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Karel Gott | Czech language

Do you want to speak Czech?

Visitors to Prague and the Czech Republic may be intimidated by the apparent complexity of the local language and the names they encounter. This entry explains how to pronounce Czech and gives a few handy phrases so that you can politely greet the locals. The Czech language is a type of Slavic, related to Bulgarian, Polish or Russian. It is written in the Roman alphabet, the same one used to write English, but a few of the letters can have accents or little cups on them. Czech is almost completely phonetic. As in all Slavic languages (except modern Bulgarian and Macedonian), many words (especially nouns, verbs, and adjectives) have many forms (inflections). Moreover, in Czech the rules of morphology are extremely irregular and many forms have official, colloquial and sometimes semi-official variants. The word order serves similar function as emphasis and articles in English. Often all the permutations of words in a clause are possible. While the permutations mostly share the same meaning, it is nevertheless different, because the permutations differ in the topic-focus articulation... The primary stress is always fixed to the first syllable of a stressed unit which is usually identical to a word. The stress in Czech has no lexical or phonological function, it denotes boundaries between words but does not distinguish word meanings. It has also no influence on the quality or quantity of vowels, i.e. the vowels are not reduced in unstressed syllables and can be both short and long regardless the stress.

Declension of the name Karel Gott

Czech language has 7 cases (I'm not sure if you feel the differences between them, when you don't use so many cases in English)

  • 1. Who is it, who are you? - This is Karel Gott, I'm Karel Gott...
  • 2. Who, whose? - I meet Karla Gotta..., this is the record of Karla Gotta...
  • 3. (to) Who, whom? - I send it to Karlovi (or Karlu) Gottovi
  • 4. Who, whom can you see / do you play...? - I see / I play Karla Gotta
  • 5. We call somebody's name - Hallo Karle Gotte!
  • 6. About whom? - it's about Karlovi (or Karlu) Gottovi
  • 7. With, by whom, what? - I'm walking with / songs performed by / I'd like to be Karlem Gottem...

The surname "Gott" is of Anglo-Saxon origin and in Czechia is extremly rare - try to find "Gott" in white pages, for example. Karel is Charles in English.

Czech letters and pronunciation

Czech uses a very simple spelling which can be easily learnt.

  • C - as "ts"
  • CH - as "ch" in Scottish loch, German acht
  • J - as "y" in yellow
  • U - as "oo" in foot
  • Y - as "i" in pit
  • A - as "u" in but

Some letters have a small cup shape "ˇ" called a caron over them.

  • Č - as "ch" in church
  • Ě - as "ye" in yellow
  • Š - as "sh" in ship
  • Ž - as "zh" in zhivago
  • Ň - as "nye"
  • Ť - as "tye"
  • Ď - as "dye"
  • Ř - "rzh" (but roughly)

Long vowels are indicated by an acute "´" or a ring.

  • Á - (a :) as "a" in father
  • É - (e :)
  • Í / Ý - (i :) as "ee" in feet
  • Ó - (o :)
  • Ú / Ů - (u :) as "oo" in pool

Special pronunciation

  • KD - at start of word as "gd"
  • TI - as "tye-ee" (together)
  • DI - as "dye-ee" (together)
  • NI - as "nye-ee" (together)

Our Minidictionary

  • yes - ano ("jo" in vernacular)
  • no - ne
  • what - co
  • like - jako (jak)
  • as - jako (jak)
  • where - kde (kam)
  • who - kdo
  • what is that? - co je to?
  • what time? - kdy?
  • time - čas
  • more - víc
  • nothing - nic
  • surely - jistě
  • of course - samozřejmě, ovšem
  • I like you - mám tě rád
  • I love you - miluji tě, mám tě rád
  • hallo - dobrý den (greeting by meeting only, "good day" literally)
  • hallo - ahoj (by meeting/leave in vernacular)
  • bye - ahoj (by meeting/leave in vernacular)
  • hi - čau (by meeting/leave in vernacular)
  • Good evening - dobrý večer
  • Good night - dobrou noc
  • See You, Good Day - na shledanou
  • Good-Bye - sbohem (literally "with God")
  • Thank you - děkuji
  • Thanks - dík
  • Please (prayer) - prosím
  • Pardon? (question) - prosím?
  • You are welcome (answer to thanks) - prosím
  • Can I Help You? (in shops, for example) - prosím?
  • gent - pán
  • lady - paní
  • woman - žena
  • man - muž
  • man (human) - člověk
  • Miss - slečna
  • child - dítě
  • boy - chlapec
  • guy - kluk
  • girl - dívka (děvče) ("holka" in vernacular - lass, maid)
  • food - jídlo
  • drink - pití, nápoj
  • menu card - jídelní lístek
  • sorry - promiňte !
  • I'm sorry - je mi líto
  • quick - rychle
  • slow - pomalu
  • talk - mluvit
  • understand - rozumět
  • I understand - rozumím
  • I don't understand - nerozumím
  • ride - jet
  • walk - jít
  • train - vlak
  • plane - letadlo
  • car - auto
  • bus - autobus
  • gut - dobře (dobrý)
  • price - cena
  • buy - koupit
  • pay - platit
  • table - stůl
  • free - volno
  • room - pokoj
  • I'd like - chtěl bych
  • do - dělat
  • Merry Christmas - veselé vánoce
  • best wishes! - všechno nejlepší! (literally "all the best")
  • all - všechno
  • Hause - dům
  • tomorrow - zítra
  • year - rok
  • name - jméno
  • dictionary - slovník
  • book - kniha
  • textbook - učebnice
  • love - láska
  • to love - milovat

Dictionaries on-line

Links

Czech textbooks for foreigners

  • Do You Want To Speak Czech? (Harry Putz)
  • Wollen Sie Tschechisch sprechen? - (Elga Čechová - Der Kurier der Zarin)
  • Tschechisch im Alltag + 3 CD's (D. Brčáková, E. Berglová - Leda
  • Čeština pro rusky mluvící (Czech For Russians) (H. Confortiová, Leda)
  • Parler tcheque - c'est possible! (L. Šabršulová, Leda)
  • Survival Czech (S. Váchalová, Leda)
  • Vítáme vás - ings. 3 MC's (Věra Amorová, Hüber)
  • Čeština pro malé cizince - für deutschsprachigen Kindern(Universum)
  • Čeština pro cizince (Fraus)
  • Čeština pro cizince / Czech for foreigners / Le tcheque pour les étrangers - snadno a rychle (Jaroslava Smičková)

In Czech Republic you can study the Czech at many schools and courses for foreigners (but maybe also in your country, of course).

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© 2006 - 2012 | editor: Luke | webmaster: Jan Vejmola .

„Když už člověk jednou je, tak má koukat aby byl. A když kouká, aby byl a je, tak má být to, co je a nemá být to, co není, jak tomu v mnoha případech je.“ Jan Werich