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autore: Martina Sulková
15th July 2013

Useful Czech Phrases

Many travelers who come to Prague buy those “Czech 101” phrasebooks. You know, THOSE. The types of phrasebooks that you open once & laugh that you’ll never be able to learn/pronounce any of this & you never open them again. Yup, THOSE.

While we agree that learning a few basic Czech phrases is definitely a good idea (especially since there’s still quite a few people in the Czech Republic who don’t speak English – this applies mainly to the older generation), we’re not fans of the “Czech 101” approach. Instead, we thought we’d share a) some phrases that people ACTUALLY use (none of those “how much does this Chihuahua cost, please?” phrases… none of that!) and b) short explanations indicating WHY/HOW they are used. You can thank us later!

-Ahoj [Ahoy] - Hi (yes, we know… that’s how sailors greet each other! And no, we don’t get it either)

-Jak se máš? [Yag seh mash]  – How are you? (Btw, Czechs will actually let you KNOW how they’re doing… so if you’d like to avoid a long ‘Not so good man. You see…’-type of answer, better not ask this question).

-Ještě jedno pivo, prosím! [Yesh-tye yed-no peevo proseem]– One more beer, please! (used VERY often in the Czech Republic. However, we should warn you that on many occasions, you won’t even get to use this phrase. You’ll get a beer whether you like it or not!).

-Ach jo, už zase prší/Ach jo, už je zase horko [Ach yo, ush zah-seh prshee/ush yeh zahseh hor-koh]Rats, it’s raining again/Rats, it’s too hot again (thought we’d include this on our list since Czech people love to complain about weather. This will definitely come in handy when you’ll be waiting for your tram, i.e. many people love to strike up a conversation at a tram stop).

-Hustý [Hoostee] – “Cool” (This is a very difficult word to translate. It CAN mean cool but it can also be used in a negative way. You can basically use it if you find something amazing/shocking/outrageous… anything which stirs up strong emotions. OH and if you’re under 15 years old, you shouldn’t use it at all).

-Tři tisíce třista třicet tři stříbrných stříkaček stříkalo přes tři tisíce třista třicet tři stříbrných střech [Basically unpronounceable]-3333 silver fire-engines squirt over 3333 silver roofs (basically a really crazy tongue twister. If you master the pronunciation, we recommend saying it to your foreign friends. Just watch their jaws drop).

-Ukončete prosím výstup a nástup, dveře se zavírají - Stop getting off or getting on, the doors are closing! [Oo-kon-chay-teh proseem nah-stoop ah vees-toop, dveh-rze seh zaveerahyee] - (This is the Prague metro announcement you hear at EVERY SINGLE METRO STOP. We thought we should let you know what the announcer is saying. It is an unusually long announcement, after all).

-Cože? Co? [Tsozheh? Tso?] – What? (Too easy, you say? Nay, my friend. This is what every smartphone-obsessed Czech will say to you when they’ll finally hear that you’re talking to them. Again, a super popular phrase among the younger generation).

-Tvoje čeština je dobrá [Tvoyeh cheshtinah je dobrah] – Your Czech is good (when a Czech person will say this to you, you will have made it. You’ll have arrived. Why are we even putting this on here? When someone says this to you, you’ll definitely be able to understand it – AND correct our Czech grammar. Go you!).

-Nejím vepřové [Nay-eem veprzoveh] – I don’t eat pork (this seemingly unimportant phrase will instantaneously become super useful once you decide to grab a bite to eat in Prague. Pork is part of virtually all of the typical Czech meals, so if you’re a veggie, this might just save you!).

-Kam jede tato tramvaj? [Kahm jeh-deh tah-toh trahm-vay]  – Where does this tram go? (You will definitely need to resort to using this phrase at least once during your Prague stay here. In the summertime, trams roll out their summer schedule & pandemonium ensues. OK, we’re just joking – the public transport system is actually really good in Prague. Still, this phrase COULD be a lifesaver – trust us!).

-Řeřicha [Rzerzichah] – peppercress. (Why is this on here, you ask? Are Czechs peppercress-crazy? Not really. But this word is pretty fun and could also be used as yet another tongue twister. Just try saying it!).

-Hele! [Heh-leh] – Look! (A popular Czech slang phrase which has been used for decades. It can be used in many different ways – oftentimes it is unknowingly inserted into a sentence when a person has no clue what they’d like to talk about. Like… the word like. Gives a whole new meaning to the word ‘filler’!).

-Můžu si půjčit nabíječku? [Moozhooh see pooytchit nah-bee-yechkoo] – Can I borrow your charger? (This one kind of speaks for itself. We live in the 21st century, after all).

-Páni, to je ale krásné kolo! [Pah-nee, toh yeh ah-leh krahs-neh kohloh] – Wow, what a nice bike! (OK, so we really had to put this on here. Hey, you need to know what to say when you see someone on a Gocycle, right? ;).

Martina Sulková
Martina Sulková