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Lesson Transcript

Martin:"Ahoj"! Hello! Martin here.
Gabriella:Hi everyone! I’m Gabriella. Welcome to CzechClass101.com. This is All About, Lesson 1 - Top 5 Reasons to Learn Czech.
Martin:Together, Gabriella and I will be your guides to everything Czech in this series!
Gabriella:That's right. And this first lesson is all about the Czech Republic and the Czech language!
Martin:We’ll take you on a tour through the Czech Republic in this lesson. Let’s start with where the Czech Republic is located.

Lesson focus

Gabriella:The Czech Republic is a small inland country in Central Europe. The country borders Germany to the West, Austria to the South, Slovakia to the East, and Poland to the North. The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia and Moravia, and a small part of Silesia.
Martin:The independent country of Czechoslovakia was formed after the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy, at the end of World War I. The name Czechoslovakia reflected the union of the Czech and Slovak nations within the one country.
Gabriella:But at the end of 1992, Czechoslovakia separated into two independent nations: the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Martin:That’s right. The capital and the largest city of the Czech Republic is Prague, with 1.3 million inhabitants.
Gabriella: Now, we should mention the weather, too. The Czech Republic has a temperate continental climate, but does it also have four seasons?
Martin:Yes. It does. We have spring, summer, autumn and winter. The summers are relatively hot, while winters, on the other hand are cold, cloudy and snowy. The temperature difference between summer and winter is quite high because of the country’s landlocked geographical position. In winter, the temperature goes well below zero.
Gabriella: Keep that in mind if you’re traveling to the Czech Republic, listeners! The Czech Republic is also very famous for having old historical places, isn’t it Martin?
Martin:That’s right. 12 of them are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Czech Republic is also home to many beautiful nature spots. Now let’s talk a bit about the Czech language. It’s actually similar to some other languages in Europe.
Gabriella: Yes! Czech is the official language of the Czech Republic, it’s spoken by about 96% of the population, and is the mother tongue of about 12 million people living mostly in the Czech Republic. About 1 million Czech speakers also live abroad.
Martin: The Czech language belongs to the West Slavic group of languages, and the most similar language to it is Slovak. These two languages are mutually intelligible, and that’s why Czech and Slovak people usually understand each other. Although, there are many local dialects in both languages that make it more difficult to understand each other completely.
Gabriella: To a lesser extent, Czech is also similar to other Slavic languages like Polish, Bulgarian, Croatian, or Russian. Until the 19th century, the Czech language was known as “Bohemian” in English.
Martin: That’s right.
Gabriella: So, Martin, did the Czech Republic always have its own language?
Martin: No, the oldest version of Czech as a separate language is from the end of the 10th century.
Gabriella: The first written evidence of its existence can be traced back to the 12th - 13th century, when the letters of the Latin alphabet were used.
Martin: In the Middle Ages, the Czech language started to expand and develop into a rich and elaborate language, and there’s literature covering many genres.
Gabriella: And with the expansion of the Bohemian state, the Czech language also spread beyond the borders of the country’s national territory.
Martin: That’s right. The 15th century and so-called Hussite period marks an important period for the language.
Gabriella: Around 1406 Jan Hus, who was a Czech priest, philosopher and reformer suggested a reform of the orthography - the so-called diacritic orthography - in his work De orthographia bohemica, which brought major changes to the written language. He created the system of having one grapheme or letter for every phoneme or sound in the language, by adding accents to some of the letters.
Martin: These changes resulted in the characteristic difference between the traditional standard written, and commonly spoken form of Czech, which is now called Common Czech.
Gabriella: This difference remains noticeable even today.
Martin: That’s right. During the Renaissance Humanistic period in the 16th to 17th century, and with the invention of printing, the grammar of the Czech language finally became prescribed, thanks to the first print and translation of the Christian Bible into Czech.
Gabriella: The literary form of Czech was based on the Czech biblical text from here on. After the lost Battle of White Mountain in 1620, the development of the Czech language was affected by confiscation and emigration of the Czech scholars. Then the function of the literary language was limited and cultivated only by Czech expatriates abroad.
Martin: And instead, the German language became dominant in the Czech Republic.
Gabriella: Ah, I remember reading about the period from the 1780s to the 1840s, which is also referred to as the National Renaissance. In 1781, Joseph II abolished the serfdom which caused migration of country inhabitants to towns. The Czech national reformers started to implement their ideas for the renewal of the Czech language.
Martin:Yes. And then during the 20th century some of the Common Czech language elements found their way into the literature too. Since the second half of the 20th century, and because of the media's influence, Common Czech has also been spreading to other previously unaffected regions. After May 2004, the Czech language became one of the 23 official languages of the European Union.
Gabriella: Czech is a fusional / inflecting language and uses the Latin alphabet with specific diacritic marks for writing. Compared to other languages, the differences between standard written Czech and common spoken Czech are quite striking. The changes don’t only involve specific vocabulary, but also systemic changes in declension, and the conjugation of words.
Martin:That’s right!
Gabriella: Ok, so Martin, tell our listeners - how many letters does the Czech alphabet have?
Martin:The Czech alphabet has 26 Latin letters - the same as in English, but with 16 additional letters with special diacritic accents. There are 3 types of diacritics that change the pronunciation of letters. First is a length mark called čárka, which indicates the length of vowels, then a hook called háček that changes the sound of words, and lastly a circle called kroužek that indicates a long pronunciation of the letter “u” only (ů). So altogether, the alphabet has 42 characters.
Gabriella: It seems like a lot, but once you learn the pronunciation of the whole alphabet, you can read any word in Czech, because every word is pronounced exactly how it is written.
Martin: Exactly, but we’ll learn more about diacritics later on in this series, so don’t worry.
Gabriella: For now, Martin, let’s motivate our listeners, and go over the top 5 reasons that Czech is worth learning!
Martin:Sounds great!
Gabriella: The top five reasons are...
Number 5
Martin:You don’t need to study complicated characters!
Gabriella: Czech is a language that uses the alphabet and not any other complicated characters. So it’s more convenient for English speakers to read and write, and make quick progress while learning.
Gabriella: Okay, the next - Number 4 is.....
Martin:If you want to have fun, eat good food and go on an amazing historically rich vacation, go to the Czech Republic!
Gabriella: Rich in cultural attractions and outdoor activities, the Czech Republic has long been one of the must-see tourist destinations in the world. And Number 3...
Martin:You can get to know more about Czech culture!
Gabriella: Learning Czech gives you more opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of the long history of the country and its people, along with the modern life of the society. And Number 2...
Martin:The Czech Republic has great economic potential.
Gabriella: In recent years, the Czech Republic has been offering opportunities for business, especially in automotives, industrial machinery, mining, electronics, glass manufacture and the production of beer. High-tech industries have also been on the rise, which gives business opportunities in the areas of aerospace, nanotechnology and life science. Knowing Czech means you are one step closer to succeeding in business in the Czech Republic. Ok, now what’s number 1?
Martin:Learning Czech is fun! Czech people are very hospitable and friendly. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to make friends with these lovely people, do you?
Gabriella: It’s an amazing experience! Okay everybody, are you ready? Get out your pen and notebook, grab your iPhone, fire up your computer, and whatever else you use to study - and get ready for some Czech lessons from CzechClass101.com!


Gabriella:Thank you for listening everyone. See you next time!


Please to leave a comment.
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CzechClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Hi! Why are you studying Czech?

CzechClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 08:17 PM
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Ahoj Rosemary,

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us.

We're glad you're studying with us.

If you have any questions, please let us know.



Team CzechClass101.com

Tuesday at 11:48 AM
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Ahoj! Ja jsem Rosemary...

...77 years young. My father and grandparents were immigrants from Prague and my mother was the daughter of an immigrant. Needless to say, Czech was the household language. In fact, my father spoke only Czech so it was difficult to communicate with him verbally, but he knew I loved him very much. Of course, I was a stubborn child, to lazy to learn to speak Czech myself, but could understand enough that they couldn't keep too many secrets from me. Now I'm....well, "Mature" and as my mother said...I'm sorry I didn't learn the language. So, as a tribute to my parents, I am now very anxious to learn this beautiful language. Then, when I meet them in Heaven I can say, in perfect Czech now happy I am to see them.

Wednesday at 05:55 AM
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Hello Fahmi,

Thank you for your message. That's a great choice of your future job and study. Medical schools seem to be popular in the Czech Republic. Lots of good luck with learning the language too. Don't hesitate to ask any question regarding the language or culture.



Team czechclass101.com

Fahmi Bader
Wednesday at 12:14 AM
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I am studying czech language because I want to study dentist in Charles university.

Tuesday at 05:24 AM
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Ahoj Jessica,

Thank you for sharing info about yourself. That's very interesting about your grandpa. I wonder what these passed on cultural things might be.

I hope you find your ways in Praha even with two children in tow. Best wishes with your lessons here and don't hesitate to ask any questions or leave a feedback.



Team CzechClass101.com

Friday at 08:31 AM
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I am planning on taking a masters program in Prague and have two children I will need to be able to care for and figure knowing more czech will help in that venture. Also my grandfather was an immigrant from Czech Republic and in my travles I have learned that there are many cultural things that my grandfather passed on to my mother and she passed them on to us. It is nice to make my life make more sense. :smile:

CzechClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 01:25 PM
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Hi Marshall,

Thank you for posting!

We are glad to hear that you have started studying Czech here with us.

Enjoy our audio lessons, and don't miss the video lessons :wink:

This one for example, is highly recommended - https://www.czechclass101.com/index.php?cat=11

Let us know if you have questions.



Team CzechClass101.com

Marshall Johson
Wednesday at 12:41 AM
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Hello, I am Marshall, a retired American who has lived in the Czech Republic for fifteen years. I have taken several Czech courses, but have never really learned to speak Czech. I can "get by" in a restaurant and with most signs. However, I have decided since I am applying for citizenship in the CR, I really do need to learn Czech. I have done on-line study in other fields and think this may be the vehicle I need to learn Czech. I hope it will be.

CzechClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 03:38 PM
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Hi Dan,

thank you for commenting!

I'm sure she and her entire family will appreciate your effort!! :smile::thumbsup:

Please feel free to ask us questions if any. We're happy to help! :innocent:


Team CzechClass101.com

Dan Youster
Sunday at 12:57 AM
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I am engaged to a girl from the Czech Republic, she speaks fluent English but I would like to learn her language so that I can speak to and understand her family.