How do I start learning Czech?

Discussion in 'General Language' started by mahrukh, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. mahrukh

    mahrukh New Member

    hi, would anybody please tell me what is the starting point for learning this language
  2. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Buy a text book with a CD so you can hear what it's supposed to sound like. I have been using Czech Step by Step by Lida Hola but it's generally accepted to be better when you use it with a teacher, rather than on your own. I don't know how people who have been studying on their own started.
  3. SMZ

    SMZ Well-Known Member

    I've found the Pimsleur series of CDs to be quite good. The main advantage is that you get used to listening and so aural comprehension is improved (the most difficult thing for me). The major downside is that there's no book or other written components, so you won't get any grammar, reading, spelling, etc.

    But, as a starting point or a complement to a book (I personally like the Cestina Hrou text), the Pimsleur is excellent.


    P.S. I didn't mention that both of these resources are relatively pricey, so you may want to look for used versions!
  4. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    take a look at

    (before you know it) - they have a free Czech flashcard with sounds PC program and a more advanced one for a nominal price - quite good for beginning.

    also "In-Flight Czech" CD is under 15USD and will start you with a pretty good set of phrases
  5. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Glenn, you have downloaded and installed that byki on your computer and it works well?
  6. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member


    I have basic and advanced Czech as well as basic

    Croatian (for a friend who went to Croatia)
    Spanish (as a control - to see how good pronunciation is - good, BTW, although Castillian)

    I am planning a possibly rather extensive trip next time and would like to have a few basics under my belt
  7. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

  8. Sigma

    Sigma Well-Known Member

    I am using Czech Step by Step on my own. It isn't the best situation, but I am doing okay. :lol:
  9. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the tip about byki.
    Really easy download and they speak so clearly.
  10. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    be sure and try the "turtle" - slows it down
  11. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    I'll try that feature too.
    There is a pretty big list of words that come with the basic download,
    but you paid for the advanced? And, if so, the playback recorder works well?
  12. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    I haven't tried the playback feature yet - should work ok, though - everything else does
  13. MichaelM

    MichaelM Well-Known Member

    To add in a couple of resource reviews, I have been through the full Pimsleur comprehensive CD set twice and got more from it each pass through. However, it can only hint at grammar. To understand the framework of the language (grammar and usage), you will need either a class or a book (or, I suppose, the above online grammars). I have read Short's 2nd edition twice, understanding more each time. Some reviews of his book complain of the conversations as being too long or too strange (the family arguing about housework being one instance) but, if you can understand that he just uses these conversations as examples of spoken Czech, they are fine. He gives very interesting asides about general usage conventions throughout the book. His associated CD's are a bit difficult to hear and understand (one speaker is particularly mushmouthed) but are helpful nonetheless. I am also about to begin formal classes and the textbook is Heim '82. The first six chapters cover most of the case system in a very quick way which is overwhelming me right now as I review it before the first class but it is quite systematic. Of course, the experts here on this website also have been an incredible help to me.
  14. General Joy

    General Joy Well-Known Member

    Another suggestion (particularly if you enjoy reading) is to find a copy of one of your favorite books translated into Czech. I'm a big fan of The Catcher in the Rye (hence my signature), so I compare my copy to the Czech version, Kdo Chyta v Zite. It helps seeing how things are translated.
  15. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    General Joy

    Not sure about this but...
    kdo chytá v zitě.....who is catching in the rye?....a question
    Ten, kdo chytá (or Chytač) v zitě....The one who catches (catcher) in the rye.

    Been a long time since I read that book.
  16. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    “Kdo chytá v žitě” is the traditional translation in Czech.
  17. General Joy

    General Joy Well-Known Member

    Scrimshaw, that's really what it's called-- Kdo Chyta v Zite (without the accents). So you're saying that it's asking a question? I thought the translation was odd too, but figured it was to be translated as "Who Catches in the Rye," with a person implied. Meaning "'He' or 'One' who catches in the rye."
  18. General Joy

    General Joy Well-Known Member

    Oh, I see now that wer cleared up the issue. Thanks. :)
  19. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    Without the question mark we have to read it, as you write
    (Ten,) kdo chytá v žitě.

    Of course you may ask "Kdo chytá v žitě?"
  20. Foocaow

    Foocaow New Member

    Thanks for this thread! I am going to start learning Czech and this is a great list of good material.

    I'm going to be doing it on my own using an audio cd and book, so what should I think about and are there any recommendations about what you think is the best way to learn on your own? There are NO courses for learning Czech here. :shock:

    -- Chris

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