Tag Archives: travel

New Laws

I’m not sure exactly why (I sense Brexit has something to do with it) but the British government has just finishing codifying some interesting new laws. The police officer in the featured image may be smiling, but she’s ready to bop you on the head with her truncheon should you infringe any of them in front of her.

Not sure if “to codify laws” is a phrase, but it sounds about right.

You might be scratching your head, wondering what on earth I could be talking about. “But, Ro,” you might be saying, “I am a British citizen. I think I’d know if we had a spate of new laws coming in. I think I’d have seen it on Twitter.”

Yeah, you’d think. The sneaky, sneaky government has purposefully made sure no one knows about this new legislation by posting it exclusively to Google+. And why don’t they want anyone to know about these laws? Because their infringement incurs a hefty fine – money which goes straight into Johnny Westminster’s pockets.

Luckily for you, Google+ is the only social medium I use. I prefer it because I can post sarcastic comments about my loved ones without them ever finding out. Also I can slag off Love Island without anyone thinking I’m just doing it for the attention.

For that reason, I’m abreast of the upcoming laws, and I’m more than happy to share them with you. Be careful: you don’t want to get caught out!


person pouring seasonings on raw meatsNo fish on Tuesdays.

This one’s as simple as it sounds: from October 2018, absolutely no fish are allowed in the United Kingdom on Tuesdays. Persons found to be infringing this law will be subject to immediate arrest and a fine of up to £200. Fish found to be infringing this law will be eaten by the local constable.

That picture is actually a little misleading, so let me clarify: it’s not that you’re not allowed to eat fish on Tuesdays, but rather that fish generally are not allowed. It’s expected that police officers will be SCUBA trained as standard in order to enforce this. If you have a pet fish, make sure to hide both it and any paraphanalia (eg fish tank, model castle etc) related to it on Tuesdays.


person holding drafting paper

All drivers must wear high-viz.

If you’re getting behind the wheel after the 1st of March 2019, please, please make sure you’re wearing a high-visibility jacket that conforms to government standards. If you don’t, you’re liable to pay an on-the-spot fine of up to £70, and, if what you’re wearing is particularly subdued, your licence may be revoked.


black and white business chart computer

No more saying, “I rate it.”

I know what you’re thinking: “It’s the bloody thought police!” No, it’s not. It’s the speech police, so reign in your disapproval, George Orwell. Jesus.

Anyway, the police are cracking down on increasing numbers of people saying, “I rate it,” to express approval. After December this year, those heard saying this will be put under house arrest.


light golden retriever puppy close up photography

Pick up after your dog.

You might say, “But, Rodge! Leaving dog poos around is already a crime.” Yes, true. But this law goes one step further: in an effort to combat declining standards of tidiness in the canine community, dog owners will have to pick up any and all toys the dog carries around the house and place them in a designated dog box.

If a homeowner is seen to be remiss in this duty, whether because toys are outside of the dog box, or because the dog box is incorrectly labelled, they will be sent to prison for a maximum of 35 days, during which the dog will be cared for either by the police constable (if it’s a cute one) or a nominated relative (if it’s gross).


document id uk driving license driving licence

All citizens must carry ID cards.

I don’t know if you remember, but there was actually a move to introduce a similar law not so long ago.

However, under this legislation, set to come into effect from November 2019, citizens must carry the ID card belonging to the last person they shared a pizza with. Those carrying their own ID cards will be subject to serious scrutiny, since they’ve either never shared a pizza with anyone, or shared pizza with a chain of people until their own ID card ended up back in their pocket.

Those with missing or irregular documents will be forced to either pay a £17 fine or present the local police constable with £15 worth of pizza. It’s not clear whether this act will constitute giving or sharing a pizza, so no one yet knows whether the buyer of the pizza will have to swap ID cards with the police constable. I’ll let you know more when I do.


Mrs Brown’s Boys is outlawed.

I can’t argue with this. It’s for the good of the nation.

I can’t even bring myself to find a relevant picture.


The more you know.

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Insultial Czech

This title combines the words “essential” and “insulting.”

You don’t have to tell me; I know I’m a wordsmith.

Amongst pedagogues, there’s a school of thought that suggests students learn languages better when they’re not constantly forced to repeat boring phrases. You know the kind of thing:

Teacher: Hello.

Student: Hello.

Teacher: How are you?

Student: I’m well, thank you. How are you?

Teacher: I’m fine.

That’s the kind of shit that rots your brain after a few repetitions, and students quickly lose interest – especially children and teenagers whose concentration span is low at the best of times, and non-existent when they’re being forced to say the same boring stuff again and again and again and aga-

animal bear big blur
bored

Anyway, some thinkers believe that students are kept motivated and interested by being exposed to more colourful language – in effect, by being allowed to repeat crazy stuff like this:

Teacher: Howdy.

Student: Y’a’right.

Teacher: How’s it going?

Student: I’m sick of the sight of you. What’s going on with you?

Teacher: Teaching cretins like you makes my blood fizz.

For some reason, this approach isn’t favoured at the language school I work at, so I’m forced to stick to the conventional “Hello, how are you” greetings.

That might sound ridiculous, but the idea behind it is that students will remember grammatical structures and vocab much better if there’s something interesting about them. Sure, students taught in this way might not be able to speak to anyone without insulting them, but they’ll turn up to each class with joy in their hearts and dazzling language engraved in their brains.

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Colourful language!

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a nice sample dialogue for you to enjoy. It takes place between two friends; friend B wants to go for a coffee and friend A is a bit of a vůl. It’s short; it’s snappy; it gets right to the point. Never say I don’t put enough effort into lesson planning.

Kamarádka: Ježišmarjá, ty jsi tady.

Kamarád: Kečáš. Chceš na kávičku?

Kamarádka: Kéž bych mohla, ale vlastně nechci.

Here’s the translation.

Friend A: Jesus, it’s you.

Friend B: Stop chatting shit. Do you wanna grab a coffee?

Friend A: I wish I could, but I really don’t want to.

Anyway, the theory is that you’re way more likely to remember the na + acc. structure for events if you’ve been exposed to this kind of example. Of course, this doesn’t work if no one’s bothered to explain what that structure is and I absolutely will, right this minute!

So the thing you have to know about Czech is –

Oh, shit, that’s my bus! Sorry, gotta run.

Love,

Rodge

(I’m not good at swearing in Czech so here are my sources:)
https://news.expats.cz/czech-language/czech-swear-words-and-put-downs/
https://www.czech-stuff.com/czech-swear-words/

 

Essential Check

I study Czech, Russian and Polish at university, and most people’s response to that is, “Why, though?”

The honest answer, that I don’t know – it just seemed interesting, never seems to satisfy anyone. And, reader, if you know anything about me, you know that I live to please: an unsatisfactory conversation is a weight on my very soul. I’ve started brainstorming better answers:

  • “I love beer.”
  • “I really like chess and I thought it’d be related.”
  • “My grandfather/uncle/childhood friend/goldfish was a Slav.”
  • “I love vodka.”
  • “I want to work as a spy. Wait, I shouldn’t have said that. I mean, I want to work in banking.”
  • “War and Peace changed my life. No, I’ve not read it. I mean the TV show.”
  • “I’m just super into pickles.”
  • “I’m an aspiring nesting doll.”
  • “Solidarity, innit.”
  • “Why do you think?”

This last one is particularly interesting – the ideas people come up with are always way better than anything I can dream up. One suggestion sticks out – someone asked if I’d chosen Czech, Russian and Polish because of the potential for puns.

It’s true: of all the ~6,500 languages spoken on Earth, the three I’ve devoted my education to are amongst the most pun-rich. Puns, of course, rarely translate into foreign languages, which is one of the hardest facts I’ve ever had to come to terms with.

For our own education and enjoyment, though, I’ve decided to translate all the homophones of “Czech” I could think of into Czech. Enjoy this meaningless list of vocab.

  • Czech (adj.)

český

  • Czech (noun; language)

čeština

  • Czech (noun; Czech person)

Čech / Češka

  • Cheque (noun)

šek

  • Check (noun; situation in chess)

šach

  • Check (noun; inspection)

zkouška

  • Check (noun; control)

kontrola

  • Check (noun; a mark, usually a tick)

křížek

  • Check (noun; a lengthwise separation of the rings in wood)
I didn’t manage to find a translation for this; that might be for the best.
  • Check (verb; to inspect)

prověřit

  • Check (verb; to mark with a checkmark)

zaškrtnout

  • Check (verb; to control or limit)

kontrolovat

  • Check (verb; to compare)

kontrolovat

 

Isn’t learning fun?

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This is an unrelated picture of a bear I saw in the zoo in Brno last year.

Nonessential Czech

They say there’s no such thing as irrelevant language study, but even I’m struggling to imagine how you’re gonna fit this one into your regular Czech needs.

etareta.jpeg

Because I have low impulse control and not enough hobbies, I recently acquired a used camera from the 1940s. I have absolutely no idea if it actually works, partially because I don’t understand cameras at all, and partially because it was only ever sold in Czechoslovakia and so all the instructions I can find are in antiquated, jargon-heavy Czech.

Luckily antiquated, jargon-heavy Czech is what gets me out of bed in the morning. Let’s explore the mysteries of my camera together.

This is a diagram of the camera I bought. I thought I’d go through and translate the different elements, although, if I’m honest with myself, I don’t think I’ll understand the English translations much better than the Czech.

You might think this is a giant waste of time, and I might be inclined to agree – but, hey, at least it keeps me occupied and off the streets. If I weren’t doing this I’d probably be committing acts of vandalism or stealing sweets from the corner shop, so.

etareta navod.jpg

1. Navíjecí točítko k posunu filmu (po snímku) o políčko dále.

Coiling spinner for moving the film along a frame after taking a picture.

Coiling spinner is one of those pieces of vocab I’ll remember for the rest of my life and never, ever use.

2. Odjišťovací knoflík blokovacího mechanismu navíjecího točítka.

Release switch for the locking mechanism of the coiling spinner.

Wow, it turns out coiling spinner just keeps coming up! Totally worth the ten minutes I spent googling navíjecí.

3. Optický hledáček.

Optical viewfinder.

This question might just betray my ignorance, but what other kind of viewfinder could there be? Auditory viewfinders still haven’t entered mass production.

4. Počítadlo provedených snímků.

Used film display.

Display might be a melodramatic description of a little spinny thing that tells you how many more shots you’ve got left.

5. Točítko k převinutí filmu zpět do kazety.

Spinner to rewind film back into the cassette.

Two spinners seems like a lot.

6. Zámek víka komory s uvolňovacím knoflíkem.

Lock to the lid of the chamber with a release catch.

Interestingly, the word zámek can mean both lock and castle; so it’s reasonable to imagine that this camera could contain either a lock or a fortified building with a moat and that.

7. Spouštěcí páčka závěrky.

Startup shutter lever.

Alternative translations: “startup closing financial statement lever” and the rather intriguing “startup diaphragm lever.” Isn’t language magical.

8. Páčka k natahování závěrky.

Lever to wind the shutter.

Again, I’m assuming from the context that zavěrka means shutter in this case, and not closing financial statement or diaphragm, neither of which are traditionally used in camera manufacture or, indeed, wound.

9. Zaostřovací kroužek se stupnicí vzdáleností v metrech.

Focusing ring with degrees of distance in metres.

Here’s an example of where I’m let down by my photographic ignorance. I’m sure there’s a proper way to say that without sounding so stilted – I just have no idea what that might be.

10. Časovací kroužek.

Timing ring.

What’s the most important part of comedy timing

#realjokes

11. Stupnice clon a stupnice času.

Aperture and time scales.

12. Clonová páčka k nastavení žádané clony.

Aperture lever for setting up the desired aperture.

I wish I could think of something funny to say about this but I’m too embarrassed about not knowing what aperture is. I reckon it has to do with some kind of opening, but I hesitate to speculate further.


Whether or not that was a giant waste of time, whether or not we’ve learnt anything today, at least we all had fun reading about coiling spinners.

Gibs Café Bar

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I wandered into Gibs after a disappointing trip to the Wombat Café. From the outside, it looked like a pretty standard Czech pub: Pilsner Urquell sign, low lighting, couple of older gentleman smoking outside. I headed in on a whim, figuring that another beer would help me sleep and get the memory of Wombat Café’s gross decor out of my mind.

As I passed the threshold, I noticed with mild surprise that they’d made the strange decision to have a fan on the step facing inwards, blowing a draft through the bar. Ducking inside and heading to the bar, I smelled something unexpected and familiar.

Did you know that it’s legal to smoke funky cigarettes in certain bars in Prague?

That’s something I recently found out.

Maybe it was because of the mentality that goes with smoking that much, but the atmosphere in Gibs was great: I sat at the bar with a beer and chatted to everyone who came in, working my way through a massive bag of pretzels. The only moment I felt anything less-than-euphoric was when I tripped over someone’s dog on the way to the loo – I actually don’t know how I managed to overlook it, since it was the size of a small horse.

The clientele was almost exclusively made up of expats, so I didn’t get a chance to exercise my extremely terrible Czech; maybe that’s for the best. The owner, a guy called Roman, welcomed everyone personally, making an effort to remember names and backstories – partly to create a friendly, chatty atmosphere, and partly, I think, to check that everyone coming in was cool with being passively hotboxed.

The beer itself was nothing special: just Pilsner on draught and some cans of Kingswood in the fridge. That said, I think anyone who claims to go to that bar for the drinks is lying.

I rate Gibs a solid two joints and one unexpectedly massive dog. The only reason I’m not calling off my search for a local is that for me, weed is like trifle. Nice on your birthday, but I couldn’t deal with it every day.

Jára Cimrman: The Master

city vintage filters czech republic

One of the nicest things about studying for a degree as niche as ‘Russian and Slavonic Studies with Czech and Polish’ is you acquire a lot of very esoteric information, and I’m more than happy to spread this unusual info around. I consider it a responsibility, as well as a privilege, to disseminate some of the weirder stuff I’ve learned in the course of my degree.

(I finally bothered to look up what esoteric means. It’s a bangin’ piece of vocab and, ironically, quite widely applicable.)
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Some top-shelf domes in Suzdal.

To the delight (or chagrin) of my friends, I’ve been known to hold court for hours on such varied subjects as “The Made-Up Animals of Jaroslav Hašek,” “Doctors-turned-authors in Russian Literature,” and “My Struggles with the Letter Ř.”

My peers are dazzled by my description of what different coloured onion domes mean in Eastern Orthodoxy; disgusted by my recounting the shortage of toilet paper in communist Czechoslovakia; disturbed by my passionate run-down of the grisliest deaths of Slavic literary heroes.

I wanted to use this platform to introduce you to a Czech national hero, a man whose impact on Central Europe and, indeed, on the world generally, is literally unbelievable, but who is largely unknown outside of Czechia’s borders.

(I’m not misusing ‘literally’; I genuinely don’t think you’ll believe what he got done in his lifetime.)

I’m talking, of course, about the inimitable Jára Cimrman: the greatest man you’ve never heard of.

Who is Cimrman? It’d take all day to list his accomplishments, but luckily for you, I’ve got fuck all to better to do than clumsily translate his cs.wikipedia page.

Cimrman, like many Czech historical heroes, has dubious claim to Czech nationality by today’s standards; he was born in Vienna at some point between 1853 and 1859 to a Czech tailor and Austrian actress. Cimrman considered himself culturally and nationally Czech, although he lived during a period when Czech national identity was repressed by law – the Czech lands formed part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

It’s somewhat shocking that Cimrman never received meaningful recognition during his own lifetime, given the extent and scope of his various successes. He is now considered one of the eminent playwrights, poets, musicians, teachers, travelers, philosophers, inventors, sportsmen and criminals of his age.

cimrman.PNG
I nicked that last sentence word for word from this website

I don’t have the time or the typing skills to provide you with a comprehensive biography of this man, but here’s an abridged list of his greatest achievements.

Jára Cimrman

  • proposed the Panama Canal to the US government;
  • composed a libretto for an opera (also named the Panama Canal);
  • reformed the school system in Galicia;
  • constructed the first rigid airship (in cooperation with Count Zeplin);
  • investigated the lives of cannibalistic tribes in the Arctic;
  • once, when fleeing said tribes, missed the North Pole by a mere seven metres, making him the first human to nearly reach the top of the world;
  • created the world’s first puppet show in Paraguay;
  • and established the Viennese School of Criminology, Music and Ballet.

And that’s not all! Cimrman is also credited with

  • serving as assistant to Pierre and Marie Curie;
  • inventing yoghurt;
  • corresponding with George Bernard Shaw over a number of years;
  • creating the philosophy of Externism;
  • advising Mendeleev, the father of the periodic table;
  • and developing a primitive version of the internet – since the computer had not been invented yet, he was forced to use a network of telephones.
(I told you you literally wouldn’t believe this man’s achievements.)

It’s said that when Graham Bell invented the telephone, he found three missed calls from J. Cimrman.

No surprise then, that when Česká televize launched a public poll in 2004 to determine the nation’s favourite Czech, Cimrman received by far the most votes.

Yet, in a scandal similar to that surrounding the infamous ‘Boaty McBoatface’ poll, ČT refused to award Cimrman the prize. And why? Because, they claimed, the poll was intended to seriously honour Czech national heroes, and, they added, Cimrman didn’t qualify anyway, for the simple reason that he was made-up.

That’s right, as you might have begun to suspect at some point during that litany of achievement, Jára Cimrman never actually existed. He was invented by a theatre group in the 20th Century, but since then he’s captured the nation’s heart. Real he may not be; but hero he certainly is.

 

Essential Czech: Hello etc

Picture the scene: you’re in the Czech Republic.

round analog clock
I’m including pictures to help your imagination

You’re on holiday, visiting your sister/daughter/niece/friend/partner-in-crime, the esteemed blogger Ro Daniels. Blogging isn’t paying the bills so she’s gone down the mines. You’re all on your own.

You want a pint/coffee/postcard/doughnut. You head to the appropriate establishment, and on entering you’re met with the cheery smile and (you assume) friendly greeting of the staff. This stops you in your tracks – you want to reply, but you’re tongue-tied and you don’t know how!

Never fear. The subject of this Tuesday’s class is G R E E T I N G S. After reading this blog, you’ll be able to appropriately salute people from all walks of life. Hold tight!

Hello

Here are some phrases to deploy on meeting someone.

Dobrý den

This is what I’d describe as the standard greeting. It literally means, “Good day.”

As a bonus, it’s a cognate with a bunch of other Slavic greetings, like Dzień dobry in Polish and Добрый день (dobry dyien’) in Russian.

Dobré ráno

Good morning.

I usually use this sarcastically, because I so rarely consider mornings at all good. (Not an ideal situation, given I’m meant to be bushy-tailed and ready to start pouring coffee at 6am.)

Incidentally, to my ear, all spoken Czech sounds passive-aggressive, so my early-morning sarcasm just helps me fit in.

Dobrý večer

Good evening.

Hello and Goodbye

Czech is nothing if not efficient: here are some words that can mean both hello and goodbye.

Ahoj

Yeah, like what pirates say!!! Which is especially brilliant since the Czech Republic is landlocked. I don’t think river pirates exist.

Čau

This is pronounced exactly like the Italian “Ciao.” Pretty sure that can’t be a coincidence, but I’m not an etymologist and my Googling fingers are tired.

Nazdar

“Hallo!” or, “Cheerio!” People give me slightly weird looks when I say this, but I don’t care because it’s just such a cool word.

Ta-ra

I’m off.

Na shledanou

Tricky for foreigners to pronounce. I tend to stick to the rather informal Čau, even when it’s not strictly appropriate, but I’m so scruffy and disarming that I reckon I pull it off.

Dobrou noc

Nighty night!

For brevity, you can just throw out an offhand “Dobrou!”

 


 

Now get out there and start greeting people.

Wombat Café

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I spent my allotted 64kč beer money in the Wombat Café this week. Once again, despite the hours of research I did before coming to Prague, I found this bar entirely by chance: terrified of missing my step target and facing the wrath of my fitness app, I’d decided to take an evening stroll around my neighbourhood.

[By the way, “hours of research” is a high-and-mighty way of saying I Googled “craft beer Prague” and then marked the results on a map.]

More terrifying than my phone’s hardwired passive aggressiveness, though, was the prospect of doing anything relating to exercise. As soon as I heard the ping in my headphones that indicated I’d reached 10,000 steps, I clocked out. I practically fell down the steps into the nearest bar – Wombat Café.

The first thing I noticed was, unsurprisingly, the overriding theme of the caf – comics. The walls were covered in prints from different graphic novels, including a particularly massive section taken from Sin City. The owners had also set up a series of well-lit shelves groaning under the weight of cartoony action figures; I ignored the fact that all the women depicted had massive chests and not a lot of clothes, as well as the lack of any real women in the bar, and headed to the counter.

Since, as you can see from the name, Wombat is more café than bar, I was unsurprised that they only had the obligatory Pilsner on offer as far as beer went. There were also a couple of slices of cakes on offer and I spotted a coffee machine under a pile of dusty Star Wars merch. Unusually for the Czech Republic, there were far more bottles of whiskey than beer; however, given my refusal to drink anything that tastes that much like your throat is actually on fire, I stuck to the ležák.

The atmosphere in the bar was really strange. The guys in there were all clearly good friends, and I enjoyed listening to them chat to the bartender, who I reckon was also the owner. If you were into comics and were good mates with any of the regulars, this would be an incredible way to spend your weekday nights.

The downside of any bar where you mostly serve your mates, though, is it can be pretty uninviting to anyone else – I felt this very strongly. About halfway through my mediocre beer I happened to glance up and noticed that five of the guys were unabashedly staring at me with a what-are-you-doing-here kind of expression. I couldn’t help but share their feeling: it was a little bit like I’d noticed the door to a flat was open, wandered in, and sat drinking a beer in someone’s living room whilst they hung out with their mates.

I’ll award the Wombat Café a doughy slice of fruitcake and half-arsed pint, with the important asterisk that if you happen to love nerd culture and have an in with one of the crowd, it could be the place for you.

Malý/Velký

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I stumbled across this week’s bar of choice, the excellently websited Malý/Velký, completely by chance. I’d run out of change for the bus and, already familiar with Czechia’s punitive public transport authorities, was trying to make it from Náměstí Míru, in the east of the city, back to the centre on foot.

build builder construction equipment
Honest worker or committed trickster?

Unfortunately for me, my path was obstructed by squadrons of men in high-viz jackets tearing up the road with diggers. They seemed to be building a new tram line – but, thinking back on it now, they could have just been taking a practical joke well too far.

Stymied, I ducked down a side street and, using my very poor internal compass, headed in what I reckoned was the right direction. It’ll probably surprise no one that, when I checked my map later, I’d chosen the wrong turning at every crossroads.

Anyway, I was lost, grumpy, and not at all drunk. I wanted to be found, cheerful, and tipsy – this was not an ideal situation.

As I wandered down a nondescript Prague alleyway, I happened to glance up and notice this sign:

I'm not a talented photographer.

“Falcon Independent Brewery,” I read aloud. “Decent.”

I went through the door: a long corridor that made me think of hotels led through to a courtyard. It was partly covered, and in place of regular bar furniture it had low, bright-coloured armchairs in a style I consider typically Czech. The beer garden was empty except for two women.

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“Are you open?” I asked in my bad Czech.

“Yes,” replied one of the women. There was an awkward pause. “The bar is downstairs,” she prompted.

I went downstairs; after the eclectic ambience of the beer garden, I was surprised by how minimalist everything was here. The woman I’d spoken to had followed me down. “What’ll you have?” she asked.

The selection of beer on draught was great: they had eight taps and had chosen a range of unusual brews – at the bartender’s recommendation, I went for an 11% ABV wheat beer.

I drank the beer in a comfortable armchair upstairs in the garden, covertly trying to eavesdrop on the women’s conversation – my poor grasp of Czech protected their privacy.

Overall, I was chuffed by the whole experience: although it was pretty dead (in fairness, this was a Tuesday afternoon), the atmosphere was decent, and it was the best beer I’ve had in Prague so far.

I will award Malý/Velký six pint glasses and a crisp coaster. A very respectable score – I’ll be back.

Essential Czech

When I lived outside the UK last year, I was a student on her semester abroad. I was an Erasmus participant, and, as such, contributed to the Russian/Czech economy mostly by spending tonnes of money on beer and Ubers for when I overslept and needed to get to class in a hurry.

Everything is different now. I live in Prague, not as a student, but as a worker. I’m no longer a mere observer of Czech culture, but rather an active participant – and, as such, I contribute to the Czech economy mostly by buying litres of beer and paying for taxis when I wake up hungover and need to get to work.

It’s a whole new world, let me tell you.

Now that I’m living here on a more long-term basis (read: until I run out of money or Brexit forces me to flee back to the UK), my friends and family are faced with the prospect of visiting me in Czechia.

Prague has a lot to offer international tourists: incredible architecture, cheap beer, leafy parks, low-cost alcohol, fascinating museums and galleries, inexpensive pints, ancient churches and monasteries, and the highest pub:person ratio in Central Europe.

Unfortunately, as I’m no longer a student with no obligations, but a serious English teacher-cum-grumpy waitress with bills to pay, I can’t show visitors around the city with the same freedom before.

Whilst central Prague can easily be navigated without a single word of Czech, in suburbs and other towns, English is more rarely spoken. As such, I’m gonna start posting a couple of words of Czech a week here, so if you’re related to me, get out your notebooks. I will be unsympathetic to your cries that you don’t speak the language as I abandon you in Hlavní Nádraží.

I was going to start off with the alphabet, since it’s full of weird letters, but I thought this first lesson should be somewhat more fundamental.

Commit this to your memory:

Dám si jednou pivo.

I’ll have a beer.

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Dám si velké pivo.

I’ll have a big beer.

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Dám si mockrát pivo.

I’ll have many beers.

 

Stay tuned for other essential Czech phrases, like, “Where’s the toilet?” and “We demand independence from the Austro-Hungarian oppressors.”