If you're trying to learn the Czech Alphabet you will find some useful resources including a course about pronunciation, and sound of all letters... to help you with your Czech grammar. Try to concentrate on the lesson and memorize the sounds. Also don't forget to check the rest of our other lessons listed on Learn Czech. Enjoy the rest of the lesson!
Learning the Czech alphabet is very important because its structure is used in every day conversation. Without it, you will not be able to say words properly even if you know how to write those words. The better you pronounce a letter in a word, the more understood you will be in speaking the Czech language.
Below is a table showing the Czech alphabet and how it is pronounced in English, and finally examples of how those letters would sound if you place them in a word.
|Czech Alphabet||English Sound||Pronunciation Example|
|A a||u||u like in the word fun|
|Á á||a||a like in the word father|
|B b||b||b like in the word bat|
|C c||ts||ts like in the word bits|
|Č č||ch||ch like in the word chat|
|D d||d||d like in the word dog|
|Ď ď||dy||dy sound like 'du' in duel|
|E e||e||e like in the word red|
|É é||ai||ai like in the word pair|
|Ě ě||ye||ye like in the word yes|
|F f||f||f like in the word far|
|G g||g||g like in the word gap|
|H h||h||h like in the word hot|
|CH ch||ch||ch like in the word loch|
|I i||i||i like in the word fit|
|Í í||ee||ee like in the word bee|
|J j||y||y like in the word yes|
|K k||k||k like in the word kit|
|L l||l||l like in the word lip|
|M m||m||m like in the word mat|
|N n||n||n like in the word nut|
|Ň ň||ny||ny sound like 'n' in onion|
|O o||o||o like in the word hot|
|Ó ó||oo||oo like in the word door|
|P p||p||p like in the word pin|
|R r||r||r like in the word rat|
|Ř ř||rž||rž sound like 'rg' in bourgois|
|S s||s||s like in the word sun|
|Š š||sh||sh like in the word ship|
|T t||t||t like in the word top|
|Ť ť||ty||ty sound like 'tu' in tune|
|U u||u||u like in the word push|
|Ú ú||oo||oo like in the word fool|
|Ů ů||oo||oo like in the word fool|
|V v||v||v like in the word vat|
|Y y||i||i like in the word bit|
|Ý ý||ee||ee like in the word bee|
|Z z||z||z like in the word zip|
|Ž ž||zh||zh sound like 's' in treasure|
|Qq, Ww, Xx||in foreign words only|
You saw how a letter is written and might be pronounced, but there is nothing better than hearing the sound of the letters in a video or audio. Below you will be able to hear how the letters above are pronounced, just press the play button:
Written Czech is based on Latin alphabet. As a result of several reforms, an “Extended Latin” alphabet was established, with strong emphasis on straightforwardness. Some Latin characters exist in two variants, i.e. hard and soft consonants s and š (like in sine/shine) or short and long vowels o and ó (like in cost / door). Czech spelling is almost purely “phonetical”, i.e. one character represents one sound. For instance ř is always written and pronounced the same way, no matter what comes prior or after it in the word.
There are only few spelling exceptions from this simple system:
i/y both are pronounced the same, like in disk, kid, whip. Accented í/ý is pronounced longer, like in speed, wheel, sleep. After hard consonants (h, ch, k, r, d, t, n), only y/ý follows. After soft consonants (ž,š, č, ř, ť, j, ď, ť, ň), only i/í follows. After “ambidexters” (b, f, l, m, p, s, v, z), usually i/í follows, but there are cca 100 so called Memorable Words (+ all other words derived from these) where y/ý follows.
je/ě – both pronounced the same, like in yellow, yetti. Normally, je is used where the sound j is a part of the word stem, such as boj/boje (fight/fights) , while ě is used in grammatical affixes or where a non-j stem is being changed, such as zpívat/zpěvák (to sing/singer).
mě/mně – both pronounced m-nye. The 3rd and 6th case of the pronoun já is spelled mně, while the 2nd and 4th case of same is spelled mě. Again, this sound in words derived from an m-n based stem is spelled mně, such as vzpomínat/vzpomněl (to remember/he remembered).
As you can see from the above, these exceptions can be either painfully memorised, or a throughout knowledge of Czech etymology is required. However, making a mistake or even a string of mistakes in these have very little negative impact on intelligibility.
The alphabet and its pronunciation have a very important role in Czech. Once you're done with Czech alphabet, you might want to check the rest of our Czech lessons here: Learn Czech. Don't forget to bookmark this page.
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