Strč prst skrz krk

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Czech may be the language of most of my ancestors, but unfortunately my grandmother decided to not teach a single word of it to my father, so I am isolated from this potential facet of my cultural heritage. A recent visit to Prague has revealed that most of the language is a total mystery to me. Even after acquiring a few of the quintessential words necessary for survival (e.g. vepřové pečeně), the pronunciation is still something of a challenge. It's not so much the numerous diacritics on the consonants, it's more that the language seems to rely much less on vowels and that the consonants appear in perfectly tongue-splitting combinations, such as in Plch zdrhl skrz drn, prv zhltl hrst zrn or in the sentence that serves as the title for this blog entry and which seems to be famous enough to even have its own wikipedia entry.

They all speak English too. I'm not surprised, considering how many tourists they have to cater for. It would have been fun to hear more of these tourists twisting their tongues while trying to utter something in Czech, but none of them (except myself) did. Cowards. Not that anybody understood much of what I was trying to say, and I also gave up soon enough. I did get the vepřové pečeně and the pivo though.

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"Stick your finger through your throat", "Dormouse took off through the grass, ate a handful of grain", "roast pork" and "beer". Now, do I get to have Carl Kassel's voice on my answering machine? The roast pork sounds good, btw, and why would one need vowels when one has such wonderful consonants?

But seriously, when I was in Prague two years ago, I apparently chose the only couple in the whole city who didn't speak English to ask directions. (I had left my tourist group and gone back to the river to take pictures of bridges.) But they spoke German. So after puzzling over my map and theirs, they told me in German which bridge we were at, and how to get back to my group. I thanked them and ran across the street. The man ran after me and told me they had changed their mind about where we were and the way to go was a little different. I thanked him again and ran wherever running was possible and arrived back with about one second to spare.

And that's the only time in my life where someone ran after me to tell me they had inadvertantly given me wrong directions.

K-a-s-e-l-l, sigh.

What? Did this blog get stuck somehow because nobody liked my comment? That’s okay; I don’t like Carl Kasell either. Very much, I mean; if I did I would know how to spell his name! New comment: “It’s a wonder people can communicate at all with such a language….”

I was kidding, Horst; - well half kidding anyway, just trying to be playful ;-) Sorry about the writer's block....hope it proves short lived.

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