Czech

Last updated: 2 weeks, 2 days ago


Czech and closely-related Slovak are fascinating languages to learn, and at Oxford it is studied in combination with another European language, Classics, English, or History and Philosophy.

Application Resources

Here are some general resources related to Czech. These should be a useful introduction, regardless of which Czech related course you’re interested in and where you might want to study it.

Literature

One of the best things you can do if you are applying to study a language is to get familiar with some of the famous literature of that language. If you are applying to study Czech with Slovak as a beginner, a great way to do this is to read an English translation of a novel, or read a parallel text edition.

‘Six Czech Poets’ edited by Alexandra Buchler

‘A World Apart and Other Stories: Czech Women Writers at the Fin de Siecle’ by Kathleen Hates

‘This Side of Reality: Modern Czech Writing’ edited by Alexandra Buchler

Suggested reading list 🔗 🌟 Check out this list, compiled by the Faculty of Medieval & Modern Languages at the University of Oxford. It provides a selection of Czech and Slovak literature in translation, and it also has links to other sites for Czech literature in translation

History

These books may be useful for finding out more about the culture and history of the Czech Republic. Do some further research on any periods or historical figures you find interesting, either by doing a quick Google search or by looking at the references of the original text you read. This may influence your understanding of how the language has evolved over time, and could form part of your personal statement.

‘Czechoslovakia: The State That Failed’ by Mary Heimann

‘A History of the Czechs and Slovaks’ by Robert William Seton-Watson

‘Prague in Black and Gold: The History of a City’ by Peter Demetz

Grammar

You don’t need to have any knowledge of Czech grammar if you are starting the course ‘ab initio’, but grammar is a huge part of learning any language! This could be useful if you wanted to work on your skills before university.

‘Czech: An Essential Grammar’ by James Naughton - This might be a useful reference throughout your studies of Czech.

Websites

These websites are useful for building up your language skills: whether you have knowledge of Czech already, or you’re new to it. The resources should develop your familiarity with the languages and their patterns, which will help as you prepare for any entrance tests or beginning at university.

Czech online dictionary 🔗 Recommended by several universities, this is probably the most detailed and reliable online dictionary.

The Czech Language 🔗 Informative and engaging, this exploration of some unique features of the Czech language includes its non-standard spoken forms and a few tongue-twisters!

Resources recommended by the University of Oxford 🔗 🌟 This is a comprehensive list of all sorts of different language resources, including textbooks, dictionaries, and news sources.

Film

Czech cinema is another way to immerse yourself in the language and culture. Use English subtitles if you feel it necessary, or alternatively Czech subtitles if you can read and understand it well but struggle with the speed or accent.

‘Ostře sledované vlaky’
‘Kolja’ - two Czech-language films that have won the Best Foreign Film Oscar

Our top tip

Read literature either in the original language if you are already studying Czech or Slovak, or in translation if you’re going to start learning from scratch!