horrible.
I have a pretty good grasp of the grammar and sentence structure and can put together some sentences, but when it comes to speaking I would fail miserably. Believe me, I could not hold a conversation.
I use the czech dictionary a lot.
But I learn mostly by the red corrections in my posts.
Jsem zvědav, jak by to vypadalo, kdybych byl přivolávačem deště. Jak by to vypadalo, kdybych uměl přivolat déšt'?
Mám pocit ale, že se to bohužel nikdy nedozvím.
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Alexx
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Postby Alexx » 19-Feb-10 21:15

scrimshaw wrote:..., but when it comes to speaking I would fail miserably. Believe me, I could not hold a conversation. ...


Do you actually have oportunity to speak czech? From using "would" and "could" I guess not (at least not often). I think you underestimate yourself, you would make grammar mistakes, who does not, but your vocabulary is extensive and guess you will be fine one day you come to visit us :-).

Btw I recently noticed something what I considered mistake in czech restaurants - they write "wi-fi free" on their doors, instead of "free wi-fi", which I think means almost the oposite (like in smoking free, drug free, wi-fi free (zone)...). Am I right or mistaken?
I cesta může být cíl.
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Karel_lerak
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Postby Karel_lerak » 19-Feb-10 21:21

Alexx wrote:
scrimshaw wrote:..., but when it comes to speaking I would fail miserably. Believe me, I could not hold a conversation. ...


Do you actually have oportunity to speak czech? From using "would" and "could" I guess not (at least not often). I think you underestimate yourself, you would make grammar mistakes, who does not, but your vocabulary is extensive and guess you will be fine one day you come to visit us :-).

Btw I recently noticed something what I considered mistake in czech restaurants - they write "wi-fi free" on their doors, instead of "free wi-fi", which I think means almost the oposite (like in smoking free, drug free, wi-fi free (zone)...). Am I right or mistaken?


May be they say exactly what they want - there is no wi-fi in the pub 8)
Karel, Praha, Czechia
scrimshaw
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Postby scrimshaw » 21-Feb-10 21:54

Alexxi..You are right, the 'would' and the 'could', express that I am talking about a hypothetical. I do not have the opportunity to converse. So for me it is pretty much just written practice.
But it is a challenge that I like.

If I were to one day visit you all in Česko, I would try to speak your language, but it would surely sound odd. :-) But I could live with that(It wouldn't bother me)

Yea...maybe when they say Wi-fi free, they are bragging that they do not have wi-fi there. But then they could have it backwards.
Jsem zvědav, jak by to vypadalo, kdybych byl přivolávačem deště. Jak by to vypadalo, kdybych uměl přivolat déšt'?

Mám pocit ale, že se to bohužel nikdy nedozvím.
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Ctyri koruny
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Postby Ctyri koruny » 23-Feb-10 9:56

wer wrote:
jpkrohling wrote:
Alexx wrote:I believe it is called "S italem v kuchyni"

Yes, here.
.


I'd be happy to speak czech as well him!
But the funny thing is I get the impression that's not good enough to study Czech "As a foreign language" at degree level here. The entry level standard seems insanely high to me.

So often I make mistakes I KNOW are mistakes and i don't know why.. Like getting the bus the other day i said Do Třebíč and not Do třebíči and I've no idea why I said that... I do that ALL the time, make the most simple mistakes that I know are mistakes even before I say them and I say them anyway and get corrected.
also I've noticed in some parts of the country they just say the name in nominative to the bus driver without any preposition, but Třebíč bus-drivers don't seem to approve.

I really have survival Czech, I can explain to someone in a shop what I'm looking for if I don't know the exact word "It's a long thing with a circle bit you use on a toilet" and I can understand detailed directions and advice about things, and of course i can buy stuff.. and if i manage to pay attention consistently i have a vauge idea what my friends are talking about in the pub.. but it's very hard to concentrate that hard for a few hours, especially when drinking!
But all of those are things I could do last September and I haven't progressed at allllll since then, i've been lazy and i feel very discouraged in general and it's getting harder to get motivated. I think i'll go off and learn a more useful, simple, and less beautiful language.

I'm glad you guys know so many foreigners who can speak Czech because I don't know any.

Accentles foreigners are a bad thing, a different accent means a different personality, i know people with perfect upper class snobby English accents that don't suit their personalities at all. Had they been born in England, even to parents who spoke like that, they would not speak that way! They will be talking about something in their own language in a jolly and happy way and suddenly stop to speak English and become serious and stiff. The people who keep their accents speak as naturally in both languages and stay themselves.
and I met a very unfriendly person with a very warm and friendly Irish accent. You should always keep your own accent because you don't know what the accent you're learning sounds like to native speakers!
However:

one German professor of Czech literature [..] and one Chinese [color]person[/color]* from my town.


that is a very encouraging post. So it is possible! I don't need to know it's easy, I just need to know it's possible! I suppose they had a Czech parent or something though?

*It's offensive to refer to people of a lot of different nationalities as singular nouns in English, more offensive with some nationalities than with others, but never very nice, so it's safer to use an adjective. The plural is okay "A Chinese man" but "the Chinese" (all of them)
Anna683
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Postby Anna683 » 25-Feb-10 11:55

Lots of interesting posts in this thread! It's good to hear that speaking Czech reasonably well is possible for a foreigner -- and hopefully not just for those who have a few billion extra brain cells!

Ctyri koruny wrote:Accentles foreigners are a bad thing, a different accent means a different personality, i know people with perfect upper class snobby English accents that don't suit their personalities at all. Had they been born in England, even to parents who spoke like that, they would not speak that way! They will be talking about something in their own language in a jolly and happy way and suddenly stop to speak English and become serious and stiff. The people who keep their accents speak as naturally in both languages and stay themselves.
and I met a very unfriendly person with a very warm and friendly Irish accent. You should always keep your own accent because you don't know what the accent you're learning sounds like to native speakers!

I agree about accentless foreigners. They can be a bit spooky. But there do seem to be people who have such a talent for languages or such a good ear that they pick up not only the language but the accent like a sponge. I once met an Austrian woman who sounded (at least, to me) as if she was an Irish native -- she spoke English perfectly with absolutely no trace of a foreign accent. She had an Irish boyfriend, however, so presumably benefited from intensive coaching!
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kibicz
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Postby kibicz » 25-Feb-10 13:00

Like getting the bus the other day i said Do Třebíč and not Do třebíče

Do Třebíče x V Třebíči :-D
To Třebíč x In Třebíč
I need my czenglish corrected! (including this signature;)
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Ctyri koruny
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Postby Ctyri koruny » 05-Mar-10 23:49

kibicz wrote:
Like getting the bus the other day i said Do Třebíč and not Do třebíče

Do Třebíče x V Třebíči :-D
To Třebíč x In Třebíč


Huh! I need to get my ears checked. umph. what a language.

(and maybe i'll get it right next time, this is maybe why i make mistakes intentionally, so no one will correct the things I think are right and I won't have to deal with the fact they're wrong! ))
Splog
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Postby Splog » 11-Apr-10 20:52

It is certainly possible for a foreigner to speak completely fluently in Czech, but it does seem very rare. Perhaps the best I have seen is Eric Best - the American journalist who is often invited on Czech news programs to debate rather complicated political issues. His vocabulary is extensive, and his grammar perfect. Even his pronunciation is excellent, with just a trace of an accent. Of course, he has been in the Czech republic for something like 20 years. So, the journey is likely a long one.

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