Basics of Czech: Lesson 1

I might teach you a bit of the Czech language. It is quite difficult but don’t mind. It is going to be fine.

The first word I want to teach you is I because everybody is egoistic.

I is . It is pronounced {ja:}. You can remember it simply because it is reversed I (which is {aj}).

The next word is have. Everyone wants to possess so it is also quite an useful word. Forms of verbs always depend on subject. For I it is mám which you read as {ma:m}. You can remember the sentence "I have a mom."

You can see here that á is {a:}. Whenever there is the accent ´ above a letter, it becomes long. So í is {i:}, é is {e:} and so on.

The stress is always on the first syllable.

Czech is a phonetic language thus the pronunciation of each letter doesn’t change.

So how would you say:

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And of course the third word is money. It is peníze in Czech, it’s read {peɲi:ze} and it is similar to "pence". You may be wondering about the ɲ. Usually n is pronounced as {n} but there is one exception. When n is followed by i or í, it is palatalized so that n becomes {ɲ}. You might find its pronunciation difficult. It is like {nj} but more united. It sounds like the word new without the {u:} sound.

The next phrase I want you to tell me is:

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Subjects expressed by pronouns are usually omitted because the verb expresses them already. Czechs only use them when they want to emphasize who the subject is.

Try it again without I:

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A more common sentence is I don’t have money. Let’s speak about negative.

Negative is expressed by the prefix ne-. It is usually sticked on verb.

So:

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When we speak about money, let’s learn how to say it’s expensive.

Expensive is drahý {drahi:}. The r pronunciation is not as in English. It is trilled. Ý is pronounced the same way as í.

Many cars or automobiles are expensive. Automobile is automobil {aʊtomobil}.

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The word for is is je {je}.

Czech doesn’t have any articles but if we speak about a certain thing, we can use a demonstrative. The demonstrative we shall use now is ten {ten}, because car is masculine.

There are three demonstratives in Czech - ten, ta (feminine), to (neuter). We will talk about them later.

So the next sentence I want you to tell me is:

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Let’s finish this lesson by the last (and most difficult) sentence.

The last word I’ll teach you in this lesson is and which is simply a {a}, the first letter of written and.

The word automobil is usually not used. You will hear auto {aʊto} much more often. It is neuter (so not ten, but to auto). That means that the adjective will change as well. Masculine ending was , feminine ending is and neuter is .

Try with auto:

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If you want to learn about the czech alphabet, look here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_alphabet