Speaking Czech Fluently

How to Learn to Speak Czech Fluently

This website is about how to learn to speak Czech fluently.

It isn’t aimed at professional linguists or advanced Czech speakers.

It is more aimed at people with some basic knowledge of Czech, who want to get to the point where they feel comfortable with the language.

Now on YouTube!

You can now go to my YouTube channel to hear more about learning Czech.

Here is an example of one of the video you will find there:

Just a Regular Guy

Hello, my name is Anthony Lauder. I am an Englishman, living in the beautiful city of Prague, in the Czech Republic.

Please understand that I am not a language guru. I am not even a teacher. I am just a regular guy who struggled to learn a language, until he hit on a few things that helped.

Maybe some of those things can help you too.

Feel free to contact me: anthony@anthonylauder.com

Struggling in a Language

You’ve probably heard stories of people who studied a language for years, and still struggled to order a coffee or buy a newspaper.

Well, not only have I heard of people like that, I was one of them myself.

It usually went something like this:

Shop assistant: “Hello, can I help you?”

Me: “Urm … urm … no thanks.”

Shop assistant: “Well, <gibberish> and <gibberish>, ok?”

Me: “Urm … I don’t speak Czech very well.”

… as I rushed out of the door too embarrassed to ever return.

Now, I am not talking about my first few days in the country here. I studied Czech for about two years, and still couldn’t say anything worth saying.

And Dreaming of Speaking Fluently

What I missed was fluency. I wanted the conversations to flow. I wanted them to go more like this:

Shop assistant: “Hello, can I help you?”

Me: “Thank you for asking, but for now I am just looking.”

Shop assistant: “Well, <gibberish> and <gibberish>, ok?”

Me: “Sorry, but to tell you the truth, I don’t speak Czech very well. Do you think that you could possibly repeat that more slowly?”

Shop assistant: “Yes, of course. Take all the time you need, and I will be over there, ok?”

Me: “That is very kind of you. Now that I think about it, can you tell me where the adventure books are?”

… and for the conversation to keep going like this for as long as we both wanted.

From Stumbling to Fluent

So, how was I going to get from stumbling in Czech to fluency in Czech?

Since the methods I had been using in from textbooks and in language classes weren’t helping much, I had to come up with a few techniques of my own.

Anthony Lauder's Approach to Fluency

Let’s begin by asking what fluency really is.

To me, fluency isn't about learning tens of thousands of words or learning all the grammar rules.

A wide vocabulary can help you talk about lots of topics, and grammar rules can help you speak with fewer mistakes.

Those things are essential, eventually, but I am more interested in helping people to speak fluently with the words and the grammar rules they already know.

Fundamentally, fluency is about keeping the conversation flowing, without uncomfortable pauses, so that everybody involved enjoys the experience and wants to keep the conversation going.

I have a lot more to say about that here: What is Fluency?

You can keep the conversation flowing by using the vocabulary that you already have in a way that increases intimacy between the people involved.

The trick here is to connect short bursts of facts from your vocabulary with what I call pre-rehearsed conversational intimacy connectors.

Each of these connectors is a natural invitation to either yourself, or the others you are talking with, to keep the conversation going.

You can find more about them here: Conversational Intimacy

When people are first learning to use conversational intimacy connectors, I give them a starter pack with about 100 connectors in.

The starter pack is great for practicing with, although overtime you should probably be replacing it with connectors that you discover for yourself.

Here, then, is a Connectors Starter Pack

Still to come:

Cultural Bonding

Fluent Reading

Flowing With Clusters