Tuesdays are Czech days!
Last week, we learnt how to ask for a beer, a big beer, and a bunch of beers.
This week, we’ll focus on the alphabet. It’s almost as important.
[One day (but not today) I’ll stop mining Czechs’ alcohol consumption for comedic content.]
Unlike some other Slavic languages, like Russian and half of Serbian, Czech uses the Latin alphabet. This means that English speakers have a headstart on figuring out what the heck that sign says – although there are still some tricky characters, just to stop things from ever being too easy.
like the ‘a’ in father
long ‘a’ (hold the sound for two beats)
like any of the ‘b’s in bumblebee (pick your favourite)
like the ‘zz’ in pizza; a ‘ts’ sound
like the ‘ch’s in chili chicken or cheesey chips
like the first ‘d’ in deciduous
like the second ‘d’ in deciduous
[Incidentally, deciduous was the first word beginning with ‘d’ that popped into my head. I’m absolutely thrilled that it happened to contain an example of both d and ď!]
like the ‘e’ in exotic
long ‘e’ (hold for two beats)
‘ye’ as in yellow or yesterday or Yeltsin
like the ‘f’s in forensic fossilisation
like the ‘g’ in goat
like the ‘h’ in horrendous, except more dramatic, as if you’re trying to sigh in a passive aggressive way
like the ‘ch’ in loch
like the ‘i’ in igloo
[The Czech word for igloo is iglú]
like the ‘y’ in you
like the ‘k’ in kismatic
like the ‘l’s in lobster lasagne
like the ‘m’ in mundial
like the ‘n’s in nocturnal
like the ‘ni’s in onion and bunion
like the ‘o’ in optical
like any of the ‘p’s in Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
this is trilled, like in Spanish
augh, I hate this sound. It’s like a mixture of ‘r’ and ‘ž’, and, basically, I can’t do it.
like the ‘s’ and ‘c’ in severance
like the ‘sh’s in shanty shamrock
like the ‘t’ in tonsil
like the ‘t’ in tumor
like the ‘u’ in but
like any of the ‘v’s in V’s monologue in V for Vendetta (click here)
like the ‘y’ in synopsis
like the ‘z’ in zombie
like the ‘s’ noise in measure