Czech by Numbers - Housing

07-10-2006

You are listening to Radio Prague's special Czech language course Czech by Numbers which explores numbers and their usage in everyday Czech speech. Today we'll be looking at numbers to do with living and housing.

If you look into any Czech real estate magazine or at an online catalogue, you will be overwhelmed by numbers. In fact, the first page on a real estate server where you first specify your demand is all numbers. If you are looking for a flat in Prague, for example, it will ask you which district - from Prague 1 - Praha jedna to Prague 10 - Praha deset.

Then there is the size of the flat. If it is given in square metres it is quite understandable, but how about those strange numbers and acronyms? A foreigner has no way of knowing what a 2+1 (dva plus jedna) or 3+kk (tři plus ká ká) means. Well, the first figure always states the number of bedrooms, or rather habitable rooms with the exception of kitchen. The number 1 - jedna - or the letters after the plus sign specify the type of kitchen in the flat. The acronym kk or "ká ká" stands for kuchyňský kout - literally "a kitchen corner", that is a kitchenette.

Then you will probably like to know which floor your flat is on. In Czech the ground floor - přízemí - counts as zero and the one above is the first floor - první patro and so on. But real estate agents like to make things look nicer so they will call the ground floor první nadzemní podlaží - the first "above the ground" floor to make it sound more attractive.

There are also apartment categories. They have survived from before the fall of communism and specify whether a flat has central heating, hot water, a flush toilet etc. - things that we now take for granted but weren't so natural only a couple of decades ago in some old buildings. So a first category flat - byt první kategorie has all the amenities and is in a good condition. The higher the number of the category, the poorer the state of the apartment.

Double glazing - dvojitá skla is something absolutely natural and has been as far as anyone can remember in this country but these days, especially in noisy cities, you may require your flat to have triple glazing trojitá skla to reduce the noise.

And that's all for today's edition. Next time we'll be back with some more Czech expressions using numbers. Till then goodbye, na shledanou.

07-10-2006