Thursday, July 14, 2005

Moje Čeština je kostrabata...

"My Czech is bumpy..."

This is a phase that I learned from a Czech friend of mine four years ago when I was here. I only know it because he was trying to tell me that his English was bumpy. It has proved to be a useful phrase to know.

I know hardly any Czech. I can ask for a couple of things and I can understand the gist of some conversations, but I am barely scraping by this summer. Let me give you an example of what a Czech hears when they talk to me.

This is what I imagine a conversation with me is like. It is translated into English because I don't know Czech and you probably don't either.

Hotel Receptionist: "Hotel Babi Vrch. How can I help you?"

Nate: "Good day."

HR: "Good day. How can I help you?"

Nate: "Uh, five...evening...uh...uh...evening...18:30..."

HR: "Do you have a reservation?"

Nate (hearing word that sounds like reservation): "Yes, reservation."

HR: "Do you have one or do you need one."

Nate (hearing the word one): ""

HR: "So you'll be here tonight at 18:30 and you need a reservation..."

Nate: "Yes...18:30...evening...reservation...Nathan Hughes...uh..."

HR: "What?"

Nate: "What?"

HR: "Do you need a reservation or do you have one?"

Nate: " understand..."

HR: "Do you need a reservation or do you have one?"

Nate (really confused now): "No understand...uh...goodbye..." (Nate hangs up)

Team (now in English): "So did you make sure that we have the reservation?"

Nate: "Sure did!"

This is typical of my summer. So far we've always had a place to stay and only Ashley and I have gotten on the wrong train once and we still managed to make it to where we going on time...

On the flip side, I was able to form a successful sentence today. I asked a woman at Tesco (similar to Wal-Mart), "Where is the Milka without sugar?" She responded, "Coffee without sugar?" I said, "No, chocolate." She understood and took me there.

It was a small victory, but I was very excited...


Bigchumpito said...

Hey! I know exactly what you mean. it reminds me asking for chap stick but I ended up asking for lipstick, very embarassing.

Sniper Of Yamhill said...

I have found you blog to be very intresting, keep up the good work.

God bless

The Sniper of Yamhill

Adrienne Gibson said...

Your little story made me laugh at work. Persisting in another country with another language takes a lot of dedication. You are AWESOME!!!! Thanks for the funny story.