main picture Czech language

Czech language

The official language of the Czech Republic is Czech, which is spoken by 96% of its inhabitants.

Czech is a member of the Slavic language family, like Polish, Slovak, Russian, Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian... So Slovaks speak a different language.

Although Czech is a very difficult and sometimes confusing language if you hear or read it for the first time, we advise you to try to learn some expressions. Czechs will appreciate this effort and will be more willing to help you.

Don't be afraid, in most cities you can now speak English without difficulty, and to a lesser extent German. Older people often speak Russian but also German. French, Italian and Spanish are less common.

Czech alphabet

Czechs use the Latin alphabet, as in English. Most consonants are pronounced in the same way as in English.

Czech often accumulates consonants one after the other, sometimes seeming to completely ignore the use of vowels... a nice challenge for English speakers, and a lot of laughter if you try to read the signs and posters in the streets of Prague!

Czech uses three accents: an acute accent reserved for all vowels (ý, í, á, é, ó, ú), a small circle reserved only for the vowel "u" (ů), and a caron for some consonants (š, č, ř, ž) and for the vowel "e" (ě).

Vowels with the acute accent or small circle (ů) are long.

The caron, on the other hand, changes the pronunciation of the letter: for example, 's' is pronounced as in English, but 'š' is pronounced [sh]; 'c' is pronounced [ts]; 'č' is pronounced [cz] and 'ě' is pronounced [iè].

Some useful expressions

| English | Czech | Pronunciation |

| Hello (formal) | Dobrý den | dobree den |

| Good evening | Dobrý večer | dobree vecher |

| Hi! (informal) | Ahoj | ahoy |

| How are you doing? | Jak se máte? | yak se maate |

| Very well | dobře | dobrje |

| Thank you | Děkuji | dyekooyi |

| Please | Prosím | proseem |

| Yes | Ano | ah-noh |

| No | Ne | neh |

| Sorry | Promiňte | promintey |

| How much does it cost? | Kolik to stojí? | koh-leek toh stoh-yee |

| I don’t understand | Nerozumím | nerozoomeem |

| Do you speak English? | Mluvíte anglicky? | mlooveete anglitsky |

| I don’t speak Czech | Nemluvím česky | nemlooveem czeski |

| Good bye | Na shledanou | nas-khledanow |

| large / small | velký / malý | velkee / malee |

| more / less | více / méně | viitse / ménie |

| hot / cold | horký / studený | horkee / studenee |

| stamp / postcard | známka / pohlednice | znaamka /pohlednitse |