CzechClass101.com Blog

Learn Czech with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Why learn Czech? Here are 13 compelling reasons.

Thumbnail

Let me ask you a question: When and why did you first think about learning Czech? 

Are you planning to move here, do you want to get a job in Czechia, did you fall in love with a Czech (fun fact: I bet you know at least one Czech beauty—Czech women are considered very pretty, and Czech guys…well, they’re nice!), or are you trying to decide which Slavic language would be the most fun to learn?

Even if none of the above is your case, we’re going to discuss why you should learn Czech (at least the basics) if you want to spend more than a day here. Not everyone in Czechia speaks English, and locals highly appreciate friendly foreigners with cute accents. Besides, it would be nice to be able to order a beer after a long day of exploring the wonders of Prague, Brno, Český Krumlov, and other cool places, right?

Learning Czech is easier than you would think. Once you master the basics, the rest is a breeze.

In this article, I’m going to list the biggest reasons why you should learn Czech…starting now!

P.S.: I really wish the title could be 13 Reasons Why, but we’ve already covered Netflix/HBO & Chill in another article (also written by moi).

Learn the Mother Tongue of 12 Million Natives!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Czechia is a Tiny but Shiny Central-European Gem
  2. It will make learning other European and Slavic languages much easier.
  3. It will help you get a job or start a business.
  4. Not a lot of people in the Czech Republic speak English… Sorry.
  5. Czechia is a cool place to visit.
  6. Timetables and announcements…
  7. Czech people will appreciate it.
  8. …you will make friends easily.
  9. Your future in-laws will love you for it…
  10. It’s a cool and “interesting” language to learn.
  11. Understanding Czenglish will be easier for you…
  12. Once you’re past the tough beginning, your progress will be fast.
  13. Czech is pretty easy to learn.
  14. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. Czechia is a Tiny but Shiny Central-European Gem

A- About Us

    Czech is the official language of Czechia, spoken by almost 96% of the population. It’s the mother tongue of about 12 million people, most of whom live in Czechia with approximately one million native Czech speakers living abroad. 
    Czech belongs to the West Slavic group of languages. It’s very similar to the Slovak language; these two languages are mutually intelligible and you probably wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. Most Czechs and Slovaks understand both languages in their written and spoken form. 
    The similarities are comparable to those of British English vs. American English (yes, I am aware it’s still English, but you know what I mean). Czech and Slovak do have different (although very similar) grammar, spelling, and pronunciation. In other words: The words might sound pretty much the same, but the spelling is completely different.
    ➢ It’s no surprise that Czech is also similar to other Slavic languages, such as: Bulgarian, Croatian, Polish, and Russian. If you already speak/study one of these, learning Czech will be a piece of cake.

B- The Basics

    The modern Czech language uses the Latin alphabet with diacritics (a.k.a. special characters) that alter their pronunciation. It’s a phonetic language, meaning that everything is pronounced exactly the way it’s written (i.e. UNLIKE English or French, JUST LIKE Spanish, Italian, Latin, et cetera/a tak dále).
    Czech consists of 26 Latin letters (the same as English), plus letters with special diacritic accents. There are three types of those accents: the acute accent čárka (length mark) for indicating the length of vowels, háček (hook) for changing the sound, and lastly kroužek (circle) indicating long pronunciation of the letter (u – ů). Altogether, the alphabet includes 42 characters
    Once you learn the pronunciation of the whole alphabet, you’ll be able to read and pronounce any Czech word. There will be no surprises. (“Kansas-Arkansas, see-sea, to-too-two,” I’m looking at you!)

2. It will make learning other European and Slavic languages much easier.

    ➢ With advanced knowledge of Czech, you’ll be able to understand some spoken and written Slovak and Polish, as well as spoken Russian.
    ➢ You’ll be able to pronounce Italian/Spanish/Latin (big and smart) words correctly.

3. It will help you get a job or start a business.

Speaking the Czech language might bring you new business opportunities in Central Europe as well as new opportunities in other countries. 

Oh, I’m happy where I am, I don’t need more opportunities…said no one, ever. 

    The Czech industrial base is well-developed and there are tons of possibilities in the automotive industry, industrial machinery industry, mining, electronics, glass manufacturing, and beer production.
    Recently, high-tech industries have been on the rise and business opportunities are arising, particularly in the areas of aerospace, nanotechnology, and life science. If you’re an engineer, you might want to grab a Czech textbook or sign up for an online Czech class ASAP. According to some, Czechia is the ideal place for launching a new industrial revolution.

4. Not a lot of people in the Czech Republic speak English… Sorry, Karen.

In summer 2018, I spent a week with my American boyfriend’s family in a lovely little town in Tuscany. It was an incredibly picturesque place with a couple of restaurants, one little café, an incredibly blue sky…and a few thousand very Italian Italians who spoke only Italian. We were the only tourists there.

Yet, one of the family members was perplexed by this simple and natural occurrence, and stated: “They should speak at least SOME English.” 

No, they shouldn’t.

Not cool. 

Don’t be like them. 

Please, never expect that everyone speaks or should speak your language, especially if you’re visiting their home country.

Learn some basic Czech phrases and vocab, and look into the pronunciation. Trust me, you’re going to need it.

A Little Girl Dressed Like a Tourist and Holding a Camera

You’ll fall in love with Prague even if traveling isn’t really your jam.

5. Czechia is a cool place to visit.

    ➢ Medieval architecture
    ➢ Modern architecture
    ➢ Great beer
    ➢ Cheap 5* hotels
    Prague is one of the most beautiful and magical places you’ll ever see
    Brno is cool

Need I say more?

Actually…

6. Timetables and announcements…

 …of changes or delays are usually in Czech only. Unless you have a trusted native by your side, do your homework.

7. Czech people will appreciate it.

Trust me. You want them to like you. You want them to be on your side, because these hard-shelled people with hearts of gold will love you for your effort and for showing respect.

Which also means more doors will be open for you. Which leads to more-helpful officers, kinder staff in hotels, and so on. And also…

A Guy Wearing a Shirt with the Czech Flag Design on It

I wouldn’t call us patriots, but most Czechs will definitely appreciate your effort.

8. …you will make friends easily.

Or, you know, in case you’re dating a Czech, you’ll be able to tell if they’re whispering sweet nothings or deathly spells into your ear.

We all know how hard it is to truly connect if there’s a language barrier, and meeting a Czech who speaks English freely and fluently would be a small miracle.

Why not meet them halfway?

Learn how to introduce yourself in Czech, and here’s another article that breaks down the basic Czech grammar rules. You could also learn a few adjectives to describe your personality and words for talking about what you do.

Take it slow and enjoy the process—it will pay off!

9. Your future in-laws will love you for it…

…or hate you a little less. (I can’t even remember how many times I’ve heard: “Oh please, can’t you just find someone from around here?” I can’t, grandma, sorry not sorry.)

This is important. 

If you want to impress your girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s relatives (especially grandparents) and avoid unnecessary tension, learn at least a few basic phrases. 

10. It’s a cool and “interesting” language to learn.

Still scratching your head about why to learn Czech, especially when there are other (more popular) languages out there? 

In a world full of “I’m learning French/Spanish/German,” be an “I’m learning Czech.”

I’m not saying you should ditch other languages, I’m simply suggesting you take a break from the classics and explore new possibilities.

A Red Star Amidst Several Gray Stars

Czech is a unique language, and doing a unique thing is always a good idea.

11. Understanding Czenglish will be easier for you…

…which will lead to smoother communication.

    ➢ Czenglish =  English spoken by Czechs that is heavily influenced by Czech vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, or syntax.

Basic knowledge of Czech word order and pronunciation will make it easier for you to figure out what your partner is trying to say.

12. Once you’re past the tough beginning, your progress will be fast.

    Czech grammar is very straightforward and gets easier as you work your way up to a higher level. Once you remember the patterns of word endings and cases, you’re fine. No surprises!

13. Czech is pretty easy to learn. 

It takes around 12 weeks to reach the beginner level, which means you’ll be able to introduce yourself, know the basic grammar (tenses, basic vocabulary), and just get by. If you’re aiming higher, prepare to do about twice the work to reach the intermediate level (24 weeks).

  1. The vocabulary is simpler than that of English. It is, in fact, a subset of word roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Most of them are linked in easy-to-remember or logical ways.
  2. The feared declension (a.k.a. cases) isn’t as scary as it seems. You just need to memorize the endings of every noun/adjective and mind the gender. The stem remains unchanged (mostly).
  3. There are NO articles.
  4. There are only three tenses: past, present, future. Done.

Learning a new language is always a good idea, and not just for the practical reasons. It will also create a new routine and bring a new sense of accomplishment into your daily life. You’ll improve your memory, feed your brain and soul, boost your confidence, and gain perspective. You’ll feel great about yourself! And that’s the only thing that really matters.

A Woman Smiling While Holding a Book Over Her Head

Czech is way easier to learn than most people (who know such a language exists) think.

14. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

That’s it, guys! I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new!

If you’re taking your Czech studies seriously, you could grab a Czech grammar book or learn online (the latter of which is way more convenient). Seriously, learning a new skill has never been easier. Just grab your phone and get to work!

Wondering how to learn Czech online like a pro? 

CzechClass101.com will make learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. With us, it’s not about endless memorizing or thick textbooks. Learn Czech the better way—with us, you’ll make progress faster than you could imagine!

What can you find here?

Sign up now, it’s free!

One last thing: Let us know in the comments if this article helped you, and if you feel inspired to start (or continue) learning Czech now!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech

Czech Tenses: The Easiest Part of Czech Grammar

Thumbnail

Everybody gets a little tense when it comes to tenses. However, I have GREAT news for you. If you’re a native English speaker (or a native speaker of any Germanic language), you’ll find Czech tenses super-easy to learn and understand.

The (otherwise complicated) Czech language uses only three tenses: past, present, and future. That’s it.

You still have to be aware of grammatical gender, declension, and conjugation of course, but applying the tenses correctly is actually a breeze.

This is going to be short and sweet. Let’s learn about Czech verb tenses!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. The Present Tense in Czech
  2. The Past Tense in Czech
  3. The Future Tense in Czech
  4. Verb Conjugation and Auxiliary Verbs
  5. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. The Present Tense in Czech

The rules for using the present tense in Czech are very simple.

Is it happening right now? Does it happen regularly? Then use the present tense.

    Přítomný čas (“present tense”) is used to describe ongoing actions.
    ➢ Grammatical gender, declension, and conjugation rules apply when using all tenses.
    ➢ The ending of the verb changes for every gender, person, and case.
    Minulý čas (“past tense”) is used to denote past actions without a time reference—actions that happened in the past and might happen in the future.

Before you decide whether it’s correct to use the present tense, you’ll need to figure out which conjugation type the verb falls under. 

You can simply memorize all the possible endings. I promise that, eventually, you’ll not only remember but also be able to “feel” what’s correct (I suggest you read a lot in Czech). In case your vocabulary needs a boost, check out our list of the 50 most commonly used verbs.

Verb endings:

PersonSingularPlural
1st (já / my) – “I” / “we”-u / -i / -m-eme / -íme / -áme
2nd (ty / vy) – “you” / “you”-eš / -íš / -áš-ete / -íte / -áte
3rd (on, ona, ono/oni) – “he, she, it/they”-e / -í / -á-ejí / -ějí / -í / -ou / -ají

Let’s look at some examples:

English TenseEnglishCzech
Present Simple“I brush my teeth twice a day.”
“Do you sew your own clothes?”
“I don’t sew my own clothes.”
“He doesn’t know about it.”
Čistím si zuby dvakrát denně.
Šij si svoje vlastní šaty?
Nešiju si svoje vlastní šaty.
Neví o tom.
Present Perfect“We have been to Italy several times.”
“I have seen it before.” (feminine)
Několikrát jsme byli v Itálii.Už jsem to viděla.
  • Exception: We need to use the past tense here, as explained above.
Present Continuous“You are sitting in my chair.”
“We aren’t doing anything right now.”
“We are reading an article.”
Sedíš na mojí židli.
My právě teď nic neděláme.
Čteme je článek.
Present Perfect Continuous“They have been living here since last year.”
“I have been reading the book for months now.”
“We have always been doing it this way.”
Bydlí tu od loňského roku.

Já tu knihu čtu už celé měsíce.

Vždycky to takhle děláme.

When to use přítomný čas in Czech (summary)

You use the přítomný čas when describing:

  1. Habitual or routine actions
  2. General (timeless) facts
  3. Actions that are happening right now
  4. Actions that started in the past and continue into the present (and may continue into the future)
A Couple of Girls Laughing

Holky se smějí. – “The girls are laughing.”

2. The Past Tense in Czech

    ➢ The past tense in Czech is formed with the past participle in the proper gender form combined with an auxiliary verb, which indicates the person and number of the verb’s subject with a past form of the main verb.
    ➢ It replaces every past tense in English.
    ➢ The most common ending is -l + -a/-o/-i/-y (feminine, neuter, and plural).
    ➢ There is no tense shifting in reported speech.

Examples:

English TenseEnglishCzech
Past Simple“He cooked dinner last night.”
“We arrived two days ago.”
“It didn’t happen like that!”
Včera večer uvařil večeři.
Přijeli jsme před dvěma dny.
Takhle se to nestalo!
Past Continuous“We were watching TV when it happened.”
“She was driving when he called her.”
“Her animals looked healthy and happy.”
Dívali jsme se na televizi, když se to stalo.
Řídila, když jí zavolal.
Její zvířata vypadala šťastně a zdravě.
Past Perfect“I didn’t watch the movie; I had seen it last week.” (feminine)
“The girls were hungry because they hadn’t eaten all day.”
Nedívala jsem se na film, viděla jsem ho minulý týden.
Holky měly hlad, protože celý den nic nejedly.
Reported Speech“He said he loved her.”
“She texted me that the report was ready.”
Řekl, že ji miluje.
Napsala mi, že je ta zpráva hotová.
  • Past simple + present simple

When to use minulý čas in Czech (summary)

You use minulý čas when describing:

  1. Actions that are finished
  2. Actions and situations finished in the past
  3. Finished actions that started in the past

This tense is also used in combination with the present simple in reported speech (řekl, že to udělá).

A Cake with a Slice Missing

Někdo snědl kus dortu! – “Someone ate a piece of cake!”

3. The Future Tense in Czech

The future tense in Czech is probably the trickiest one, but if you’re able to navigate through the maze of the 12 tenses in English (let’s not even mention French and its 17 tenses), this will be a piece of cake for you.

There are a few possible ways to form this Czech-language tense: 

  1. You can change the verb by modifying the stem and adding a prefix.
  2. For some verbs of motion, the future tense can be formed by adding po-/pů- to the present form of the verb.
  3. For imperfective verbs, we use být (“to be”) in the future tense, correct gender and person + the infinitive.

    ➢ It is possible to use the present simple or continuous when referring to scheduled actions and plans.

Examples:

English TenseEnglishCzech
Present Simple“It’s my birthday tomorrow.”
“We have a class on Thursday.”
Zítra mám narozeniny.
Ve čtvrtek máme hodinu.
Present Continuous“I’m swimming tomorrow morning.”
“They’re throwing a party next month.”
Zítra ráno jdu plavat.
Příští měsíc pořádají večírek.
Will“He will pick you up at six.”
“I will show you how to do it.”
“I will carry you, you can’t walk.”
Vyzvedne tě v šest.
Ukážu ti, jak se to dělá.
Ponesu tě, nemůžeš chodit.
Going to“It’s going to rain, the clouds are really dark.”
“I’m going to go, it’s late.”
Bude pršet, mraky jsou opravdu tmavé.
jdu, je pozdě.

When to use budoucí čas in Czech (summary)

  1. When expressing beliefs about the future
  2. When we want or are willing to do something
  3. Offers and promises
  4. When we’re dead-set on doing something—we’re going to do it
  5. Predictions based on evidence

A Man Proposing to a Woman

Budou se brát. – “They will be getting married.”

4. Verb Conjugation and Auxiliary Verbs 

The past and future tenses in Czech are formed using verbs that provide additional conjugations for other verbs, which is their only role in the sentence. They’re called pomocná slovesa, or “helping verbs.”

    In Czech, only the verb být (“to be”) is used as an auxiliary verb to form the past and future tenses.

Být – To Be – To Exist

This short and simple word, embellished by a special character called čárka, plays a very important role in the Czech language.

Let’s look at the many uses of být:

1.To beOna je krásná.“She is beautiful.”
2.To existV tom pokoji byla dvě okna.“There were two windows in that room.”
3.Auxiliary used to form the past tense with verbs in the past participle formŠla jsem domů.“I went home.”
4.Auxiliary used to form the future tense with verbs in the infinitiveBudu ti číst.“I will read to you.”
5.Auxiliary used to form the conditional mood with verbs in the past participle formNekupoval bych to.“I wouldn’t buy it.”
6.Auxiliary used to form the passive voice with verbs in the past participleByla překvapená.“She was surprised.”
7.Auxiliary used to form the conditional forms of verbs with past and passive participlesKdybych věděla, že jsi tu, počkala bych v autě.“Had I known you were here, I would have waited in the car.”

It’s important that you learn all of the forms for this word (a.k.a. conjugation). You pretty much wouldn’t be able to form any tense in Czech without it. I hope I didn’t scare you.

Present Conjugation

PersonSingular/Plural – CzechSingular/Plural – English
1st (já / my) – “I” / “we”jsem/jsmeam/are
2nd (ty / vy) – “you” / “you”jsi/jsteare/are
3rd (on, ona, ono/oni) – “he, she, it/they”je/jsouis/are

Past Participle

    When referring to a singular subject, you need to know the grammatical gender of the subject.

Masculine AnimateMasculine InanimateFeminineNeuter
Singularbylbylbylabylo
Pluralbylibylybylybyla

Future Tense

    In the future tense, být works like the English future auxiliary verb “will.”

Masculine AnimateMasculine InanimateFeminineNeuter
Singularbudebudebudebude
Pluralbudoubudoubudoubudou

1st Person2nd Person3rd person
Singularbudubudešbude
Pluralbudemebudetebudou

Conditional

    When forming the conditional, you’ll use the verb být the same way as “would” is used in English.

1st Person2nd Person3rd person
Singularbychbysby
Pluralbychombysteby

A Road with Arrows Pointing Straight Ahead

Start now!

5. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

That’s it, guys! I hope you enjoyed this article on Czech verb tenses and learned something new!

If you’re taking your Czech studies seriously, you could grab a Czech grammar book or learn online (the latter of which is way more convenient).

CzechClass101.com makes learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. With us, it’s not about endless memorizing or thick textbooks. Learn Czech with us and make progress faster than you could imagine!

What can you find here?

Sign up now, it’s free!

One last thing: Let us know in the comments if this article helped you, and share your favorite learning tips. Let’s get in touch!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech

How Long Does it Take to Learn Czech?

Thumbnail

Learning a new language is kind of like losing or gaining weight: we want to see results ASAP. Even better—we want to see results now. Yesterday was too late.

That, my dear friend, won’t happen. Not even if you pull three all-nighters in a row in an attempt to learn 1000 new words in three days. Not even if you refuse to speak other languages and expose yourself to an ungodly amount of Czech TV and YouTube videos.

So how long does it take to learn Czech?

Let me put it this way: It depends on what your goal is.

Duh, obvi, right?

Do you want to be able to order the right food on the menu or ask about specific ingredients? (Very important if you have food allergies or an intolerance…or if you really, REALLY can’t stand mushrooms, and spotting them on your plate would ruin your whole trip to Prague.)

Do you just need to get by and understand some basic, everyday phrases? Is your biggest fear using the wrong tense or saying “Goodnight” at ten in the morning?

Are you actually taking this VERY seriously and want to become fluent? Sky’s the limit!

Finally, are there any tips and tricks on how to learn Czech faster?

That (and more) is the topic of this article!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Beginner Level
  2. Intermediate Level
  3. Advanced Level
  4. Do You Want to Learn Czech Fast? Start Here.
  5. Learn Czech Faster: Practical Tips and Tricks
  6. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

Beginner Level

I know I’m going to sound super-annoying, but…there’s no straight answer to this (very frequently) asked question.

Think about it this way: How long did it take you to learn your mother tongue? You probably weren’t flaunting it within a couple of weeks, right? I’ve got great news for you, though: It’s not going to take years to learn Czech. And you can make the process fun by using the right methods and resources.

Read on.

A Woman Sitting at a Desk Thinking and Studying

The right learning method will speed up your progress.

Beginner Level: What Exactly Does That Mean?

  • You can ask a few basic questions, such as what time it is or where the restroom is located. 
  • You know how to greet people appropriately.
  • You can introduce yourself (your name, age, job, etc.).
  • You know how to use tenses. (Past, present, and future—see? This is MUCH easier than in English.)
  • Your vocabulary is limited, but you’re able to participate in conversations.
  • You typically make quite a lot of mistakes (and that’s okay, take them as an opportunity to learn and grow).
  • By international standards, this level is called A1 or A2.

How Many Hours Does it Take to Achieve a Beginner Level in Czech?

Generally speaking, you’re going to spend around 480 hours playing with flashcards, studying grammar, and memorizing vocabulary.

If you have the time and can treat yourself to full-time study, you will learn Czech in about 12 weeks.

A Woman with Mint-colored Headphones on Watching Something on Her Tablet

Use different learning techniques and don’t underestimate the power of Netflix and YouTube!

Intermediate Level

You should reach the intermediate level in about 720 hours or 24 weeks. However, if you’re not a complete beginner, you’ll probably make progress much faster. It all depends on your dedication. 

As a B1-B2 Czech speaker:

  • You understand the main topics of a conversation, given the vocabulary and grammar aren’t overly complicated or specific (and that you’re familiar with the topic).
  • Daily interactions in Czech are a breeze. You order food and engage in conversations about the weather, your family, hobbies, or work with ease.
  • You’re aware that it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to start writing your first novel in Czech, but you can compose an email just fine, even if it’s a work thing that has to sound professional.

Advanced Level 

This level will take around 44 weeks or 1100 hours to achieve. Whoa! This is C1-C2, guys!

At this level:

  • You’re pretty much fluent. You’re confident and use the language freely, without major errors.
  • Your vocabulary and grammar skills are strong.
  • You have complete control over the language.
A Man Holding Up an Aced Essay

Diligence is the mother of success!

Do You Want to Learn Czech Fast? Start Here.

How long it takes to learn Czech depends on a number of factors, such as your learning methods and your dedication. 

First of all, you should consider how much time you can allocate to studying Czech. Don’t push yourself too hard, and set realistic goals. Huge expectations might lead to disappointment. Remember: Slow and steady wins the race, and sometimes it’s better to relax instead of pushing harder.

Someone Checking Their Calendar and Schedule

Studying at the same time every day will help you make it a habit.

    Set realistic expectations. One hour a day is plenty.

What’s your motivation? Are you learning the language just for fun or do you have an actual goal that you want to reach? You know, motivation actually dries out, no matter how strong it is at first. Habits last forever.

    Make studying Czech a habit.

Set a reminder on your phone if needed. Train your language learning muscles. It’s all about your commitment, not your motivation.

English and Czech have literally nothing in common. Czech is a phonetic language—it’s pronounced the way it’s written. English is not. Also, Czech rules for word order are very loose and rely on context, voice, and declension. That brings us to…

    Do not compare English and Czech.

I’ve witnessed this many times, and I guess it’s pretty understandable, but also useless. When you’re learning Czech grammar or trying to pronounce a new word, forget that English even exists. Learn like little kids do—without bias or expectations.

    What’s your preferred way of learning?

Are you highly competitive or do you just enjoy company? Do you prefer to study early in the morning or at night? Your learning method will play an important role in your progress. Choose your favorite one, stick to it, and mix it up from time to time.

It would be a good idea to attend a class at least once a week (Zoom classes work too!), and use a free online resource daily—this could be an app or an online class. And no, you don’t have to travel all the way to the Czech Republic to learn the language. You can learn Czech online effectively and fast.

A Woman Lying in the Grass with a Book and Laptop, Studying

Are you a visual, auditory, or linguistic learner? The right learning method will help you make progress faster.

Learn Czech Faster: Practical Tips and Tricks

Tips for visual learners:

  • You’re a visual learner if you doodle while studying, you recall pictures and diagrams easily, and you often close your eyes and “visualize” information rather than trying to remember it.
  • Definitely use vocabulary flashcards and put pictures on them. I swear this works like magic. Trust me, you don’t have to be a graphic designer with a degree in Fine Arts to put together a decent-looking flashcard using an online tool. Use colors, fonts, and pics that work for you, spike your imagination, and are pleasing to look at (for you).
  • Pairing words with moving images or gestures works great, too. I highly recommend watching educational shows for kids – you’ll benefit from the colorful schemes and lots of pictures, as well as the simple vocabulary.

Tips for auditory learners:

  • If you like to repeat what you’ve just read or pick up new words from songs or podcasts without even trying, there’s a good chance you’re an auditory learner.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to native speakers and participate in conversations as much as you can.

Tips for linguistic learners:

  • If you like to read, easily remember information you’ve seen on paper/screen, often take detailed notes, and perhaps like to write essays and other assignments, you might be a linguistic learner.
  • Read comic books in Czech. The vocabulary will be pretty easy and you’ll get your word fix as well.
  • Switch on the subtitles while watching Netflix or YouTube videos in Czech. Trust me, this makes a world of a difference.

Tips for everyone:

  • Google Play and Apple Store will shower you with a variety of apps. Don’t underestimate their power. Even the laziest learners might get bored on the train or while waiting in a deserted café for it to stop raining. Plus, they’re fun, and some of them will work on your phone AND Kindle!
  • Take online Czech classes. They’re great for busy people! You can study in your bed and they never dry up. You can learn Czech fast and free with CzechClass101. It’s a gorgeous playground full of extensive vocabulary lists, lists of Czech phrases, audio and video lessons with transcripts, and flashcardswe even have a YouTube channel. If you want to study offline, no problem. You can download our lessons and use them on a plane or in the middle of the woods. Look at this online lesson for beginners; it has all you need to start learning Czech—audio, transcript, and vocabulary—and the tenses and grammar are explained in detail!
  • Watch Czech TV shows or YouTube channels, preferably with subtitles on, so that you can work on your spelling.
  • Get yourself a nice Czech girlfriend or boyfriend. Okay, “just” a friend (or a pen pal). This could help you improve your written Czech and writing skills in general.

How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

That’s it, guys! I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new!

If you’re taking your Czech studies seriously, you might grab a Czech grammar book or learn online (the latter of which is way more convenient).

CzechClass101.com will make learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. With us, it’s not about endless memorizing or thick textbooks. Learn Czech with us and make progress faster than you could imagine!

What can you find here?

Sign up now, it’s free!

One last thing: Let us know in the comments if this article helped you, and share your favorite learning tips. Let’s get in touch!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech

The Best Czech Proverbs

Thumbnail

Ahhh, proverbs…those charming pieces of wisdom that add a nice ring (or a pitch of pathos) to any speech or article, and make you ultimately irritated in certain situations. Like right after you failed your adventurous challenge. 

However, they’re also comforting. Knowing that people in the past have gone through the same stuff we’re dealing with now is encouraging. And that’s exactly how we should see proverbs: as little “hellos” from our ancestors, who created them as reflections of who we are and how we see the world, life, love, success…you name it.

This article about Czech proverbs and sayings will give you insight into not only the Czech language, but also the culture and mindset behind it. You might be surprised at how much proverbs vary from one country or culture to another. 

Have you ever read or heard a Czech proverb? No? That’s okay…žádný učený z nebe nespadl (“no expert has ever fallen from the skies”). I hope that you’re a little confused and very curious now (and no, I did not get a stroke just now). I’m just giving you a little example. 

In this article, I’ll explain the most common Czech proverbs in English. Let’s dive right into it!

A Person Standing Behind the Starting Line at a Race

Lépe pozdě než nikdy. / “Better late than never.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Czech Proverbs About Money
  2. Motivational Czech Proverbs
  3. Czech Proverbs About Time
  4. Czech Proverbs About Attitude
  5. Czech Proverbs About Life
  6. Cool Czech Proverbs in English That Even Many Natives Don’t Understand
  7. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. Czech Proverbs About Money

Believe it or not, there are plenty of Czech sayings out there on the topic of money. Here are just a few… 

Odvážnému štěstí přeje.

  • “Luck favors the brave ones.” / “Fortune sides with him who dares.” 

This one is pretty straightforward, right?

Fun fact #1: This quote is actually from Virgil (the author of the Aeneid), but my nation seems to like it a lot.

Fun fact #2: Czechs aren’t the most courageous people in the world. 

During the communist era (I’m going to repeat this a lot, bear with me), which ended “only” thirty years ago, it was much safer to keep quiet and remain unseen. Today’s kids are a whole different story, though: adventurous, ambitious, wordly.

Bez práce nejsou koláče. 

  • “Without work, there are no kolaches.”

No pain, no gain, guys. This one pairs great with…

Pečení holubi nelítají do pusy. 

  • “Baked pigeons don’t fly into your mouth.”

The Czech believe that if you want to achieve something, you have to hustle and work extra-hard. Every success has to be hard-earned. There have to be blood stains all over you. 

Making money doing what you love? Pffft. 

Making two dimes a week as a miner working twenty-hour shifts? Well done, buddy!

Czechs love their food, so don’t be surprised when you see them come up often in proverbs. Speaking of, what’s your favorite Czech food? And do you know how to order in a Czech restaurant?

Čas jsou peníze. 

  • “Time is money.”

The meaning of this one is pretty obvious: Don’t wait around if you could be making money instead.

Oh, just don’t talk about money in the Czech Republic. No figures. People might look at you funny if you ask them about their income, mortgage, debt, child support…just kidding. 

However, there are some basic money-related Czech phrases that you’ll need for your everyday interactions. Check them out: 


Zadarmo ani kuře nehrabe. 

  • “Chickens don’t dig for free.” 

Knowing your worth and value sure is important. But this Czech proverb is more about…not doing stuff just out of the goodness of your heart.

Kdo šetří, má za tři. 

  • “Who keeps saving has more than three people combined.”

Okay, guys. I do agree it’s important to save some bucks for a rainy day, but saving can get out of hand too! Don’t forget that your happiness and well-being are way more important, so don’t deny yourself the opportunity to use your own money on stuff that makes you happy!

This proverb doesn’t apply to money exclusively, and it comes from the old dark times when people ate artificial “honey” and didn’t know when the local store would restock on toilet paper, so…they stocked up on it, and saved it. (True story.)

Coins Stacked with a Small House on Top

Sometimes, money CAN buy happiness.

2. Motivational Czech Proverbs

We could all use some motivation now and then, whether to lift our spirits…or to lift our bums off the sofa. Here are a few of the best Czech proverbs to do just that! 

Co můžeš udělat dnes, neodkládej na zítřek. 

  • “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”

If you want to do something, do it right away. Like… The last piece of cake in your fridge might as well be eaten tonight, don’t you think?

Malé ryby taky ryby. 

  • “Even small fish are fish.”

Here we go again: the communist era (you can learn more about the Czech history after WWII here). Here’s what I genuinely enjoy about my people—we can appreciate the little things in life. Even small victories count, you know?

Opakování matka moudrosti. 

  • “Repetition is the mother of wisdom.”

A.k.a. “Repetition is the mother of all learning.” If you want to create new neural paths, repeat the thing you want to learn until it becomes second nature.

S poctivostí nejdál dojdeš. 

  • “Honesty is the best policy.”

Being truthful is a virtue. Just don’t overdo it, please. 

Last weekend, my grandma was being very honest and shrieked: “You look pregnant!”

I’m not pregnant.

Naděje umírá poslední. 

  • “Hope dies last.”

…for hope to even possibly die is for there to be nothing else left.

3. Czech Proverbs About Time

Time affects literally every aspect of our lives, so it should come as no surprise that there are a number of proverbs on the topic…

Nač stahovat kalhoty, když brod je ještě daleko? 

  • “Why put your pants down while the ford is still far away?”

As in: Everything in due time. Also, the proverb’s delicately hinting that you’re going to “use the bathroom” someplace safe near the ford. 

By the way, before your trip to CZ, make sure you know how to ask where the nearest bathroom is—not a lot of people speak English!

Co se v mládí naučíš, ve stáří jako když najdeš. 

  • “What you have learned young you’ll find useful in the old.”

My grandma was probably taught to be extremely honest. Don’t be like grandma, and focus instead on learning skills that don’t traumatize other people, please.

Ráno moudřejší večera. 

  • “The morning is wiser than the evening.”

You know how sometimes you can’t sleep because your mind is racing, you get anxious, and everything seems so difficult and hopeless…and then in the morning you feel much better even though nothing has changed?

Or! Have you ever made a decision too fast and regretted it later?

These are great examples of what this proverb is referring to.

Don’t rush yourself. Sleep on it (literally or figuratively). Give yourself time to think things through. You’ll be wiser in the morning.

Ranní ptáče dál doskáče. 

  • “The early bird will hop further (gets the worm).”

No wonder all the billionaires and CEOs get up at four a.m., right?

It’s totally okay to sleep in, but if you get a head-start, you’ll get more done!

Starého psa novým kouskům nenaučíš. 

  • “You can’t teach an old dog to perform new tricks.”

My friend recently said this to me with a frustrated sigh and then took a sip of her wine.

Meaning: People who have been doing something a certain way for a very long time, most likely won’t change their routine just because you want to get married and move in together. Oh, the second part is totally just an example.

Trpělivost růže přináší. 

  • “Patience brings roses.”

And maybe, if you’re patient enough, he’ll finally produce a ring. Eventually. If you’re patient enough.

Okay, seriously. This proverb carries a message about “everything in due time.” So don’t try to rush things. Trust it will happen, and it’s yours.

4. Czech Proverbs About Attitude

They say that attitude is everything. But what exactly does that mean? 

Zlost je špatný rádce. / Mluviti stříbro, mlčeti zlato. 

  • “Anger is a bad advisor.” / “Speaking is silver, silence is gold.”

These two proverbs urge us to be careful about what we say in anger, because people can’t unsee or unhear things. Next time you’re tempted to scream your lungs out or say something nasty, take a deep breath first.

Dobrá rada nad zlato

  • “Good advice is more valuable than gold.”

IMO, sometimes good advice even YIELDS gold.

Kdo jinému jámu kopá, sám do ní padá. 

  • “He who digs a hole for someone will fall in it himself.”

Karma’s a b*tch! Be nice and nice things will come to you. Dig holes and you’ll end up with both legs broken.

Darovanému koni na zuby nekoukej. 

  • “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Accept gifts graciously, and don’t question their value. I mean…who doesn’t like free stuff, right?

    → Attitude and personality often go hand-in-hand. If you would like to learn how to describe your personality in Czech, see our list of adjectives and go through this lesson

A Horse Neighing

Darovanému koni na zuby nehleď.

5. Czech Proverbs About Life

We all want to live the best life possible, right? But it’s not always that easy. Here are some Czech proverbs that might help you, though! 

Nehas, co tě nepálí. 

  • “Don’t fight a fire that’s not burning you.”

Mind your business. Did you know that Czechs are known for not giving an F? That’s why we often seem disinterested, cold, or rude (even though we’re dying to engage on the inside).

Sytý hladovému nevěří. 

  • “The sated/full doesn’t believe the hungry.”

If I told you that Czech is totally easy, and that if you’d started studying it a couple weeks ago, you should be fluent by now…would you believe me?

And if you told me that Czech is so hard, almost impossible to learn…would I believe you?

Now who’s the sated one?

Dvakrát měř, jednou řež. 

  • “Measure twice, cut once.” 

The meaning of this one is obvious. Be careful and do all the preparations carefully. (Sometimes it’s called procrastination.)

Co zaseješ, to sklidíš. 

  • “You reap what you sow.”

Ever heard about karma?

Pes, který štěká, nekouše. 

  • “A dog that barks doesn’t bite.” / “Someone who makes threats all the time seldom carries out the threats.”

Except for the angry, tiny dogs—those always bite!

The actual meaning of this proverb is: Even if something seems intimidating/scary/too much/too loud, don’t get put off or scared. It’s likely just a facade.

Kdo uteče, vyhraje. 

  • “He who runs away, wins.”

Sometimes, it’s wiser to give up and walk away from a situation if you think you can’t win.

The ‘ESC’ Button on a Keyboard

Kdo uteče, vyhraje.

6. Cool Czech Proverbs in English That Even Many Natives Don’t Understand

…but really, who understands all the proverbs in their language? 

Jednou za Uherský rok. 

  • “Once in a Hungarian moon.”

This is equivalent to “once in a blue moon” or “very rarely.” Nobody knows what Hungary has to do with it.

Házet flintu do žita. 

  • “Throwing your rifle in the rye.” 

To throw in the towel, especially after a long fight that seemed to be going nowhere.

Má máslo na hlavě. 

  • “He has butter on his head.”

This refers to when someone is hiding a lot of secrets (very obvious things) that everybody knows about (a.k.a. “has skeletons in his closet”).

Why butter? Who knows! We like butter. Butter is life. Butter is the Czech cream cheese and peanut butter in one.

V noci je každá kočka černá. 

  • “Every cat is black at night.”

When you can’t see things clearly, everything might seem the same to you.

Nedráždi hada bosou nohou. 

  • “Don’t pat a snake with bare feet.”

A.k.a. “walking into the lion’s den.” It’s a fun phrase, considering there are basically no venomous snakes in the country.

A Yellow Cobra

Don’t pat a snake with bare feet!

7. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new! Which of these Czech proverbs can you most relate to? 

If you’re taking your Czech studies seriously, you basically have two options: grab a Czech grammar book or learn online (the latter of which is way more convenient).

CzechClass101.com makes learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. With us, it’s not about endless memorizing or thick textbooks. Learn Czech with us and make progress faster than you could imagine!

What can you find here?

Sign up now—it’s free!

One last thing: Let us know in the comments if this article helped you. Let’s get in touch!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech

Prague Travel Guide: The Top 10 Places to Visit in Prague

Thumbnail

Not many people know where the Czech Republic is (I don’t blame them: it’s a tiny country hiding between two giants, Germany and Poland), but everyone knows someone who has been to Prague.

I’ve lost count of how many people who, upon learning where I come from, have shrieked in excitement: “My neighbor’s nephew visited Prague! He said it was such a lovely city! We must go someday, too!”

Believe it or not, Prague is just as exciting and has the same old-timey atmosphere as other, more “famous” European cities. It looks similar, and (for now) Prague travel is more affordable than travel in many other European cities. That’s why it’s a loved and popular destination not only among tourists, but also among many movie-makers. 

Are you familiar with the films Blade II (2002), Hellboy (2004), or Mission Impossible (1996)? Then you’ve kind of seen Prague already. In the 2006 movie The Illusionist with Ed Norton, Prague filled in for late-nineteenth-century Vienna. A huge chunk of Casino Royale (2006) was shot in various Czech locations: Prague, Loket Castle, and Prague Airport (which filled in for Miami International). 

Prague, the seat of medieval Bohemian kings, is a small yet charming jewel in the heart of Europe. Even those who don’t care about history or architecture will most definitely be smitten with its ancient bridges, squares, churches, cobblestone streets and, of course, the breathtaking view of the largest castle in the world, standing proudly above the river. 

The Largest Castle in the World, Covering 18 Acres.

The largest castle in the world, covering 18 acres. 

Are you ready to pack your bags? 

In this Prague travel guide from CzechClass101.com, we’ll help you make the most of your trip by answering such questions as:

  • When is the best time to visit Prague?
  • What are the places to visit here?
  • Is it worth visiting Prague Castle?
  • Is Prague a safe city to visit?

We’ll cover this and more in our article!


Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Before You Go: Basic Info About Prague
  2. Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip to Prague
  3. Not Leaving Yet? Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)
  4. Czech Survival Phrases for Travelers
  5. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

Before You Go: Basic Info About Prague

As mentioned, Prague is one of the best-preserved cities in Europe and it will transport you right back to the seventeenth century. I’m sure you’ve heard quite a lot about this charming City of a Hundred Spires, but you’ll need some practical info as well while planning a visit to Prague.

Population

With around 1.3 million inhabitants, Prague is the largest city in the country by population. The population is spread over ten different districts within the city, and it’s densest in the center and southern areas of Prague.

Weather

If you’re wondering when to visit Prague for the best experience, keep in mind that the Czech Republic has a continental climate. That means…

  • …mild, humid summers with occasional hot spells.
  • …cold, cloudy, and humid winters with temperatures often below freezing.
  • …lots of sun all year round.

You can visit any time of the year, though mid-April to September or mid-October would probably offer the most pleasant, sunny weather.

If you’re excited to see all the gems covered in snow, you might be disappointed—snow is sparse in the Czech Republic (except for in the mountains, of course).


Travel Tips + Packing Reminders

Prague (and the Czech Republic in general) is still considered a budget-friendly destination, although it’s not “Eastern European cheap” like, well…Eastern Europe, Budapest, or Bratislava. Most decent hotels don’t charge more than 2.000 CZK (just below $100), and if you want to splurge and enjoy the comfort of a five-star hotel, it’ll cost you about twice as much.

As for meal prices, they won’t break the bank either. A dinner for two, including drinks, is usually around 700 CZK ($30, give or take).

Additional reminders:

  • You’re going to need a type E socket, and don’t forget that your U.S. gadgets (like clippers or hair dryers) will get fried if you try using them in the Czech Republic—trust me, been there, done that.
  • Most supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, and other tourist attractions accept euros. While you can use your card, it’s a good idea to bring some cash just in case.
  • The Czech Republic is in GMT+2 time zone.
  • Most people do NOT speak English. Our Czech Key Phrase List will come in handy in a pinch. 
  • If you’re not sure how to pronounce the names of the attractions you want to visit, feel free to use our list of Tourist Attractions in the Czech Republic!

Type E Socket

Type E socket.

Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip to Prague

If you don’t have a lot of time to visit Prague, one to three days should be enough for you to see the medieval city center, museums, and churches.

Here’s what you shouldn’t miss:

Day 1

Old Town (Staré město)

You do not want to miss the amazing, incredible astronomical clock (orloj) installed in 1410. It’s the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest clock still operating. But there’s one problem: The Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) is always crammed with people. Here’s my little tip:

Get there early in the morning, definitely before eight a.m. Grab a cup of Starbucks, enjoy the fun performance, have breakfast (and make sure you know how to order it), send a video of the dancing figures to your friends with a funny caption (every hour, two doors above the clock open and the twelve apostles on a rotating platform send you their blessings, one after another, followed by prejudices and other still or moving figures). And then, go on with your day in Prague.

Charles Bridge (Karlův most) and Old Town Bridge Tower (Staroměstská mostecká věž)

Charles Bridge was built in the early fifteenth century and crosses the river Vltava. It’s one of the most famous places in Prague, and for good reasons! If you love late-night walks, even better. You can enjoy your stroll without other tourists trying to snap a pic, and truly savor the beauty and the magical, medieval atmosphere.

Walking through the tower will make you feel like a celebrity—it was reserved for Bohemian kings to pass under during their coronation.

Charles Bridge Is Named After the Emperor Charles IV.

Charles Bridge is named after the Emperor Charles IV.

Church of Our Lady Before Týn (Chrám matky Boží před Týnem)

This church is sort of like Sagrada Familia in Spain, just a lot older. It’s gorgeous on the outside, and absolutely breathtaking on the inside—the two buildings do not look similar in any way. Just sayin’. 

It was built in the fourteenth century during the Charles IV era, and 400 years later, the interior was renovated in the opulent Baroque style while the spiky exterior remained in Gothic style.

This Beauty Can Be Seen from Many Vantage Points.

This beauty can be seen from many vantage points.

Day 2

Prague Castle and Hradčany (Pražský hrad a Hradčany)

Do yourself a favor and save a full day for this. This complex of buildings from the ninth century might make your feet beg for a day off, but there’s just so much to see here!

Here’s what you don’t want to miss while visiting Prague Castle:

Because of the constant rebuilding at Prague Castle, the structure represents almost every architectural style from the last millenium. St. Vitus Cathedral is an example of the Gothic style, while the Basilica of St. George and some of the palaces were built in the Romanesque style. The castle is open to tourists and is home to the National Gallery’s collection of Bohemian mannerism and Baroque art, as well as other museums. The annual Summer Shakespeare Festival also takes place at Prague Castle.

As mentioned, this is the largest castle complex in the world. Wear comfy shoes, guys!

Day 3

Alright, I’m guessing that by now you’re ready for a break. That’s what the New Town is for!

New Town (Nové město)

The name is pretty self-explanatory, so I’m just going to say that Nové město has a lot to offer, even for shoppaholics and art-lovers.

Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí)

Saint Wenceslas Square is one of the main Prague squares, and it’s very close to the main train station. If you love bars and parties, this is the place to go unwind after a long day of discovering Prague’s historical jewels.

Dancing House (Tančící dům)

This building, named after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, was built in 1996. Its unique design is considered controversial because it’s located among Art-nouveau, Baroque, and Gothic buildings.

Tančící Dům.

Tančící dům.

Powder Tower (Prašná brána)

This impressive building was built in the late fifteenth century, meant to be an impressive entrance to the city. Wondering why “powder”? It was used for gunpowder storage in the seventeenth century.

Not Leaving Yet? Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)

Will you have more time to spend exploring Prague? Great! This will give you ample time to see even more of the city’s major attractions. 

Day 4

Malá Strana

The name literally means “Little Side.” How adorable is that? You’ll find a lot of cute narrow cobblestone streets, numerous churches, little shops, and…

Petřín

This park on a hill in the center of Prague is an amazing place for walks and taking in the gorgeous views of the city. Also, if you’re going to propose while in Prague, I suggest you do it here.

I know you’re probably tired, but remember that 15k steps is the new 10k. So brace yourself and climb up the Petřín Lookout Tower (Petřínská rozhledna). The view will be worth it.

Days 5-7

Okay, maybe you’re ready to explore outside of the city center, too! Take a day trip. You’ll see more and let your mind rest a little.

Here are a few things you might want to see:

Vyšehrad

Vyšehrad was the royal residence of the Czech kings until the early twelfth century when they moved to the new, modern Prague Castle downtown.

Do not expect to find a perfectly intact castle here (okay, it’s ruins), but the views of the city are spectacular. 

If you’re tired of spending all day in crowded places, Vyšehrad might be your jam: it’s one of the few parts of Prague that isn’t packed with tourists.

Karlštejn

This fourteenth-century castle up on a hill in the middle of the woods looks like something straight from a fairytale. It’s only a thirty-minute drive from Prague, and you can also take a train to reach this location.

The Pilsner Urquell Brewery in Plzeň

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of this beer at some point in your life, just like we’ve all heard of Kleenex.

In just over an hour, you’ll get to the birthplace of modern lager. If you decide to stay overnight, you can have a lot of fun taking a tour of Pilsen pubs and enjoying not just the beer, but also the Czech food!

Czech Survival Phrases for Travelers

I highly recommend getting your language skills up to date before you leave, because not a lot of Czechs speak English. Feel free to Czech out our vocabulary lists.

What words and phrases will you need the most during your stay in Prague? We’ve got you covered!

EnglishCzech
“Hello.”Dobrý den.
“Thank you.”Děkuji.
“Goodbye.”Nashledanou.
“Sorry.”Pardon.
“Very good.”Moc dobré.
“I don’t understand you.” (to locals who don’t speak your language)Nerozumím vám.
“Where is the restroom?”Kde jsou toalety?
“How much is it?”Kolik to stojí?
“I want this.” (while shopping or ordering food)Vezmu si tohle. (while shopping) / Dám si tohle. (while ordering food)
“Help!”Pomoc!

Want more? Then see our list titled Don’t Travel Without Knowing These Top 10 Czech Verbs

How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

That’s it, guys! I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new!

If you’re taking your Czech studies seriously, your two main options are to grab a Czech grammar book or learn online (the latter of which is way more convenient).

CzechClass101.com will make learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. With us, it’s not about endless memorizing or thick textbooks. Learn Czech with us and make progress faster than you could imagine!

What can you find here?

Sign up now—it’s free!

One last thing: Which of these Czech travel destinations are you most excited to see, and why?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech

English Words in the Czech Language

Thumbnail

Czenglish. Have you ever heard this term? It’s been a hot topic lately, mostly due to the vigorous power of the internet and social media. Nowadays, everybody loves YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and…influencers!

Although you won’t find a lot of similarities between Czech and English (with the exception of words derived from Latin), English is seeping into the Czech language more and more. 

By the way, the phenomenon of English words used in Czech is not as new as it might seem! I was watching a Czech comedy from 1938 a couple of days ago, and one of the first scenes is a perfect example of Czenglish used in real life: Já changuju subject? Ty changuješ subject! (“I am changing the subject? You are changing the subject!”). We like using English words. We adopt them, lovingly decline and conjugate them, adjust the pronunciation to our liking, and make them our own.

Yup, it’s very convenient to speak more languages because (besides other, more prominent and useful advantages) it gives you the option to pick your favorite words and use them as you please! I am guilty of using English words in Czech convos, and it makes my grandma very confused at times!

There are also words that you probably consider English…which are actually Czech!

Let’s get into it! In this article, we’ll look at Czech words you’ve been using without realizing it, Czenglish, and Czech words of English origin.

A Woman Giving a Confused, Defensive Shrug

I’ll make sure I never make this mistake again.


Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to Czenglish
  2. Czenglish Examples
  3. Loanwords vs. Czenglish: List of English Words in the Czech Language
  4. Foreign Brands, Titles, and Names in Czech
  5. Czech Words in English: Did You Know?
  6. How CzechClass101.com Can Help You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

Introduction to Czenglish

The term ‘Czenglish’ was first introduced in 1989 by Don Sparling, a Canadian professor at the Masaryk University in Brno (1977-2009), who’s also the author of English or Czenglish?

So, what is the definition of Czenglish?

    Czenglish is a version of the English language spoken by Czech learners of English. It is heavily influenced by Czech vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, or syntax.

Czenglish mistakes might include a wide variety of “abominations,” such as:

Incorrect pronunciation

For example:

  • /θ/ is often pronounced as [s], [t], or [f].
    • “Thing” in Czech sounds more like “sink,” “tink,” or “fink.”
  • /ð/ is often pronounced as [d].
    • “They” is pronounced “dey.”
  • /r/ has the typical rolling rumble to it.

Voiced consonants pronounced as unvoiced

Voiced consonants (B, D, G, J, L, M, N, Ng, R, Sz, Th as in “they,” V, W, Y, and Z) are made by vibrating the vocal cords. Unvoiced consonants…yes, you guessed it! Your vocal cords can take a break while pronouncing these: Ch, F, K, P, S, Sh, T, and Th (as in “thing”).

Czech natives, however, often pronounce them incorrectly. Which is no biK deal, but it sounds funny. I’m sure you’ve hearT a lot of Dose. Am I rrrright?

Omission of articles

It’s no wonder Czechs make this mistake, as there are no articles in the Czech language. Most Czech natives find them…redundant. Why bother, when it’s just a few letters (or even a single one)? Another thing you might encounter while talking to Czechs is the use of “some” in place of an indefinite article.

Literal translations

This is a big one. And given the stark difference between the Czech and English word order, there’s a good chance you’ll get lost in translation quite often.

Czenglish Examples

This part should be easy to write since I’m the “uncrowned queen of Czenglish” and sometimes it’s hard for my mouth to keep up with my mind, so…here it goes.

  • “Basic school”

    Got it? Basic school is the literal translation of základní škola (“elementary school”). I’ve heard this one way too many times to ever forget it. Základní means “basic” in Czech.
  • “She said me that my English is great!” 

    Řekla mi, že moje angličtina je skvělá!

    While in English, you might say “She said to me that my English is great,” omitting prepositions is very common in word-for-word translations. It can lead to some very funny situations…
  • “I am watching on TV.” 

    Dívám se na televizi.

    Generally speaking, the Czech language uses prepositions where English doesn’t, and vice-versa. Na means “on.”
  • “Riding on bike” 

    Jet na kole.

    This is a perfect example of preposition errors in literal translations.
  • “I can English.” 

    Umím anglicky.

    Mluvit means “to speak.” In Czech, we don’t say: Umím mluvit anglicky.
  • A: “Hey, I don’t like it.” / B: “Me too.” 

    A: “Hele, nelíbí se mi to.” / B: “Mně taky.”

    Shrug. That’s how Czech works, folks!
  • Using the word “please” instead of “ask”

    Oh my gosh, this mistake can actually be pretty embarrassing because “to please” has a very different meaning in English, and it’s similar to the Czech potěšit (“to make happy”). Not cute.

    Poprosit (“to ask”) is derived from the word prosím (“please”), and for the average Czech, it totally makes sense to “please you to do something.”

    To give you an example, the sentence Poprosil mě, abych něco řekl (“He asked me to say something”) would be incorrectly translated as “He pleased me to say something” (Potěšil mě, abych něco řekl).

I suppose you’ll want to avoid such mistakes in Czech! That’s why you should check out our list of 100 Core Czech Words and Key Czech Phrases!

Two Men Pointing and Laughing at Something

Some Czenglish words sound adorable.


Loanwords vs. Czenglish: List of English Words in the Czech Language

Loanwords are “borrowed” from English without significant changes and tend to be easily understood by native English speakers.  

This phenomenon has grown in popularity due to YouTube and social media, and we often use social media-related terms without changing them. However, we apply declension and conjugation in order to make them work in a Czech sentence.

We do use heavily altered (or even pure Czech) words when talking about technology, though. Check them out here.

A Woman Vlogging while Cooking

Young Czechs use a lot of English words, mostly due to social media and influencers.

Here are some commonly used English words in Czech:

  • Blog / blogging / blogovat (“to blog”) 
  • Lobbing 
    • masculine inanimate
  • Barman (“bartender”)
    • masculine animate
    • This one only works in masculine, though. We like to be super-specific with grammatical gender, so the feminine version is barmanka.
  • Blok (“block”), blokovat (“to block”)
    • masculine inanimate
  • Sendvič (“sandwich”)
    • masculine animate
  • Galon (“gallon”)
    • masculine inanimate
  • Klub (“club” as in “facility”)
    • masculine inanimate
  • Svetr (“sweater” or “jumper”)
    • masculine inanimate
  • Followers / followeři 
    • masculine animate
  • Views 
    • not declined
  • Stories (as in “Insta stories”) 
    • not declined
  • Intro 
  • Trailer (as in a movie trailer)
    • masculine inanimate
  • Internet 
    • masculine inanimate
  • Web (pronounced with a “v”) 
    • masculine inanimate
  • Chat (when referring to an online conversation) 
    • masculine inanimate
  • Email 
    • masculine inanimate
  • Smartphone 
    • masculine inanimate
  • Spoiler 
    • masculine inanimate
  • Korporát (“corporate”)
  • Brainstorming 
    • masculine inanimate
  • Mainstream 
    • masculine inanimate
  • Steak 
    • masculine inanimate
  • Filet (“fillet”)
    • masculine inanimate
  • Cheesecake 
    • masculine inanimate
  • Cupcake 
    • masculine inanimate
  • Cookie 
    • neuter
  • Brownie 
    • neuter
  • Manager 
    • masculine animate
  • Management / Marketing 
    • masculine inanimate
  • Business 
    • masculine inanimate

Please note:

    ➢ All loanwords, even those that remain unchanged, are pronounced the Czenglish way and you might not recognize them when you hear them…

Just sayin’.

You might have noticed that a lot of these borrowed words are office- or work-related. But you’ll still need to know some Czech vocabulary to talk about your workplace

Foreign Brands, Titles, and Names in Czech

There is one thing that technically doesn’t belong to Czenglish, but I get asked about it A LOT.

Angela MerkelOVÁ
Sigourney WeaverOVÁ
Anna BoleynOVÁ

In Czech and other Slavic languages, the suffix -ová is added to the last names of all females. Back in the day, it literally meant “belonging to…,” and somehow, it never went away. Are you wincing now?

Lately, more women choose to go by their husband’s last name without the -ová, which means they have to literally lie to the authorities when applying for their new documents. You have to confirm that you’re either going to move abroad or have married a foreigner in order to be allowed to choose your own name. I’m not kidding.

There’s one advantage to this whole “belonging to” thing: it makes it clear whether a person is male or female immediately.

Now back to Czenglish!

Do we translate foreign titles? Yup. Some of them. Any rules? No.

Look:

  • Star WarsHvězdné války (literal translation, same meaning)
  • Pretty WomanPretty woman 
  • Misson: ImpossibleMission: Impossible
  • Inception Počátek (literal translation is “beginning,” but vnuknutí [meaning “suggestion”] would be more accurate)

However, titles are created based on specific instructions from Hollywood headquarters before the creators have seen the actual movie, which definitely makes the job harder.

A Cartoon Drawing of Yoda Holding a Lightsaber

Hvězdné války – Yoda.

P.S.: We also omit the ‘90210’ from Beverly Hills, 90210 and pronounce Nike as Nik.

By the way, if you’re going to the movies in the Czech Republic, check out our specialized movie vocab list first!

Czech Words in English: Did You Know?

There are words you probably consider English, but…

Bohemisms or Czechisms are words derived from the Czech language, and many of them originate in Latin. Let’s look at a couple of English words from Czech you’ve heard at least once before:

Robot

This word was first coined by the Czech playwright, novelist, and journalist Karel Čapek (1880-1938), who introduced it in his 1920 sci-fi play, R.U.R., or Rossum’s Universal Robots. It’s derived from the old Slavonic word robota, which literally means “forced labor.”

Čapek first named these creatures laboři, but didn’t really like it. At the suggestion of his brother, artist and author Josef Čapek, he later opted for roboti (“robots”).

An Image of a Robot Against a White Background

Robot or labor?

In case you’re interested: The play is pretty awesome, and there’s an English version as well. It’s pretty ironic that R.U.R. was his least favorite work. 

By the way, Čapek was close friends with the first Czechoslovak president, a passionate democrat (although he wasn’t directly involved in politics), and strictly against totalitarian regimes. Some of his works were considered “subversive,” and as such, were hated by the rising Nazi party. He died of the flu in December 1938.

Polka

This popular folk dance (and the word used to describe it) originated in the mid-nineteenth century. It’s drawn from the word půlka (“half”), and refers to the short half-steps and rhythm of the dance.

The word became widely popular in the major European languages in the early 1840s.

How CzechClass101.com Can Help You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

That’s it, guys! I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new! Did any of the words we listed surprise you? 

If you’re taking your Czech learning seriously, you could grab a Czech grammar book or learn online (the latter of which is way more convenient).

CzechClass101.com will make learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. With us, it’s not about endless memorizing or thick textbooks. Learn Czech with us and make progress faster than you could imagine!

What can you find here?

Sign up now—it’s free!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech

All You Ever Wanted To Know About Czech Culture

Thumbnail

Are you learning Czech, planning to visit the Czech Republic, starting a business here, or even settling down in this cute, Central European country? Great! I’m sure you want to know more than just the basic info (like what the currency is and whether it’s okay to look a stranger in the eye…). 

Learning about Czech culture is essential if you want to really understand not just the language, but also how things work here.

And let me tell you, just about everything is different here than in the U.S. or Western and Eastern Europe.

As you explore Czech culture and customs, you’ll find that they share a lot in common with those of Austria or Germany. These two countries have greatly influenced the attitudes, traditions, and cuisine of the Czech Republic—and no wonder! The Czech Republic was part of the Austria-Hungary Empire for centuries and only became autonomous in 1918. Not so long ago, right? Another aspect to consider is its geographical position in the heart of Europe, which has fostered influences from surrounding countries. 

One thing that might surprise you is that while we speak a Slavic language, our political, economic, and social structures have shifted toward Western European trends.

Do you feel ready to continue exploring this unique culture? Then read on! 

In this lesson, you’ll learn about Czech values, religions, family and work life, traditions, food, and art.If this seems like a bit much, you might want to start with this quick overview of the Czech culture and language.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Values and Beliefs
  2. Philosophies and Religions
  3. Family and Work Life
  4. Art and Architecture
  5. Cuisine and Food
  6. Traditional Holidays
  7. How CzechClass101.com Can Help You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. Values and Beliefs

A key component in understanding Czech culture is knowing what values Czechs hold important, and why.

To start, here’s the typical Czech attitude and approach to life: 

    Careful planning in business and personal life, and a strong need for a sense of security. 

Even though things have changed since the Communist era, most people still value security. It’s safe to say that Czechs aren’t risk-takers.

For example, Czechs are unlikely to support a business idea if the outcome is uncertain, and mottos like “Think Big” are frowned upon here. 

    Czech people value a forward-thinking, logical, efficient, and practical approach.

Another thing you need to know before you make false assumptions about the Czech nature is this: Czechs are very private people…until they get to know you. We often seem formal and reserved and it’s considered impolite to ask “a newcomer” too many questions.

    Don’t be surprised if your new Czech colleagues seem a bit aloof. Invite them out for a beer or a glass of wine, and you’ll see how quickly things change!

Even after you’ve developed a personal relationship (first name basis or after your first hangover), Czechs do open up a bit, but we are never overly emotional. There will be no hugs, no beaming, and certainly no ‘I love yous.’

When it comes to problem-solving and jarred situations, Czechs tend to be extremely non-confrontational. This isn’t because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. We simply don’t want to get involved. Even in more extreme situations that would be impossible not to notice, we might turn a blind eye. 

Which leads us to: 

    We can get super passive aggressive. Let’s call it an indirect approach, shall we?

If you’re very new to the Czech culture, make sure to check out these useful Czech phrases and greetings. You know what they say: You might be awesome, but if you don’t make a good first impression, nothing else matters.

A Man Making Plans on His Smartphone

Everything in life has to be carefully planned.

2. Philosophies and Religions

Christianity is the dominant religion in the Czech Republic…but we are one of the least religious societies in Europe. Yep. We love Christmas and St. Nicholas Day (more on that later), but to most Czechs, they’re just lovely traditions without any spiritual meaning.

Let’s look at some dry facts:

    In 1910, Roman Catholicism was the professed religion of 96.5% of the Czech people.
    In 2011, the population’s proportion of Roman Catholic Church members decreased from 26.8% to 10.4%.

The decline began right after World War I and the breakup of the Austria-Hungary Empire, partly due to a mass movement that promoted anti-Austrian and anticlerical sentiments.

The communist regime (1948-1989) quickly dissolved the rest of the religion in the Czech Republic. The government (to which religion of any kind became undesirable) confiscated most of the Church’s property.

The philosophy behind this? If our Russian comrades didn’t need God, why should our working class? 

3. Family and Work Life

In the Czech Republic, family is the center of our social structure.

When it comes to relationships and dynamics, the Czech family culture gets a bit more complicated. Obligation to the family is the most important priority, but this only applies to the closest family members—children, parents, and sometimes siblings. Family gatherings and Sunday lunches are quite common, but they’re usually pretty small and private.

Several Family Members Stacking Their Hands

Family first.

If you’re new to the Czech work environment, refrain from using someone’s first name or an informal greeting. These are signs of friendship and it is considered rude to use informal language with colleagues unless the other party has indicated it’s okay. This bridge to informal communication should be offered by the woman, the older person, or the person of higher status.

    When it comes to business and closing deals, don’t expect things to move forward swiftly.

The Czech business culture facilitates a slower pace of getting things done, especially when strangers or foreigners are involved. It will probably take more than just one meeting for your Czech business associates to become familiar with you. Czechs generally don’t trust strangers and they’re slightly scared of new things. If you want to succeed, you should practice meditation if patience isn’t one of your strongest virtues.

Also: 

    Czechs are too polite (and afraid of a direct approach or confrontation) to tell you “no” right away. You might often hear “we will see” and “it’s complicated” and “perhaps.” These statements typically indicate a negative answer.

If you’re getting ready for a business meeting in the Czech Republic, you might find these basic conversational phrases useful. They make a great basis for any kind of meeting or conversation in Czech.

4. Art and Architecture

The Czech Republic is famous worldwide for its outstanding handmade Bohemian glass and crystal—each piece mouth-blown and manually decorated. 

If you’re a fan of art, you might be familiar with the name Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939). He was one of the best Czech painters and decorative artists, and in his time, he was pretty much a celebrity. Companies hired him to draw advertisements for them and he collected very nice sums for his labor.

Mucha is best known for his series of 20 large canvases named The Slav Epic. By the way, large means large. 26 by 20 feet on average. This pompous work of art depicts the history of Czechs and other Slavic peoples. 

There is a strong Czech tradition in the graphic arts. Czechs love caricature, and it was even more popular during hard times…for example, before World War II. Josef Čapek (who was an older brother of the writer Karel Čapek, who happens to be the guy who invented the word “robot”) is remembered for a series of drawings entitled The Dictator’s Boots. This was from the time when Adolf Hitler’s star was rising higher. 

Czech graphic art is usually based on popular, narrative art.

Since the nineteenth century, Czech painters and graphic artists have followed European movements, but Realism generally prevails. 

Czech art traditions feature a mix of German and Slavic influences, though our architecture is strikingly influenced by Italy. Our capital, Prague, is a beautiful gem with breathtaking Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

If you’re more into modern architecture, you won’t be disappointed. The clean and sharp Functionalist style became very popular in the 1920s and there are numerous villas, apartment buildings and interiors, factories, office blocks, and even cafés all over the country displaying this style.

5. Cuisine and Food

You can probably guess that the table manners in the Czech Republic are Continental: the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right. Unlike Americans, we don’t typically put the knife down while eating and we keep the fork in our left hand throughout the entire meal.

Have you been invited to a family lunch? There are a few rules to follow:

1. The oldest or honored guest is generally served first.

2. You will be offered second helpings. You should refuse and wait for the hostess to insist.

3. Compliment the meal while eating. Ask for the recipe even though you know you’ll never make the meal at home.

4. When you’ve finished, lay your knife and fork across the right side of your plate.

The typical Czech meal consists of soup as a starter and a meat-heavy entrée. 

The Czech diet contains lots of pork, beef, poultry, and organ meats such as liver and kidneys. The most typical side dishes are dumplings, cabbage, or potatoes. You’ll probably feel very full after a meal, even though the portion sizes are nowhere near the average American ones.

Deep-fried Breaded Carp

Deep-fried breaded carp is a popular Christmas Eve dinner.


6. Traditional Holidays

There are seven public (bank) holidays in the Czech Republic: 

  • New Year’s Day (January 1) – This is also the Day of Recovery of the Independent Czech State, which took place in 1993.
  • Liberation Day (May 8)
  • Day of Slavonic Apostles Cyril and Methodius (July 5)
  • Jan Hus Day (July 6)
  • Day of Czech Statehood / St. Wenceslas Day (September 28)
  • Independence Day (October 28) – It has nothing in common with the American Fourth of July; it’s the anniversary of the establishment of an independent Czechoslovakia in 1918.
  • Day of Students’ Fight for Freedom and Democracy (November 17)

On top of that, there are three Christmas days, and Easter Monday.

Even though most Czechs are atheist, they celebrate Christian holidays including Easter and Christmas. These holidays were recognized even during the Communist era. 

Our main Christmas holiday is Christmas Eve, when families decorate their Christmas trees while watching TV and eating Christmas cookies. The dinner traditionally consists of fish (preferably carp), or pork or chicken schnitzel, with potato salad.

Like I mentioned earlier, Czechs are very family-oriented and private. This means it’s not common to invite friends over during Christmas.


A Variety of Czech Christmas Cookies

Czech Christmas cookies are quite elaborate and are usually made two to three weeks ahead.

7. How CzechClass101.com Can Help You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

We hope you enjoyed this lesson on Czech traditions and culture. Did you learn anything new? How does Czech culture compare to that in your country? We look forward to hearing from you! 

If you’re taking your Czech studies seriously, you have two solid options: grab a Czech grammar book or learn online. We think the latter is much more convenient, don’t you? 

CzechClass101.com will make learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. With us, it’s not about endless memorizing or thick textbooks. Learn Czech with us and make progress faster than you could imagine!

What can you find here?

Sign up now—it’s free!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech

Czech Food: All About Pork and Creamy Sauces

Thumbnail

I’m going to be honest with you, guys. Czech food is heavy. Most meals are based on pork, creamy sauces, and dumplings (no, they’re not similar to Asian dumplings). Growing up, I would always marvel at the gorgeous, colorful platters of food that I saw on American TV. Compared to that, our diet was a lot grayer, ordinary-looking, and “bready.” 

Of course, times have changed. But the traditional Czech cuisine hasn’t. 

I personally don’t know anyone who would say no to Mom’s Sunday roast with fluffy dumplings and sweet and sour cabbage, followed by home-baked pastries with sweet, lemony curd cheese filling.

One thing I need to mention: the portion sizes. I vividly remember my first morning in NYC. I ordered two scrambled eggs with bacon and a side of fruit. I was served a gigantic plate that held a mountain of eggs, countless slices of THICK-cut bacon (that tasted slightly sweet), plus a bowl of fruit that would last through me and my mom’s entire movie night. I actually overheard people complaining about our tiny portions!

That won’t happen in the Czech Republic.

The smaller portions are a good thing, guys! You get to taste a little bit of everything and still have room for dessert! 

Are you a foodie who loves trying different cuisines? Are you planning a trip to the Czech Republic and wondering what foods you should try? Or do you just want to know more about the Czech culture in general? Read on!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Must-Try Dishes in Czech Restaurants
  2. Unique Czech Food
  3. Food-Related Vocab
  4. Let’s Cook Something!
  5. How CzechClass101.com Can Help You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. Must-Try Dishes in Czech Restaurants

I’m going to disappoint all the vegans and vegetarians out there: Traditional Czech food is delicious, but also meat-heavy. Your only meatless option when eating out in a typical restaurant will be some kind of cheese (probably deep-fried or marinated).

Back in the day, the only “vegetarian option” on the menu would often be either deep-fried cheese (more on that later) or something you would probably choose for dessert: sweet dumpling with fruit, pastries with warm vanilla sauce, or even vdolky, which is the Czech take on Berliners (donuts without a hole).

However, if you do enjoy meat, you won’t be disappointed.

First things first, make sure you know how to order food in a Czech restaurant

A- Řízek s Bramborovým Salátem (Schnitzel with Potato Salad)

Try a juicy, breaded schnitzel (pork is the most common type, but most places offer veal too) served with potato salad. By the way, this is also a favorite classic Czech food for Christmas dinners.

When my American boyfriend first saw a regular-sized Czech schnitzel, he couldn’t believe his eyes. It was so big it intimidated his brave, American heart.

The potato salad contains a lot of vegetables, often pickled or marinated. My favorite part? The mayo. 

Are you on a diet, working on your summer body, or getting ready for an important event? No problem. Here’s a tip from my grandma:

Get a chicken schnitzel. Chicken is diet food. The potato SALAD is a salad. You’re good.

A Plate of Schnitzel with Greens and Mashed Potatoes

Schnitzel is a favorite weekend lunch and Christmas dinner!

B- Vepřo-Knedlo-Zelo (Pork Roast with Cabbage and Dumplings)

This is THE ultimate Czech Sunday lunch. The cabbage might be red or white, sweet, slightly on the sour side, or even pickled.

Have you been invited to a family lunch? You’ll be asked how many dumplings you want. If you say three, you’ll get five. You’ve been warned.

A Plate of Vepřo-knedlo-zelo

Vepřo-knedlo-zelo is the ultimate Sunday lunch.

C- Svíčková Omáčka s Knedlíkem (Roast Beef with Creamy Vegetable Sauce and Dumplings)

This Czech dish is incredibly elaborate and it smells super-delicious thanks to the vegetables…too bad it’s nearly impossible to make it look presentable on the plate.

It’s often served for special occasions and it’s actually the traditional wedding lunch meal (along with beef broth with vegetables and liver dumplings; yup, Czech cuisine boasts many kinds of dumplings).

To make the sauce perfect, you first need to marinate a perfect sirloin with root veggies and some spices for a couple of days. Then you roast it in the oven, mix the vegetables in a blender, and add an ungodly amount of heavy cream and some flour to make the sauce thicker.

The dumplings have to be homemade, of course, so if you’re making this meal for Sunday lunch, you should get up at around 4:30 a.m. Yum.

A note from my grandma: The sauce has to be the perfect color. Not too brown, not too light. If you get served a brown svíčková in a restaurant, leave. 

Thanks, grandma.

A Plate of Svíčková omáčka

Believe it or not, svíčková omáčka is the traditional wedding food!

D- Guláš (Goulash)

This stew, usually made from beef, pork, or venison with onions and spices, is trickier than it looks. You have to cook it for hours and hope the meat doesn’t turn into a piece of rubber. Unlike the Hungarian version, the Czech guláš contains no vegetables and makes up for the lack of fiber with loads of protein.

It’s served with dumplings or bread and a handful of thinly sliced onion.

E- Smažák (Deep Fried Breaded Cheese)

Okay, guys, I had no idea how weird this dish was, until I started dating a foreigner. 

I’m a millennial and this thing was the ultimate “fancy” meal I would always order in a restaurant (which means I had it like five times during my childhood). Now it’s more of a street food.

If you love gooey melted cheese, you’re going to love this dish too. The most typical combo is smažák with french fries and mayo. Enjoy!

F- Tatarák (Steak Tartare)

This is even weirder than breaded deep-fried cheese. It’s raw beef. First-class, perfectly fresh raw beef, finely ground or cut, and mixed with salt, egg yolks, and spices of your choice.

If you order it in a restaurant (it’s a widely popular and well-loved bar food), it will come un-mixed so that you can make it the way you like it. It’s served with fried bread and fresh garlic cloves. Rub the garlic on the hot, greasy bread to make a perfect topinka (“toast” fried in a pan), top it with tatarák, and bite in!

Have you tried any of these popular Czech dishes? If so, what’s your favorite Czech food so far?

2. Unique Czech Food

There are some traditional Czech dishes and foods that you can only find in our beautiful Central European country. They’re all carb-laden, stick to your ribs, and will help you gain ten pounds in a week.

A- Knedlíky (Dumplings)

The French have baguettes, and we have knedlíky

This popular side dish is made of flour, yeast, and tiny cubes of bread. Some versions contain mashed potatoes, bigger pieces of bread, and parsley—there are even sweet dumplings stuffed with fruit, and drizzled with butter and ground gingerbread! They’re either steamed or cooked. The most popular knedlíky are the standard bread dumplings, sliced on plates of guláš or omáčka.

B- Creamy Sauces

Czechs LOVE creamy sauces.

Last weekend, I was eating lunch with my mom. We were having a big salad with all sorts of “exotic” ingredients in it: avocado, tofu, chickpea pasta… I asked her what our lunch would have been in the 80s. Her response: Probably a sauce with some meat and potatoes, maybe dumplings. So, yes, people actually used to eat this way all the time.

C- Koprová Omáčka (Creamy Dill Sauce), Rajská (Creamy Tomato Sauce)…

Pretty much any ingredient can be turned into a creamy sauce. 

Slightly tangy koprovka (“dill sauce”) is often served with hard-boiled eggs and rajská (“tomato sauce”) is poured over a mountain of elbow macaroni (which is called kolínka, or “little knees,” in Czech) and served with a modest slice of boiled beef. There’s even a horseradish sauce served with uzené (“smoked pork”).

Yup, the obesity rate is pretty high in this country.

D- Hovězí Vývar s Játrovými Knedlíčky (Beef Broth with Liver Dumplings)

This hearty soup is usually served as a starter for special occasions, Sunday family lunches, and weddings. The broth is slow-cooked and must be perfectly clear. The noodles and little dumplings should be homemade.

E- Pečená Husa s Bramborovým Knedlíkem (Roast Goose with Potato Dumplings and Cabbage)

This is a typical Czech holiday food, normally prepared at the beginning of November for St. Martin’s Day and served with St. Martin’s “young” wine. But some families prepare it for Christmas or other fancy occasions.

F- Deep-Fried Breaded Mushrooms

Mushrooms are not everyone’s favorite, but we still eat them. A lot. In soups, in our creamy houbová omáčka (“mushroom sauce”)…and we deep-fry them, just like cheese.

It’s a great (although not super-healthy or low-cal) vegetarian option, too!

G- Chlebíčky

These cute open-faced sandwiches are a staple in Czech cuisine. They’re a typical party/Christmas/New Year’s Eve snack and feature a variety of toppings: eggs, ham, deli meats, pickles, and pickled vegetables. They can be really basic or very fancy.

H- Vánočka and Mazanec (Sweet Christmas Bread and Sweet Easter Bread)

These two babies somewhat resemble challah bread, but the dough is much richer, containing a lot of butter, lard (makes the pastry very moist and almost melty), and fresh yolks.

After letting the dough rise for a few hours, you braid it elaborately only to watch it collapse or develop cracks in the oven (if you’re not careful).

It’s delicious, fragrant, and tastes amazing plain or with butter (or honey, preserves, Nutella…).

A Loaf of Vánočka being Sliced

Vánočka and mazanec are eaten all year-round because we love them so much!

As you can tell, Czech cuisine isn’t for everyone. Make sure you can eat it before you order.

3. Food-Related Vocab

Now that you’re good and hungry, let’s look at some Czech food vocabulary and a few phrases to use in the restaurant.

CzechEnglish
Maso“Meat”
Vepřové maso“Pork”
Hovězí maso“Beef”
Kuře“Chicken”
Zvěřina“Venison”
Vegetariánské“Vegetarian”
Veganské“Vegan”
Polévka“Soup”
Předkrm“Starter”
Hlavní jídlo“Entrée”
Dezert“Dessert”
Těstoviny“Pasta”
Houby“Mushrooms”
Zelenina“Vegetables”
Ovoce“Fruits”
Palačinky“Crepes”
Lívance“Pancakes”
Omáčka“Sauce”
Brambory“Potatoes”
Hranolky“French fries”
Příloha“Side dish”
Košík pečiva“Basket of bread”
Sýr“Cheese”
Máte vegetariánské/veganské jídlo?“Do you serve any vegetarian/vegan dishes?”
Dám si…“I’ll have…”
Bez přílohy.“No side dish.”
Co doporučujete?“What do you recommend?”
Zaplatíme.“We’ll have the check.”
Můžeme dostat víc ubrousků prosím?“Can we have more napkins, please?”

4. Let’s Cook Something!

I don’t want to overwhelm you with Czech food recipes that would take hours to make. How about…some savory chleba ve vajíčku (“fried bread soaked in eggs”) that my friend Lindsey described as “quite disgusting, but surprisingly tasty.”

You’re gonna need:

  • A few slices of bread, preferably sourdough
  • Half a cup of milk
  • One egg per each slice of bread
  • Oil or lard
  • A pinch of salt
  • Toppings of your choice (mustard, ketchup, deli meats, cheese, finely sliced onion, pickles…)

Now:

  • Beat the eggs with milk and salt.
  • Soak the bread in it for a few minutes.
  • Cook.
  • Top with a ton of fun stuff.
  • Get your napkins ready.
  • Eat!

This was one of my favorite dinners when I was a kid. I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

5. How CzechClass101.com Can Help You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

If you’re taking your Czech learning seriously, you could grab a Czech grammar book or learn online (the latter of which is way more convenient).

CzechClass101.com will make learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. With us, it’s not about endless memorizing or thick textbooks. Learn Czech with us and make progress faster than you could imagine!

What can you find here?

Sign up now—it’s free!

One last thing: Let us know in the comments if this article made your mouth water. Oh, and what’s your favorite Czech food?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Czech

Learn Czech Grammar in a Nutshell

Thumbnail

What comes to your mind when you think about learning another language? 

Casually chatting with locals while drinking delicious Czech beer? Enjoying Forman’s early movies? Writing a secret diary that nobody in your family could read?

You can certainly do all of those things. 

Are you expecting a big fat BUT? You’re correct!

BUT first you have to learn Czech grammar and understand how it works.

I’m not gonna sugarcoat it: It’s completely different from English grammar and the rules might not make much sense to you. 

Yes, there is the dreaded declension (each noun and adjective has fourteen different forms) and verb conjugation.

In the end, though, you’ll find out that learning Czech is quite easy, as long as you don’t try to compare it to English.

On this page, I’ll walk you through the rules of basic Czech grammar. And because I’m a nice person, I’ll add some tricks on how to master them.

Shall we? I promise it’s going to be a breeze.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Basic Czech Grammar: General Rules
  2. Cases: Noun and Adjective Declension
  3. Czech Verb Conjugation and Tenses
  4. Formal and Informal Voice
  5. Numbers
  6. How CzechClass101.com Can Help You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. Basic Czech Grammar: General Rules

First things first: Czech is a Slavic language, and as such, it has nothing in common with English. You need to forget all about English grammar when studying Czech. Trying to compare the languages and scrambling around to find similarities would only hinder your efforts. It would be a complete waste of time. 

That said, there are some Czech words that come from Latin, and we use quite a lot of Americanisms (you might hear the words “sorry” and “legit” a lot).

The most significant difference? (Apart from pronunciation, of course…)

Word Order

Czech word order is much more flexible than you’d expect. The rules are pretty much non-existent (figuratively speaking) and we rely a lot on intonation.

General word order:

  • Subject – Verb – Object
    Tomáš nerad jí. (“Tomáš doesn’t like to eat.”)
  • Verb – Subject – Object – ?
     Jí Tomáš rád? (“Does Tomáš like to eat?”)

As mentioned above, intonation is very important. It will help you distinguish between a neutral statement and a question in sentences with the same word order (yes, that can and does happen a lot). 

Null-Subject Sentences

    In Czech, personal pronouns are used way less often than in English. And thanks to declension and verb conjugation, they’re mostly used for emphasis.

That means the personal pronoun can be omitted—the suffix of the verb makes it perfectly clear who or what the subject is.

Take these two sentences for example: 

  • Já tě miluju víc než ona! (“I love you more than she does!”) 
  • Miluju tě víc než ona. (“I love you more than she does.”)

The former is what you might hear screamed out loud during a fight, while the latter is something you would hear whispered or stated in a conversation.

For more details on this, see our page for painless Czech grammar and our Czech pronouns vocabulary list.

A Little Boy Frustrated with His Homework

Learning a new language is fun!

Genders

Some of the most unfamiliar Czech language grammar rules for new learners have to do with grammatical gender. The Czech language divides nouns into three categories based on their gender:

  • Feminine
  • Masculine
  • Neuter

For the record, masculine and feminine partially overlap with the natural gender of human beings, and baby animals are usually neuter.

To determine the grammatical gender of a noun, you need to look at its ending in singular form (the last consonant or vowel).

  • Masculine nouns normally end in a consonant. (otec – “father” / pes – “dog” / hrad – “castle”)
  • The majority of nouns that end in -a are feminine. (máma – “mom” / sestra – “sister” / kočka – “cat”) 
  • Nouns that end in -o are always neuter. (auto – “car” / okno – “window”)
  • Nouns that end in -e are usually feminine, but can also be neuter. (růže – “rose” / kuře – “chicken”)

To make things even more exciting:

    ➢ Masculine nouns are further divided into animate (people and animals) and inanimate (things, places, and abstractions) nouns.

My personal tip: Don’t get creative and forget about shortcuts. The only bulletproof way… You know what I’m about to recommend, don’t you? (Memorize each word’s gender while learning new vocabulary!)

Why is grammatical gender so important? You need to know a word’s gender in order to add the correct ending when declining a noun or linking an adjective to it.

Speaking of which…

2. Cases: Noun and Adjective Declension

Now, what you’ve all been waiting for: Czech declension rules!

  • In Czech, as well as in many other Slavic languages, each noun and adjective can have fourteen forms (seven in singular, seven in plural).
  • There are seven cases.
  • There is a set of paradigms for each grammatical gender.

1. Nominative (basic)

  • David je krásný. (“David is gorgeous.”)

2. Accusative (primarily used for the object of a verb)

  • Bez Davida nikam nejdu. (“I’m not going anywhere without David.”)

3. Genitive (the same as the English preposition “to”)

  • Dám to Davidovi. (“I will give it to David.”)

4. Dative (primarily means “to” / “for”)

  • Tohle je pro Davida. (“This is for David.”)

5. Vocative (for addressing or calling people)

  • Davide, počkej! (“David, wait!”)

6. Locative (“about,” used only after prepositions)

  • Řekla mi o Davidovi. (“She told me about David.”)

7. Instrumental (“by” / “with”)

  • Jdu s Davidem. (“I’m going with David.”)

Make sure you memorize all the paradigms and know how to use them correctly. It’s a little tedious, but I assure you it’s doable.

When I was in third grade, we used a set of questions to help us remember the seven cases:

1. Who/what? (Who is that?)

2. Without whom/what? (Without whom would you not be the person you are today?)

3. To whom/what? (To whom are you going to give this present?)

4. I see who/what? (Who did you meet at the movies?)

5. Hi, …!

6. About whom/what? (I’ll tell you everything about her.)

7. With whom? (Who did you dance with at the party?)

A Woman Reading on the Bus

Reading is a great way to improve your language skills.

Is it really important to remember all that stuff?

It is, because…

Czech Genders and Declension

In English, the plural of a noun is formed by adding -s to the singular form. However, Czech language grammar requires that we add various suffixes according to gender and number (singular or plural) to form the plural of nouns and adjectives.

That’s when the paradigms come into play.

    You can’t form a Czech sentence without knowing the gender of the nounyou wouldn’t be able to decline it correctly.

3. Czech Verb Conjugation and Tenses

In Czech grammar, conjugation is done through verb ending modification based on the tenses.

  • Czech verbs express three absolute tenses: past, present, and future.

Present tense verb endings:

PersonSingularPluralExample: Dělat (“To do”)
1st (I; We)-u/-i/-m-eme/-íme/-ámeDělám; děláme
2nd (You)-eš/-íš/-áš-ete/-íte/-áteDěláš; děláte
3rd (He/she/it; They)-e/-í/-á-ejí/-ějí/-í/-ou/-ajíDělá; dělají

Past tense:

The past tense in Czech is formed by combining an auxiliary verb (which indicates the person and number of the verb’s subject, a.k.a. “the doer”) with a past form of the main verb. 

    The Czech past tense can have various translations in English. 

Example:
Žila jsem…
“I have lived…” / “I lived…” / “I was living…”

Future tense:

In imperfective verbs, it is formed using the future forms of the verb být (“to be”) and the infinitive.

  • Budu vařit. (“I’ll cook.”)

In perfective verbs, the present form expresses the future.

  • Uvařím. (“I’m going to cook.”)

Být (“to be”) conjugation for future tense:

PersonSingularPlural
1stbudubudeme
2ndbudešbudete
3rdbudebudou

Czech conjugation requires quite a bit of memorizing. You can start with this list of the most common Czech verbs.

Remember:

    ➢ Czech is a null-subject language, which means that the subject (personal pronouns are almost never used) can be omitted if it’s clear from the context. The person is expressed through the verb’s conjugation.

4. Formal and Informal Voice

If you speak French, Spanish, or German (for example), you might be familiar with this fun, slightly old-fashioned verb modification. In Czech, there’s a difference between formal and informal speech. 

    The main difference is that when talking to a person in the formal voice, you have to use the second person plural instead of the second person singular.

So, instead of saying Jak se máš? you say Jak se máte? (“How are you?”)

    Another difference: Greetings.

When greeting your friend whom you know well, you would use the informal voice as well as a different set of greetings.

Informal greetings:

  • Ahoj! (“Hello!” and also “Bye!”) 
    • This is one of the most used greetings.
  • Čau! (Same as above.) 
    • Fun fact: It’s pronounced pretty much the same way as the Italian word Ciao!
  • Měj se! (“See you!”) 
    • Literally: “Be good.”

Formal greetings:

  • Dobrý den. (“Good day.”)
  • Dobré ráno. (“Good morning.”)
  • Dobré odpoledne. (“Good afternoon.”)
  • Dobrý večer. (“Good evening.”)
  • Nashledanou. (“Bye.”)

Someone Watching Videos on Their Tablet

Watching videos in Czech will help you understand word order and get a grip on intonation.

5. Numbers

The Czech numbers one through ten are unique, which means you’ll have to memorize them. (So much memorizing, I knooooow. But it’s grammar, we’re doing serious work here!)

  1. Jeden
  2. Dva
  3. Tři
  4. Čtyři
  5. Pět
  6. Šest
  7. Sedm
  8. Osm
  9. Devět 
  10. Deset

Now it gets easier!

For tens, you add -náct:

  1. Jedenáct
  2. Dvanáct
  3. Třináct

Once you reach 20, 30, 40, up to 100, you connect the respective numbers (tens go first):

Dvacet pět. (“Twenty-five.”)
Padesát dva. (“Fifty-two.”)

As you go higher, you do the same with hundreds and thousands (the highest goes first):

Sto třicet tři. (“One hundred thirty three.”)
Dva tisíce dvacet. (“Two thousand and twenty.”)

We have a great guide on Czech numbers, and if you’re interested in counting your riches in Czech, check out this one.

A Student Writing Math Problems on the Board

Czech numbers are much easier than those in other languages.

6. How CzechClass101.com Can Help You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

If you’re taking learning Czech seriously, you could grab a Czech grammar book or learn online (the latter of which is way more convenient).

CzechClass101.com will make learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. With us, it’s not about endless memorizing or thick textbooks. Learn Czech with us and make progress faster than you could imagine!

What can you find here?

Sign up now, it’s free!

One last thing: Let us know if this page helped you. Let’s get in touch!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech

Czech Quotes and Proverbs: Get to Know the Czech Culture

Thumbnail

When I was a little girl, I used to spend a lot of time with my grandma. That wonderful lady, like all grandmothers around the world, was an endless source of what (back then) sounded like weird little poems that didn’t rhyme.

And, of course, they made very little sense to me.

You might feel the same way when you look at a Czech sentence that is (seemingly) just a series of random words.

That’s why you should keep on reading this article.

In this list of Czech quotes with translations in English, you’ll find words of wit and wisdom on a variety of topics. From Czech love quotes to proverbs about life, our top picks will give you a little peek into the intriguing Czech culture and mindset. And this, in turn, will enhance your language studies and help you start speaking Czech like a native in record time.

As you read, you’ll find that some of them are very similar to American proverbs, while others are completely different. These little differences and surprising similarities are fascinating—and besides, why not take a break from memorizing new vocabulary or drilling through Czech grammar?

Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Quotes About Success
  2. Quotes About Life
  3. Quotes About Time
  4. Quotes About Love
  5. Quotes About Family
  6. Quotes About Friendship
  7. Quotes About Food
  8. Quotes About Health
  9. A Quote About Language Learning
  10. How CzechClass101.com Can Help You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. Quotes About Success

First and foremost, Czechs are not go-getters. Some three decades after democracy was restored in Czechoslovakia and people finally got to take a breather and expand their lives, they are still…cautious and coy. (That’s why you might think Czechs are unfriendly. They’re not.)

The reason for this is because, not so long ago, they were living a life that the regime dictated and designed for them; “freedom” was just an empty word, and their choices were severely limited in every single way. However, most citizens were also “taken care of,” meaning that they didn’t really have to think for themselves or work hard. This was the case due to a lack of challenges and numerous restrictions. 

Therefore, success is quite a “new” thing in the Czech Republic, and you might find some of the Czech quotes about success quite grim.

1. Bez práce nejsou koláče.

In English: “Without work, there are no koláče.” (Czech pastry)
Equivalent: “There’s no reward without effort.”

Oh yes. The average Czech person believes that success is a lot of work; in order to achieve it, you have to work your butt off. Succeeding without putting in extreme amounts of hard work might seem suspicious and is often referred to as “good luck” or “a fluke.”

2. Dvakrát měř, jednou řež.

In English: “Measure twice, cut once.”

In other words, make sure you’re 200% prepared before you take action.

We’re not only pessimistic, but also overly anxious and afraid of failure. So much so that some people never try anything new.

3. Co se lehce nabude, snadno se pozbude.

In English: “What is easy to gain, is easy to lose.”
Equivalent: “Easy come, easy go.”

Oh well. I hate to admit that this is still the number-one rule for some people. As you can see, it would be quite difficult to fill your Instagram with inspirational Czech thoughts.

2. Quotes About Life

What is life all about, and how should a person live? People have been asking these questions for a long time. Here are some Czech quotes about life to give you a glimpse into how the Czech might answer.

4. Mluviti stříbro, mlčeti zlato.

In English: “Speaking is silver, silence is gold.”

Sometimes it’s just better to keep your thoughts to yourself. Unless you’re about to give someone a compliment or offer to make food. In that case, speak up. Always.

A Man with Tape Over His Mouth

Mluviti stříbro, mlčeti zlato.

5. Nehas, co tě nepálí.

In English: “Do not fight the fire that isn’t burning you.”

In other words, mind your own business.

Shrug.

6. Malé ryby taky ryby.

In English: “Even small fish are fish.”

Contrary to the common belief that life has to be hard, most Czech people appreciate the little things in life (which might be another thing learned from the Communist rule). 

Here’s a little example: 

In 1983, Miloš Forman was shooting his famous Oscar-winning movie Amadeus in his homeland, Czechoslovakia. He brought his Hollywood crew to Prague, which was bleak and gray (sort of like a very poor Russian suburb). 

The reasons he decided to set his big project there were pretty straightforward: Prague looks a lot like Vienna, the expenses were considerably lower, and thanks to the regime there were no “capitalistic” changes made to the city (no billboards, ads, or new modern buildings). 

One of the American actors happened to have friends who fled Czechoslovakia some years earlier, and before his departure, they asked him to bring some presents and fresh fruit to their relatives back in Europe. Among other stuff, there was a large, fresh pineapple. At that time, the only pineapple you could get in Prague was the canned kind, and the majority of people had never seen the fresh fruit before. The day it was brought to the set, dozens of Czech people gathered around it and admired this new, “Western” wonder.

3. Quotes About Time

Now, here are some Czech quotes and sayings about time to show you how Czechs perceive its influence on our lives.

7. Pozdě, ale přece.

In English: “Late, but still.”
Equivalent: “Better late than never.” / “It’s better to arrive late than not at all.”

Obviously, it’s okay to miss the first ten minutes of a movie and still enjoy the beautiful story—or to meet the love of your life forty years later than expected.

Just show up. 

8. Ráno moudřejší večera.

In English: “Better to sleep on it.”
Equivalent: “Morning is wiser than the evening.” / “Take your time to make a decision.”

Do you like to think before taking action? Do you take your time before making a decision?

Maybe the Czech Republic is your spirit country!

4. Quotes About Love

Are you madly in love with someone? Or maybe you’re a hopeless romantic? Either way, I think you’ll enjoy these Czech quotes about love!

9. Láska prochází žaludkem.

In English: “Love goes through your stomach.”
Equivalent: “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

If you and your partner like the same food, you will likely have a lot in common in other areas, too. I completely agree with this. Not to mention that sharing a dessert or cooking together is a great way of bonding!

A Couple Cooking in the Kitchen Together

Láska prochází žaludkem!

10. Snesl bych ti modré z nebe.

In English: “I would bring you the blue from the sky.”
Equivalent: “I would do anything for you.”

Sounds poetic, right?

11. Jsme dva, dva na všechno, na lásku, život, na boj i bolest, na hodiny štěstí. Dva na výhry i prohry, na život a na smrt – DVA!

In English: “There’s two of us, two for everything, for love, life, for a fight and pain, for hours of happiness. Two for wins and losses, for life and for death – TWO!”

    – Karel Čapek, Czech author (1890-1938)

I have always felt like Czechs weren’t the most affectionate people. You won’t hear fiery love declarations too often…if ever. Also, we don’t use the word milovat (“to love”) nearly as often as it’s used in English.

5. Quotes About Family

Family is a major cornerstone of any society. Learn how Czechs perceive familial relationships with these Czech quotes about family. 

12. Krev není voda.

In English: “Blood is not water.”
Equivalent: “Blood is thicker than water.”

Czechs are usually very close with their families (although not to the extent that Southern Europeans are). It’s partly because it isn’t common to move for work and people usually spend their whole lives in one town—or even in one house.

Sunday family lunches are a very common thing, and during the summer break, kids often spend a lot of time with their grandparents.

13. Bližší košile nežli kabát.

In English: “Your shirt is closer to your skin than your coat is.”

This basically means that your own interests/family should be your priority.

Oh yes, we really do like to protect our privacy and hang out only with people we have known for a while!

14. Host do domu, hůl do ruky.

In English: “If a guest comes to your home, grab a stick.”

You guessed it! Czech people aren’t really used to having people over and they are very protective of their privacy. If someone invites you over to their house, it means they trust you and feel warmly about you.

6. Quotes About Friendship

Friends are one of life’s greatest joys and necessities. Here are some Czech friendship quotes for you! Can you relate?

15. Lépe mít sto přátel, než jednoho nepřítele.

In English: “It is better to have a hundred friends than one enemy.”
Equivalent: “Do not think that one enemy is insignificant, or that a thousand friends are too many.”

People Having High Five

You can never have too many friends.

16. Nejlepší přítel je ten, co tě napomene, co ti řekne pravdu do očí. Toho si važ!

In English: “The best friend rebukes you and always tells you the truth. Appreciate friends like this!”

    – Božena Němcová, nineteenth century Czech female author (1820-1862)

Yup, being honest (often too much) is a huge Czech thing. Our friendships tend to be long-term and based on “tough love.”

7. Quotes About Food

Who doesn’t enjoy sitting down to a nice meal now and then? Here are some quotes in Czech that touch on the topic of food!

17. Hlad je nejlepší kuchař.

In English: “Hunger is the best cook.” 

If you’re hungry, you’ll forget about being picky and just eat whatever you’re served. (I hated this proverb so much when I was a kid!)

18. Sytý hladovému nevěří.

In English: “No one will believe you if you’re hungry and they’re not.”
Equivalent: “He who has not experienced difficulties does not believe the accounts of those who have.”

Right. If you’re not in the same boat, it will be pretty difficult to make people understand your struggles.

19. Jez do polosyta, pij do polopita.

This is like saying, “Only eat and drink until you’re half-full.”

No second helpings. (Unless it’s pizza?)

8. Quotes About Health

You should always prioritize your health, because only in good health can you accomplish more important goals and live life to the fullest. Here’s what Czechs have to say about it.

20. Veselá mysl je půl zdraví.

In English: “Merry mind is half of your health.”

Czechs, like many people, believe that everything you do is “healthy” as long as it makes you happy. I totally agree. I mean, if you eat a giant piece of cake that you love so much that it creates sparks of joy floating around in your head…it becomes healthy food, right?

21. Prostě-li žiješ, sta let dožiješ.

In English: “If you live simply, you will live a long life.”

Living and eating simply is beneficial not just for your physical health, but also for your mental health. And our ancestors were well aware of it. Many of us struggle with the unnecessary stress we put on ourselves to just “live a great life” or to “achieve great things.” It’s good to go back to the basics and enjoy the simple things.

22. Strach je nemoc špatného svědomí.

In English: “Fear is a disease of those who feel guilty.”
Equivalent: “Guilt leads to a diseased soul.”

    – Karel Čapek, Czech author

Čapek wrote this in reaction to the political changes that preceded WWII. He was one of the most influential Czech writers of the twentieth century (by the way, he also invented the word “robot”) who died less than a year after the beginning of WWII. He was close friends with the first Czechoslovakian President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. (By the way, the President’s middle name is actually his wife’s maiden name. Charlotte was an American suffragette, and they got married in Brooklyn.)

9. A Quote About Language Learning

To close, let’s look at a quote about language learning. What better way to motivate you in your language studies? 

23. Kolik řečí umíš, tolikrát jsi člověkem.

In English: “The more languages you can speak, the more times you are human.”
Equivalent: “A new language is a new life.”

Learning foreign languages was not common during the Communist Era. Children took Russian (of course), and no one really expected that there would be such wonders as online shopping, YouTube, or even traveling abroad.

Today’s kids are usually pretty good at English and a lot of Czechs speak or learn German.

A Woman Reading Something While on the Bus

Learning another language will make your life more exciting in many different ways.

10. How CzechClass101.com Can Help You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

CzechClass101.com will make learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. With us, it’s not about endless memorizing or thick textbooks. Learn Czech with us and make progress faster than you could imagine!

What can you find here?

Sign up now—it’s free!

One last thing: Let us know in the comments which of these quotes is your favorite, and why!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech