Advice on Learning German and Czech

Reply

Dec 16th, 2006, 07:07 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 464
Advice on Learning German and Czech

Any advice on learning German and Czech? I just want the basics. What books/cds would you recommend? I was hoping our local college would have a german for the traveler class in the spring but there isn't one.
Amy
littlehouse is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2006, 08:02 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,882
Well - tackling 2 different languages from 2 separate groups (Germanic and Slavic) at the same time would be quite challenging. Or are you planning on learning them sequentially?

Naturally German will be much easier for an English speaker - so you might want to start there and save Czech (except for a few key phrases) until later.

(And you certainly can get by in Germany, Austria etc with English only. The same in Prague, but perhaps with a little more difficulty in the Czech countryside.)
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2006, 08:11 AM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 464
Thanks! I may just stick with German then. I just want to be able to say "do you speak English?" in both languages. That way I won't sound rude when I just start speaking English to them.
Thanks again NY!
littlehouse is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2006, 09:21 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 478
You can also get by with German in the Czech Republic, even outside of Prague.
Marc_David_Miller is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2006, 09:39 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,408
Marc's advice is well off the mark.

English was NOT spoken in Kladruby, Domazlice or any number of other towns we stopped in our 3 visits thru the CR and SR. Occasionally one could find an English speaker in larger towns, like Olomouc, if one targeted someone under 30 (and who appeared to be professional, or carried a laptop). Those over 50, unless in a tourism related industry/trade, rarely spoke English. If a person appeared to be, shall we say, a manual laborer, he could reliably to assumed not to speak English (as in the USA, where few high school dropouts did so because of trouble in German class).
tomboy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2006, 10:56 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 4,040
Hi,
I found the "Learn In Your Car" cd's, by Penton Overseas, Inc., very helpful with my German. Bought at Barnes and Noble. For basic phrases, most guide books, such as Rick Steves, have sections with basic phrases. My opinion, never start with "do you speak English" but with a greeting, phrase, question, etc., in the language of the country you are in.

Paul
pja1 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2006, 11:07 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 478
Tomboy, my post referenced speaking German, not English, in the Czech Republic outside of Prague.
Marc_David_Miller is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2006, 11:44 AM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 464
Thanks everyone!
PJA- Thanks, I'll check out your suggestions.

I just want to offend someone so I usually do start with a greeting or question which I hope would be some of the basics that the cd would go over . I need to hear it as well as see it. I usually don't do well with just seeing it in a phrasebook without having heard it too.
Thanks again!
littlehouse is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2006, 11:48 AM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 464
Okay I just looked at my post. I must have had a brainfart because I meant to say that I DON'T want to offend anyone not I just want to offend anyone. That's not good! I wish we could edit our posts once they've been posted.
Oh well!!
littlehouse is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2006, 12:44 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,321
Even in the Communist era, Czechoslovakia (as it was then) received quite a lot of visitors from East Germany (DDR) because they either needed no visa or it was easy to obtain (compared with near-impossibility of travelling to the West, unless you were pensioners or had close family ties - but it was still a lot easier for West Germans to come over). That explains why German has always been well understood in Czech and Slovac republics. AS a tourist it's common to be addressed in German first, and first menu translation etc to be in German, esp in smaller places and stay-put resorts. So other than a few basic words of greetings in Czech, knowing German would serve you very well.
Alec is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2006, 12:52 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,319
I've studied Czech and I think it is very difficult, at least for me in comparison to Romance languages. If you just want to say a couple phrases, just get a traveler's phrasebook for that. Depending where you are going, it shouldn't be a big problem. Okay, I did put the little Czech I knew to great advantage when I was traveling in the country in the Czech republic, and towns outside Prague, where folks don't know English as much. But I studied it for months and still couldn't say that much. I don't know about all this advice to speak German in the CR, since you don't know that, either, English would be better. Maybe they will ask you something in German first (no one ever has to me in the CR and I've been there three times, so I wouldn't say that was common), but I have a couple German friends who traveled there and spoke German, of course, and they said they didn't particularly like Germans in the CR because of what they did to them during the war, and they could tell that. So I don't know that's such a great idea.
Christina is online now  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2006, 12:56 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,321
Wartime memory aside, those in tourist industry are quite happy to speak German if it means getting more German travellers to spend money. It's business, after all.
Alec is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 16th, 2006, 07:12 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,408
Sorry, Marc,I misread.
However, my wife's German didn't seem to do much good either, in the small towns we visited. I found that odd, in view of all I had read of how well understood it would be. And it's not her pronunciation either, else the Bavarians would not have complimented her so frequently on how well she spoke German (a couple of them thought she was a native German).
tomboy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 17th, 2006, 12:40 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,000

I've used audio tapes from several companies to learn German. The best by far is SyberVision. I also studied German when I lived there.

German is a very helpful language in the former Soviet Bloc. It is the second language of many people. But English is the lingua du monde for travelers.


hopscotch is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 17th, 2006, 10:24 AM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 464
Thanks hopscotch! I'll check that out
littlehouse is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 21st, 2006, 04:55 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,025
I used the Pimsleur lessons to learn Czech briefly before my visit. I was so glad I did! Not that I could carry on conversations or anything even close, but I did learn the greetings and basic phrases, and was able to express myself on many occasions. I think it made a huge difference in my dealings with people, being able to confidently approach them in Czech, and even to answer in Czech even if they spoke to me in English.
Nutella is offline  
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:47 AM.