Learning Czech: mission impossible?

There is a legend spreading amongst Czechs. We commonly and proudly claim that no one can ever learn the Czech language properly. It goes along with a Czech-originated presumption that Czech belongs to the list of most complicated languages in the entire universe. The thing is, though, that Czechs cannot know for sure how difficult it is for foreigners to learn Czech. Are they right or wrong?

Areas which we find very demanding in learning proper Czech, even for us, concern mostly grammar.  For instance, the declensions of nouns, adjectives or pronouns are considered very hard to master. There are 7 cases and each word belongs to the one of 12 possible templates sorted according to the gender and other features. On top of that, Czech conjugation and spelling rules are not a piece of cake even for native speakers.

What is really interesting about the Czech language is the alphabet. Even though we use the Latin alphabet, we have developed many modifications over centuries. There are several unique letters that no other language has. The most bizarre is probably , which sounds like an old car engine. 

As I mentioned in the beginning, Czechs are highly unlikely to really know, just by their experience, if the mastery of the Czech language is a possible or impossible mission. That´s why I started to investigate this burning issue among people who decided to conquer the Czech language. And I found proof. Actually, proofs. I have met people who speak fluent Czech. Sometimes they make a few mistakes or have an accent, but they do speak. Another good piece of news is that they learnt to speak proper Czech even though they started to learn the language in their twenties. This is a miracle! At least in the Czech point of view.

Nevertheless, there is one condition, common for all people who have learnt Czech properly. You have to stay in the Czech Republic for a long-term period, at least a few years, and ideally without any internationals around. I know it sounds harsh, but nothing is for free.

The conclusion is: Learning Czech is possible – guaranteed! And a reward for excelling in Czech is also promising – you will be admired by all Czechs who still believe you need superpowers to learn this crazy language.


You might also like: