Is Czech difficult?

Czech (/ˈtʃɛk/; čeština Czech pronunciation: [ˈt͡ʃɛʃcɪna]) is a West Slavic language spoken by over 10 million people (notice the coincidence – the Czech Republic has 10 mil. inhabitants).

 

Words may contain uncommon consonant clusters or lack vowels altogether (“smrk”, “strč”), including one consonant represented by the grapheme “ř” believed to be unique. Since Czech is in the Slavic language family, most words you encounter are nothing like their English counterparts, so it can be discouraging when you have a completely new vocabulary to describe all the basic things in life, to learn off.

 

The most difficult parts of the Czech grammar are the aspects and cases; both phenomena are quite typical for the Slavic languages. Even though aspects (the technique of word formation when the prefix changes the meaning of the root word; could be roughly compared to the phrasal verbs in English) could be extremely tricky, they can be actually a big help, especially in the beginning. A huge amount of words in Czech are formed by a small number of prefixes added to roots and a lot of them have logical meanings. So once you grasp some prepositions and prefixes, you become very flexible in understanding and learning new vocabulary much faster.

 

The seven cases Czech uses seem to be deeply terrifying at first. Unfortunately, they are not going to become less terrifying after years of learning. Anyways, the good thing about the cases is that they are really hard also for the native Czech speakers. The Czechs are very well aware of that so don’t worry – they are not going to judge you, rather expect understanding and help. And remember, quite often people are asked to decline correctly particular words in the Czech TV quiz shows – and they can even win money for that!

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