how does Czech sound to your ears? / Jak vam zni cestina?how does Czech sound to your ears? | Czechmatediary
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how does Czech sound to your ears? / Jak vam zni cestina?

If you are not a native Czech speaker, how does this language sound to you? Does it sound beautiful? Ugly? Funny? I researched this topic and found quite the opposite opinions – check it out:

CZ: Jak vam zni cestina, jestli nejste rodily mluvci? Zni vam krasne, silene anebo naopak legracne? Prectete si, co o tomto tematu napsali ostatni:

 

  1. My husband’s interpretation: ‘trishka triska trishka..’ (from the Czech riddle ‘Trista tricet stribrnych strikacek’ which in English is translated as ‘Three hundred and thirty three silver injections”)
  2. A blogger who has been learning Czech: ‘Czech sounded a lot like: Shhhptoschh TAK shshdilssstssh chtshdshchid TAK, TAK dshchidshhhptoschh TAK.’ (honey and peas)
  3. A lady from Yahoo Answers:‘I’m married to a Czech . . . just asked my husband to read something in Czech. It sounds like: rrrrtschchhh pshpsh tsee repeat ad nauseam.’ (yahoo answers)
  4. ‘For me, Czech is one of the most beautiful languages in the world, which is pretty much the reason I’m stydying it. Russian sounds foreign to me, but Czech has a familiar tone. Perhaps it’s the stress on the first syllable, which Finnish has as well. Yet it is also exotic enough to give me a whole new perspective on life – how language is structured tells me a great deal about the nation who speaks it’ (Sophie from Unilang.org)
  5. For me Russian sounds great – it is very similar to Polish but I find it much nicer. As for Czech and Slovak, they sound hilarious to me, some words and expressions sound like a joke, I mean as if someone intentionally made it the way that it sounds very funny in Polish. (Nika from Polishforums.com)

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25 comments… add one
  • Vonya April 29, 2012, 11:00 pm

    I will have to play my wedding video again. You said something in Czech, in your well wishes. Don’t know exactly what you said, but it sounded very elegant!

  • Eva Z. April 30, 2012, 7:31 am

    That’s very funny about the TAK! 🙂 I often say “tak” even at the end of English conversation when I am done with something in a way of “so it is done” and my boss is laughing and repeating it. Otherwise I obviously can’t comment as I am Czech 🙂

  • Mel April 30, 2012, 7:52 am

    Many years ago after, arriving in Praha for the first time, I encountered what I labeled as “machine gun Czech!” I heard this on the streets of the city, mostly from young adults which spoke in a monotone with a rattling of syllables at a furious pace! I had to listen closely and often did not understand what they were talking about. It’s interesting that I’ve heard this style of speaking only in Praha but no where else in the country. A person hearing this for the first time might wonder if we had been invaded from another planet! Anyway, hearing normative Czech spoken, my children often remark that it is a language which seems to like “hard sounds,” not endearing to the ear. On the other hand, they do like it when Czech is set to music; they tell me it has a certain “soul” quality to it. Although Czech is a small country where one would expect the language to be basically the same throughout it, I find variations differ from one part of the country to anther, as for example, the south differs from northern speakers and even east and west have differences.

  • Alena April 30, 2012, 10:02 am

    I left when I was five, but my parents and I spoke it at home for a number of years, and then we mixed it w/English, Chenglish? Anyway, When I hear it in movies or my Mom talking exclusively Czech to our family, some syllables sound funny to me, almost childlike. When ever I translate words for my husband or son, it seems like everything has a chka or nka sound. I remember asking my Mom, why I am called Alenka at home, but Alena is my name….As a kid, I always said I would change my name to Alenka when I was older. She said “Alenka” was only for little girls so It wouldn’t sound right to be called Alenka as a grown up. It seems like little people, little animals or little things have an innocent sound to them in Czech. Well, that’s my interpretation of it. I think it is a very romantic and innocent sounding language.

  • Tanja April 30, 2012, 2:09 pm

    It is interesting that the Finish girl named Sophie finds it to be a soft, pleasant-sounding language. That’s probably because Finish is even more of a ‘machine gun language’, right? The Polish on the other hand (Nika’s words) find the Czech language to be funny sounding. I did not know that.

    Alenko, even adult women are being called with their endearing -enka, -icka word endings. I think that’s good since the Czechs are not used to saying “I love you” and that way they get to express it at least this way.
    My husband always imitates me when I am on the phone and says “Fakt, jo?” which means ‘Really?'[unfortunately phonetically it sounds like ‘f****d yo?] 😉

  • Alena April 30, 2012, 5:18 pm

    Not to go off topic, sort of but last week, I went to see “Once” on Broadway and it was amazing. Everything that was said in Czech in the movie was translated on a thin black subtitle screen on the top of the stage setup. In the program, I read that they had a dialect coach. It was a strange sounding Czech accent they were trying to reproduce. I actually think I heard an Italian and French accent, instead. They did sing a few Czech folk songs before the show started and I couldn’t tell a difference then. It was great. If your in or near NYC, you must go see it. It is wonderful. We did a matine @ 2 o’clock in the afternoon and were surrounded by a sea of senior citizens, totally laid back and quiet crowd. Loved it!

  • Transient Drifter April 30, 2012, 5:52 pm

    I love listening to Czech. When my husband skypes his parents I enjoy sitting back and trying to follow the conversation. It’s tricky since he speaks sooooo quickly, but I can generally at least keep up with the topics. Sadly, when I try to speak it, things don’t go quite so smoothly. Hopefully one day 🙂

  • Tanja May 1, 2012, 1:57 pm

    that’s really good that you can keep up! Even my 4yr old daughter (who is bilingual) sometimes comments on how fast she talks (in Czech). I think back in her head she compares it with english.

  • Girl In Czechland May 2, 2012, 8:37 am

    I really like the way Czech sounds. Sometimes it can sound like a machine-gun-like succession of syllables fired off at top speed but I do think it can have a melodic quality too. It makes me sad when expats who’ve bothered to learn the language say that for them it’s just functional and they don’t like the way it sounds. I relish the chance to ‘sccccch’ , ‘chhhhh’ and ‘zzzzch’ all the time.
    Great idea for a post though – and I love the weird picture you’ve used! Spooky!
    GIC

  • Aaron May 2, 2012, 2:47 pm

    My wife and I have been together long enough that I don’t remember what Czech sounded like before I was used to hearing it, but I definitely find it to be a lovely language. She’s from the eastern part of the country, and Vienna’s just as close as Prague, so I’ve flown from there a few times. I’m always amazed at how jarring it is to hear the Austrian German, which sounds quite unfriendly compared to the Moravian Czech I hear when visiting my in-laws. She and her family tell me that people in Prague “sing” their Czech, but I really don’t hear it. Most Czech sounds the same to me at this point, but I hope that my ear will become finely-tuned enough to discern the differences.

    I think that for most Americans, it’s harder to look at than it is to hear. All those consonants look like they’d make for a rough language, but it’s not so bad when you hear it spoken…

  • Marika (ta druha) May 2, 2012, 5:22 pm

    nevim proc, ale ja vzdy poznam cesky accent i kdyz nekdo mluvi perfect English.. weird I know. Must be my trained ear. I do wonder what I would think of Czech if I didn’t speak it 😉 as I am bothered by languages that are spoken too fast…they don’t seem elegant….

  • Tanja May 3, 2012, 9:30 pm

    Ja jsem na tom stejne Mariko, vzdycky poznam cesky prizvuk – je opravdu jedinecny 😉

  • Marika - the other one May 6, 2012, 12:55 am

    Stalo se mi jen jednou ze jsem to nepoznala. Byla sem v tramvaji s ceskou kamardkou. bylo nam asi 12ct. Smaly jsme se na jednu pani co si povidala s Krakonosem ( starym fousatym dedou) Pani se drzela tyce a bylo videt ze nebyla oholena. “Ta ma ale chlupaty kozich pod pazduchou!” rika noje kamoska. No jak jsme vystoupili, pani za nama rika: “Tak vy jste Cesky holcicky?” Proste do dnes je mi to trapny. Chudinka pani… musela citit hrozne.

  • Vlastimil May 22, 2012, 7:44 pm

    Jeli jsme v New Yorku v subway a neco jsem znamym z Cech vysvetloval, jak to chodi v Americe…
    Oni se strasne divili a porad rikali: “Fakt jo?”……Umim si predstavit, jak to znelo americkym usim 😉

  • Hana - Marmota September 24, 2012, 5:05 am

    “As for Czech and Slovak, they sound hilarious to me, some words and expressions sound like a joke, I mean as if someone intentionally made it the way that it sounds very funny in Polish.”
    And the other way round for Czechs and the Polish language. Take the first line of Pan Tadeuz, that most classic of Polish classics. It says “Lithuania, my country!”. Such noble, grand words – and “my country” is “ojczyzna”. How ever are Czechs supposed to take that language seriously? (I’m kidding a bit. I love that book, and Adam Mickiewicz is perfectly capable of poking fun of his own lofty nationalism.)

    Maybe Czech sounds soft and pleasant to Finnish ears because it does not have doubled consonants or those umlauted vowels. It’s a fairly simple language in that respect. (But we have Ř.)

  • Riva February 2, 2013, 7:04 pm

    “Shhhptoschh TAK shshdilssstssh chtshdshchid TAK, TAK dshchidshhhptoschh TAK.’”
    no přesně tak.

    Pamatuju se na dobu, kdy jsem na podzim 2011 byla poprve v letadle do České republiky a rozuměla jsem jen základní češtině. Taklhe pro mě zněla. Ale teď když pustím rádio, už netuším, jak ta čeština zní. Slyším slova a věty a není možno to automatické chápání “vypnout.”

  • Tanja February 2, 2013, 9:22 pm

    No to je fakt neuverite, ze nejsi rodinny mluvci!!! To teda kloubouk dolu – tvoje cestina je vyborna.

  • Ondra February 4, 2013, 5:12 am

    Jojo, Riva je hustá 🙂

  • Jabbowacky December 1, 2013, 3:53 am

    I have lived & worked here for 2 years. Unfortunately I find Czech extremely monotonous (very little intonation). Luckily I’ll be leaving the country in the next 8 months.

  • Robert S. December 25, 2013, 3:41 pm

    Pro mne cestina je velmi melodicky a sympaticky jazyk. Libi mi se to, że v 90 % rozumim cesky, ackoli ja se nikdy oficialne cestiny nestudoval. No ale jsem Polak, ktery bydli 128 km od ceskych hranic (Odpustte mi moje gramaticke chyby a poużivane polske klavesnici :))

  • Tanja December 26, 2013, 8:28 pm

    Ahoj Roberte! Me se take polstina vzdycky libila – a nemate to zatracene ‘r’ z hackem!

  • Les January 28, 2015, 2:32 am

    I find that the Czech language has little intonation and many consonants. For Hungarians (I’m half Hungarian), it’s not a very pleasant language. The r in Dvorak is difficult to pronounce.

  • Maja December 26, 2015, 4:42 pm

    I am Polish, my grandpa was born in Nydek, Czech Republic, I also grow up very close to Trinec. To me and a lot of other Poles czech language doesn’t sound very pleasant. Even my american husband said that it sounds very harsh. A lof of words sound opposite in Polish that can be very confusing as well.

  • Tanja January 13, 2016, 1:10 pm

    I have a feeling that our “r” with the mark above it gives our language the ‘harsh’ sound. But we love it 🙂

  • Hippolyte June 22, 2016, 9:01 am

    Ugly.

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