When I lived outside the UK last year, I was a student on her semester abroad. I was an Erasmus participant, and, as such, contributed to the Russian/Czech economy mostly by spending tonnes of money on beer and Ubers for when I overslept and needed to get to class in a hurry.
Everything is different now. I live in Prague, not as a student, but as a worker. I’m no longer a mere observer of Czech culture, but rather an active participant – and, as such, I contribute to the Czech economy mostly by buying litres of beer and paying for taxis when I wake up hungover and need to get to work.
It’s a whole new world, let me tell you.
Now that I’m living here on a more long-term basis (read: until I run out of money or Brexit forces me to flee back to the UK), my friends and family are faced with the prospect of visiting me in Czechia.
Prague has a lot to offer international tourists: incredible architecture, cheap beer, leafy parks, low-cost alcohol, fascinating museums and galleries, inexpensive pints, ancient churches and monasteries, and the highest pub:person ratio in Central Europe.
Unfortunately, as I’m no longer a student with no obligations, but a serious English teacher-cum-grumpy waitress with bills to pay, I can’t show visitors around the city with the same freedom before.
Whilst central Prague can easily be navigated without a single word of Czech, in suburbs and other towns, English is more rarely spoken. As such, I’m gonna start posting a couple of words of Czech a week here, so if you’re related to me, get out your notebooks. I will be unsympathetic to your cries that you don’t speak the language as I abandon you in Hlavní Nádraží.
I was going to start off with the alphabet, since it’s full of weird letters, but I thought this first lesson should be somewhat more fundamental.
Commit this to your memory:
Dám si jednou pivo.
I’ll have a beer.
Dám si velké pivo.
I’ll have a big beer.
Dám si mockrát pivo.
I’ll have many beers.
Stay tuned for other essential Czech phrases, like, “Where’s the toilet?” and “We demand independence from the Austro-Hungarian oppressors.”