Something to write home with in Czech

06-02-2005

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Ahoj and welcome to Radio Prague's special language programme ABC of Czech. Today we're looking at how to write home in Czech, even for those of us who write home in English.

Post office in Czech is pošta, which is from the Latin positus and certainly resembles what we use in English but is easier to remember if you know the French "la poste" or the Spanish "la posta." In Czech you don't go to the post office, but "on" the post office - na poštu. You probably want to send - poslat either a letter - dopis or a package - balík. In the Czech Republic they can be pretty strict about the weight - váha of your letter - dopis and may not sell you a stamp - známka without first weighing. But you can usually find a stamp - známka at a trafika, tobacconist.

To send a postcard - pohled trans-Atlantic it costs 12 Czech crowns. A letter will cost between 14 and 26 Czech crowns depending on its exact weight. You can find a mailbox - poštovní schránka just about anywhere. They are smallish orange boxes.

But for many of us the days of real letters or snail mail are long behind us. So what about in today's age of technology?

For e-mail, Czechs says email and to send an email is emailovat, though that can be considered pretty colloquial. To send an e-mail you can also say odeslat elektronickou poštu. The verb odeslat has various usages in Czech. It means send but it also means to transmit and to dispatch.

But back to e-mailing or emailování. You might be surprised to learn that the Czech Post - Česká pošta is up-to-date with technology. Many of the post offices in the Czech Republic also have internet stations. If you are particularly into post services, and you are visiting the Czech Republic, there are two post museums here, one in Prague - Praha and one in Vyšší Brod. By the way, Prague's network of post offices is linked by a hundred-year-old potrubní pošta, a pneumatic system of pipes that enables messages to be sent between the different offices

We're just about out of time for today. By the way, we'd love to hear your thoughts and comments on ABC of Czech, if you have a moment send us an e-mail or a letter. Thank you for listening! Until next time! Na shledanou!

06-02-2005