https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Czech, fun but not that easy. (A short story)

About a year-and-a-half ago, we moved to Czechia. Everything is nice and beautiful, but the language, is a BIG problem.

Since I got here, I loved the sound of Czech, but speaking it and hiding the foreing accent isn't easy.

Now, I do manage to quite hide my accent and many people can't tell i'm a foreigner (apart from my appearance) and Duolingo is helping me a lot with the grammar part and I really appreciate it.

THANKS DUO!

August 8, 2018

37 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Mirokha

By the way, what is your mother-tongue? Just to figure out how different and difficult Czech was to you.

August 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

I'm brazilian and speak Spanish and English fluently. Spanish is my "father-tongue", Portuguese is my mother-tongue and English is a learnt language.

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/karasu4

Awesome! Did you have any experience with the language before moving there? Being able to pass as a native speaker is an enormous achievement, especially for a language like Czech.

August 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Actually no. Only a couple of weeks before moving when my sister and I started learning basic sentences... Thanks! But I don't pass as a fully native though. I still need a bit more of fluency and vocab for that. But accent-wise, yes, many people don't notice.

August 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Hey! I saw you learn esperanto and I want to ask you something. Why do poeple learn esperanto? Because to me it seems reallu useless since its not even native to anywhere... It's just an invented language!

August 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Michal_90

Esperanto is more for fun. The only place where I met texts in Esperanto was in Białystok, Poland. Its creator L. L. Zamenhof lived in this city, so they have all tourist information signs in Polish, English and Esperanto :)

August 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Oh cool! I live 3km from Poland (yes, at the border), and I should go and visit that place. Thanks!

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Michal_90

Poland is always great, I'm actually living in Poland for almost 3 years now :)

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/karasu4

There are native speakers actually, and millions of speakers in total. There is an international Esperanto community and tons of music, literature, videos, movies, etc. etc. etc. There are many living languages that are poorer than Esperanto in terms of culture and usefulness.

...aaaand it's a very fun language that allows you to be very creative with how you put words together and express yourself. Should give it a go ;)

August 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Yes, I've heard creativity is key to Esperanto...

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mirokha

Cool! This gives me hope for success in climbing my Duolingo tree.

August 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Yup!

August 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MathWizard129

I don't think Duolingo did a great job on the Czech course. It doesn't teach you each noun along with its gender so I'm struggling.

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/nueby

Duolingo did not make the Czech course, so they did neither a great nor a not so great job on it. We volunteers made it for them and for you. I wonder how you would have us teach you the gender of each noun.

I see one of the languages you are learning is Spanish. For that course, Duolingo offers the exercise type in which the user needs to select the correct definite article. That exercise type is not available for Czech. The options available to us in its absence are image exercises where we can make the English hint include the definite article, so that the main Czech answer would include the gendered demonstrative pronoun. (The answer without the demo pronoun would also be accepted. We are never quite sure whether in that case Duo would display the main alternative as "another correct translation".) But images are not available for many nouns.

Or we could make short sentences or fragments in the nominative singular case, like the "malý strom" early on in the present course. The fragments have been criticized rather recently for being too boring for users.

Finally, we could use some of the precious Tips and Notes space to list all new nouns in each skill along with their gender. But most users do not know the Tips and Notes exist or cannot be bothered to read them anyway.

As you can tell, we did such a not great job on the Czech course not for lack of trying but rather for lack of clearly applicable infrastructure to do better the first time through.

Should you or anyone else have anything constructive to offer for version 2, please do. Thanks!

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Thanks for the long explanation. It's an honor to have one of the contributors in my dicussion! It's a shame that the Czech course doesn't help you practice articles but I'm sure you guys can solve that problem. I just wished I could directly contribute to the course... :(

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/InPxgX6K

Hello @nueby, thanks for putting the course together! So far it has been more useful for me than the various attempts with private teachers or Krok za kroky (a learner's book).

I wonder how you would have us teach you the gender of each noun.

How about adding a gender annotation in the tooltips?

That leaves the problem of how to decline, but having the gender, it is a lot quicker and easier to look it up on a declension table.

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/nueby

You may have already read the reply therein. The feature you requested is not supported for Czech. Duolingo does not offer uniform course infrastructure across its language combinations. (If it had been that easy, we would not have this particular problem.)

Did you try the tips for the three gender skills on the second row? The rules of thumb are a bit wobbly, but they beat the pants off pure guessing.

ETA: Also read this discussion for an example of how this course absolutely positively cannot satisfy all users.

August 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/InPxgX6K

Hi! It's a pity that the option to annotate gender in the tooltips is not supported by the backend. Perhaps that could be made the subject of an improvement request?

Did you try the tips for the three gender skills on the second row?

Yes I did and I'm slowly getting used to applying them, although in practise this often involves having first to find the nominative singular form of the word.

And honestly, there are so many exceptions that my hit rate is about the same as when speaking (in which case I usually just pick a gender at random and see if I get corrected). Slowly one does get to learn them though, and so far this course has taken me farther than anything else in that respect, so no complaints. ☺

August 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Vlad_Lesnievski

A big "thank you" to you and all those who contributed to the Czech Language course. We owe you so much.

June 30, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Mirokha

Yes, I believe analytical.. no, synthetic! languages (i.e. with lots of inflexions, declinations, conjugations) are difficult for an online study. Say, in English you learn cat, and cats - that's it, whereas in Czech you have kočka with its cases and numbers kočky, kočkou, kočce, kočku, kočkami, kočkách, kočkám, next comes kočička with its cases and numbers, next kocour, kotĕ, kot'átko etc... It is impossible even mention once all the variants during the whole course!

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

That is true.

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Yeah. I know accents are different and the way people speak Czech around the Czech Republic is different but the way Duolingo, and the people here in the CR speak, is very different.

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Poseidon030

I tried to learn Czech, It is very difficult. Polish is easier than Czech Note: My English is very bad.

August 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Yeah, but both are not easy.

August 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/starrynigh603135

great for your challenging!! I'm also studying Czech now, as you know, it is really hard. Especially, as a korea.

If you don't mind, can I ask a question? why did you decide to go to Czech?? to get a job? or to study?

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

My family and I came here just for fun, to try new things.

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Vlad_Lesnievski

Sorry to interrupt. I myself would love to get to know Korean. Is Korean Duolingo course a good option for an utter beginner?

June 30, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ilja...

Wow, für ein junges Alter sind so viele Sprachen wirklich beeindruckend!

February 14, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Aha, wirklich? Danke chesil90! Ich spreche aber nur 5 Sprachen. Die andere sind nur Experimente...

February 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/KatharinaM882088

If I remember right, you, FierceLearner, are very young. So you have better chance to learn a perfect pronounciation. When you are older, that is very hard or almost impossible. Me, I cannot even pronounce my own name correctly: Kateřina

August 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Yes, I am young indeed.

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Yeah. If you think Czech is hard to pronounce, try Polish. I live 3km from the Polish border and man, it's hard. Try counting till 10! It should be something easy like "one, two three" or "uno, dos tres" but no.

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mirokha

I would guess Polish will be easier for you. Their rz is pronounced easier than corresponding ř, and their nasal vowels ą and ę are apparently no problem for a Portuguese-speaker! Even for me (Russian), Polish turned out to be much-much easier after Czech.

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Well, the problem is not the individual sounds, the problem is the succesion of all these wierd sounds.

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mirokha

True. How about comparing Jiří řeže dříví z dřínu, třista řízů za vteřinu and Stół z powyłamywanymi nogami?

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DeniseSchl5

I live really close to the border too. Do they speak "po naszymu" near you? This is the Silesian dialect. I tell people I have to learn Czech, then Polish and then po naszymu which is a blend of Czech, Polish, German and maybe others.

August 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperLearner007

Not really...

February 15, 2019
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