Since Prague is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world, most locals speak English, German or French. If you are planning a trip to Prague, the language barrier shouldn’t really be of a concern. Learning to speak Czech isn’t easy as Czech language is very difficult, complex and I find it hard on the ears. However, with that said, if you make it a point to learn a few Czech words and phrases, you will find it much easier to start conversations, build relationships and ask for help. Czech people are quite reserved and suspicious. Your sincere effort to start a conversation in Czech can work as an excellent ice-breaker. So, don’t delay the proces and Czech it out!
Czech is spoken pretty much the same way as it’s written. The Czech alphabet is the same as the English one except for a few exemptions. This means that once you’ve learned the basic pronunciation rules, you should have a pretty good idea of how any word sounds.
Czech Alphabet and Pronunciation
|a||like u in cup but clearer|
|Á á||a lengthened as in mama|
|B b||same as in English|
|C c||ts as in cats|
|Č č||ch as in Czech|
|D d||same as in English|
|Ď ď||like dy in duty|
|E e||e as in set|
|É é||e lengthened; something like the a in care|
|Ě ě||y before e; when after m an n is inserted before e|
|F f||same as in English|
|G g||g as in good|
|H h||h as in hand|
|Ch||like German ch as in Bach|
|I i||i as in pit; same as y|
|Í í||i lengthened as in meet; same as ý|
|J j||y as in yes|
|K k||same as in English|
|L l||same as in English|
|M m||same as in English|
|N n||same as in English|
|Ň ň||y after n; like ny in new|
|O o||o as in lost|
|Ó ó||o lengthened as in lawn or call|
|P p||same as in English|
|Q q||another rare letter found only in borrowed words|
|R r||rolled a bit, but don’t overdo it!|
|Ř ř||pronounced sort of like an r with ž; this is the most difficult sound in Czech|
|S s||same as in English|
|Š š||sh as in shell|
|T t||same as in English|
|Ť ť||like ty in Tuesday|
|U u||oo as in book put|
|Ů ů||u lengthened; oo as in school|
|Ú ú||same as ů; usually used only at the beginning of a word|
|V v||same as in English|
|W w||same as in English, but this letter is only found in borrowed foreign words|
|X x||Another rare letter found only in foreign words|
|Y y||same as i; i as in sit|
|Ý ý||y lengthened; same as í|
Helpful Czech Phrases
- Hello – Dobrý den
- Hello (informal) – Ahoj
- Good Bye – Na shledanou
- Good Evening – Dobry večer
- Good Night – Dobrou noc
- Yes – Ano
- Yes (informal) – Jo or No
- No – Ne
- My name is… – Jmenuji se…
- What is your name? – Jaké je vaše jméno?
- Nice to meet you. – Těší mě.
- How are you? – Jak se máte?
- I’m fine, thank you. – Mám se dobře, děkuji.
- Excuse me – S dvolením
- Sorry! – Promintě!
- Thank you! – Dekuji!
- Please/You’re welcome – Prosím (The word “Prosim” has both meanings. The meaning is easily recognized based on the context of the conversation)
- Can I help you? – Máte přání?
- I understand – Rozumím
- I don’t understand – Nerozumím
- Do you speak English? – Mluvíte anglicky?
- I don’t speak Czech. – Nemluvím česky.
- Please speak slowly – Mluvte pomalu, prosím
- I don’t speak Czech – Nemluvím Česky
- How much is it? – Kolík to stoji?
- Can you help me? – Můžete mi pomoct?
- Entrance – Vchod
- Exit – Východ
- Is this seat taken? – Je tady volno?
- I would like… – Ja sí dam…
- Enjoy! – Dobrou chuť!
- Cheers – Na zdraví
- One beer, please – Jedno pivo, prosím
- Two beers, please – Dvě piva, prosím
- Where is the toilet? – Kde je záchod?
- Check, please! – Zaplatíme!
- Together or separately? – Dohromady nebo zvlášť?
- Where is the bus station / bus stop? – Kde je autobusové nádraží / autobusová zastávka?
- Where is the train station? – Kde je vlakové nádraží?
- Where is the subway station? – Kde je stanice metra?
- Next stop… – Příští zastávka….
- Finish boarding and deplaning, the doors are closing. – Ukončete výstup a nástup, dveře se zavírají!
- Excuse me, where is the ….? – Prosím vás, kde je …..?
- Turn right / left. – Zahněte doprava / doleva.
- Straight. – Rovně.
- Fire! – Hoří!
- Help! – Pomoct!
- Thief! – Zloděj!
- I’m not feeling well. – Není mi dobře.
- Call an ambulance / a doctor! – Zavolejte sanitku / lékaře!
- Call the police! – Zavolejte policii!
- Where is the police station? – Kde je policejní stanice?
- 0 – nula
- 1 – jeden
- 2 – dva
- 3 – tři
- 4 – čtyři
- 5 – pět
- 6 – šest
- 7 – sedm
- 8 – osm
- 9 – devět
- 10 – deset
If you’d like to learn more Czech words and phrases for your trip to Prague, check out this Czech website – Local Lingo. It is pretty cool!
Krasnou dovolenou v Praze preje Prague At First Sight! – Prague At First Sight wishes you a wonderful vacation in Prague!