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Czech is a West Slavic language which, because of its social, historical, and political ties, is linguistically similar to other Central European languages like Slovak, Polish, and Serbian. If you’re interested in Slavic languages, Czech is an excellent starting point! The language is spoken as a mother tongue by around 11 million people worldwide, most of whom live in the Czech Republic. Here, 98% of the population are native Czech speakers, so if you want to learn Czech, the Republic is the place to be! There are also large enclaves of Czech speakers in Croatia, Austria, and Romania - where it is recognised as a minority language - and in the United States. In fact, in some US states like Texas, Nebraska, and Minnesota, it’s still spoken at home by between 2 and 5 percent of the population, and this heritage is celebrated with a selection of annual cultural festivities.
Our immersive Czech courses are offered in Prague, a global Alpha City that’s famed for its beautiful architecture, its rich history, and its myriad interesting attractions. Here you’ll stay with your teacher and learn first-hand about Czech culture and customs while you improve your language skills. You’ll be studying on a one-to-one basis in one of the world’s most exciting capital cities, so you’ll progress rapidly and soon be speaking like a local.
As you’ll discover when you attend our Czech courses, language is strongly linked to national identity in the Czech Republic. Under the Habsburg Empire, Czech was actively eradicated from government administration, literature, and state education and was replaced by German. Hundreds of thousands of Czech books were burned in a systematic stamping out of Czech culture, and a huge proportion of the country’s literate elite fled persecution, taking their language with them. After almost two hundred years, several influential figures worked together to revive their mother tongue in what would later become known as the Czech National Revival. As the language began being used again, Czech culture flourished, and institutions like the National Theatre and the National Museum were established in the capital to celebrate Czech history, art, and customs.
By this point, Czech had fallen out of use everywhere except the remote rural areas. This meant that considerable work was needed to develop and standardise the language. Instrumental to the Revival movement were figures like Josef Jungmann, who used the medieval Bible of Kralice as his basis for formulating ‘perfect’ Czech. This caused a disparity between the simpler form spoken by the peasantry - today referred to as ‘Common’ or ‘Colloquial’ Czech - and the newly revived form, which was used in government administration, the media, and all formal communication, i.e. ‘Standard Czech’. Over time, the Institute of the Czech Language has made amendments to Standard Czech to bridge this gap, and now the differences between the two forms are minimal. ‘Common’ Czech is largely just a less formal register, with a few differences in vocabulary and verb conjugation compared to the formal standard. When you learn Czech with us, you’ll study the standard form but will have plenty of exposure to colloquial speech, since it’s widely used between friends and families, in shops and restaurants, and in most informal situations. The knowledge you’ll gain from learning both forms will give you a well-rounded understanding of the language and its usage, and help you to converse naturally regardless of the setting.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for further details of our language schools and the packages available.