Some first steps with Czech

Some thoughts about Czech, after a week of reading (first my original 1993 edition of Teach Yourself: Czech and now James Naughton’s Czech: An Essential Grammar).
Co je to? “What is it/this?”
Co jsou to? “What are these?”
To je… “This is…”
To jsou… “These are…”

Like all languages, Czech is very easy and very difficult. The writing system is beautiful and easy to read. Czech is fun to say, although every language’s phonology takes some exposure and practice to grok. The main difficulties will be the gender system and the noun cases. I’ll write something later to explain what these are. They certainly look large, complex, and daunting, but this is also a place where adults have an advantage in being able to tackle the grammatical paradigms systematically. Learning these will be hard, but it’s just one or two humps of grammar when everything else is fun and interesting.

Radio is a great medium, not merely for things like Sound Czech, but simply for hearing people actually speaking the language: is the national Czech broadcaster, with several streaming Internet programs and podcasts.

First, we need to master the sound system of the language as much as possible, and probably memorize some essential phrases through translation. Check out:
BBC Czech Quickfix
Omniglot’s Useful Czech phrases
Česká abeceda pro děti
Czech-American TV ABCs

I’m working on an image library for learning/practicing vocabulary, and trying to figure out the best way of learning the noun declension paradigms. More on this later.


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