#LifeInCzechia When traveling to a new place, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the language, it is essential to acquire a basic understanding of a few phrases in the local language. This can create a deeper connection between yourself and the culture, people, and your own experience. You don’t need to memorize all of these phrases before your trip but it’s a great idea to have them on hand just in case.
Greetings & Manners
Instead of immediately choosing to speak in your native language, you may make a better impression on locals by greeting them in Czech, a simple “Ahoj” or “Dobrý den.” In my own experience, I’ve found that when I greet those I meet in Czechia in Czech I typically get a warmer response. To start off you should always know how to say a simple greeting. If you don’t know how to pronounce a word try using a pronunciation dictionary. Below is a list of greetings and manners that can make your experience in Czechia easier:
- Hello. = Ahoj.
- Good day! = Dobrý den!
- Goodbye. = Ahoj. or Čau.
- How are you? = Jak se máte?
- Nice to meet you. = Rád vás poznávám.
- Yes. = Ano.
- No. = Ne.
- Excuse me. = Promiňte.
- Thank you. = Děkuji.
- My name is ____. = Jmenuji se ____.
- I’m sorry. = Omlouvám se.
- Please. = Prosím
- I don’t understand. = Nerozumím.
- I don’t speak ____. = Nemluvím ____.
- Do you speak ____? = Mluvíš ____?
Phrases for Emergencies:
Once you have a few phrases that you understand and can use I suggest learning some phrases you’ll need in the event of an emergency. If you can’t get help when you need it, especially in a new place then that can increase the amount of danger you could be in. The most important one in my opinion is “potřebuji pomoci” because you can combine it with “nerozumím česky,” “nemluvím česky,” or “mluvíš ____?” In any case, many people from Czechia understand English so if you happen to know or speak English that could also help you in a case of an emergency. Below are some phrases you may need to know in the event of an emergency:
- I need help. = Potřebuji pomoci.
- I’m lost. = Ztratil jsem se.
- Please call the police. = Zavolejte prosím policii.
- I need a doctor. = Potřebuji lékaře.
- My blood type is _____. = Moje krevní skupina je _____.
- I’m allergic to _____. = Jsem alergický na _____.
Phrases to Get Around
While you don’t need to memorize these next phrases, as they may be difficult for beginners, it may be helpful to keep them in your notes. Whether you’re traveling through, on holiday, or moving to Czechia it would greatly benefit you to know how to get around. Knowing where things are located or where to find transportation is a requirement when traveling otherwise you could end up getting lost. Below is a list of phrases you can use when you need to know how to get around in Czechia:
- Where is ____ ? = Kde je ____?
- Where can I find a bus/taxi? = Kde najdu autobus/taxi?
- Where can I find a train/metro? = Kde najdu vlak/metro?
- Can you take me to the airport please? = Můžete mě vzít na letiště, prosím?
- Where is the nearest bathroom? = Kde je nejbližší koupelna?
- Where can I get something to eat? = Kde mohu dostat něco k jídlu?
- Can you show me on a map how to get there? = Můžete mi na mapě ukázat, jak se tam dostat?
Phrases Involving Currency
Everywhere you go you’ll need money so it’s also important to know a few phrases that involve currency. While many places use bank cards there are still places that are cash only and if you don’t know the difference you could end up in a stressful situation. I would recommend keeping these phrases in a note on your phone or just use Google Translate when the situation arises. Below are five common phrases you may need that involve currency:
- How much does this cost? = Kolik to stojí?
- Do you take credit cards? = Berete kreditní karty?
- Do you have change? = Máte drobné?
- May I have the bill? = Můžete mi dát účet?
- I want to pay together/separate. = Chci platit společně/samostatně.
As you spend more time in Czechia you’ll memorize these phrases easier however, it’s always a good idea to come prepared. For some, Czech may be easier to pick up but for others, like myself, it could be harder so keeping a short list may come in handy. The main thing to remember is to try your best and eventually, you could have short conversations with the locals you meet.
Source of Photos: Canva