With a strong economy and cities that few can rival in their beauty, the Czech Republic has become an increasingly popular country for foreigners from across the world. This has naturally led to a demand in Czech language courses. One of those who are leading the pack in online Czech teaching is YouTuber Vít Benešovský.
If you are planning to visit Prague and want to learn some basic Czech phrases, or a foreigner living in the country who already knows a bit of Czech, but does not quite understand the grammar, Vít Benešovský’s Youtube channel “Czech with a Praguer” comes in handy.
Originally an English teacher, he decided to switch to his native language and subsequently began teaching the subject at the Czech Centre for the Integration of Foreigners.
It was during this time that he also started building an online community of Czech learners and so he began posting curious Czech words and explaining the country’s language phrases on Instagram.
“After half a year I thought I will open my own courses in a classroom. I announced to people that I was going to start some courses that they could enrol in and no one, not one, turned up!
It was then that he decided to fully embrace the online sphere. He set up the Czech courses with a Praguer YouTube channel and began making both his own videos, as well as cooperating on content creation related to Slavic languages with the Polish linguistics YouTuber Norbert.
Today, almost of all Mr. Benešovský’s classes are conducted online.
“I use Skype or an application called Zoom, which is a bit better for classes…It's perfect, because I can be in Prague and teach Czech to people from anywhere in the world.”
Those who know about his videos will notice that they are divided into teaching Czech for English and Russian speakers. This is important, he says, because the problems students have with Czech very much depend on what family of languages their mother tongue comes from.
“If your mother tongue is Slavic, whether Russian, Ukranian, or Polish, your biggest problem is to stop mixing your own language with Czech.
“However, if your native language is Spanish, English, or French, the most difficult part is usually the pronunciation and differences within the grammatical system. Such things do not exist in your language or are not present in the same way.
Whatever the language of the student, Benešovský’s courses focus on using communicative methods and prioritise interactions. The method relies on teaching vocabulary and grammar with relevant context rather than in isolation.
Mr Benešovský’s venture into the online teaching world has paid off, earning him enough to be self-sufficient and be his own boss. He hopes this trajectory will continue, giving him the chance to live well and be known to people as the “Czech teacher for foreigners”.