The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Recently my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting Prague, Czech Republic. It is a beautiful city that seems to have a mystical and unsettling charm that is amazing.

It also features a language that, I think, was created by an English speaking cryptographer.

 

Pants

Spanish – pantalones

German – hose

Czech – kalhoty

Hello

Spanish – hola

German – hallo

Czech – ahoj

Friend

Spanish – amigo

German – freund

Czech – přítel

Ok. Well.

I thought I would find a bunch of words that would illustrate that Czech was incredibly confusing to me and somehow more foreign than most languages. With Spanish, French, German and Italian I’ve seen or heard enough words/phrases that it doesn’t boggle the mind. With languages that use different letters … of course it’s confusing. But Czech was letters I know in orderings that I’d never encountered before. There was no ‘wo ist die bahnhof’ (where is the train station), there was ‘kde je vlakové nádraží’ … go ahead, try and guess how to say that.

I’ll end with the most beautiful phrase in German I know, “Ich fürchte, es gibt einen Spinnenaffe in meinem Salat, bringen Sie mir bitte ein Paar chirurgische Handschuhe und einen Zylinder. Sofort. Oh und auch ein Monokel.”

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