The accent doesn't mean a vowel is stressed. It means it's long. Czech is basically an unstressed language (all syllables given equal stress), which you can approximate by putting the stress on the first syllable.
The accent doesn't mean a vowel is stressed. It means it's long. Czech is basically an unstressed language (all syllables given equal stress), the stress on the first syllable.
Revision as of 18:28, 2 July 2012
Czech is a Slavic language, closely related to Slovak and Polish. Spoken by over 10 million people as a first language and at least 6 million who use it as a second language (mainly in Slovakia), Czech is one of two official and defacto languages of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Czech belongs to the "synthetic" language group, which means that unlike English and other "analytical" languages, different grammatical aspects are expressed in one word by changing the structure of that word - adding an ending or prefix, modifying the core of the word, etc. In analytical languages such as English, the same is achieved by using separate auxiliary verbs, pronouns or adjectives while the actual word remains unchanged. In Czech, one word is often sufficient to express what English can only achieve by using multiple words.
The only tricky sound to watch for in Czech is this 'ř' letter. Its like putting a trilled 'r' and 'su' in "pleasure" together to make up a 'rrrzh' sound.
The accent doesn't mean a vowel is stressed. It means it's long. Czech is basically an unstressed language (all syllables given equal stress), but the (light) stress is always on the first syllable.
like 'u' in "cup" [uh]
like 'e' in "red" [eh]
like 'i' in "bit" [ih]
like 'o' in "bore" [oh]
like 'u' in "put" [oo]
same as 'i' [ih]
like 'a' in "far" [aa]
like 'e' in "bled" [ehh]
like 'ee' in "spleen" [ee]
like 'o' in "for" [ohh]
like 'oo' in "pool" [ooh]
like 'ee' in "speed" [ee]like russian "ы" (and exactly the same pronounciation as í)
The Vowel Ěě
The Czech vowel "ě" is pronounced in one of three ways, depending on the preceding letter.
dě, tě, ně
pronounced as though they were written ďe, ťe, ňe — the preceding consonant is softened and the e is pronounced [eh]
pronounced as though it was written mňe — a soft n, like the Spanish ñ, is inserted and the e is pronounced [eh]
in all other cases
ě is pronounced 'ye' as in "yet" but in a middle of a word 'ie' in "miedo"
like 'b' in "bed"
like 'ts' in "tsunami"
like 'ch' in "child"
like 'd' in "dog"
like 'd' in "duty"
like 'f' in "for"
like 'g' in "go"
like 'h' in "help"
like 'ch' in the Scottish word "Loch"
like 'y' in "yell"
like 'k' in "king"
like 'l' in "love"
like 'm' in "mother"
like 'n' in "nice"
like 'ñ' in Spanish "señor"
like 'p' in "pig"
like 'q' in "quest" (very rare)
like Scottish 'r' (a.k.a. rolling 'r')
like 'rzh'; is like the trilled 'r' and the 'su' in " pleasure " together, the tip of your tongue should vibrate loosely. Like "diversion". (This sound is very difficult for foreigners: even young Czechs and Slovaks have trouble pronouncing it.)
like 's' in "his"
like 'sh' in "cash"
like 't' in "top"
like 'ti' in "Tatiana"
like 'v' in "victory"
like 'v' in "victor" (rarely used in Czech words, however used in German-originated proper nouns or words of Polish origin)
like 'cks' in "kicks"
like 'z' in "zebra"
like 'j' in french "Jacques"
Diphthongs are sounds that consist of two vowels within the same syllable (like in the English word "meow").
like 'ow' in "cow"
like 'eu' in "Europa"
like 'o' in "go"
is not digraph, but two separate consonats, not like the "sh" in "ship" but rather 's' followed by 'h' as in glass house.
PUSH (on a door)
PULL (on a door)
Toalety/WC (toa-LEH-tih/ VEH TSEH)
Muži/Páni (MOO-zhih/ PAHH-nih)
Ženy/Dámy (ZHEH-nih/ DAHH-mih)
Vstup zakázán (vehs-toop zah-KAHH-zahhn)
Dobrý den. (DOH-bree dehn)
How are you? (formal)
Jak se máte? (yahk seh MAA-teh?)
How are you? (informal)
Jak se máš? (yahk seh MAA-sh?)
Fine, thank you.
Dobře, děkuji. (DOH-brzheh, DYEH-koo-yih.)
What is your name?
Jak se jmenuješ? (yahk seh YMEH-noo-yehsh?)
My name is ______ .
Jmenuji se ______ . (YMEH-noo-ee seh _____.)
Nice to meet you.
Těší mě. (TYEH-shee myeh.)
Rádo se stalo. (Raado seh stulo.)
Excuse me, I am sorry. (getting attention)
Je mi to líto. (yeh mee toh LEE-toh)
Na shledanou (NAHSH-leh-dah-noh)
I can't speak Czech [well].
Neumím [moc dobře] mluvit česky (Neh-oomeem [mots dobrzheh] mloovit cheskee.)
Do you speak English?
Mluvíte anglicky? (Mlooveeteh unglitskee?)
Is there someone here who speaks English?
Je tady někdo, kdo mluví anglicky? (Yeh tuhdih nyegdo gdo mloovee uhnglitskee?)
Dobré ráno (DOH-brehh RAHH-noh)
Dobrý večer (DOH-bree VEH-chehr)
Dobrou noc (DOH-broh nohts)
I don't understand.
Where is the toilet?
Kde je záchod? (Gdeh yeh ZAHH-khoht?)
Leave me alone.
Nechte mě být. (NEHKH-teh myeh beet)
Don't touch me!
Nedotýkejte se mě! (NEH-doh-tee-keh-teh seh myeh!)
Ztratil jsem peněženku (ZTRAH-til yeh-sehm PEH-ehh-zhehn-koo)
I'm sick .
Je mi špatně. (yeh mee SHPAH-tnehh)
I've been injured.
Jsem zraněn (YEH-sehm ZRAH-nehhn)
I need a doctor.
Potřebuji doktora (POHT-rgeh-boo-yee DOHK-toh-rah)
Can I use your phone?
Mohu použít váš telefon? (MOH-hoo pwoh-zheet vaash TEH-leh-fohn?)
jeden/jedna/jedno (YEH-dehn/ YEHD-nah/YEHD-noh)
dva/dvě (dvah/ dvyeh)
dvacet jedna (DVAH-tseht YEHD-nah)
dvacet dva (DVAH-tseht dvah)
dvacet tři (DVAH-tseht trzhih)
čtyřicet dva (CHTIH-rzhih-tseht dvah)
sto sedmdesát pět (stoh SEH-duhm-deh-saat pyeht)
dvě stě (dvyeh styeh)
tři sta (trzhih stah)
dva tisíce (dvah TIH-see-tseh)
tři tisíce sedm set padesát osm (trzhih TEE-see-tseh sehdm seht PAH-deh-saat ohsm)
number _____ (train, bus, etc.)
číslo _____ (CHEES-loh)
méně (než) (MEHH-nyeh (nehzh))
více (než) (VEE-tseh (nehzh))
When using digital time in the Czech Republic, it's usual to use a 24 hour clock, ranging from 0.00 to 24.00. Okay, 24.00 is actually the same as 0.00, but one day later. However, both 12 and 24 hour formats can be used when speaking about time. There are three ways to specify, for example, two o'clock PM: "dvě hodiny" (literally "two hours", AM/PM information must be clear from the context), "dvě hodiny odpoledne" (literally "two hours in the afternoon") or "čtrnáct hodin" (literally "fourteen hours").
one o'clock AM
jedna hodina (YEHD-nah HOH-dih-nah)
two o'clock AM
dvě hodiny (dvyeh HOH-dih-nih)
one o'clock PM
třináct hodin (TRZHIH-naatst HOH-dihn)
two o'clock PM
čtrnáct hodin (CHTR-naatst HOH-dihn)
There are two ways of expressing "fractional hours". The simpler way is just to spell out a digital time in the 24 hour format. For example 16:30 (half past four in the afternoon) would be spelled as "šestnáct třicet", literally "sixteen thirty". This way is often used when time exact down to a single minute is to be given or just because the speaker is too lazy to mentally convert a digital time to a different format.
The other, nicer way is as follows:
Quarter past nine (21:15) - čtvrt na deset (literally "a quarter to ten")
Half past nine (21:30) - půl desáté (literally "a half of ten")
A quarter to ten (21:45) - třičtvrtě na deset (literally "three quarters to ten")
The 12 hour format is always used with this method. If it is not clear from the context, it can be appended by a word like "ráno" (early morning), "dopoledne" (late morning), odpoledne (afternoon) or "večer" (evening), eg. "půl desáté večer" (21:30, "a half of ten in the evening").
Attention: When this method is used, Czech always refers to the upcoming full hour! This is different from English, which refers always to the full hour which is closer (and to the previous one when in the middle between two full hours).
_____ minuta (if 2-4 then minuty, else minut) (mee-NOO-tah, mee-NOO-tih, MEE-noot)