Teacher Feature: What Is the Biggest Mistake Your Czech Students Make?

The first in a new series exploring life in the TEFL classroom asks English teachers to name their students’ most common errors
Tip: Visit Expats.cz Education for more education resources, tips and advice for Prague & the Czech Republic!

We asked English teachers to tell us the most common mistakes their Czech students tend to make over and over. Here’s what they had to say:

“The most common mistakes Czech students make are the following.”
Tracey Ennor, UK, Private English teacher

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False friends

  • Using “control” to mean “check”.
  • For example: “I went to the doctor for control yesterday” or “Please can you control my writing.”
  • Saying “concrete” when they mean specific. “I gave my husband concrete details and he still bought the wrong thing.”
  • Also words like “accurate” vs. akorát (just enough).

Pronunciation

  • The sound in “these” and “thought”: often pronounced as dese and dawt.
  • “Bought” is often pronounced bawft.
  • V and W: especially at the beginning of a word, think vork (work), vish (wish), and vhen (when).

“Even Czechs who have a good level of English make [tend to] make mistakes with prepositions, articles, and syntax.”
Gillian Pritchett, UK, Business English instructor

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Also read:  7 lessons parents with kids at home can learn from Prague educators

Misuse of prepositions

  • For example, if I asked a Czech if I was expected to come and teach this summer they would answer: “Yes I’m counting with you”  rather than “I’m counting on you” or possibly “Yes, we’re expecting you.”

Word order

  • Since Czech is less strict on word order syntax can be an issue. A good fix for this: Reading more in English helps as well as giving lessons that cover word order and doing drills.

Articles

  • Often Czechs will start a sentence without an article and omit articles within sentences. For example: “Reason why I am leaving the college is that I was offered manager position.” This should be “The reason why I am leaving the College is that I was offered a manager position.”

Here is another example that includes all of my points: “I am sending you also activity of week 1 and week 2.” This should be “I’m also sending you the activity for week 1 and week 2.” These are genuine sentences that my students have used in emails to me.

Tip: Visit Expats.cz Education for more education resources, tips and advice for Prague & the Czech Republic!

Also read:  A new program at Charles University examines the intersection of politics and media

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