The Czech language (čeština) is strange. For such a cold people, the language sounds surprisingly cheerful, with people waiving to each other on the street, making pirate noises, “Ahoy!” It is a West Slavic language spoken only in the Czech Republic (and also by about 12,000 people in Texas.) The fact that it survived as a language is miraculous given that the in the history of the country relatively little time in the last millennia was spent with Czech as the main language, spending from 1596 to 1918 under the German-speaking Austrian-Hungarian empire, World War II under German control, and from 1948 to 1993 under Soviet control.
As part of the Frenchman’s fellowship, he is required to complete language courses at each of our locations (exempt in France, of course.) While generally I am quite excited about learning new languages, I was prohibited from attending Czech classes with him while living in Prague since I would have been required to sign up for the university. Thus, he has been left to lead us through the confusing world of living in a land where vowels are virtually non-existent and “r” are rolled in a non-Spanish sort of way. Most importantly, he has learned how to order two beers, indicating the type and darkness of beer we want.
On my own end, I have learned mainly only the public-transportation-related announcements:
Ukončete výstup a nástup, dveře se zavírají!
Stop getting off or getting on, the doors are closing!
Příští zastávka: Náměstí Republiky
Next stop: Náměstí Republiky
Click here to hear these phrases spoken.
Today, the Frenchman capped off his language learning with his end-of-the-course presentation about his favorite things (after me, of course. Je plaisante!) – dogs. If we ever move back to the Czech Republic and attend doggy obedience classes with a pup he will be prepared! Could not be prouder of him! Check out his presentation in this funny language (or just his video as he is being shy and does not want to do a voiceover.)
For some truly Czech words, we can learn Litost and Prozvonit, which are two of the world’s untranslatables: