Czech Your Language Skills

Travel Tips — By Jacy Meyer on February 9, 2011 at 4:35 am

It’s always nice to speak the language of the country you are visiting but for world travelers it’s usually not possible. Czech is one language that is especially difficult for speakers from Western countries; it’s Slavic, so doesn’t bear much resemblance to romance languages like Spanish or French. In shops, hotels and restaurants in the city center and frequented by tourists, English will most likely be spoken, and increasingly German and Russian as well. The farther you drift from the center though, while heightening your experience, may find you in a bit of a language conundrum. Smile politely and try these phrases to get you through.

Hello: Dobrý den (dob-ree den) – use whenever entering a shop, restaurant or other public place

Good-bye: Nashledanou (nus-hle-dah-no)

Please: Prosím (pro-seem) – also useful as a “What did you say” and “Your Welcome.” Wait staff will use it when serving your meal, like “Here you go.”

Thank you: Děkuju (dyeh-kooyoo)

How much does this cost: Kolik to stojí? (koh-leek toh stoh-yee)

Where is the bathroom: Kde je toaleta? (kdeh yeh toh-ah-le-ta). On the doors you’ll see either Muzi or Pani for men; or Zeny or Damy for women. There’s almost always a picture as well…

What is it: Co je to? (tso yeh toh)

Yes: Ano (ah-noh) – also can be casually shortened to “no” which can be confusing…

No: Ne (neh)

Excuse me: Prominte (promintey) – used if you accidently step on someone, etc. If you need to interrupt someone, use prosím

Do you speak English? Mluvite anglicky? (mluveete anglitsky?)

Where is…: Kde je (kde ye)

I don’t understand: Nerozumim (nerozumeem)

Photo courtesy of CzechTourism. The sign in the metro says Kolej=Platform; Smer=Direction & Stanice=Station

Tags: communication, language

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