If you plan to go to Prague, it pays off to have a little background of the language in Prague as well as a few basic phrases that you may find useful in simple conversations. If you aren’t confident enough to converse in Prague language, you might want to seek a translators help.
Czech: A Slavonic language
The Czech language is the official language in the Czech Republic. Czech is a member of the Slavonic group of languages. Called “Èeština” by its speakers, approximately 12 million people worldwide speak the language. It bears close resemblance to Slovak, but not quite to Polish and Sorbian, and much less to Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian and Bulgarian
Speakers of Czech can understand each other with ease. But there is a relatively huge variation of the traditional standard written Czech with that of spoken Czech.
Getting familiar with Czech is a good start in understanding some of Prague’s literature. Two of the most popular authors of Czech literature are Milan Kundera and Franz Kafka. They are both great representatives of Czech culture.
Nobel Prize winners Èapek and Seifert may be considered better representatives of the Czech language.
Although the Czech people do not consider their language a major language for foreigners to learn, they are usually more than glad to teach those who take interest in the Czech language. Czech people will be very patient of your mistakes and will not hesitate to teach you their, or switch to a language that both of you know for ease of communicating.
If you want to try communicating with the locals, here’s a few phrases you might find useful in your endeavor:
Dobrý den – Good day, general salutation, widely used
Dobré ráno – Good morning (used only during the early morning)
Dobrý večer – Good evening
Dobrou noc – Good night
Na shledanou – Goodbye / See you later (formal)
Nashle – Bye / See you (informal)
Ahoj – Hello / Bye (informal; used amongst friends, colleagues or after clarification – improper when addressing people in the street, shop, etc.)
Čau / Nazdar – Hello / Bye (even more informal)
Děkuji – Thank you (formal)
Díky – Thanks (informal)
Prosím – Please / You’re welcome
Vítejte – Welcome (formal; plural)
Jak se máš? – How are you? (familiar singular)
Jak se máte? – How are you? (formal or familiar plural)
Mám se dobře. – I’m fine.
Jak se jmenuješ / jmenujete? – What’s your name? (informal singular / formal or familiar plural)
Jmenuji se… – My name is…
In speaking Czech, there is emphasis on the first syllable of the word. There is that declining sentence intonation. For questions answerable by a “yes” or “no”, there is a rise of intonation at the end of the sentences.