Dialogue - Czech

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Vocabulary

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telefon telephone
obávat se to be afraid
dorazit to arrive, to get somewhere
pozdě late
vážně seriously
uvíznout to get stuck
dít se to happen, to be going on
upřímně sincerely
tušit to have a clue, to suspect
dát to give, to put in

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The Focus Of This Lesson Is Useful Expressions for Apologizing.

Obávám se, že dorazím pozdě na schůzku.
"I'm afraid that I'll be late for the meeting."


Useful expressions to apologize

If you live or work in the Czech Republic, there will be situations in which you may need to apologize for something. In the lesson dialogue, Helena needs to apologize for being late to a meeting. She makes a phone call to her colleague Matěj and starts by announcing the bad news about her delay:

Obávám se, že dorazím pozdě na schůzku.
"I'm afraid that I'll be late for the meeting."

Obávat se can be used just like the English "to be afraid." It is used when breaking the bad news and when the sentence has a negative connotation. Obávat se is a reflexive verb that needs the reflexive pronoun se "oneself."

Obávám se, že... literally "I'm afraid myself that...''

The context of a sentence using obávat se can differ:

  • Obávam se, že dnes nemohu přijít.                  
    "I'm afraid that I cannot come today."
  • Obávám se, že to budeme muset zrušit.            
    "I'm afraid that we'll have to cancel it."
  • Obávám se, že už nemáme čas.                       
    "I'm afraid that we don't have time anymore."

Omlouvat se. "To apologize for oneself" is another way of making an apology.

  • Omlouvám se, že jdu pozdě.                             
    "I apologize for coming late."
  • Omlouvám se, že jsem na to zapomněl.              
    "I apologize that I forgot about it."
  • Omlouvám se, že to nevyšlo.                
    "I apologize that it failed."

Adding an adverb, such as vážně "seriously," strašně "terribly," upřímně "sincerely," velmi "very much" makes a deeper apology.

  • Vážně se omlouvat.      
    "Seriously oneself to apologize." (lit.)
  • Strašně se omlouvat.    
    "Terribly oneself to apologize." (lit.)
  • Upřímně se omlouvat.
    "Sincerely oneself to apologize." (lit.)
  • Velmi se omlouvat.       
    "Very much oneself to apologize." (lit)

Literally the phrase means ''seriously oneself to apologize'' but in loose translation the meaning is ''I really apologize, I'm really sorry.'' This phrase is used when a genuine apology is needed. In such cases, it is good to include the adverb vážně, "really, honestly."

However, please note that vážně is an informal way of speaking. For formal situations this adverb should be swapped for velmi, "very, very much."

informal:

  • Vážně se omlouvám, ale uvázla jsem v zácpě.   
    "I sincerely apologize, but I've been stuck in a traffic jam.
  • Strašně se omlouvám, že to s sebou nemám.      
    "I'm terribly sorry that I don't have it with me.''

formal:

  • Velmi se omlouvám, za zrušení programu.         
    "I'm very sorry for cancelling the program.''
  • Upřímně se omlouvám, za tuto nepříjemnost.       
    "I sincerely apologize for this inconvenience."

Basic apologies and answers:

Lituji, že...
"I feel sorry that/ I regret that"

Lituji, že jsem vás nechal čekat.
"I'm sorry that I kept you waiting."

Je mi líto, že...
"I'm sorry that..."

Je mi líto, že jsem nepřišel včas.      
"I'm sorry that I didn't come in time.''

Velmi se omlouvám, že...
"I apologise very much that.."

Velmi se omlouvám, že jsem vám to nedal vědět.
"I really apologize that I didn't let you know.''

Velmi se omlouvám za...
"I apologize very much for..."

Velmi se omlouvám za ty ztracené papíry.
"I really apologize for the lost papers."

Bohužel...
"Unfortunately..."

Bohužel mi to nevyšlo.              
"Unfortunately, I couldn't make it."

Bohužel to byla má chyba.         
"Unfortunately it was my mistake."

Other types of apologies:        

  1. formal
  2. informal
  1. Promiňte, nechtěl jsem.             
    "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to."
  2. Promiň, nechtěl jsem.
  1. Omluvte mě, budu hned zpět.
    "Excuse me, I'll be right back."
  2. Omluv mě, budu hned zpět.
  1. Promiňte, nevěděl jsem.            
    "I'm sorry/ I apologise, I didn't know."
  2. Promiň, nevěděl jsem.               
  1. Nezlobte se, nechtěl jsem.       
    "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to." (Lit.: "Don't be angry, I didn't mean to.")
  2. Nezlob se, nechtěl jsem.
  1. Mrzí mě, že jsem vám nepomohl.    
    "I regret that I didn't help you.''
  2. Mrzí mě, že jsem ti nepomohl.

Answers:

To je v pořádku.            
"That's alright.''

To nevadí.                    
"It doesn't matter.''

Co se dá dělat.             
"It can't be helped.''

Nevadí.                       
"Nevermind.''

Ach tak, to je v pořádku.
"I see. That's all right.''

Nemusíte se omlouvat.
"You needn't apologize."

Netřeba se omlouvat.    
"No need to apologize."

Examples from the Dialogue

Vážně se omlouvám, ale uvázla jsem v zácpě. Jsem tu už 30 (třicet) minut.
"I'm really sorry, but I'm stuck in a traffic jam. I've been here for the last thirty minutes. "

Upřímně, to netuším. Ten provoz se táhne. Možná budu mít spoždění 30 (třicet) minut.
"To be honest, I'm not sure. The traffic's been crawling. I may thirty minutes late. "

Sample Sentences

Velmi se omlouvám, dnes to nestihnu.
"I sincerely apologize, I won't make it today."

Rád bych se omluvil za to nedorozumnění.
"I'd like to apologize for the misunderstanding."

Je mi líto, že se to nepovedlo.
"I'm very sorry that it didn't come out. "

Cultural Insights

Work and holidays

According to law, working hours in the Czech Republic should not exceed 40 hours per week under usual working conditions, and 37.5 hours for jobs that require shifts or that have hard working conditions, such as underground work, mining, or geological surveying.The 40 working hours is divided into 8 hours per day, five days a week. People younger than 18 years old must not exceed the 8 hours per day by law. A one hour lunch break is not included in the working hours.

Generally speaking, working hours in the private sector and government institutions differ. Larger companies may have a so-called collective contract, in which they specify conditions and alternatives. This usually includes matters such as extra pay for overtime, extra days off, subsidies for holidays or children's schooling, retirement, and so on.

The annual holiday entitlement is four weeks in total, but it can be extended under collective contract depending on the company. The longest period allowed for consecutive holidays is usually two weeks, but it's subject to company conditions. Most Czech people tend to take their main holidays in July and leave some time for the Christmas period. This is often due to the school holidays. The second most popular time to take holidays is in August and September.

Useful expression:

Kolektivní dohoda.
"Collective contract. "

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
Becky: Hi everyone, and welcome back to CzechClass101.com. This is Beginner Season 1 Lesson 12 - A Day of Czech Traffic Chaos. Becky here.
Martin: Ahoj! I'm Martin.
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn some useful expressions for making apologies. The conversation takes place over the phone.
Martin: It's between Matěj and Helena.
Becky: The speakers are co-workers, so they’ll speak both formal and informal Czech. Okay, let's listen to the conversation.
DIALOGUE
Matěj: Prosím, u telefonu Matěj Hollan.
Helena: Ahoj Matěji, tady Helena Černá.
Helena: Obávám se, že dorazím pozdě na schůzku.
Matěj: Aha. Copak se děje?
Helena: Vážně se omlouvám, ale uvázla jsem v zácpě. Jsem tu už 30 (třicet) minut.
Helena: Nevím, jestli je tam nějaká nehoda, nebo práce na silnici.
Matěj: Dobře, nic se neděje. Jitka taky přijde pozdě. V kolik asi dorazíš?
Helena: Upřímně, to netuším. Ten provoz se táhne. Možná budu mít spoždění 30 (třicet) minut.
Matěj: Dobře. Kdybys měla ještě větší spoždění, dej mi vědět.
Helena: Rozumim. Tak zatim.
Becky: Listen to the conversation one time slowly.
Matěj: Prosím, u telefonu Matěj Hollan.
Helena: Ahoj Matěji, tady Helena Černá.
Helena: Obávám se, že dorazím pozdě na schůzku.
Matěj: Aha. Copak se děje?
Helena: Vážně se omlouvám, ale uvázla jsem v zácpě. Jsem tu už 30 (třicet) minut.
Helena: Nevím, jestli je tam nějaká nehoda, nebo práce na silnici.
Matěj: Dobře, nic se neděje. Jitka taky přijde pozdě. V kolik asi dorazíš?
Helena: Upřímně, to netuším. Ten provoz se táhne. Možná budu mít spoždění 30 (třicet) minut.
Matěj: Dobře. Kdybys měla ještě větší spoždění, dej mi vědět.
Helena: Rozumim. Tak zatim.
Becky: Listen to the conversation with the English translation.
Matěj: Hello, Matěj Hollan speaking.
Helena: Hi Matěj, this is Helena Černá.
Helena: I'm afraid that I'll be late for the meeting.
Matěj: I see. Is something going on?
Helena: I'm really sorry, but I'm stuck in a traffic jam. I've been here for the last thirty minutes.
Helena: I'm not sure if there's been an accident or if there’s road work going on.
Matěj: I see. Don't worry. Jitka is also running late. When will you be here?
Helena: To be honest, I'm not sure. The traffic's been crawling. I may be thirty minutes late.
Matěj: Alright. If you’re going to be any later, let me know.
Helena: I will. See you later.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Becky: Martin, let’s talk about work and holidays in the Czech Republic. How is work regulated?
Martin: According to law, working hours in the Czech Republic generally should not exceed 40 hours per week.
Becky: How are they organized?
Martin: The 40 working hours are divided into eight hours per day, five days a week, and a one-hour lunch break is not included in the working hours.
Becky: Are there any exceptions?
Martin: Larger companies may have a so-called collective contract, or kolektivní dohoda, in which they specify conditions and alternatives.
Becky: This may include things like extra pay for overtime, extra days off, subsidies for holidays or children’s schooling, retirement, and so on. Martin, how many holidays are guaranteed by law?
Martin: Four weeks in total, but the longest period for consecutive holidays is usually two weeks.
Becky: When do Czech people tend to take their holiday?
Martin: Usually in July and over the Christmas period.
Becky: Okay, now onto the vocab.
VOCAB LIST
Becky: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary from this lesson. The first word is..
Martin: telefon [natural native speed]
Becky: telephone
Martin: telefon[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: telefon [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: obávat se [natural native speed]
Becky: to be afraid
Martin: obávat se[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: obávat se [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: dorazit [natural native speed]
Becky: to arrive, to get somewhere
Martin: dorazit[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: dorazit [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: pozdě [natural native speed]
Becky: late
Martin: pozdě[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: pozdě [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: vážně [natural native speed]
Becky: seriously
Martin: vážně [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: vážně [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: uvíznout [natural native speed]
Becky: to get stuck
Martin: uvíznout[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: uvíznout [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: dít se [natural native speed]
Becky: to happen, to be going on
Martin: dít se[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: dít se [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: upřímně [natural native speed]
Becky: sincerely
Martin: upřímně[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: upřímně [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: tušit [natural native speed]
Becky: to have a clue, to suspect
Martin: tušit[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: tušit [natural native speed]
Becky: And last..
Martin: dát [natural native speed]
Becky: to give, to put in
Martin: dát[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: dát [natural native speed]
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Becky: Let's have a closer look at some of the words and phrases from this lesson. The first phrase is..
Martin: obávat se, že
Becky: meaning "to be afraid that"
Martin: obávat se is an imperfective verb that always uses the reflexive pronoun se, meaning “oneself,” and že means “that.” It’s the connector to the second sentence.
Becky: The meaning of the verb is “to fear something,” When used with the conjunction meaning “that,” the meaning becomes like the English “to be afraid that....” Martin, can you give us an example using this phrase?
Martin: Sure. For example, you can say.. Obávám se, že je řada na mě.
Becky: ..which means "I'm afraid that it's my turn now.” Okay, what's the next phrase?
Martin: být upřímný
Becky: meaning "to be honest"
Martin: být is an imperfective verb meaning "to be, to exist," and upřímný means "sincere,” “honest.”
Becky: This phrase is very useful in some formal written formulas.
Martin: Right, for example, s upřímným pozdravem
Becky: At the end of a formal letter, it means “with sincere regards.”
Martin: When giving condolences you can say, upřímnou soustrast
Becky: meaning “sincere condolences.”
Martin: Here’s an informal sentence, Abych byl upřímný, je to risk.
Becky: .. which means "To be honest, it's a risk. " Okay, now onto the lesson focus.

Lesson focus

Becky: In this lesson, you'll learn useful expressions for making apologies. If you live or work in the Czech Republic, there will be situations in which you may need to apologize for something.
Martin: In the lesson dialogue, Helena needs to apologize for being late to a meeting. She says Obávám se, že dorazím pozdě na schůzku.
Becky: meaning “I’m afraid that I'll be late for the meeting.”
Martin: we already said that Obávat se can be used just like the English “to be afraid.”
Becky: It is used when breaking the bad news and when the sentence has a negative connotation. We already heard some examples.
Martin: Omlouvat se can also simply mean “to apologize for oneself.”
Becky: Can you give us some examples?
Martin: Omlouvám se, že jdu pozdě.
Becky: “I apologize for coming late.”
Martin: Omlouvám se, že to nevyšlo.
Becky: “I apologize that it failed.” You can use an adverb to make the apology sound more sincere.
Martin: For example Vážně se omlouvat.
Becky: Literally, “To apologize seriously oneself” or, following the Czech order, "seriously oneself to apologize."
Martin: If it’s a formal situation, please use velmi instead of vážně, for example Velmi se omlouvám, za zrušení programu.
Becky: meaning “I’m very sorry for cancelling the program.’’
Martin: Strašně se omlouvat.
Becky: “To apologize terribly for oneself.” Ok, let’s now go through some different expressions.
Martin: You can also apologize by starting the sentence with Lituji, že…
Becky: meaning ”I feel sorry that.”
Martin: For example, Lituji, že jsem vás nechal čekat.
Becky: “I’m sorry that I kept you waiting.”
Martin: Another expression is Je mi líto, že…
Becky: ”I’m sorry that…”
Martin: For example Je mi líto, že jsem nepřišel včas.
Becky: “I’m sorry that I didn’t come in time.’’
Martin: You can also start with Bohužel…
Becky: which means ”Unfortunately...”
Martin: For example Bohužel mi to nevyšlo.
Becky: “Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it.” Some of these expressions need to be changed whether we are in a formal situation or not. Can we see how the sentence changes?
Martin: For example, in an informal setting you can say Omluv mě, budu hned zpět.
Becky: “Excuse me, I’ll be right back.” How does this change in a formal setting?
Martin: Omluvte mě, budu hned zpět. Here’s another example, Nezlob se, nechtěl jsem.
Becky: which means “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.”
Martin: That changes to Nezlobte se, nechtěl jsem in a formal situation.
Becky: Ok, now let’s take a look at how to respond to someone who is apologizing. There are many ways, let’s hear some.
Martin: To je v pořádku.
Becky: “That’s alright.’’
Martin: To nevadí.
Becky: “It doesn’t matter.’’
Martin: Netřeba se omlouvat.
Becky: “No need to apologize.”

Outro

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