Learning Czech

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Hello Everyone!

Learning Czech - Grammar, Tutorial, Flashcards

As you might know already, I’m currently learning Czech. It is rather difficult if you don’t have any knowledge of any other slavic language, since there’s no possibility to derive words from another language.

In Addition, there are many differences to the German language – which is my mother tongue – for an example, the German language knows four cases: nominative, genitive, accusative and dative, whereas Czech has 3 more: vocative (used if directly addressing someone), locative/prepositive (used with a preposition to express a location)  and  instrumental (used to show the means by which something happens, sometimes also used for localization after certain prepositions). I have to confess that I’m still  unable to either use the correct cases at the right time, nor to build the word forms correctly, but I’m really trying to get those things into my brain. 😀

Learning Czech - Grammar Cases

Furthermore, the Czech language has more characters than German. While I knew only 26 characters, the Czech alphabet consists of 8 more, namely č, ď, ch, ň, ř, š, t’ and ž. This makes typing Czech words on the computer even more difficult. The tutorial by Sprachenlernen24.de offers to click on the needed character when it comes to exercises that require text input (see Screenshot below), which is still rather inconvenient – nevertheless, it saves time compared to google those characters and copy-paste them.

Screenshot Czech Tutorial

The tutorial CD-Rom comes with an MP3-CD that allows you to copy the MP3-Files and -Playlists onto your MP3-Player, so you can revise the whole vocabulary and also the dialogue-texts on the go. You’ll also learn how each word is pronounced and you’ll get some kind of a feeling of how the Czech language is supposed to sound like.

A funny thing: A chair in German (as well as Swiss German) is called “Stuhl”. In Czech, they use a homophone to this word, namely “stůl” as the word for “table”; German “Tisch”… Really confusing… 😀 Our “Stuhl” (chair) is called židle, by the way.

Screenshot Czech Tutorial - Vocabulary

The Sprachenlernen24.de-Tutorial also includes printable vocabulary lists. Since I didn’t like revising and studying with lists, I used to write some old-school vocabulary-cards on paper… Since I usually forgot them at home, I was still unable to study on my way to work or to University, so I looked for an alternative – and I found one: The alternative is called iMemento (*click* to be proceeded to the App’s website *click*). iMemento works like those flashcards on paper, but on your iPhone, iPodTouch and iPad. The flashcards can be produced by typing your vocabulary into an .txt-file; the first line should contain the word in your native language, e.g. English or German, then you type the correct answer or the translation of the word in the second line. Then you leave one line blank and start again with the word in your native language, etc. etc. After transferring the .txt-file onto your mobile device, you can transport thousands of flashcards wherever you are going, just by having your mobile phone with you. I absolutely love this App, I even think it’s the best 4 Swiss Francs I ever invested in an iPhone-App so far. 🙂

What are your recommendations to study a language successfully and to stay motivated? I’d love to read your advices! =)

Lots of Love,
Sluníčko

5 thoughts on “Learning Czech

  1. Hey Sluníčko, to make typing in Czech easier, you can very easily download a Czech keyboard layout and have both German and Czech in your computer language preferences – it is really to switch from one to the other. Some of your characters will be elsewhere – e.g. š is the key 3, é is 0, etc, you would learn that fast. Y & Z are swapped, which is fun 🙂
    Why are you learning Czech – can I ask? Difficult task! Have you discovered the seven declination cases of nouns – masculines, feminines and neuters (often different from German) and their ‘samples’? But don’t worry, when it comes to verbs, tenses are much easier than German 🙂
    When I was learning English and French, I read books in the original as soon as possible. Children’s books first, short stories, not too complicated at first. To improve active knowledge, which can be a challenge, I would listen to radio a lot and record for example the news and then try and transcribe them from the recording. It helps understanding a native speaker, getting a feel for the cadence and stress of sentences and expanding vocabulary.
    Hodně štěstí!

    • Hi MarketaDee!
      Thank you so much for your kind advices – I just installed the Czech keyboard to my iMac, and it works perfectly fine. 🙂
      Of course you may ask. I’m learning Czech because I finally met my soulmate, V.. He’s 31 y.o. and lives near Karlovy Vary in Czech Republic. 2 Weeks ago, I spent a long Weekend at his and his parent’s house, and I totally fell in love with them, their kitchen, their language, their mentality, just everything about them and their culture… I really didn’t want to get back home. At the airport of Prague, a lady at the security check asked me if I needed a doctor, because I’d look feverish… I answered, that I was fine, just sad, because I have to leave this beautiful country and people, and that I had tears in my eyes…
      V.’s mother speaks German quite well, but his Dad doesn’t speak anything but Czech. His Dad is really cute, I like him a lot, even if we didn’t talk a lot… And V. told me, that his Dad likes me, too. He told me, that his parents “adopted me by heart” already. Unfortunately, I wont be able to get back there before Christmas, since I’m working 60% and University keeps me here as well. But I desperately want to go there as soon as possible, maybe for two to three weeks. And until then, I want to speak Czech rather fluently. I know that this is a very ambitious aim, but I just want to talk to V.’s Dad and also his extended family without needing any translator… 😀
      I read about the cases and everything already, but it’s so difficult, I can’t get a hold of all those things yet, I hope it gets better soon… :-/
      It’s a good idea to read children’s books in Czech. It’s hard to find Czech books here in Switzerland, but I will try to buy some when I get back to Czech Republic in winter. Or maybe V. can recommend and / or send me some… =) I’m always listening to Radio Evropa2 and Radio KissDelta via webradio. Unfortunately, I think there’s no “news”, but a lot of advertisement… Could you recommend me another good radio program?
      Děkuji! =)

      Sluníčko

      • Ahoj Sluníčko,

        aawww.. your Bohemian romance, how sweet!
        I’m sure V can send/recommend some Czech books and also a radio station I don’t listen to any Czech stations anymore – I used to listen to Radio1 for the music only. You should tune into a serious radio station, like Cesky Rozhlas 1 to listen to world news, the local/music stations will only have local news and you won’t have anything to relate to listening to them.
        Enjoy learning about the country, it has some amazing history and culture. Shame it’s so fecked up by the corrupt politicians.
        Stay in touch, Marketa

  2. Ahoj! I’m starting Czech at university (in England) and I’m finding this site called Memrise really useful. It only goes English-Czech so might not be as useful for you, but I don’t think I would survive my course without it:) I’m also listening to the radio, like the previous commenter suggested, just to get the sound of it even though I only understand a few words!
    Good luck!

    • Ahoj girlinalabyrinth!
      Wow, what a challenge to do Czech at University… I kinda flirted with that studying-subject as well, but I thought it would have been too ambitious and risky… ^^ Are you doing it as a major or minor? I’d love to know more about it 🙂

      I’ll check out Memrise tomorrow, thanks for telling me about this page. 🙂 I’ll tell you what I think about it asap 🙂

      Yeah, Czech radio.. I don’t understand very much, too… They’re talking just way too fast and it’s not easy at all, but I think you’re right, it’s a good way to get the sound of the language… 🙂

      Good luck to you, too! =)
      Sluníčko

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