1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Czech
  4. >
  5. Could someone give me a littl…


Could someone give me a little insight or a phonetic spelling of the Czech words dívka and díté?

I'm struggling with the pronunciation of these words in particular. From listening to some recordings it sounds like a ''J'' sound, but I'm not entirely sure if that would be accurate enough. I'm also massively struggling with the pronunciation of the word ''dévče''. I would appreciate anyone that could help me out with this. Many thanks :)

April 15, 2018



''devce''(sorry I don't have accents)is pronounced a bit like this: dy-ev-ch-e and divka is a bit like this: dy-ee-v-k-a.dite is something like this: dy-ee-t-e (not the soft ''t'' )but it is hard to explain;Czech is quite a difficult language to pronounce!


Oh, I see! :) Thank you for your help, this helped me a lot. I'll look into it some more.


the bad news is that the pronunciation of dítě is tied with a few harder sounds of czech. fortunately "ě" only shows up after b p v d t n m, and "i"/"í" only messes up the pronunciation of d t n (if it follows them).

  • the ě=je/ye method works well after b, p, and v. so oběd does sound exactly like "objet", pěkný like "pjekný", and svět like "svjet".
  • d, t, and n really become different consonant sounds before i, í, and ě, and inserting the dummy j/y does not quite cut it. i would recommend learning to say ď, ť, and ň first, and then using those sounds before i, í, and ě.
  • m before ě is best pronounced by inserting n. "mě" is indistinguishable from "mně" when pronounced by a native (which makes it one of the most common spelling mistakes in czech). so learn ň, and "mě" becomes easy. (if you can say mañana, you already have what it takes.)

and here are the relevant parts of the tips and notes from the very first skill:

  • i and y are pronounced the same. However, an i/í (unlike a y/ý) impacts the pronunciation of three consonants if it follows them in a word. When followed by an i/í, a d is pronounced like ď,  a t like ť, and an n like ň.
  • The letter ě is pronounced like a consonantal y followed by an e. When d, t, or n is followed by ě, the pronunciation is as if the consonant changed to a d', t', or ň (resp.) followed by an e. And sounds like mně.
  • ď is a sound that does not exist in English. It sounds roughly like a d followed by a consonantal y, but it is one sound rather than a combination of two. Unless you already know a Slavic or Celtic language, it may take you some time to learn to pronounce this correctly.
  • ť is the unvoiced counterpart to ď, and is similarly a sound which does not exist in English. It sounds roughly like a t followed by a consonantal y, but it is one sound rather than a combination of two.
  • ň is roughly like an n followed by a consonantal y, but it is one sound rather than a combination of two.


I'll give this a detailed look when I wake up tomorrow. But thank you so much, this looks very informative :)

[deactivated user]

    A large part of your confusion comes from the wrong spelling you've used. It is not díté, it is dítě. Not dévče, but děvče. And that is the whole difference.

    e and é are just short and long, butotherwise the same vowel

    ě is a different one, it really sounds like "je". A few more examples: oběd (lunch), svět (world), směr (direction)

    Czech is actually rather easy to pronounce, once you learn the rules, similarily to French or Italian. English is much harder to pronounce, due to all the irregularities. I recommend understanding the rules and practicing. Once you get over the initial obstacles, you can read correctly anything you encounter (that is the difference from English, which is more tricky)

    forvo.com is awesome for finding correct pronunciation of tons of words by native speakers, not a computer voice. In general, I recommend using other tools than Duolingo for learning pronunciation.

    Also, if you are serious about learning the language, get a serious coursebook with audio too. That should help, give you some pronunciation explanations and drills, and repeating after audio by natives is in general a great exercise.


    Oops, my mistake; I accidentally used the wrong letters :) In terms of pronunciation of words, I feel that I am doing relatively well elsewhere, but it was upon coming across these words specifically that really had me confused.

    I also agree that forvo is generally really helpful in understanding how words are spoken by native speakers and those fluent in the language alike. I think the one aspect that threw me off were the accents; it will just take time of course :D

    Thanks for the help.

    Learn Czech in just 5 minutes a day. For free.