How to be Czech in 10 easy steps – revisited

0.5 of a litre of Gambrinus Czech beer © Ricky Yates

Half a litre of Gambrinus Czech beer © Ricky Yates

Ten months ago, I published a blog post entitled ‘How to be Czech in 10 easy steps‘, based on my experience at that time, of having lived as a cizinec / foreigner in the Czech Republic for nearly four and a half years. To my utter amazement, this post almost immediately went viral. It resulted in the blog getting 2040 visits on 20th February 2013, the day after it was published, and 1034 visits the following day. It took another three weeks before the daily visitor numbers returned to the more normal figure of around fifty.

I found the main reason for this sudden upsurge of visitor numbers in the social media buttons at the end of the post. The number of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ on Facebook rapidly rose from zero, to nearly one thousand, together with numerous ‘tweets’ on Twitter, and ‘shares’ on Google+. The post also got highly rated for some time, on the social news and entertainment website, ‘reddit‘.

Since visitor numbers to my blog returned to more normal levels in mid-March, ‘How to be Czech in 10 easy steps’ has still remained as one of the most popular landing pages for new visitors to the blog. This has coincided with a gradual rise in Facebook ‘likes’ and ‘shares’, to around 1,100.

Then, in the past ten days, ‘How to be Czech in 10 easy steps’, has suddenly gone viral once again. From my blog having 47 visitors on 4th December, it suddenly shot up to 641 visitors the next day, and peaked at 1301 on 7th December. Yesterday, the visitor total was still nearly ten times the normal figure at 422. Once again it has been thanks to publicity, via social media, of this particular post. Even whilst drafting this new post, the number of Facebook ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ it has received, broke through the 2100 barrier!

The original post also attracted 77 comments. I think I am right in saying that this is the largest number of comments on any of the 252 posts here on my blog. In view of the recent upsurge, I suspect there would have been more comments, except for the policy I adopted more than two years ago, of not allowing comments on posts that are more than three months old, in an attempt to help reduce the number of spam comments I have to delete every day. However, real comments are most welcome on this new post 🙂

I really enjoyed reading and replying to all the comments, the original post received. In particular, I appreciated the many English-speaking Czechs, who could recognise what I was describing and were able to laugh and smile about themselves. There were several commenters who thanked me for being positive, rather than negative, about Czech people and their culture. This was always my intention. As I’ve written previously on this blog, I enjoy living here. The main thing I take issue with are the absurdities of Czech bureaucracy, which I know many Czech people get frustrated with too! I have no time for foreigners who constantly complain about living in the Czech Republic. There is a simple answer to their problem – go back to your home country!

Inevitably, there were several additional suggestions as to things I should also have included in my original post. With my first point, ‘Drink beer’, I should really have also added ‘or Kofola’. Kofola is a communist era product that was a substitute for Coca-Cola or Pepsi, which has enjoyed a nostalgic resurgence in recent years. Point 8, ‘Get a dog’, should really have been extended to, ‘or a cat’. And as part of point 7, going out into ‘the nature’, the important autumnal activity of ‘mushrooming’, should certainly have been highlighted.

Inevitably, ever since writing the original post in February, I have been on the look out to observe further examples that confirm what I wrote. I have to say that they are rarely hard to find 🙂 This particularly applies to point 3 of my original blog post, ‘Dress Czech’.

Short skirt © Ricky Yates

Short skirt © Ricky Yates

As I wrote there, ‘In the Czech Republic, you will frequently see a mother and her daughter out walking together, with the daughter pushing a buggy containing her new-born infant. You will then often notice that there is a competition between mother and the new grandma, as to which one has the shorter hemline’.

Two weeks ago, Sybille & I paid our regular Saturday morning visit to the Farmers Market at Vítezné námestí. Afterwards, we stopped off at Bar-Restaurace U topolu, for lunch. Soon after we sat down in the Bar-Restaurant, a three-generation family group came in. There was a toddler in a buggy being pushed by the child’s mother who would have been in her late twenties/early thirties. Behind them came the mother’s parents – grandparents of the toddler. Whilst the mother was in jeans and trainers, the relatively new grandmother was wearing knee-high boots, black tights, and a skirt that finished several centimetres above her knees!

A few days later, we were in another of our favourite haunts, Restaurace Pod Juliskou, when another family group came in and sat on the table next to us, this time without a young child. There was the daughter, again either late twenties or early thirties, together with her parents. Whilst the daughter was wearing what I call the Czech female winter look – spray-on jeans tucked into knee-high boots, together with serious heels, her mother was in a thigh-high woollen mini-dress, teamed with black patent leather knee-high boots!

A week last Tuesday, I attended a follow-up appointment with my dermatologist at Vojenská nemocnice, the Military Hospital, for treatment of another basal cell carcinoma, the commonest and least dangerous form of skin cancer, from which I periodically suffer. In the good Czech fashion of beginning work early in the day, my appointment was for 08.00. I duly arrived at 07.55 to check-in, to be greeted by a receptionist in a short red top that revealed part of her midriff and a serious amount of cleavage. It was a look that her boyfriend or husband would have enjoyed whilst sharing a romantic evening dinner, but not what I really wanted to see at 08.00 in the morning, before having my face attacked with liquid nitrogen!

Also in the past week, whilst leaving the metro and heading towards the escalator, a lady walked straight into me because she was trying read a whole series of notes, whilst walking along at the same time. Point 9 of my original post applies!

Therefore, in view of the continued high level of interest in my observations of how to be Czech, I am working on expanding the original post into a book. I started on the project in August when I took a week of my annual leave and tried to use the time to write. I am hoping to resume writing when I try and take a few days off as my post-Christmas break. In the meantime, there might have to be slightly fewer posts here on my blog 🙂

Update January 2014

In total breach of copyright, Prásk! the online tabloid newspaper belonging to the TV Nova Group, have published an abbreviated and very badly translated version of the original post – a complete act of plagiarism.


47 comments to How to be Czech in 10 easy steps – revisited

  • […] Following a further major upsurge of interest in this post, I’ve just written and posted an update entitled ‘How to be Czech in 10 easy steps- revisited‘. […]

  • The thought of wearing a pelmet-like skirt at any age in a Prague winter makes me shudder, Ricky. This Grandma is much happier in jeans. 🙂

    Good luck with the book. It’s a brave undertaking and I really hope it comes together for you. Blogging is all the writing I feel capable of. 🙂

  • Sean Mccann

    Hi Revd. Yates,
    I just want to say how much I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to each new posting. I hope yourself and your lady wife have a happy and peaceful Christmas and wish you both good health and success in all your endeavours in 2014. Nollaig Shona agus Ath-Bhliain fé Mhaise dhíobh.

    • Ricky

      Hi Sean,
      Thank you so much, for once more leaving a comment here on my blog & for your kind wishes. I shall respond to your much appreciated greeting in Irish Gaelic, by sending you mine using the Celtic language of which I speak a little, following my three years at University in a Welsh-speaking part of Wales. Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda. I note with great interest, the similarity between ‘Nollaig’ & ‘Nadolig’, together with ‘Bhliain’ & ‘Blwyddyn’. 🙂

  • […] How to be Czech in 10 easy steps – revisited »    […]

  • Jarda

    Hi Ricky!
    Great article I enjoyed reading it very much. I’m happy that my country is viewed in such a nice way by outsiders because I have noticed a unsettling phenomenon between my age-equals (20). So many young people thinks Czech is inferior to western states in every way and every time something bad happens (corruption, robbery, badly done job) they say: “What would you expect, we are in the Czech Republic”. Not my case, I’m proud to be Czech and bad things happen everywhere. Articles like these always make me happy.

    Also if you are looking for an inspiration for new article, our Easter Day traditions would certainly seem interesting to foreigners as well as your view on it to Czechs. Also some say Czech ability to make jokes about everything (including tragic events) is something unusual.
    Keep on writing.

    • Ricky

      Hi Jarda & thank you for leaving a comment here.

      If you look at the comments on the original post , you will see that a Czech lady called Anna, actually wrote ‘And thanks for seeing us better than we see ourselves 😉 ‘ I am asked sometimes by young Czech people, why I choose to live here – they are surprised! It is usually those who have either never left the country or if they have, only for a short time. Those who have worked for some time in the UK or spent a year at college in the USA & then come back to the Czech Republic, have a far greater appreciation for their country as you do.

      With regard to inspiration for new articles, I think you mean Czech Easter Monday traditions, (not Easter Day), such whipping young ladies with a pomlázka. And I am also well aware of the Czech black sense of humour 🙂

  • Igor

    Czech tabloid calls your original article “shocking” 🙂 BTW: Did you give them permission? 🙂

    • Ricky

      Hi Igor,

      Very many thanks for the link. I don’t think the publishers have heard of the word ‘copyright’ 🙁 Though I note that several people in the comments section point out where it was stolen from & also point out that I’m not American. Rest assured, I will respond!

  • Jay Bee Master

    Hello Ricky,
    I have been to England for a year and I can say this. If you want to visit England, don’t go to London is it has nothing in common with England (as I was told from a friend, who was a mayor of Newcastle). The very same I can say about the Czech Republic. If you want to visit Czech, for good sake, don’t go to Prague (there are so many other Russians and other, that it is not really Czech). Have you ever hear, well he is “Pražák”, which is not very nice. So rule number one would be, get out of the airport and Prague right away and visit a smaller city like Liberec, Turnov and so on. Or the best thing to do, visit a village like Svijany where the beer is originally brewed. But as I can say, the quality and the taste has gone bad. So a better drink to drink is Kozel a black one especially.

    • Ricky

      Hello Jay Bee & welcome to my blog. I concur with you entirely that London is not England. I originally come from Coventry in the Midlands & then for many years, lived in & around Oxford. In both places, I used to frequently complain about the London-centric nature of newspapers & television.

      Therefore I do understand that Prague is not the Czech Republic but it does happen to be where I live & work. But I do also travel around the whole of the country & if you were to browse around the blog, you will see many posts about the various places I’ve visited. For example, I have been to Liberec . And I do see that you are very Czech as you dislike Russians 🙂 .

      Finally, I was aware that Czech people who are NOT from Prague, can be quite rude towards those that are!

  • Jan

    Not really sure whether this is positive or negative, it is certainly rather true. For Czech person, quite highly interesting to read observation of “foreign” observer. For others an opportunity to compare their myths.

    …I write “myths” because definitely it is always myth – even for us: E.g. Having a weekend house and spend weekends in nature (article 6 and 7) are results of dusking years of communist totality when government wanted to “feed” people with weekend joys out of the city so that they would have less time for politics; you can see this phenomenon all around the former Eastern Bloc. Contrary, the cause of long hair on middle aged men (in article 3) is that having a long hair was a sign of disagreeing with mentioned regime. Overusing of title then probably came from Austro-Hungarian Biedermeier moral… So -as you can see- saying what is a “true Czech nature” would be rather difficult. Rolled by the influences of stronger neighbours and not having much courage nor force of our own, we can still sit in a pub having a beer and make an ironic comment about current dominion – the bless and curse of Czech nation. Still, you can quite maintain to those point if you want to appear to be Czech: Cause even the Czechs don’t really know what they are 😉

    …that is what I wrote as a comment when sharing Your article on Facebook (You can count me in a number of “shares”, although I have shared it not from this very site but via a friend of mine on Facebook – which indicates that the number of shares might be even higher than you have thought! 🙂 )

    PS: The behaviour of “Prásk” tabloid is unacceptable and repugnant.

    • Ricky

      Thank you Jan/Honza for this helpful & thoughtful comment. You are one of many Czech people who have expressed appreciation for my observations as a foreign observer. If you read some of the 77 comments on the original post, you’ll see what I mean.

      I was aware that part of going to the chata or out in ‘the nature’, dated from the Communist era. It was where people felt able to talk more freely. Thank you for the explanation regarding long hair & pony tails on older men. And I am fully aware that many aspects of present-day life & culture in the Czech Republic, have their origins in the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, not least much of Czech bureaucracy 🙁

      The number of Facebook ‘likes’ & ‘shares’ for the original post, now stands at over 4,800 which is totally staggering. Thanks for contributing to them! I concur entirely with you PS regarding the plagiarising of my blog post by “Prásk”. Judging by many of the comments that follow the online plagiarised article, so do many other Czechs.

  • Jan

    Oh, just a revision: I meant to write previous comment under the original post ( That is the one I shared…

    • Ricky

      I do understand Jan/Honza, but you cannot leave a comment there any longer as the post is more than three months old. You left your comment in the correct place!

  • Matysek

    Hello Ricky

    Just wanted to say thank you for making me laugh out loud so much… Great article!!! It’s really nice to read a positive observation of Czechs… Can totally understand why this went viral.. Being Czech myself but living abroad for over 5 years, I simply have to share your observation with my fellow workers and friends, I’m sure they’ll love reading it..

    And please let me know when your book is published, I’d love to have one!!!
    Thanks a lot

    • Ricky

      Hello Matysek,

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad I made LOL! Why not be positive – there is much to admire about being Czech.

      Rest assured, there will be major announcement here once the book is completed & published.

  • Petr

    Ricky, the Czechs are the only Europeans using the official political name for their country in English (the Czech Republic) on all occasions instead of a short geographic name (Czechia – the equivalent of Cesko). And this apparently includes you. But using Czechia would make a lot of sense because it is much more practical and given the fact that all other ‘normal’ countries use short geographic names for non-official purposes. You should definitely consider it. To learn more, please visit:

    • Ricky

      Hello Petr – I do understand that Cesko is a happily accepted abbreviation for ‘the Czech Republic’ when speaking in Czech. And my apologies for the absence of a hácek above the ‘C’ in Cesko and above the ‘c’ in hácek, but for technical reasons beyond my comprehension, it comes out as ‘?’ here on this blog. Whilst I do appreciate the logic behind what you are arguing, Czechia looks & sounds peculiar to me. What I very much dislike is people who say ‘in Czech’ when they mean ‘in the Czech Republic’. As far as I am concerned, ‘in Czech’ means speaking, reading or writing in the language of the Czech Republic.

  • Is it really so big problem to call our country informally as CZECHIA (read checkia) ?! Why all the time that formal, bureaucratic political name “Czech republic”? The history of Czech state (over 1100 years) is much more longer, than the history of republican system in our country. So, use Czechia !!

    • Ricky

      Hi Jan – I’ve approved this comment simply because it follows on from that of Petr. However, whilst this is an interesting linguistic issue, it isn’t really what this post is about.

  • Marcus

    Great job, Ricky!

    It’s been two years since I was accepted to Charles University, where I’ve been studying so far. At first I couldn’t get used to all these habits, but then I got into the habit of taking my shoes off as soon as I get home. Whenever I arrive home in the UK and pay a visit to my parents’ house, I tend to put my shoes in a shoe rack. I wish I could break the habit of doing so! 😀

    • Ricky

      Thanks for the compliment Marcus! I actually think the taking off of shoes on entering a house or flat, makes an awful lot of sense, regardless of which country you’re in. I wouldn’t want to break the habit 🙂

  • […] to be Czech in 10 easy steps‘. As I explained in a follow up post last month, ‘How to be Czech in 10 easy steps – revisited‘, the original post almost immediately went viral resulting in the blog getting 2040 visits, […]

  • aczech

    If you are serious about writing a book, check this one out: Czechs and Balances: A Nation’s Survival Kit by Benjamin Kuras. The author is a Czech expat living in the UK as journalist working for the BBC. I think you would find his insight entertaining and useful.

    • Ricky

      Hi ‘aczech’ – what an original name 🙂 I am serious about writing a book – it is about one third complete. I do know of the book you recommend & read it about three months ago. Many thanks for visiting & leaving a comment.

  • Jana

    Hi Ricky,
    I like your article very much 🙂

    • Ricky

      Thank you Jana! I’m very pleased that so many Czech people have enjoyed my ‘How to be Czech in 10 easy steps’.

  • Helena

    Hi Ricky, I’m wondering how to say “go to the nature” in English in a somewhat more natural way 🙂 Do you have any suggestions? Thanks…

    • Ricky

      Hi Helena,

      You pose a very interesting question. If you read through the comments on the original post, you’ll see that this very question was previously raised. ‘Going out into the countryside’, ‘into the natural environment/habitat’, or simply ‘going outdoors’, have all been suggested but none sound totally natural or right.

      ‘Countryside’, certainly in a British context, conveys the idea of fields & hedgerows and maybe a small amount of woodland – a fairly ordered environment. However, ‘the nature’ in the Czech Republic, is far more open and wild. Only about 10% of the United Kingdom is forested, compared to around 35% in the Czech Republic. Whilst ‘natural environment’ or ‘natural habit’, does convey more of what ‘the nature’ means, it still sounds rather laboured. And ‘going outdoors’ is too general. You can very easily ‘go outdoors’ in Prague or Brno!

      It is for these very reasons that I left ‘going out into the nature’ in my original post, simply because I couldn’t come up with a better expression & it is what I frequently hear from English-speaking Czechs.

  • Luci

    Hi Ricky,
    I laughed at your post a lot. As a Czech living in Prague, I sometimes thought it was exaggerated, but actually, thinking about it a bit deeper…

    1) Yes, I had a beer for lunch today, and my boyfriend drank Kofola (because he needed to stay sober for work, otherwise he would drink beer, too.)
    2) I don’t have a title yet… working on it, hard, because it is something you must have.
    3) Actually, I wore skinny jeans and knee-high boots today. Although with low heels only, since I haven’t yet mastered the art of walking the cobblestone streets in high heel shoes. But I don’t even want to, since I am more of the “nature” type 😉
    As for the long-haired men – I wouldn’t say it is a sign of certain political belief. Czech men often don’t care about their appearance very much, resulting into baggy outfits and this kind of hairstyles. As far as I know, not many girls find it appealing. Personally, I make fun of my boyfriend anytime his hair or beard grow too long 😉
    4)Yes, I absolutely always take off my shoes! And if I don’t, I feel weird about it through all of the visit.
    5)Yep, I spent last week downhill skiing. And crosscountry skiing is up next weekend, so I guess I fit in.
    6) My family doesn’t own any of these, since we have a house with a garden. However, I love these. Their atmosphere is unmistakable and lovely and relaxed, and allows Czechs to switch off the skiny-jeans-high-heels mode and act naturally.
    7) Absolutely. I get nervous when I’m not in “the nature” (I insist on saying that, since I don’t feel “countryside” fitting!) for a longer period of time. Seriously. To me – living in a city, the lack of “nature” feels as inability to ease my mind and relax.
    8) I don’t have a dog, and I don’t even want to. But I often feel like an alien with such belief.
    9) So today, I read on a tram, in a line for a tram, in the subway, on my way home, and I forgot, on the pedestrian crossings as well.
    10) I hugely respect all foreigners who try to learn to speak Czech. Seeing my peers struggling to learn English, a much easier language I’d say, I admire your effort to deal with grammar phenomenons you haven’t met before.

    • Ricky

      Hi Luci,
      Thank you so much for this comment and for your honesty at seeing yourself fitting in with so much of what I described in the original post & in this follow-up one. As so many Czech people have said in response to it, it is in a positive, not negative way, with obviously a little humour thrown in.

      Of course, not everybody fits into all ten points. Whilst a large number of people do either own or have access to, a chata or a chalupa, I acknowledge that there are those who do not. I particularly liked your remark that because you don’t have & don’t want to have a dog, you ‘feel like an alien’. It rather proves my point 🙂

      As I said in response to the comment from Helena, I too quite like the expression ‘the nature’, hence I used it in the original post because I couldn’t come up with a wholly satisfactory alternative. And finally, thank you for your understanding about the difficulties of the Czech language, in comparison to English.

  • As someone who has spent most of her adult life in the Czech Republic, and now misses it a lot, I adored this post, especially as it was inspired by a similar list for how to be German. Germany is another country where I have spent a lot of time. Germans seem to share the Czech pre-occupation with titles. I worked at a school where the Principal had two doctoral titles, and on formal occasions she really and truly was referred to as “Frau Doktor Doktor!” This seems highly amusing to those of us who have spent most of our lives in a culture where we are supposed not only to wear our credentials lightly, but (and this is my little soap-box here) frankly even at times to feel rather ashamed of them. The hostility and aggression towards teachers in recent UK government rhetoric about future educational policy frankly beggars belief….
    But I digress.

    After decades in the Czech Republic, I confess to having become completely and permanently czechified with regard to footwear. I simply cannot wear shoes in the house any more without feeling terribly guilty. If I have to dash fully shod back home to pick up the keys or mobile phone I almost forgot, I am practically looking up through the ceiling waiting for the Angel of Obuv to smite me with a thunderbolt for my transgression. By the same token, however, I err too far on the other side of the footwear spectrum for most Czech tastes, because (I am writing in a whisper here), I often walk around my flat BAREFOOT, which as I discovered when I first married my Czech husband all those centuries ago, is apparently almost worse than wearing shoes in the house. People would practically thrust pairs of slippers in my face at the sight of this outrage.

    But then, let`s face it, no matter how irritating life gets in Czecho, and it does get irritating, there is always the beer to fall back on. I never drank beer at all until I came to live in the Czech Republic, just cider and the very occasional Guinness, but I certainly made up for lost time! Within days of starting a job near Staromestske namesti in 1984 I had worked my way democratically and systematically through every beer brand in the neighbourhood, and even had them ranked in order of preference. Urquell is, of course, the crowned Emperor of beers, but this does not preclude a number of imperial princes. When I returned to the UK in 2012, I joked with my local pub landlord that I was emigrating back to the UK because he had stopped selling draft Breznak, a modest and underestimated beer. Another favourite of mine is Lobkowicz, and then there are the special joys of southern Bohemia, imbibed on canoeing trips – Platan, or Eggenberg. A special delight of my Czech, or rather Moravian Friday nights, was the 18 per cent challenge of Pilsener`s Master beer (I like the dark version myself). One evening the second glass had me so relaxed I was actually nodding off! But the taste…. well if you haven`t tried it you really must.

    And what sophisticated luxury cruise could possibly compete with the sheer recreational, restorative effect of a couple of days at the chata? I suppose the word “priroda” really should be translated “countryside”, but that doesn’t at all convey the full meaning of the Czech word. In English, the word nature is an abstraction, but in Czech it is very much a palpable reality. I can`t wait to get back there.

    • Ricky

      Hi Meira – thank you for this long & welcome comment. Coming from someone who has spent far longer in the Czech Republic than me, I feel highly complimented. Thank you for enlightening me about one issue I was unaware of – that walking around in bare feet in a Czech home is unacceptable. I stand duly warned to ensure I am not guilty of this transgression in the future 🙂 However, when I am offered slippers, I find that they almost never fit as my size 11 (UK)/ Size 46 (CZ) feet, seem to be larger than the vast majority of Czech men!

  • richardinprague

    Hello again Rev. Ricky!

    I discovered your original blog after following a link from “praguepig”, which may account for your recent upsurge in interest. I found my way to this updated blog from your own original blog.

    Ricky, it’s brilliant – well done! I wish you all the best for the book (E-book) which I look forward to 🙂

    Yes, I’d definitely include mushrooming. In former years a holiday in Croatia would have been included, but I’m not sure it’s done to the same extent any longer.

    Personally, the one I am really struggling with is your No.10 (Speak Czech)! I am able to make myself understood 90% of the time, but I don’t always understand the reply. I also have a problem with the long hair (your No.3), as I am follicly challenged, but during my weekends at the chalupa I can manage as scruffy a 7 o’clock shadow as the typical Czech man. Regarding the sportif question (No.5), I don’t always enjoy being dragged from my bed at 5.30am to head off for the swimming pool, but I must admit it does feel better afterwards – and I feel very righteous about it, too!

    All the best to you, as ever, and please keep us posted on the progress of your book.


    • Ricky

      Thank you Richard. is just one of numerous sites & individuals who have given recent publicity to the original post, & has resulted in new comments here on the follow-up post. You cannot leave comments on the original as it is more than three months old. However, the massive upsurge in interest in the past couple of weeks has been due to the website of the Czech tabloid newspaper Prásk, publishing in Czech, a completely plagiarised version of ‘How to be Czech in 10 easy steps’. See .

      I think your additional suggestion of having a holiday in Croatia, still applies. When we went to Croatia for two weeks in July 2009, several people told us how ‘Czech’ we were being 🙂

      Yes – speaking Czech is the one I struggle with too. You do have the major advantage of being married to your personal tutor. As for being follicly challenged, I’ve seen numerous Czech men who are fairly bald on top, still having some long strands of hair from around the sides and the back of their heads, tied up in a pony tail. It can be done! But quite clearly you fulfil nearly all the other requirements so I think you are well on your way to being Czech 🙂

      Thanks for the good wishes for the forthcoming book. Rest assured that I’ll keep you updated with progress.

  • Kamila

    Great article Ricky and thank you for the positive light (as I read a few blogs that were a little derogatory).

    You seem like you have the culture figured out quite well! Good luck with your book! Looking forward to reading it!

    You’ve probably already read this, but just in case you haven’t, I thought it was a lovely story and description of the culture.

    All the best,


    • Ricky

      Hi Kamila – glad you enjoyed the article & thank you for taking the trouble to leave a comment. Yes – I do see most Czech people in a positive light. Like you, I’ve seen a few blogs & forums with nothing but derogatory comments. No one forces the expats who write them, to live here. Instead of complaining, they should just go back to their own home countries.

      I have already read the book you recommend & have a copy sitting on my bookshelf. I’m glad to know that you’re looking forward to reading mine!

  • Prazak

    Hi Ricky, I enjoyed reading your article and all those comments. It is great for improving English as there are several facts that are frequently discussed with foreigners and which was hard to describe for me. Now I finally know how native English speaker says “chalupa”!
    Just in one point I must disagree – we don´t use “four genders and seven cases” in Czech as you wrote. Just 3 genders – he, she, it. But it´s true that male gender has two “sub-genders”: zivotny – nezivotny, living – not living (and it is not that simple as “if it is breathing it is living”!).
    And because this comment is not positive I owe you a beer! 🙂
    best regards David
    P.S. Please add here a button “I want to buy the 10 steps book immediately upon finishing”.

    • Ricky

      Hi David/Prazak,

      I’m glad to know you enjoyed the original article and the discussion running through all the comments. I’m also very pleased to contribute towards improving your English! My reason for saying that there are four genders in Czech is for the very reason you then go on to explain. In Czech there is masculine, feminine, neuter and masculine inanimate. Some people try to explain masculine inanimate as a ‘sub-gender’ but in reality, it is a separate gender! Having said that, I look forward to meeting you sometime & will happily accept the promised beer 🙂

      I like your idea of the book button. I’ll talk to my internet savvy wife & see if we can incorporate it into the blog.

  • Prazak

    Hi again, I intuitively have a strong feeling that genders are only three. I am sure that not “some people” but all all native Czech speakers feel it the same way. But OK, when I try to imagine I am learning Czech as a foreigner, masculine inanimate may appear as 4th one in reality 🙂 BTW – you taught me again a new term ‘inanimate’ – I am a complete self-taught so I don´t know proper grammatical terms.
    You also have some difficulties in English which sounds completely insane to me. Especially those things about past tense (conjugations?) like ‘I have had the experience…’, or I should have known better… Gee!
    BTW – I think you underrated ‘mushrooming’ – this is really a special phenomenon here. Czech language knows many species of mushrooms while in English is only a general term ‘mushroom’ and names of particular mushroom species are in Latin and are known only by specialist.
    Regarding that book button – yes, at least I could be a good starting position in negotiations with publishers about your upcoming bestseller!
    OK, you have my email so write me please so we may enjoy that beer I owe you together. regards David

    • Ricky

      Hi again David! It is obviously a question of how you choose to define ‘gender’ but, as you kindly acknowledge, to a foreigner there does appear to be four genders, masculine animate, masculine inanimate, feminine & neuter. I’m glad to have taught you a new word. ‘Masculine inanimate’ is how the so-called ‘fourth gender’ is referred to in books written to help English-speakers learn Czech.

      I do appreciate that my native language has its own peculiarities, such as those you describe. But it is possible, with a vocabulary of around 600 words, to speak English badly but still be understood by a native speaker. I wish I could say the same for Czech 🙂

      I am in no way underrating ‘mushrooming’ – three different Czech people raised the issue in comments on the original post. I’m also aware that the Czech language knows many species of mushrooms as the names of several of them turn up on menus at bar-restaurants where my wife & I sometimes eat.

      I will try & sort out the book button in the next few days. However, I have no intention of trying to negotiate with a traditional publisher. The book will be self-published via Amazon & Createspace. An email about that promised beer, will follow.

  • Although I find this article (and the original one) particularly funny, I’m so afraid of the people without any sense of humor. I, too, don’t agree with all of these things, but I can see why foreigners see them and think of them as the basics of a Czech person. Maybe it’s all because of what environment I am most of the time… cause when I think of it, Czech people do dress awfully, beer is NOT an alcoholic beverage, we do go out to ‘the nature’ for rest a lot… Some of these things are really flattering to me… dogs, books, sports, weekends. I never realized that it is weird to read. I read most of the time on my way, no matter where I am. And OF COURSE I can read and walk! 🙂 But even though I travelled quite a lot in my life, I have never thought that it could appear as something Czech to a stranger.
    Also I’m so used to taking my shoes off and changing to home clothes, that I have problems imagining doing otherwise… I still think we could invest to a new pair of home pants every now and then:D That stereotypical old man with loose home sweats is unfortunately so true.
    But still I can’t get over the skirts… it’s just… do I not see it? I mean… yeah, I see women dressing in awful stuff and so, but is it so bad, that you notice it and include it in a list of a true Czech-ness? :/

    • Ricky

      Hi LadyCanth – Welcome to my blog & thank you for leaving this detailed comment. I’m glad you found both this & the original article particularly funny. That was always my intention. Of course all ten points don’t apply to every Czech person, but I’m pleased to hear that you identify with many of them. And yes – most of the points are also meant to be positive, especially some of those you mention such as being physically active, enjoying being in ‘the nature’ and having a love of reading. I also think the custom taking your shoes off as you enter a home makes an awful lot of sense too!

      With regard to short skirts, I didn’t necessarily say it was bad as most Czech ladies have the figure to wear them, though you do see a few who ought not to be doing so. And from my observation, you do see them with greater frequency here in the Czech Republic than in other European countries.