A difficult language overall that has some easy parts
Around the end of this month, I will, if all goes to plan, start a several week long trip in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. To prepare I am working a little bit with Czech this month. I want to give my first impressions of the language at this point.
Writing, Reading, and Pronunciation
It is difficult for me to put into words how much easier a language is when you don’t have to worry about learning a new alphabet. I experienced this for a long time learning Mandarin Chinese and then switching to some Spanish writing. It really is helpful that Czech uses a version of the same alphabet as English.
Short and long vowels have been a slight difficulty. In Czech, an accent on a vowel like this [á é í] means that the vowel is pronounced for a breath longer than the same vowels without an accent.
Of course, a challenge of any Slavic language is dealing with the consonant clusters. I find that pronouncing a bunch of consonants together is something you get used to after a while.
The best news is that the pronunciation of Czech seems to be almost entirely phonetic, which helps with reading, even if I don’t understand the words all the time.
Learning words in Czech do not seem to be that much of an issue. There are handfuls of words that appear to have some roots from Latin or Germanic languages.
Learning vocabulary has not been all that difficult for me.
I knew from my experience working with Russian for just a tiny bit in the past that grammar is the big tough part of learning Slavic languages. Czech seems to be no exception. There are some grammar difficulties. There are cases. The present tense of verbs seems to be straightforward. I have a little bit of trouble with the other tenses at this point. I need to look at some more examples and do some more research.
Czech, to me, is by no means an easy language. It is not the most difficult language that I have ever worked with. A lot of the parts of Czech are not that tough. The grammar, like other Slavic languages, is the most difficult part for me so far.
If 1 is the easiest, I give Czech a
6/10 for difficulty.