1:37 pm

Czechs and Other Languages

I usually ask my students if they speak other languages (besides Czech and English). Almost all of them speak German, and there’s a smattering of other Slavic languages such as Slovenian or Croatian or Polish, and an occasional other language. Absolutely no one volunteers a knowledge of Russian: I always have to ask, "Didn’t you study Russian in school?", and the reluctant "yes" comes back.

While doing my TEFL course, we had a movie night one night and we saw Kolya. Before the movie, our Czech instructor directed us to notice not just the portrayal of life in the Czech Republic in the waning days of the Communist era, but also the thinly veiled hostility of Czechs towards Russians. Apparently, even 18 years past the Velvet Revolution, that hostility is still present.

None of my students has claimed much knowledge of French, and they are frequently impressed that I speak the language. French, they assure me, is a hard language: the pronunciation is so difficult.

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