Adventures in Czech Language

If I were to describe the Czech language, challenging is an understatement.  It is totally different from the languages that I know. They have words without vowels.  My first encounter of a challenging Czech word was with “zmrzl,” the Czech word for frozen.   With the difficulty of this language and the sub zero temperatures we’ve been getting, I’m zmrzl.

When winter came and the air started getting dry, I went to an electronics shop here in Kolin and went looking for a humidifier.  With my limited Czech, I asked a salesperson if they had a humidifier.  I didn’t bother to find out what the word for humidifier was because I thought it would be the same thing.  The sales person didn’t know what I was talking about, so I went on to explain: “voda na vzduch” (water for air).  Still didn’t get my point across.  Maybe it was my accent.  I went home frustrated and explained the whole situation to my husband.    He said he’ll buy it for us.  As it turns out, there is a Czech word for humidifier: “zvlhčovač.”  Who would’ve thought.

I’m glad that my worst mistake in the Czech language happened in a private conversation with my husband.  In an effort to help me learn Czech, he would oftentimes speak to me only in Czech.  One day after coming home from a trip, he asked:  “Honey, mame jidlo?”  (Honey, do we have food?)  I cooked lentil soup that day so I replied. “Ano, my mame kočka.”  (Yes, we have cat).  My husband’s expression was beyond explanation.  The Czech word for lentil is “čočka”, and because of the similarities in pronunciation, I said cat instead of lentil.  When we discussed it later on, he jokingly told me:  “I knew what you were talking about but I wanted to make sure. You told me that in the Philippines, you guys eat dogs.  So I wasn’t sure what else you eat.”    I guess he does have a point.

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7 thoughts on “Adventures in Czech Language

  1. Kat February 17, 2012 / 12:55 am

    Miming in siopao! 😀

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    • Kristof March 3, 2012 / 12:59 pm

      I couldn’t agree more. I have been with my Czech fielgrirnd for nearly three years and although I had picked up a few phrases, the actual structure of the language had escaped me. I have had at most 8 lessons at the London Language Studio and I can already feel a massive improvement and now have our Czech friends conversing on Facebook as a result of my Czech Facebook status updates I highly recommend personal tuition to learn a language!

      Like

  2. John March 3, 2012 / 1:10 pm

    I agree Czech can be tricky to learn, ielecsaply at the start, but if you persevere the results are very rewarding. I have been learning with the London Language Studio for a couple of years, and am delighted with my progress.

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  3. Elayne Zarn March 10, 2012 / 1:56 am

    We still cannot quite believe I could end up being one of those reading the important tips found on your site. My family and I are seriously thankful for the generosity and for offering me the chance to pursue my own chosen profession path. Thank you for the important information I got from your site.

    Like

  4. anfidesign March 31, 2012 / 6:31 am

    LOL! I have to tell you that I used to be married to a Czech guy (for 8 years). I am polish so I think that helped to pick up the language. Now my husband is Afghani. His dialect is another challenge and we also enjoy movies (in Urdu) from India. So let’s just say the mix of words swirling in my head is a bit of a mess. Though I find Urdu a little easier than Pashto.

    I really enjoyed your blog this morning and have subscribed.

    Anna from Canada

    Like

    • Grace April 2, 2012 / 10:24 am

      Thanks Anna! Wow! I can’t imagine learning all those languages that you’re learning. It must be very confusing. Goodluck!

      Like

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