New Feature: Audio Clips

I’m very pleased to announce the addition of something folks have been asking for since I first started this site: audio clips. This addition is thanks to the generosity of Pavel Farkas, who volunteered to produce the audio clips and supply them to me in a web-ready format. Not only do I owe him a debt of gratitude for all the work he did to make this happen, I owe him an apology for taking so long to update the site with the new feature. Thank you Pavel!

At the moment there are a couple of browser requirements for hearing the audio: Flash and JavaScript. The sound clips are triggered by the jPlayer plugin for jQuery, and it uses an invisible Flash clip for playback. I’m very interested in hearing feedback from any users who find that this doesn’t work, or find that these browser requirements interfere with their enjoyment of the site.

Thanks again to Pavel, and I hope everyone enjoys the new feature.

Conjugate this!

I’m very pleased to announce a new feature on The Little Czech Primer: verb conjugations! You’ll now find that for many verbs, a full present-tense conjugation is available. This was entirely made possible through the generous contributions of the members of‘s Grammar & Pronunciation forum, specifically this thread. I’m already getting corrections, so I’ll push those through as soon as I can.

Site Changes

Friends of the Little Czech Primer will notice some changes around here. Beside the new look for this page, I’ve made major changes to all other parts of the site. Most of the changes are behind the scenes: the site is database-driven now (finally), and I’ve resturctured the word pages so that the URLs are a little more friendly. I’m also trying to use properly encoded accented Czech characters everywhere I can. The index is a good example of that change.

I’ve also added some notation about parts of speech, and you can easily switch how you want to browse words by clicking the controls: Nouns to browse nouns, to browse verbs, to browse adjectives, and to browse all if them together.

If anyone is having technical difficulties with the new format, please drop me a line or post a comment here. Now it’s time to get back to some updates!


As I should preface with every entry: I’m a student of Czech, not an expert. So I’m always grateful for help, advice, and corrections. I received one recently from Darja who pointed out that I left the acute accent off the Y in Celý and Růžový (hey, what do you know: I’m the 7th result in Google for a search on ‘Růžový’). I’ve corrected the offending images.

Then Darja asks, “Actually, do you know, how to pronounce these words;-)?” Ouch! Sadly, it’s not so simple for those of us just learning. The mistake is probably as offensive to Czech eyes an ears as it would be to an English speaker if someone misspelled gripe as grip and expected everyone to understand them. But to those of us still learning, the difference between mleko and mléko is subtle, and it’s hard to understand how one word could be meaningless and one could be milk.

Update: Sorry the special characters aren’t coming through in the last couple of posts. Moveable Type seems to have changed the way it handles accented characters in the last upgrade, and I’ll need some time to sort it out. Turns out Moveable Type has improved the way they handle character encoding, but my template was specifying it incorrectly. Looks better now.

Rumors of my demise…

If it wasn’t bad enough that I haven’t updated this site in… well, ages, The Little Czech Primer was down for several days because of a domain registration snafu. Yes, I’m still here, despite the lack of updates. I’ve been busy lately with my new baby girl, who turned 1 this summer. She has a talent for taking up all my time, and for pressing that big round button on the front of the computer when she gets near it.

But tell you what, if there are any faithful Czech Primer fans still out there, or even if you’re a new visitor here, let’s get the ball rolling again: Post a comment here with your favorite difficult Czech word. It might be the one that you find hardest to pronounce, or the one that you never can seem to remember. I’ll pick from those and post some new entries.

Blog changes

As you can see, I’m working on changes to this log. Blogger was giving me too many problems, and those problems were preventing me from sorting out the issue with the comments. So I gave up and migrated to Moveable Type, which looks to be a vast improvement. Installation and migration from Blogger was flawless. Now I just have to work on the template, so we can have something like we had before.


I’m playing around with a comments system. Technical difficulties may occur [Will occur. Continue to occur. Must be some change my host made to the PHP configuration. I can’t hide the problem because Blogger won’t load a new template file. Sorry for the mess!].

Belated Thanks

I am remiss in not thanking those of you who wrote in to help me out with the ‘hen party’ phrase. Katerina wrote the very next day with the suggestion “Divci Jizda,” or “girls’ ride,” meaning a women-only party(not necessarily pre-wedding). She added that in Czech referring to woman as a hen (“slepice”) would be very unwelcome. Martin suggested also “Damska Jizda,” which sounds like it has a more mature sound to it. Both suggested “Panska Jizda” for the masculine equivalent. Katerina also said that there is a pre-wedding tradition of “Zapijeni Svobody,” which she translated as “drinking one’s freedom away, or washing one’s freedom down,” but that it’s usually a male tradition (surprise surprise). Thanks to both Katerina and Martin for the help!

Hen Party?

I just had a request to translate the phrase “hen party” into Czech. I had to reply that unfortunately I don’t speak Czech well enough to charge for translations (or even suggest them without much research). But I was intrigued, partly because I’d never even heard the phrase “hen party” before. settled that quickly enough, but now I wonder if there’s such a phrase in Czech?