Czech Update

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Death of former child star, a time to reminisce

The death of Czech actress Dana Vávrová reminded of what for many people of my generation was the golden age of Czech popular cinematography in the

Czech Republic Enters the Year Presiding over the EU

Nobody described the challenges ahead than Radio Netherlands:

International news - Radio Netherlands Worldwide - English

Czech year in pictures

Czech online newspaper Aktuálně.cz published an excellent overview of the Czech political year 2008 in pictures. Including this picture of the Brother Mašíns' rehabilitation debate.


Books by Čapek out of copyright on 70th anniversary of his death

The title says it all really! Thanks to the people at the MobileRead forums. I assume this only applies to his works in Czech rather than the English translations which are more recent and carry their own copyright.

Learn multiple Slavic languages at once with NiceTranslator uses the Google Translate service to give instant response as you type and you can even choose multiple languages at once including Slovak, Polish, Russian, Slovenian, or Croatian. This could be useful for students of Slavonic languages in general but it also shows bits of sentences as you type them in. For instance, when you're typing in 'I remember', you see the appropriate Czech 'Vzpomínám si' and when you add 'you' to make it 'I remember you', the phrase changes to 'Pamatuju si tě' - again the right word for the context.

Google Announces Czech<->English dictionary - Best Online Tool Yet for Learners

Google just released a Czech/English - English/Czech that is the best online tool I've seen for learners.

Google struggling to translate 'friends' into Czech

According to, is asking the Czech internet community how they would like to translate the now ubiquitous word 'friend' into Czech. This is a real problem.

Google Czech live long, Google Prague, get rich

Resuming Czblogging after a hiatus with the amazing news that simply Googling Czech can have beneficial consequences. A new Google mashup StateStats shows correlations between US states' socioeconomic characteristics and the frequency of particular search terms originating from those terms.

Czech crooners (dead and alive) on YouTube

Karel Hála, a star of Czech big band pop music since the 1950s just died as reported by Lidové Noviny.

Czech president sulky over same sex unions

For an atheist and reasonably liberal country, same-sex unions are having a tough time in the Czech Republic. Finally, a new laws gives some rights to same-sex couples but it sent the president Václav Klaus into a tizzy. The president, as always happy to bolster his typical opportunistic populism with inherent homophobia, decided to signal his opposition by not signing the bill. Which under Czech constitution means simply that it becomes law. So now the questions is did he show principled opposition or just demonstrate that Czech presidents don't really matter?

Czech animation reviving rich history

Czechs have always been on the cutting edge of animation (even helping with some of the Tom and Jerry cartoons in the 1950s and 1960s) and now it seems, things are looking up again, as this short article in Variety suggests. The name from the past to take note of is Jan Švankmajer who's cited as an influence on Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam.

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Czech Worldmusic via Čankišou on YouTube

Czech folklore music often counts as World Music but this is Czech musicians having fun with what they perceive to be the music of the world. I found out about this video via an American friend who saw it on a World Music channel.

First Czech gay pride parade to take place in Brno

Another step towards greater prominence of gay rights in the Czech Republic that also highlights the latent homophobia still present in some Czech circles.
First Czech Gay Pride has Brno up in arms - Czechnews - Aktuálně.cz Brno - Southern Moravian capital will see the first gay and lesbian march ever held in the country.

The so-called "Rainbow Parade" event, planned for Saturday 28 June, has already caused controversies among far-right and Christian groups.

Škoda again heads list of top Czech companies

With almost 10 billion Czech crowns (roughly 649 million USD), the Škoda car manufacturer heads the Czech Top 100 (worth 42 billion EUR) in size and value followed by the energy giant ČEZ and computer manufacturer Foxconn CZ. The only other tech company and the top one dealing in bits only was the former Czech Telecom. No internet companies made the top 10.

Masaryk's name not for sale

Here's an interesting example of how history can be important to the present.
To have a glass of Masaryk? In ČR not possible - Czechnews - Aktuálně.cz Czechs are so proud of their first democratic president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk that they will not let anyone use his surname as a trade mark.

The name is considered a historical symbol linked to the Czech statehood and as such, private companies are not allowed to appropriate it.

Irglová: Czech singer and actress reaps fame rewards after Oscar win

"Co Čech to muzikant" (Scratch a Czech, find a musician) goes an old Czech saying (going back to 1800s at least) that used to be known around the musical world. And now it is again! A little bit and on YouTube where there are dozens of clips of her singing including on David Letterman or Later with Jools Holland.

PĚT "P" (Pohromadě)


People speaking Czech on YouTube 1: 10 Survival Phrases

Sometime ago I started a theme of Czech music on YouTube but never followed up on it. Here's an extension of it: People speaking Czech on YouTube. There are lots of people speaking Czech on YouYube, sometimes the clips are funny, sometimes interesting and informative, and sometimes obscene. The first example is a run down of top 10 phrases from travellinguist.


Strč launches

I've owned the Strč domain for a year but only now did I find a few minutes to make it live. All it contains is a video of me pronouncing the phrase. But with any luck, I will be adding more Czech tongue-twisters there, as time goes on.

Australians win award for Czech beer

At least if the judges of the Beer World Cup are to be believed. Czechs aren't always best at making Czech style beer. But it's not just the beer. It's the Czech pub atmosphere that makes the beverage so much fun. Living in the UK, I don't touch a drop of beer (or any other alcohol) pretty much all year round but whenever I go back home for a visit I end up drinking literally liters of the stuff. Hard to put a price on that hoppy bitter sweet taste of home.

How and where Czechs travel on holiday?

How Czechs travel seems to be impacting on where. The most popular destination for vacationing Czechs has been and still is Croatia. However, a recent Croat ban on importing certain kinds of foods has caused almost 10% of the 900 thosand Czechs planning a trip to cancel their holiday there (in favor of Italy or some other place). Why? Czechs like to save money when going on vacation by bringing their own food, typically in cans and other types of pre-packaged goods.

Mašín brothers, history, present

The International Herald Tribune offers a very good write up of a rather small event in the history of early communist rule in Czechoslovakia that has caused much controversy in more recent times.