Are you a foreigner living in the Czech Republic? Then you probably found yourself in a situation where you wanted to speak English to Czechs but they didn´t understand you. And when they didn´t speak English, they rather didn´t speak to you at all. But it isn´t a reason to give up any communication. On the contrary – do the first step by yourself! Let´s learn a few Czech phrases which help you at the beginning of any conversation. They will be your „first aid kit“.
Speak to me! or How to speak to Czechs
Not all Czechs, especially out of Prague or bigger cities, speak English or another language. But when you contact them first, even using just elementary Czech, you will see that some Czechs unbend. We, Czechs, know very well that our language is difficult and we appreciate everybody who is willing to learn.
How to start – useful Czech phrases
Don´t worry to start. Learn a few „opening“ phrases. Write and download them down, have them in your phone or diary and use them. Here they are:
Jsem cizinec a učím se česky. I am a foreigner and I learn Czech.
Jsem cizinec a rozumím česky jenom trochu. I am a foreigner and I understand Czech just a little.
Jak se řekne …? Jak se to řekne? How do you say …? How do you say this?
Jak se píše …? Jak se to píše? How do you write …? How do you write this?
Promiňte, nerozumím. Excuse me, I don´t understand.
Opakujte, prosím. Repeat, please.
Ještě jednou, prosím. Once more, please.
Pomalu, prosím. Slowly, please.
Download the sentences in pdf.
Audio – listen and learn how to pronounce the phrases.
Also, don´t worry to use your hands, legs, or whatever can help to „melt the ice“ (that´s a Czech phrase that means to stop being close or refusing). Don´t let yourself discourage yourself. We, Czechs, are quite close but not forever. Give us some time and we open out.
Czechs like talking about food, meals, and drinks. You can join the conversation – learn how to with my students.
And now: Go! Write me about how it went.
Do you want to learn more?
- How to communicate in a Czech shop?
- Read and download 10 tips for your effective study.
- You could also like this article: Let me in! I want to know you?
- And what do you think: Is Czechia a good place to live?
You can read this article also in the Czech version.
17. 1. 2017
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