Learning Czech–One day at a time – Jordyn in Wanderlust

Czech is a hard language. I’m are harder languages but coming from someone who has tried to learn french, german, and swedish…czech is hard. 

I don’t take a class–yet– but I am still always learning things. How? Little things like this:

The morning that I was supposed to go to Vienna, I still needed to get a paper notarized. Frantically running around downtown to find the notary office, I ran into the place I was advised to go to. 

“The first door on the right” she had said. Ok, I thought as I marched in there and grabbed my number. It immediately dinged announcing that someone was ready for me. I approached the glass window and handed her my papers and the attached sticky note that explained what I needed in czech. 

After a moment of the woman looking over my paperwork, she pushed it back to me and shook her head. She rambled some czech and pointed into the next room. “Děkuju” (Thank you) I mumbled as I hurried out of the room and into the next. 

Again, pulling a number and immediately hearing the ding, I rushed over to the next window. The same series of events happened. More rapid czech and pointing.

This time hoping for some answers on where to go I decided to speak up and say “Nemluvite česky” (What I thought was “I don’t speak czech”). What ever I said had clearly taken her aback, her sassy response of “NE! Ja mluvim česky, Nemluvite česky” startled me as she shoved my papers under the glass along with a slip of paper telling me in english where to go. 

In that moment it dawned on me, mluvite is “You speak”, while “Mluvim” is “I speak”. I had been telling people for months that they don’t speak czech. How embarassing! 

Have you ever had an embarassing language ordeal?

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