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Czech Pronunciation is not just about Ř

I am sure you've already heard about the mysterious Ř sound. Many people think it's the one thing about Czech pronunciation they need to master to understand and to be understood by Czech natives.

I'm not of that opinion. There is other group of Czech sounds which I believe is much more important yet often underestimated by people learning Czech:

The Vowels (I Y E A O U, Í Ý É Á Ó Ú Ů).

Did you too think that Czech vowels sound kind of similar as English ones and just didn't pay enough attention to them? I've got some bad news for you then!

In Czech, a properly pronounced vowel is crucial to convey the message. Many Czech learners tend to automatically apply pronunciation principles from their native language which can lead to misunderstandings or even faux pas situations.

Check the following situations to understand what I mean.


In Czech, we use prefixes and sufixes to change the meaning of words. If you reduce or mispronounce the vowel, the message they are carrying just disappears. Look at the following word: vyjet - to drive out.

English speakers (but also native speakers of other languages like German) are used to reduce vowels using the so called schwa sound [ə] and a typical mistakes is to pronounce the word mentioned above as vəjet. If you do this, it makes it sound like another Czech word - vjet.

And guess what? This is the exact opposite from what you wanted to say: vjet - to drive in.


Sometimes, Czech learners don't make a clear difference between long and short vowels.

The sound is the same but there is a clear difference in the length. It's a tiny thing but so important.


paní - woman X páni - gentlemen

(1st vowel short, 2nd long) (1st vowel long, 2nd short)

syrový - raw X sýrový - cheesy

(1st vowel short) (1st vowel long)

peče - (s)he bakes X péče - care

(1st vowel short) (1st vowel long)

The bottom line: pronouncing Czech vowels correctly is crucial to a successful communication. When it comes to Czech vowels, probably the most difficult thing about them is to stop using principles you know from your native language.

Lucky you! I've released my first online course covering the topic of vowel pronunciation from ground up. I simply call it the Pronunciation Course #1. Make sure you check out the details of the course and go through the sneak peek to see if that's something that would help you in your journey. If you're still not sure, don't worry, there is 14-Day Money-back Guarantee so your money is safe!

Happy learning! :)


P.S. If you want to know more about Czech vowels and how the differ from the English ones, you can watch this video:

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