Learning a new language is the kind of adventure, I take on with a smile. I love the concept of language as a whole and studying different types of it is one of my long running hobbies. I am not able to speak that many, because most of the time, I just love reading about them and how they work, but every now and then, I decide to learn one for real. And nowadays this is the Czech language. Of course, Czech is not spoken by that many people if you look at the whole world, and some folks glare at me in open confusion, when I mention my choice, but what I learned over the years is this: If you learn languages as a hobby you stick with the ones, you find a good relation with, not with the ones, who seem practical. So, did I need to learn Japanese? No, of course not. Neither in my profession as a German writer nor in my profession as an Austrian based horse-trainer, I ever needed my Japanese. But I read a lot of Shonen-Manga, watched a lot of Ghibli-movies, which awoke my interest in the language and along the way, I met wonderful people, I could relate to easily and made some of the closest friendships, I ever had. So I stuck with it. And it is just the right language for me, because it is completely different to European language, but has an impressive set of grammar, which I really enjoy (yeah, I like grammar 🤫).
With Czech there also are some relatable points. First, I live at the Czech border. So I live very close to people, who use this language. Secondly, I would like to drive more often to Czechia and being able to read and understand Czech, would be come in handy. Then there is this thing of having Czech-ancestors, which is very common for people from Vienna, because we were one country for a very long time. This are good reasons to get interested in a language, but it is not enough to motivate in the long run. What helped me really diving into was, again as with Japanese, friends I made along the way. Maybe I have just immense luck, but every Czech person, I met, was so lovely and kind to me, that it is easy to stay with this wonderful language. Again I made close friendships through learning the language, so Czech is full of good memories for me. But it is also a very fun language 😃.
I have to say, I am surprised, about the image people in Austria have in their mind about the Czech language. Because nearly everyone, I told about my plan, said: Oh, Czech is a very difficult language. Of course, difficulty is something very subjective and I am not far in my studies, but what I found out is, that for German-speakers Czech is a relatively easy choice to conquer. It is much more easy than Japanese 🤪. But it is also quite similar to German.
When I started out with Czech, I had a tandem-partner from Prague (who later became a famous detective in my fiction-universe). I tried to improve his German and he had a lot of complaints about it’s logic. Most of the time, the reason for that was, that he compared the English way of expression with the German one and there are a lot of differences. So, I would ask him, how he would express the same thing in Czech and a lot of the time his answer was: “Oh, yeah… We say the same in Czech.”
And this helped me a lot in my Czech class. Although the lessons were English based, I translated everything in German, with great success. Czech words are Slavic (although there are enough German based words as well), but the grammar and the expressions are very close to German. We don’t have the aspect-thing with the verbs (and I am keen on learning how to use that), but German helps a lot with the rest. And seven cases are really not that much, when you grew up with four of them. And the vocative is really funny! My name gets really weird, if someone calls me in Czech: Sibyllo! – That always makes me laugh 🤣.
I know writing in English about how wonderful it is to know German whilst learning Czech might look a bit a weird, but hey, that is just because it is weird 😇. Have a nice day and a hezký den 🇨🇿.