Byt není být or A Length Mark Works Wonders

Byt není být or A Length Mark Works Wonders

How to pronounce correctly in Czech 1: Length and stress.

Is Czech pronunciation a problem for you? I offer you a short training. Today´s topic: vowels – the length and the stress in Czech.

Czech letters

1.       vowels = a, e, i, y, o, u

2.       consonants = all what is not a vowel = b, d, s, m, ž…

 

Czech vowels

1.       short = a, e/ě, i, y, o, u

2.       long = á, é, í, ý, ó, ú/ů

Students get into difficulties because of pronunciation of long vowels and putting stress. So how to do it correctly?

 

Length mark   ´ (čárka)

A length mark above a vowel = a signal for long pronunciation

ATTENTION!We write ú with a length mark only at the beginning of the word  (úkol, úterý), ů with a circle (kroužek) in the middle and at the end of the word (dům, domů). A circle ° has the same role as a length mark ´ = long pronunciation.

 

Do you open your mouth correctly?

How to pronounce a Czech vowel right? The pictures help you: to open your mouth correctly is very important.

 

↔                                                   O → o

 

i/y                                                    u

               e                          o

                              a

 

a = a neutral position of your mouth

e = your mouth goes towards your ears (to the left and to the right)

i = your mouth goes towards your ears more than in e pronuncuiation

o = your mouth makes a circle

u = your mouth makes a smaller circle than in o pronunciation

 

ATTENTION! i and y are two different grafic marks but one same sound!

bít = to beat x být = to be

But we pronounce them the same way: [bi:t]! If we want to understand whether we hear bít or být we need a context.

 

Time for a short training

Listen to this sentence and repeat. Ten times, twenty times… So many times until you pronounce the same way as the audio voice. 

Má máma má malou zahrádku.

Audio

 

Stress

Stress in Czech = always on the first syllable or on the preposition with a vowel

What is a syllable?

1 syllable: dům, sklo, říct, mám, jsem

2 syllables: máma – má/ma, nevím – ne/vím, Praha – Pra/ha, Brno – Br/no, místnost – míst/nost, pražský – praž/ský

3 syllables: dokument – do/ku/ment, nádraží – ná/dra/ží

4 syllables: republika – re/pu/bli/ka, učebnice – u/čeb/ni/ce

ATTENTION! Words on the second position don´t have the stress.

 

Example 1

Pojedu do Polska na služební cestu.

Pojedu: the first syllable = po = there is the stress

do Polska: the preposition do contains a vowel o = stress is on the preposition (not on the word Polska)

na služební: the preposition na contains a vowel a = stress is on the preposition (not on the word služební)

cestu: the first syllable = ce = there is the stress

Listen and repeat. Audio

 

Example 2

Byla jsem na dovolené v Egyptě.

Byla: the first syllable = by = there is the stress

jsem: word on the second position = no stress

na dovolené: the preposition na contains a vowel a = stress is on the preposition (not on the word dovolené)

Egyptě: preposition v doesn´t contain a vowel = no stress, the stress akcent on E = the first syllable of the word Egyptě

Listen and repeat. Audio

 

How to practise more?

Here you can find other sentences and audio. Listen and repeat.

There are a lot of topics, words and audio on the webpage Mluvte česky.net. Listen and repeat.

If you use Lída Holá books, here you can find all audios. Listen and repeat. E.g. Čeština expres 1.

 

Czech version of this article.

13th February 2018

 

About the Author

Jitka Pourová administrator