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learning to speak a little czech

I can get the pimsleur czech audio book through my local library... has anyone used this with success? Planning a week in Praha next year and am uncertain how much Czech language is needed to get by as a tourist?

Posted by
368 posts

We got by with the the Czech equivalent of:

Hello
Please
Thank you
Goodbye

Most of the people you will run into in Prague (at least in the tourist areas) know enough English so that you only need the basics to be polite and get the communication started.

Posted by
8 posts

Even on the trains they speak Czech then German then English. No worries, I found it was easiest to just speak English and as the other poster said, learn the polite greetings and thank-you and you will be fine! Enjoy!

Posted by
521 posts

I have used Pimsleur for Italian and for German. It is good for learning, please, thank you, where is.., how much is..., do you speak English - all the basics. But don't expect to know what people are saying in return to you. But I do think Pimsleur is a good start.

Posted by
290 posts

It really depends on how much you will be getting away from the districts of Prague 1 & 2. A week in Czech Republic is good enough to do 3-4 days in Prague and the rest either day tripping or to go somewhere like Cesky Krumlov. I've been going to Czech Republic every year as my husband is a Czech national. Take it from me, it would be worth your while to get the audio book from your library to actually hear how the Czech words are pronounced. Focus your learning on the basic words/phrases which are in Rick Steve's books and pay special attention how each letter of their alphabet is pronounced. It's pretty hard at first to get your tongue around some of the sounds, like the r with a hachek in Dvorak, but practice will help. There are some situations that a little Czech in Prague will help you out. Even though most folks in Prague hotels, touristed area restaurants / shops, and ticket counters speak some English, you'll find that most of the tram / bus drivers, the good onlaying area hospoda staff where locals go, and public toilet attendents do not speak any English at all. Also most anywhere outside of Prague most of the older generation does not speak English.

Posted by
191 posts

thanks to all who have responded... We wont be in Prague until next May, so I have some time to learn a few words, and will get primsleur audio book from my library and make an effort to master a few of the basic phrases. Debbie's point about day tripping outside of Prague and lack of English speakers there was persuasive.

Posted by
3 posts

I found In Flight Czech audio CD and the small handbook that came with it to be very helpful, especially with correct pronunciation. I believe I purchased it through Amazon.

Posted by
295 posts

Wish we had learned a little this summer! We were transferring trains in Ceske Budovice, 5 minutes, and I asked a railway worker on the platform, "Praha?" He kept saying no (so I thought), and I was starting to panic about making the connection. Turns out yes in Czech is ano (accent on the o). So, yes, give it a go!

Posted by
191 posts

Dennis, changing "trains with only 5 minutes" is always stressful, but often make the moments we remember. one of ours. in Italy, was thinking we needed to change trains, and showed the ticket to our conductor as we were hustling down the aisle to get off, and we were already on the train we needed. All we could figure out was that the train number must change at that station, but we were never sure why we were so confused.

Posted by
1249 posts

Tom

I also found 'In Flight' Czech good. My czech is incredibly basic but it is also good to have a few numbers.

For example when we were there I wanted to buy croissants in a local shop. Obviously I could have used fingers but it was more satisfying to be able to say two (Dva). Of course, I still had to point!

Cheers
Alan

Posted by
932 posts

Tom, I also used the Pimsleur audio book from my library. I practiced and made a cheat sheet of all the basic phrases. It was nice to be able to be polite in their language. It was also nice to be able to say "Do you speak English?" in Czech. Sometimes they didn't understand me, but it felt nice to know the basics!

Posted by
79 posts

We were in Praha and throughout the Czech Republic in 2005

We had no problem just knowing the basic polite phrases while in Praha.

In Olomouc that was a much different story..we spent 4 days there and a very very little English was spoken..we had a crash course in Czech...the phrase book from Rick and Lonely Planet served us VERY VERY well

in addition to pantomiming...which was a ton of laughs for EVERYONE!!!

What we found was the language spoken was Czech, German, and then Russian.