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Language problems in Prague?

My sister just suggested that we go to Prague sometime. So, before I start doing research on what to do there, I'd like to know if English is widely spoken. Please - those of you who have been there - what was your experience with language.

Posted by
12040 posts

You may actually hear more English than Czech. On a trip through eastern Europe 2 years ago, Czech was the only language of which I did not learn a word, simply because I rarely had a chance to practice the basic responses.

Posted by
43 posts

Rose- I was in Prague two weeks ago. I found Prague to have the biggest language barrier I have encounterd in Europe [this is my first trip to Eastern Europe].

Rick says in his book on Prague not to expect any more language barrier than western Europe. I didn't find it that easy at all.

Posted by
932 posts

I didn't find that I heard more English than Czech, but many people spoke English. I got a Czech language cassette set from the library and learned all the basics and the numbers. (It's difficult, so it took a lot of repetition!) I learned how to say "Do you speak English" most importantly. And I always said please and thank you in Czech. Rick Steves's book said that if you make an attempt to speak Czech in a restaurant, the service will be better. (I think it's polite to try to speak a little of the country's language anyway.) We were in touristy places the whole time, so it was common to find english speakers...

Posted by
25 posts

Hi Rose, my daughter & I were just in Prague at the end of Sept. & I thought English was widely spoken in cafes & other visitor spots; we did try & say please & thank you in czech; the metro ticket machines have a button to push for english; the pay phones give prompts in czech but my daughter just kept putting in the codes from the phone card & got through ok; the only day trip we took was to Kutna Hora & the train ticket agent understood where we wanted to go; there were many english-speaking visitors in the city; have fun.

Posted by
156 posts

We were there about two years ago. I can't remember any language problems we had anywhere. There always seemed to be someone in a bar or restaurant who spoke English and could help us out.

Posted by
7205 posts

Just came back from Prague 4 days ago. We were always able to communicate in English. Let's face it, Europeans are light years ahead of us in the USA when it comes to languages. We met a very nice older couple on holiday from France. The man spoke Flemish, French, Spanish, Italian, German and English. How inadequate for me to speak nothing other than English!

Posted by
932 posts

It's a bit easier to learn other languages when you live in Europe. You can easily travel to other countries to practice. I speak German, but it's not nearly as good as it could be if I was able to travel to Germany often. But our problem is that we start teaching language in 6th or 7th grade instead of when children are young and still developing their language skills.

Posted by
7205 posts

Yes, you are correct. Our Prague shuttle driver said her daughter was currently learning English in kindergarten.

Posted by
11 posts

I was in Prague in April, and had no trouble with English. One or two taxi drivers had very limited English vocabularies, but we managed just fine. Hotels, restaurants, musuems all work fine in English.

Posted by
221 posts

I am wondering about this question, I speak some German. I had heard that many older people speak and understand some German, did anyone else find this to be true?

Posted by
7 posts

Just got back from Prague last Monday, November 12, 2007.
We did not experience any language problem at all (though I spoke russian which probably helped since they sound very similar).
Our hotel was beside a very big modern shopping mall and even ordering food (Chinese and local cuisine) at the food court was easy. Transportation was no problem too.
People on the streets are very helpful in English. They just want you to approach them, and you may ask them as many questions as you like.
Im sure you will have fun and a great time there. We sure did!

Posted by
864 posts

We couldn't find our B&B so my husband got out with our e-mail map at a metro stop. Shortly thereafter he had directions - many young people speak English. English is the language of commerce and business despite what purist might like to think and the young people know it. DO LEARN THANK YOU ETC. IN THE LOCAL LANGUAGE. English may be the "international language" but don't disrespect the national language or customs.

Posted by
258 posts

I was in Prague this past October and did not find language to be a problem at all. I learned a few pleasantries and people are very helpful if you attempt their language a little bit, even to just say please or thank you.