B2 by Christmas

I’ve been studying Czech for a couple of years now, but with limited success, maybe approaching B1 level… I can speak ok but still find it hard to understand what locals are saying.

Anyway, I’ve set myself a challenge, to be ‘fluent’ (i use the word very losely) by Chriistmas. I’m saying a level where I can understand and hold conversations at ease, a solid B2.

Since the beginning of October I’ve stopped speaking English, just Czech. My family are Czech so this helps. I just wondering if anyone else has tried this type of thing and how they got on. Is my goal realistic?

And does anyone have any specific tips on improving my ear for understanding?

“Since the beginning of October I’ve stopped speaking English, just Czech.”

…which is really good :slight_smile:

“I’ve set myself a challenge, to be ‘fluent’ (i use the word very losely) by Chriistmas […]Is my goal realistic?”

I guess I can´t answer your question, but I have a question about your goal. ^^
Is there a specific reason why you want to fluent by christmas, or do you just want to get better?

Words like “Fluent”, “B2” and “being able to have a conversation” are hardly measurable and it´s basically you who decides whether you´ve “failed” or not. I´ve stopped setting goals like that because I always decided that I´ve “failed”.^^
Nowadays, I set goals like “listen to 25 hours of French this week”. That´s measurable, and even if I listen for “only” 20 hours, that´s not a “failure”, it´s “80% success”.

Maybe it would be better to choose a goal like that? What do you think?

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Cheers Paule

I’ve just had a job interview for a bank, it a really good position but they require B2 level Czech. I would be leading a team which includes none English speakers and would have to deliver some training in Czech. If they accepted me I would finish off the project I’m working on (part time) and start in January. This is why my goal is to reach this level of competence.

I’m currently studying around 6 hours a day, plus all communication at home in Czech. As I said my real issue is with comprehnsion. I can talk for hours but don’t understand films or the news.

But maybe if i set short term measurable goals like, listen to 30 hours Czech a week, the bigger goal will come. Do you have any suggestions on improving comprehension or is it just a matter of listening.


So the interview was in English? If I were in your shoes I’d just cram for the exam. It is an exam after all, and in my experience exams can be learned. Benny Lewis did it to pass a German C2 after only three months.


The interview was in English but we switched to Czech because they wanted to assess my level. They asked me 3 questions in Czech which fortunately I understood, and was able to respond at length.

I’ve seen some of Benny’s stuff and was wondering how genuine it all is. He seemed to flunk his Czech which doesn’t bode well…

I prefer reading/watching Anthony’s stuff on Czech

I would not say I am a fan of Benny, but he did pass the tests he said he passed. Just don’t bother buying his book.

Anthony Lauder is gradually becoming my favorite online polyglot. OK ok polynot.

“Do you have any suggestions on improving comprehension or is it just a matter of listening.”

I guess it´s good to listen with and without subtitles. I think the same principles apply to scripts (like the scripts here on LingQ) but I´ll only say “subtitles” to make this post less painful to read. ^^
Both “ways of listening” have their own advantages and disadvantages. First of all, you should only use Czech subtitles. English subtitles are still better than nothing, but I guess your Czech is good enough to get rid of these “training wheels”.
Czech subtitles have the advantage that you can just write down the words you don´t understand, translate them and then “LingQ” them or “SRS” them. The disadvantage is, that it´s way too easy to just read the subtitles without paying much attention to the spoken language. Not using subtitles forces you to use things like context and body language to understand what´s going on, which is a good skill to have in real life.

I guess Czech subtitles are rare anyway, so you don´t really have to choose. If there are subtitles available, use them, if not…watch the movie anyway.

A second suggestion: try to figure out what you´ll need to understand and focus on that.
There are little sub-languages in every language. I speak fluent “Musician´s German” but I don´t understand conversations about cars or physics. I guess you´ll need to speak “Bank Czech”. Try to find a way to learn the specific vocabulary for your job. I assume everything related to finances and professional life could be useful.

Besides that, listening to conversations will improve your conversation skills more than listening to the news or an audio-book about history. This may seem obvious, but obvious things can be easy to forget.^^

Okay, this post is already quite long, so I´m going to stop now.^^

Cheers Paule

I’m currently watching only czech tv. All videos we have, have subtitles cos they were bought locally, but as you say i tend to read and not listen with the subtitles on.

I’m putting in a concerted effort to listen listen listen and hope it sinks in. Listening to people is easier for me than the TV.

Nice call regarding learning specific language for my job!!!

“Do you have any suggestions on improving comprehension or is it just a matter of listening.”

Field linguistics! It’s like linguistics, but on steroids, literally!

“i tend to read and not listen with the subtitles on.”

By the way, I once watched a German youtube video with English subtitles…guess what I did?
I didn´t listen and read the subtitles, even though German is my native language. ^^
I guess I can not not-read subtitles. I wonder if any of you guys have the same “problem”.

“Field linguistics! It’s like linguistics, but on steroids, literally!”

Yeah, you gotta be a fuild linguist to study unscripted languages like Czech!
But Steve Kaufmann and his tribe of linguaphilic chimpanseeeez don´t even know what field linguistics is so…

@Paul - you left out “sycophants”! :)~
Actually…I should put ‘sycophant’ on my coffee cup…

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@Ferdos - “All videos we have, have subtitles cos they were bought locally, but as you say i tend to read and not listen with the subtitles on.”

If you want to use your videos with subtitles for learning purposes, prop a piece of paper or cardboard or a book or a cat or something against the screen to mask the subtitles. Then you can watch without the lure of subtitles. If any dialogue puzzles you, remove the mask and watch again with subtitles.


“prop a… cat or something”

That is exactly what I was doing when I took my profile picture

Apparently I am a troll, a sycophant (whatever that is), and an idiot.

The Best u Tube polyglot 2, Christophe Clugston - YouTube (read the comments)

The accusation of me begin a troll was probably quite reasonable in that case, sycophant maybe, and idiot is certainly possible. The Power Linguist! Telling it as it is!

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sycophant: “a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite”

Then the power linguist is power right! I am a Steve sycophant!

Ferdos, you need to work with some of the excellent content to be found on Cesky Rozhlas. “Toulky ceskou minulosti” and “Jak to vidi” are my favourites. I download the sound files to listen on my iPod. I import the transcripts to study at LingQ. In fact you can import newspaper and magazine articles into LingQ in order to study them and acquire vocabulary.

I have been studying Czech for over a year here and I understand the radio quite well. I make a lot of mistakes when I speak since I don’t speak that often. I have created over 45,000 LingQs since I started and have quite a large passive vocabulary. You might want to try LingQing more.

To work in a language you need a large vocabulary. Benny’s method is not going to enable you to acquire that vocabulary. LingQ is.

Thanks Steve, those links are perfect, and just what i’m looking for. Czech people speaking, and Czech music. Most radio channels here are mostly English songs and not very helpful.

At the moment I’m using Intermediate 1 and 2 lingqs. Once i read through I know 90% / 80% of the words respectively, but when i listen i struggle. Vocab wise i think i should be challenging myself more at Advanced level, but first I want to bring my comprehension up to speed. I definitely think lingq is the best tool for my requirements.

I’ll keep you up to date with my progress.

Cheers again