I ended up learning only around ~3 hours, as I found it quite difficult to do actually study time while traveling. So first, as I’ve promised, a video of my trying to speak some Czech:
This is, more or less, what I (tried to) say in the video:
“Hello. My name is Omer. I am from Israel. I am a student, and I am 26 years old.
I like traveling.
I learn a little Czech because I travel to Czech Republic and want to speak it. “
The challenge went a bit different from what I had expected. It makes sense for a first time 🙂
In general I can say I learnt two different types of vocabulary:
(1) for meeting people – that included the things I said in the video, like presenting myself, asking questions (mostly “and you?”) and so on.
(2) practical usage – “do you speak English?”; “Help, please”; “Menu, please”, “sorry”, “where is the…” “how much is…”, “food, now?”
I ended up not using (1) almost at all. Since I traveled with people, I didn’t really try to just meet new friends, especially not ones who spoke only Czech.
(2), on the other hand, turned up to be effective more than a few times. On a few occasions we had to find an open restaurant for dinner past 19:00 (7 pm), and apparently in rural parts of Czech Republic most (if not all) places are already close at that time. So I went by a few places and asked questions like: “Hello, are you open?”, and sometimes “food? now?” (I couldn’t really put much effort into grammar in 3 hours). If not, I would try to ask something like “Where food now?”, and hopefully get some directions. At some cases, it helped. I also used some Czech to ask for a menu, and for the bill. I even used the word “med” (“honey”) a lot, as my girlfriend preferred to drink tea with honey, and the locals didn’t seem to know that word in English (or German, for that matter).
To my surprise, many locals seemed to be almost frightened when I asked “Mluvite Anglicky, Prosim?” (“do you speak English, please?”). They would nod their heads or reply “no”. Nevertheless, when I actually tried to speak some English they’d usually reply.
Sum up and future thoughts
I am pretty satisfied with how much I was able to learn and actually use in such a short time. It wasn’t such a big investment anyhow 🙂
For the next time, I believe I will also spend some time on learning the language of the country I’m traveling too. This time, however, I will try to focus only on practical vocabulary, rather than meeting-up vocabulary, at least as long as I don’t travel by myself.
If you have any thoughts about learning languages for the sake of a trip in such a long time, please let me know 😉