Language and visitors

Stará Oleška from the hills above Huntírov © Ricky Yates

There are two questions I am regularly asked in comments on this blog, by email, or on Facebook. One is, ‘Are there many English-speakers where you’re now living?’ The other is, ‘Does the area get many visitors?’ This post is my attempt to answer both these questions.

Stará Oleška has had many visitors over the five months I’ve now lived here. This is because the village is home to three camping & caravan sites – Autokempink Ceská Brána, Autokemp Aljaška and Camp Pod lesem; and two pensions – Pension Vyhlídka and Penzion Rosalka. Many of those who come are Czech, from right across the country. But there are also many foreign . . . → Read More: Language and visitors

Why adding the letter ‘y’ is so funny

Hot dogy anyone? 🙂 © Ricky Yates

Right from the beginning of my time spent living and working in the Czech Republic, one of the things that has constantly amused me, is seeing an English word on a shop, an advertising hoarding, or in a menu, with the letter ‘y’ added to the end of the word. For example – a sports shop advertising that it sells ‘Snowboardy’ and ‘Skateboardy’.

There is a simple explanation as to why this occurs – adding the letter ‘y’ to the end of a noun, is the most common way in Czech, to make a word plural. It is the virtual equivalent of adding the letter ‘s’ in English, so that ‘snowboard’, becomes ‘snowboards’.

However, very few of even the most fluent English-speaking Czechs, understand why ‘snowboardy’ and ‘skateboardy’ . . . → Read More: Why adding the letter ‘y’ is so funny

Last Sunday evening in Dresden

The River Elbe in Dresden with the Frauenkirche beyond © Ricky Yates

Last Sunday evening, one week later than usual, I officiated at the English-language Anglican Service of Evening Prayer, hosted by the Frauenkirche in Dresden. At the beginning of the service, I welcomed all those attending, explained who I am, and then made three announcements.

The first was to apologise that, once more, my troublesome front crown, having managed to stay in place for the three previous months, had again become loose and then fallen out on Sunday morning. Besides making me look goofy, this also meant that speaking publicly was difficult as numerous speech sounds are made by putting your tongue to your front teeth and it is therefore somewhat difficult to be articulate, if there is a big gap 🙁

Secondly, I thanked everyone for attending, being very aware . . . → Read More: Last Sunday evening in Dresden

Getting over the ‘ová’

Advert for the new book by that drunk British author called J. K. Rowlingová – ‘J. K. Rolling over’ 🙂 © Ricky Yates

One of the complications of the Czech language, is that nouns have different endings according to their gender and the case being used. As consequence, nearly all Czech females, have a surname that is slightly different from, and longer than, the surname of their father or husband, from which it is derived. In most cases, this occurs by the addition of ‘ová’ onto the end of the male surname.

The obvious example to illustrate this point, is the now-retired, famous Czech tennis player Martina Navrátilová. Martina’s step-father, who married her mother when she was six, is Miroslav Navrátil. She took his name and thus is Martina Navrátilová. There are some exceptions to this rule, which arise when the male surname ends in a . . . → Read More: Getting over the ‘ová’

Liberec

Liberec Town Hall © Ricky Yates

The city of Liberec is situated 110 km north-east of Prague, quite close to the border of the Czech Republic with both Germany and Poland. Known in German as Reichenberg, it lies within the former Sudetenland and had a majority German-speaking population until the vast majority were expelled in 1945-6, at the end of the Second World War.

We paid our first visit to Liberec on my day-off four weeks ago, Monday 8th October. The chief reason for our trip was to visit Liberec Zoo, which is home to a pair of rare White Bengal Tigers, who earlier this year, successfully produced three tiger cubs.

Liberec Zoo is located in a leafy suburb east of the city centre. It has the distinction of being the oldest zoo in the Czech Republic, having been founded in 1919, well before . . . → Read More: Liberec