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Lesson Transcript

Michael: Hi everyone, and welcome to CzechClass101.com. This is Absolute Beginner, Season 1 Lesson 1 - Greeting People in Czech. I’m Michael.
Martin: Ahoj. I'm Martin.
Michael: In this lesson, you’ll start to learn some Czech greetings. The conversation takes place at a party, where two people are meeting each other, but not for the first time.
Martin: Their names are Tom and Mary.
Michael: They know each other, so they’ll be using informal Czech. Okay, let's listen to the conversation.
[ve dne]
Tomáš: Ahoj.
Marie: Ahoj.
Tomáš: Jak se máš?
Marie: Děkuju, dobře.
Michael: Listen to the conversation one time slowly.
[ve dne]
Tomáš: Ahoj.
Marie: Ahoj.
Tomáš: Jak se máš?
Marie: Děkuju, dobře.
Michael: Listen to the conversation with the English translation.
[during the day]
Tomáš: Hello.
Marie: Hello.
Tomáš: How are you?
Marie: Fine, thanks.
Michael: Martin, could you give us some hints about Czech etiquette when meeting someone?
Martin: Sure! Like in many other countries, meeting someone for the first time in the Czech Republic usually requires shaking right hands in both formal and informal situations. Sometimes, though, in informal situations shaking hands can be skipped and you can use only a greeting. For example, when you meet a whole group of new people you don’t have to shake hands with every one of them.
Michael: And what about formal and informal language, how can we decide which one to use?
Martin: If the situation allows, you can skip the formal language and the conversation can start informally.
Michael: For example, if a friend is introducing a friend, or the speakers are of the same age and meeting in an informal setting, they may start conversing casually right away. Martin, what are the main differences between formal and informal language?
Martin: In formal language, you would use a person's surname, and address them with the polite form of “you,” which is "vy". This is called "vykat". In informal language, you can call a person by their first name and use the informal “you,” "ty". It’s called "tykat".
Michael: How can I say "Hi, you can call me by my first name"?
Martin: You can say "Ahoj, můžeš mi tykat".
Michael: Can you repeat that?
Martin: Yes, [slowly] "Ahoj, můžeš mi tykat".
Michael: Great! Okay, now onto the vocab.
Michael: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary from this lesson. The first word is..
Martin: jak [natural native speed]
Michael: how
Martin: jak [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: jak [natural native speed]
Michael: Next we have..
Martin: mít se [natural native speed]
Michael: to be doing
Martin: mít se[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: mít se [natural native speed]
Michael: Next we have..
Martin: děkovat [natural native speed]
Michael: to thank
Martin: děkovat [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: děkovat [natural native speed]
Michael: Next we have..
Martin: dobře [natural native speed]
Michael: well
Martin: dobře [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: dobře [natural native speed]
Michael: Let's have a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson. The first word is..
Martin: mít se
Michael: meaning "to be doing."
Martin: It’s a verb. On its own, the verb "mít" means "to have." When the reflexive pronoun "se", meaning “oneself,” is added, the meaning of the verb changes into "to be doing."
Michael: When do you use it?
Martin: Like in the dialogue, this is used mainly in question form when asking how somebody is doing. For example, "Jak se máš?"
Michael: “How are you doing?”. Martin, does the verb change when it’s conjugated?
Martin: Yes, for example “I'm doing well” is "Já se mám dobře", while “They're doing well” is "Oni se mají dobře".
Michael: Listeners, you’ll find the complete conjugation in the lesson notes. Can you give us an example using this verb?
Martin: Sure. For example, you can say.. Jak se máš od Vánoc?
Michael: ..which means "How have you been since Christmas?". Okay, what's the next word?
Martin: děkuju
Michael: meaning "thank you."
Martin: This is a verb as well. The infinitive form of "děkuju" is "děkovat".
Michael: ...Which means “to thank.” You use this phrase when you’re expressing gratitude for something, right?
Martin: Right! Just notice that "děkuju" is the spoken form, and the written form is "děkuji".
Michael: Can you give us an example using this word?
Martin: Sure. For example, you can say.. Děkuju za dárek.
Michael: .. which means "Thank you for the present." Okay, what's the next word?
Martin: It’s "dobře".
Michael: And it means "I'm fine."
Martin: "Dobře" literally means "well" or “fine.”
Michael: Are there other similar words?
Martin: Actually, there are a few other forms as well. You may see "dobrý", "dobrá", or "dobré" in the written form.
Michael: Those are the masculine, feminine, and neutral forms, respectively.
Martin: And you’ll hear "dobrý" for neutral nouns in spoken form.
Michael: Can you give us an example using this word?
Martin: Sure. For example, you can say.. Není mi dobře.
Michael: .. which means "I don't feel well. " Okay, now onto the grammar.

Lesson focus

Michael: In this lesson, you'll learn how to say hello in Czech.
Martin: Let’s start with an example - Ahoj. Jak se máš?
Michael: This means “Hello. How are you doing?”.
Martin: This is one of the most common greetings among Czech people during the day. It’s informal and you can use it with people you’re familiar with, like your friends and family.
Michael: Martin, could you break down this question?
Martin: Sure. In full it’s "Jak se máš?". "Jak" means “how.” The meaning of "se máš" is better understood in its infinitive form, which is "mít se", “to be doing.” For example, "mít se dobře",
Michael: Meaning “to be doing well.” Is there anything you should pay attention to when you ask this question?
Martin: Well, you use "Jak se máš?" when you’re addressing only one person. The "š" letter indicates the singular form.
Michael: It shows the question is informal too, right?
Martin: Right! "Jak se máte" with the "te" at the end indicates the plural form used with one or more people, for example, "Ahoj kluci, jak se máte",
Michael: "Hello boys, how are you?"
Martin: Or it shows that we’re using a polite form with people we can’t be casual with. For example, "Jak se máte, paní Malá?".
Michael: “How are you doing, Mrs. Malá?”
Martin: Then comes "se". "Se" on its own means “oneself.” It’s a part of the so-called reflexive verbs, "zvratná slovesa", in this case "se máš".
Michael: In Czech there are many verbs that are always reflexive, which means they always have "se" attached to them. Other verbs tend to be reflexive only in certain tenses.
Martin: Exactly. "Se" corresponds to a whole range of words in English, including “myself,” “yourself,” “ourselves,” “yourselves,” and “themselves.”
Michael: Let’s hear some examples of these reflexive verbs.
Martin: Sure thing! Firstly "posadit se"
Michael: “to sit oneself down”
Martin: "obléct se"
Michael: “to dress oneself”
Martin: "omýt se"
Michael: “to wash oneself.” Okay, to wrap up, what is an answer to the question “How are you doing?”
Martin: The answer to this question, which is "Jak se máš?" or "Jak se máte?" by the way, is usually "Děkuju, dobře".
Michael: And that means “Thank you, I'm fine.”
Martin: A more casual answer is "díky, dobře", which is like “thanks, I’m fine.” You can also say just "jo, dobře",
Michael: “I’m fine,”
Martin: "jde to",
Michael: “Not too bad,”
Martin: or "výborně",
Michael: which means “Great.” Are there other casual greetings that Czech people would use only with friends or family?
Martin: Yes, "čau" and "nazdar". It’s perfectly fine to say "čau mami", meaning “hi, mom,” or "nazdar Pavle", “hi, Pavel.” One thing to remember is that all the informal greetings we've talked about, which are "ahoj, čau, and nazdar", can be used for both greetings and goodbyes.
Michael: That’s good to know. Before we go, let’s hear a few more examples.
Martin: Okay. We have "Tak ahoj, měj se!"
Michael:"Bye then, take care!"
Martin: Tak čau, já jdu.
Michael: "See you then, I'm going."
Martin: Nazdar, jak se daří?
Michael: "Hey, how have you been?"


Michael: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time! Bye!
Martin: Děkuji.

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