Czech – a lot like Spanish… right?! -My brain

I feel like I should write, but that doesn’t mean that I want to, or that I feel like I have something to say. It is, though, my last weekend in the states before my trip to Prague. I’m just now thinking about packing details: what clothes I want to take (I’m packing for multiple seasons as a result of indefinite-no-return-ticket trip), what I’ll take in my carry-on versus what I’ll pack in my checked luggage, if taking Mom’s purple floral bag and her green carry on is okay (cool) and if taking new black bags would only result in a loss of luggage… things like that.

I’m tired and I don’t want to do anything. Learning Czech with my little phrase book is very hard, and listening to Pimsleur’s Czech 1 twice has left me with a knowledge of only one word: prosím (please). I understand the Czech letters now, though, so at least I can try to pronounce things, though my Spanish accent comes out when I say them, due to the fact that, since I haven’t heard much Czech actually spoken (I’d say about an hour of my life has been filled with listening to Czech, thanks to Pimsleur), my brain equates it like so:

Czech = foreign = oh, you mean like Spanish foreign?

Even reading Czech is proving to be difficult. I know that the accent marks over the ‘i’ and ‘y’ mean to make it a long vowel, like an “ee” sound. I know that the accent falls on the first syllable. I know that the regular ‘i’ and ‘y’ makes an “eh” sound,  (“tady” is pronounced “tah-deh,” though I’m not sure if that’s an actual word or if I forgot what I read last night). Yet, when I read the word “prosím,” I want to attach Spanish rules to it (Czech = foreign = Spanish) and so I say “pro-SEEM,” which, really, isn’t much different than how it’s supposed to be said (according to my English-speaking ears). Maybe “prosím” was a bad example. My little Czech teacher on the Pimsleur tape does sound Italian when he says it. Maybe that’s why it’s the only word I can remember. For other words, though, attaching Spanish rules to words that appear to have Spanish diacritical marks (í) would only change the way it’s supposed to be said (how Czechs would pronounce it) and it might even change the meaning. Hopefully, once I get there and hear more of it spoken, I’ll understand and I’ll be able to build a new “foreign language” category in my head for Czech, so that it’s not filed in right along with my dwindling, and yet ever-present, Spanish knowledge.

(Sorry for all of the parentheses.)


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