Would you like to understand the language your ancestors spoke? Be taught in the comfort of your home or office via Skype. We can adapt the topics according to your interest whether you only want to learn pronunciation and a few basic phrases to be better prepared for a trip to the Czech Republic or to learn grammar so that you can decipher archival records on your own. Here are some tips:

Among European languages, Czech spelling is one of the most phonetic. With few exceptions, each letter of the Czech alphabet stands for one sound only. There are five vowel sounds in Czech, spelled a, e, i & y, o, and u.

Czech letter Approximate pronunciation in English

a

e

i, y

o

u

u in cut

e in met

i in kit

o in omit

u in put

 Any of these vowels may be lengthened, in which case they are written as á, é, í and ý, ó, and ú or ů.

Czech letter Approximate pronunciation in English

á

é

í, ý

ó

ú, ů

in father

second e e in Camembert

ea in meat

au in caught

u in rude

The common Czech diphthong ou is pronounced like the oa in the English word boat. The Czech letter ě is pronounced like the porrion of the English word yes before the final s. The distinction between short and long vowels is very important in Czech: some words, for example, vina ("guilt") and vína ("wines"), differ by virtue of the vowel length alone. The main stress in Czech is always on the first syllable of a word,  regardless of the quantity of the vowel.

Among Czech consonants, those written as b, d, f, g, I, m, n, s, v, and z, closely correspond to their English counterparts.

The letters q, w, and x occur in Czech only in foreign words and approximate the English sounds of q as in quart, v as in veal, and x as in ox.

Under certain conditions, some of the voiced consonants become voiceless - for example, in the final position; thus led, "ice," is pronounced as if it were the English word let.

The stops p, t, and k are never aspirated in Czech, approximating the corresponding sounds in the English words spin, stili, and skin. The remaining consonants of the Czech alphabet are as follows:

Czech letter Approximate pronunciation in English

c

č

ď

h

ch

j

ň

r

ř

 

š

ť

ž

ts in eats

ch in chip

in duty

h in unheard

ch in the German Bach

initial sound yes

ny in canyon

trilled

very special sound without English equivalent, occuring for example in the composer's name Dvořák. Roughly described as the simultaneous articulation of r plus ž

sh in ship

tune

z in azure

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