Help/advice for advanced learners

Discussion in 'General Language' started by Colonel_Mustard, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. Hi all, first post so please be gentle :wink:

    I left the Czech Republic about 10 years ago after having spent 7 wonderful years there (and still miss it like crazy). At the time of leaving I was reasonably fluent in the language to the degree that I could read newspapers, watch films, conduct business negotiations etc in Czech (though undoubtedly not with making errors).

    Now after 10 years of living in Thailand and studying Thai and having no contact with the Czech language, I feel that I have lost quite a bit of that fluency and would like to regain and perhaps even improve it. However, it would probably have to be through self-study as I know no Czech people here and to the best of my knowledge there aren't any teachers of the language in the country either.

    Therefore I am seeking advice on strategies to brush up/improve my Czech from outside the country. I could access the Czech press online, buy a few novels and DVDs etc but is anyone aware of any cousebooks/dictionaries/grammar references/other materials that might be suitable for someone with my aims?

    I know it is likely to be more difficult as I don't have a teacher or anyone to communicate with (in writing or speech) but I can't see any way around that at this time.

    I would like to get back and take an advanced Summer intensive course at some stage but at present that would be difficult due to having a very young family.

    Any advice and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    This is a great website and valuable resource, so many thanks to all those involved.
  2. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Colonel Mustard! (Wonderful game, by the way!) I'm glad you want to get back to your Czech. After learning it for two years, I'm still useless, but I've just been re-reading my first text book and I am pleased to see that I have actually made more progress than I thought. So after seven years here, you must have been pretty good!

    I would have thought that DVDs were your best best, and watching films on the internet. Have a look at the films forum; there's a thread there giving links to some good documentaries - but only available until Sunday, I think it is.

    Are you looking for a grammar book? I think mine would be too basic for you, even my intermediate one, although 401 Czech Verbs by Bruce Davies and Jana Hejduková would be good for all non-native Czech speakers, I would have thought. It's ISBN 80-239-7260-X

    Good luck!
  3. I've just ordered 401 Czech verbs. Thanks for the recommendation.
  4. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    I know this is off topic and I'm sorry I can't help you but.. You were fluent in only seven years! Yay!

    This is so encouraging!
  5. I believe fluency can be achieved in well under 7 years (especially if you are in-country). It perhaps took me a little longer as I never really had any formal lessons but I would say I was fairly fluent (though far from 100% accurate) after 2-3 years.
  6. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    You are obviously a natural linguist then! After two years here, with about 18 months of lessons, I can just about manage sentences if they don't have more than six words in them! (My reading and writing are better though...)
  7. I wish I were a natural linguist :)

    I was however, lucky enough to be in a situation where I was pretty much around Czech people 24 hours a day and very few of them spoke any English at all. It really was a case of sink or swim and fortunately I managed to swim a little.

    I guess I was kind of the opposite in that my speaking and listening skills developed more quickly than my reading and (especially) writing.
  8. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    I have listening practice every day in the form of trying to understand what my students are saying to each other.
    When I first came here I was quite paranoid (as is natural when you are not used to being around people who are speaking in another language) that they were saying horrible things about me, but now my Czech is a bit better and can understand that they're usually explaining something about the English Grammar to each other or simply talking about something completely irrelevant like boyfriends and school.
  9. Splog

    Splog Member

    You raise an interesting point. I had a Czech lesson with my teacher today, and she said that she has noticed that more and more students are now quite good at reading and writing but terrible at speaking Czech, whereas a few years ago it was quite the reverse. Perhaps it is because there are an increasing number of Czechs who speak good English - whereas before it was almost essential to speak to them in Czech (the survival instinct demanded it!).
  10. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    Hee hee it always makes me smile when people make sweeping generalizations about the Czech Republic which really only apply to Prague.
  11. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    I just remembered there is a book advertised at the back of Czech Step by Step called "Czech for life" / "čeština pro život" which it says is for B2 level learners. The levels go A1(beginners) A2 B1 B2 C1 C2(fluency/Proficiency)so it's the highest level book I know of.

    You'll have to forgive me I can't give you a lot of information because the whole ad is in Czech and I'm only A2 hee hee but it deals with 15 different conversation themes.

    " taková normalní rodina, jezte a pijte, dobrou chut, jedeme nakoupovat, ukažet mi, prosim, cestu, u doktora, dalši prosim. "

    It has 264 pages and comes with 2 Cds.
  12. Splog

    Splog Member

    I have the book. It is quite good. I would agree it is good for somebody around the B2 level. Not an advanced book though. Having said that, some of the audio dialogues are quite good for getting your ear used to rapid and (relatively) realistic daily Czech.

    When you are at the border of the advanced level, I reckon you are beyond the level of textbooks, and should move on to authentic Czech material: reading papers, watching TV, listening to radio, reading novels, etc. Sure, you will be slow at first, but you soon get the hang of it.
  13. Sigma

    Sigma Well-Known Member

    I just bought a book called 'Krok za Krokem - Czech Step by Step' which is supposed to be for those who want to be at the B1 level. It wasn't cheap though (850kc), but I'm kind of addicted to buying new Czech language books. :lol:

    I've worked through the first chapter, and there are a number of words I don't know, even though it is supposed to be review. :lol: All the questions (etc) are in Czech. It is about 200 pages and comes with 2 CD's and an answer book.

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