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ONE WORD PER DAY

Fuj. The first word I ever learnt in the Czech language. To the untrained eye this word looks and sounds like the victim of dyslexia trying to spell the word 'fudge'. The Czech language can throw you the odd curve ball, however what I have been learning rapidly is that most of what you read is what you say. This word is in fact an expression of a repugnant stench stumbled upon or released publicly. A concise definition describes fuj as; 'to express strong distaste or disgust..' 'Urrrgh, yuck!!' ‘FOY..’ is the verbal translation of ‘fuj’.

I came across this expression after the father of my girlfriends niece exerted his lunch time pork feast like the sound of a trumpet into the warm stagnant air producing an outburst of disagreement from little Adélka... 'FOY!!!!'
Living in Prague now for 5 plus months has open my ears a little to the Czech tongue. However like a lot of expats I mainly work with fellow English speakers, so the opportunity to learn Czech comes few and far between. I understand relevant words and phrases used on a day to day basis such as dobrý den, dobrý večer, dobrou noc (good day, evening, night) all of which took me a week or so to soak in. Prosím (please) of which is commonly followed by pivo (beer), with a couple more to follow.

‘Ahoj’ (hello) another Czech curve ball, before coming to learn that Já is ‘I’ and essentially ‘J’ translates to a ‘Y’ and verbally translated to ‘ yes but without the s..so ye’. ‘Ahoj’ as we have all heard the pirates scream in the movies as they greet, is ‘AHOY!!!’ Ahoy, however means both ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’.

I personally feel that word association is a big help when learning Czech. Not any other language, But Czech. For example ‘neděle’ (Sunday), I simply clocked in the name Nigella repeatedly in my mind and there I had it, Sunday. The ‘ě’ becomes ‘yea’, ‘oběd’, for example meaning (lunch) and yet another curve ball, I refer to the word ‘obey’. A simple verbal associated translation.

Aside from Prague’s (Praha’s) stunning architectural beauty, Praha offers countless amounts of pubs.. Themed pubs, the “unique-experience-type” pubs of which on a random note everybody has to visit Výtopna. It’s a truly surreal and fantastic bar and a night to remember (not commissioned, i promise). Expat bars, herna bars, smoking bars, hooter bars can be simply dealt with a couple key words, ‘prosím, pivo’. And those, bars quietly situated for the more native Czech’s historical bars with a micro brewery attachment, a favourite of mine.. And if you’re a lucky expat with no word’s or phrase’s to back you up, in some of these wonderful establishments they just bring the only beer on tap, no communication needed, sldky (sweet). On the flipside, especially in the centre of town, where English is more widely spoken, you can find yourself in a bar and be trying so hard to communicate in Czech, really pushing the boundaries but no love what so ever. And that word per day you have worked so hard for becomes useless.

Customer service I have found to be a good way to communicate.. rapport build with the person you see daily for your local shop, learn a couple of words. I picked up the word ‘málo/ male’ (little/ small) in my local. Back home this is a great form of communication. I’d stroll in to Owens (my local) for a coffee, have a blast with the family talk politics, football, youtube videos and walk out happy to have paid for a cappuccino that somewhere else could have cost me fifty pence less. But I have been enlightened to the fact that a large number of establishments not just bars in Praha are simply about the transaction. Not every young barman/woman, shop keeper wants to make friends. The service here is more direct and to the point. In some cases almost unwanted or unfriendly. For example; you walk into a local grocery shop to treat yourself to some grapes, go to the counter to pay, of course.. and greeted by a lifeless sole, with an attitude that expresses, why my shop? Why not somebody else’s... the telepathic communication reads.. ‘Why are you making me stand up to take money from you for a bunch of grapes that I’m selling..? I was sitting here enjoying staring at the wall watching the paint dry... and now I have to dislodge myself to give me business!!’ (hand out) ‘50kc, get out my shop’. Unfortunately another example where one word per day becomes void.

Now I have the days of the week under my belt, I can count to ten easy enough , meet and greet and even deliberately say ‘naschledanou’ to Honza despite knowing that he probably hates it. I find that one word per day for a language as complex as Czech is a simple way of learning a complicated Czech language.


GARTH SLIGHT

Author: garth slight

Category: Expat Life Viewed: 924 times
Username: gslight Listing Ref: 388558039
Date of Listing: 10 April 2013, 19:22:30

One word per day






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