How mutually intelligible are Czech and polish?

SpeedPocok5

Active Member
@Godmy , how mutually intelkigible are czech and polish? Is czech language more difficult to learn that german? And how mutually intelligible is slovak and czech?
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illūstris
Well, those Czechs who live in the easternmost part of the country near the Polish borders (particularly in and around the city Ostrava) report that they are able to understand spoken Polish on the run... But that's not normal. For the rest of the country, a quick spoken Polish is usually not intelligible (like at all). If it's spoken really REALLY slow, you sometimes catch a word or two, if you're lucky, even more words in row (without any prior training). (although the same could be said for Ukrainian or Russian which more or less sound in their spoken form as gibberish to us too; maybe Polish is still a bit closer) It's not like with Slovak which is mutually intelligible with Czech. (Czechs usually catch 90 or more % of what Slovaks say, Slovaks usually catch 100%, because they watch more or less the Czech TV all the time [they have Slovak TV stations too though] and they often come to study here; but it's still 2 distinct languages.... )

When it comes to difficulty: for a Spanish speaker who wants to learn Czech or German, I would suppose that despite German containing some traces of the noun inflection (and despite some other stuff), I think Czech would be more difficult, because it has a very complicated noun inflection system, 7 cases (two numbers: 7*2 cases for each noun, 3genders), 15 declensions, 25 conjugations (=verbs), tons of exceptions, quite a free* word order and despite having a relatively simple verbal tense system (only 3 tenses more or less), it is compensated by the presence of the lexical verbal aspect that makes the verbs almost impossible to master for a foreigner. On the top of all of that, there is a quite crazy kind of phonetics in Czech you will be looking very hard elsewhere in the vicinity (certainly not in German, but not even in the other Slavic languages around...)


You should also ask the Pole, @Adrian.


*no word order is really free, but it's more or less like Latin in Czech
 
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SpeedPocok5

Active Member
Well, those Czechs who live in the easternmost part of the country near the Polish borders (particularly in and around the city Ostrava) report that they are able to understand spoken Polish on the run... But that's not normal. For the rest of the country, a quick spoken Polish is usually not intelligible (like at all). If it's spoken really REALLY slow, you sometimes catch a word or two, if you're lucky, even more words in row (without any prior training). (although the same could be said for Ukrainian or Russian which more or less sound in their spoken form as gibberish to us too; maybe Polish is still a bit closer) It's not like with Slovak which is mutually intelligible with Czech. (Czechs usually catch 90 or more % of what Slovaks say, Slovaks usually catch 100%, because they watch more or less the Czech TV all the time [they have Slovak TV stations too though] and they often come to study here; but it's still 2 distinct languages.... )

When it comes to difficulty: for a Spanish speaker who wants to learn Czech or German, I would suppose that despite German containing some traces of the noun inflection (and despite some other stuff), I think Czech would be more difficult, because it has a very complicated noun inflection system, 7 cases (two numbers: 7*2 cases for each noun), 15 declensions (3 genders), 25 conjugations (=verbs), tons of exceptions, quite a free* word order and despite having a relatively simple verbal tense system (only 3 tenses more or less), it is compensated by the presence of the lexical verbal aspect that makes the verbs almost impossible to master for a foreigner. On the top of all of that, there is a quite crazy kind of phonetics in Czech you will be looking very hard elsewhere in the vicinity (certainly not in German, but not even in the other Slavic languages around...)


You should also ask the Pole, @Adrian.


*no word order is really free, but it's more or less like Latin in Czech
I'm interested in czech, bohemia and moravia got my attention...

Also I would love to know the percentaje of procedence of the czech vocabulary.

I have researched by curiosity the decline of population of the countries, I think that based on the people living in it, but I would love to know how many native people declines in some countries, it is a fact that in the first world we have 1,15 babies more or less...
In some countries as in greece the economical situation is so bad to have babies, wo they are in decline...
Also armenia with 4.000.000 population will be 3.500.000 aproximately, but I think that the information I read included also the diasporas...

What do you mean with lexical verbal aspect?

Thank you @Godmy
 

SpeedPocok5

Active Member
Well, those Czechs who live in the easternmost part of the country near the Polish borders (particularly in and around the city Ostrava) report that they are able to understand spoken Polish on the run... But that's not normal. For the rest of the country, a quick spoken Polish is usually not intelligible (like at all). If it's spoken really REALLY slow, you sometimes catch a word or two, if you're lucky, even more words in row (without any prior training). (although the same could be said for Ukrainian or Russian which more or less sound in their spoken form as gibberish to us too; maybe Polish is still a bit closer) It's not like with Slovak which is mutually intelligible with Czech. (Czechs usually catch 90 or more % of what Slovaks say, Slovaks usually catch 100%, because they watch more or less the Czech TV all the time [they have Slovak TV stations too though] and they often come to study here; but it's still 2 distinct languages.... )

When it comes to difficulty: for a Spanish speaker who wants to learn Czech or German, I would suppose that despite German containing some traces of the noun inflection (and despite some other stuff), I think Czech would be more difficult, because it has a very complicated noun inflection system, 7 cases (two numbers: 7*2 cases for each noun, 3genders), 15 declensions, 25 conjugations (=verbs), tons of exceptions, quite a free* word order and despite having a relatively simple verbal tense system (only 3 tenses more or less), it is compensated by the presence of the lexical verbal aspect that makes the verbs almost impossible to master for a foreigner. On the top of all of that, there is a quite crazy kind of phonetics in Czech you will be looking very hard elsewhere in the vicinity (certainly not in German, but not even in the other Slavic languages around...)


You should also ask the Pole, @Adrian.


*no word order is really free, but it's more or less like Latin in Czech
I would love to see the polish point of view @Adrian
 

Adrian

Civis Illustris
I can only speak from my personal experience (business trips to Czech Republic - Ostrava, Praha, Mladá Boleslav, Mikulov ).
I would hazzard to say that Polish and Czech languages are at minimum 50% Intelligible and comprehensible between Poles and Czechs (when spoken with normal pace ) and at least 60-70% when spoken slowly without using any complicated vocabulary.

I would like to underline tat I never had any problem in czech Pubs:)
 

SpeedPocok5

Active Member
I can only speak from my personal experience (business trips to Czech Republic - Ostrava, Praha, Mladá Boleslav, Mikulov ).
I would hazzard to say that Polish and Czech languages are at minimum 50% Intelligible and comprehensible between Poles and Czechs (when spoken with normal pace ) and at least 60-70% when spoken slowly without using any complicated vocabulary.

I would like to underline tat I never had any problem in czech Pubs:)
So, if a pole goes to czech republic and speaks polish, can understand a czech?

I said that because I saw a picture of the european continuum (look at czech republic, slovakia and poland)
 

Adrian

Civis Illustris
I'm interested in czech, bohemia and moravia got my attention...
Czech Republic is a land of many beautiful tourist sites, nice people, good cuisine and many sorts of tasty beer.
First stop - PRAHA!
I would recommen U Fleků
 

Adrian

Civis Illustris
So, if a pole goes to czech republic and speaks polish, can understand a czech?
I can only speak for myself - when I was in Czech Republic, I was able to communicate with Czech People. (At least to say, I never had any problem in Hotel, Restaurant or Pub :))
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illūstris
The lexical verbal aspect: in the past tense and in the future tense (+ in imperative & infinitive) you must use the right form of the verb based on how continuous the action is (no matter to whether it has/will have finished or not, something slightly different than you see in Spanish, French, Latin, Greek,...) and the problem is that to form the opposite aspect of the verb, you need to use mostly a "different" verb that may affect the verb's meaning as well (through affixes). Something like in Latin "veniō, adveniō, inveniō, reveniō" and you have to choose the right one (sometimes there is more than one choice) based on the closest meaning of what you really want to say. So for one verb in the imperfective form, you can have several other verbs with slightly different meaning that supply the perfective form and you have to choose the right one, a different one in every context. Also, there is no way around it, because without this, it is impossible to form the past and the future tense correctly, to form the imperative and infinitive correctly...

I really think that save certain exceptions (mostly people who have lived here for a long time and who are especially linguistically talented or have given it an extraordinary amount of work, because sometimes even the foreigners who have been here for decades cannot do this very well) only other Slavs are able to pick this up when learning Czech (just like we can do it in their own Slavic languages), if they manage to avoid the "false friends" (verbs looking similarly to their language, but really meaning something else...).

Sorry, it's too difficult to describe, here's an article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_aspect_in_Slavic_languages
 
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Godmy

Sīmia Illūstris
you must use the right form of the verb based on how continuous the action is
For example, the Czech/Slavic counterpart of the "He lived for 80 years." which in Latin would be an exemplary "finished action" (an action with mentioned boundaries: start & the end) and use the perfect tense "Octoginta annōs vīxit.", in Czech/Slavic would be rendered with the imperfective lexical aspect verb, because we view it as a long continuous action... ;p

(+ for this particular verb, "to live", all the related verbs with prefixes that could form its perfective counterpart, usually differ in the meaning too much to be used as a perfective form in this context. In other contexts, the perfective forms may NOT differ as much from the verb "live" and can be used... for example with the prefix pře- (=trāns/per) (as in "pervīvit") it would mean "to survive" <- but in the same time it forms a perfective counterpart... it's really a nasty business with the aspect in the Czech verbs :D )
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illūstris
And let me tell you about a language with a "free word order": what it means for the foreigner is that there is no simple written rule what word order to choose for a given sentence and it's almost always different as if there was no order to it (since the nouns are declined)... But if you form the word order wrong for the given sentence, we will devour you!

Meaning: almost every sentence in every context has its own hidden mandatory ideal word order, but it's almost impossible to predict without the knowledge of 1000 little rules, difficult to acquire. The same goes for personal pronouns: sometimes they are mentioned, sometimes they aren't, sometimes it seems as if though their use was arbitrary, but again: if you do it wrong, we will devour you! :D

I very much view these things to have been the same in Latin...

A foreign language learner is always much better off in a language with a relatively fixed word order (and a relatively fixed personal pronoun use).
 
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