Take 19: Languages and Personality

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People are always asking me how I’m doing with my Czech. Well, I suppose it’s normal. I’ve lived in the Czech Republic now for 7 years! So I should be nearly fluent by now, right? Well, I’m not.

I know what you’re thinking. Uf, the Brits never learn ANY other languages. They always expect others to speak English. Well, yes, that is somewhat true. We are famous for it.

But in fact I already do speak another language: French. And I also learned some Spanish at school. (I even remember some of it!) But these languages are both somewhat similar to English—so they were much easier for me to learn.

I did try to find Czech lessons before I moved here, but couldn’t. So I decided that I’d pick it up from the locals. You know, just listen carefully to people speaking and try to follow along. Then eventually, I would just absorb it—like watching Lights Camera English or catching a sun tan on the beach…

Well that didn’t happen. There is no Lights Camera Czech and it’s not really a sun tan kind of language. I mean, look at this:

Declension of pán (gentleman) Singular Plural
1. nominative pán páni/pánové
2. genitive pána pánů
3. dative pánovi pánům
4. accusative pána pány
5. vocative pane páni/pánové
6. locative pánovi pánech
7. instrumental pánem pány

My other big challenge to learning Czech is that I live in the capital, Prague. And EVERYONE here speaks really great English. What’s more, they LOVE to practice. It would be rude of me not to help them, right? So I think it’s fair to say that it’s the locals‘ fault that I don’t speak Czech… I’m too busy helping them practice English!

Okay. Fine. I’m just lazy.

I wish I were more like Lenka. She is passionate about language and loves learning new ones. It gives her great joy to study them and discover new words. She says that conquering a new language opens up different parts of our personality. That sounds amazing. I’d love to unlock a whole new me just by speaking in another tongue. I love the idea of being able to step off a plane in a foreign land and become someone else. Like an undercover CIA agent or…you know…Lenka. (Perhaps she IS an undercover agent!)

But for now, I will just give you the best tip I know for learning English (apart from watching our videos, of course): come to Prague! We’re all speaking it 🙂

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