New to Czech
I am new to learning Czech and enjoy it very much.
I have been collecting the postage stamps of Czechoslovakia for the last few years and want to be able to read the inscriptions and also pieces of mail that I will add to my collection as I near completion of the stamps.
I will travel to the Czech Republic this year at some point, visiting Prague and probably Liberec.
I learned a bit of Ukrainian over the years and there are some similarities that have helped me with Czech so far.
Any hints from experienced Czech speakers and learners about acquiring the language and maximizing the app are welcomed.
Just buy a phrase book and learn some of the expressions. There is no way you will master you are not familiar with without speaking, reading and listening practice.
i would not seriously worry about conversations in czech later this year. that is beyond reach; do it only for amusement.
to relate your stamp studies to what you may pick up on duolingo, other than google translate, you could try the search engine at ÚJČ.
ETA: i agree with the recommendation to get the Naughton book. he is not entirely clear on non-standard vs. colloquial czech, but that is a minor problem for his intended audience. have a good look in this discussion to save yourself some googling and more.
i would not seriously worry about conversations in czech later this year. that is beyond reach
I wouldn't be too quick to set limits for what people can achieve. Czech is not that hard in the great scheme of things, and much can be done in a short time by a dedicated learner. Moreover, Jon says he has some Ukrainian, which will at least give him a conceptual head start, if not much real help with the nitty-gritty.
For we all know, Jon may be a genuine language genius, or may be planning to totally immerse himself in all things Czech for the next year. I'd say a basic conversation on a topic he has prepped vocabulary for (e.g. stamp collecting) is eminently do-able in 12 months, provided the work is done.
@Jon - Hi, have a browse on Google for an affordable copy of Czech: An Essential Grammar by James Naughton. It'll be vital to supplement your Duolingo studies with a solid framework of good old-fashioned grammar, as its articulated skeleton will let you flesh out sentences in conversation with greater confidence all the sooner.