Learning the local’s lingo to a minimum then throwing it around thinking you’re a native. All the right words, in all the right places, hey, man, it’s your spotlight, not mine — I’m too busy paying attention to more pertinent things like feeding the cat and stocking up on sugar packets.

But, hey, sometimes these things require addressing. And, Jesus Christ does it ever sound ridiculous – either do it fluently or don’t do it at all.

Dobrý večer, all you skvělý kluci and holky out there in Zlatá Praha. Dneska, on this fine teplá noc, I’ve got one of Matka Praha’s premiere unpublished spisovatels in here, Honza Littlefeet. Honzo, jak se máš, vole?

– Um, yeah, fine.

So, Honzo, why don’t you tell us a little něco about your latest kniha?

– Well, it’s about this guy who, uh, this guy from Canada who, uh, comes to Prague to teach and…

Oh-ho, velmi originalní, vole, I’m sure that’ll get picked up v Kanadě before it leaves the post office. The vlnas of uspěch are spreading across the big voda as we speak.

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– Right. Uh, miles?

Ano, vole?

– Miles, can you ditch the CzEnglish? I mean, just speak your mother tongue.

A proč, vole?

– You sound like an idiot.

Jasný, dude. That’s the whole point, rozumíš? However, it really impresses the kočkas, víš to?

– No, it doesn’t.

Drž hubu, vole. This silver-plated jazyk has talked me into many a fine postel.

– Oh, for…

Počkej, Honzo, where are you jdešing?

– I’m outta here.

Dobře, dobře, I’ll stick to English, alright, see? C’mon, we want to here more about the new manuscript.

– No more CzEnglish?

No more CzEnglish.

– Ok. So, the book, yeah, well, it’s kinda semi-autobiographical, based on my experiences as an English teacher at a language school in Prague.

Right. Basically a lot of shagging, substance abuse, house parties, and a never-ending series of comedowns, crashes and buckling under?

– Weeellll… no, not exactly, I mean, yeah, kinda sorta in a Trent Reznor way, I suppose.

Cool. Hodně štěstí, vole.

– Ah, fucking hell!

Honzo, wait! Come back! Pod’ sem, Honzo!

Hmm, so he’s šel pryč. Tune in přiští týden, same Miles čas, same Miles channel, when we’ll have the krasná Mizzy Purr with her latest kolekce of poesie — Prague: 100 Spires and Voices. Dobrou noc and bliss.

A Czech Tongue twister: V or Vej?

Vcelku vážený vědecký večerník včas varoval vašeho válečného vagabunda; vděčný vdovec vdechl včera večer ve vařící vavřínové vaně vedle vedlejší vdané včelařky váhavého vedoucího varhaníka ve vánočním valčíkovém večírku ve vánici.

On the whole, the respected scientific evening paper warned your tramp warrior in time that the grateful widower breathed in last night, in a boiling laurel bath, next to the unimportant serious beekeper married to the hesitant leading organist at a Christmas party waltz in the snow.


by Bruce Davies with a little help from Jana, Žaneta and Petr.