Mailbox

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This week: a response to an author’s appeal; different language versions of articles on Radio Prague’s website; Czech learning programmes on Radio Prague; “From the Archives”. Listeners quoted: Cyle Joseph, Róbert Kiss, Eva Ehrlich, Stephen Hrebenach, Ian Morrison.

Hans Kammler
Hello and welcome to Mailbox, the programme for your comments and questions. Regular listeners may remember that in February we aired an appeal by Colm J. Lowery from Northern Ireland who is writing a book about the end of WWII. He was particularly interested in any information about Obergruppenführer Hans Kammler who was reportedly in the vicinity of Prague in early May 1945. Last week we got an e-mail from Bill Donegan from the United States. He saw the article on our website and says he knew Kammler’s driver during the war. We have forwarded the message to Mr Lowery and hopefully the information will be useful for his book.

In an interesting coincidence, this week we received a number of e-mails on the same topic. Visitors to our website were interested to find out whether an article they read, for example, on the Czech language pages of Radio Prague’s website also existed in English. One of them was Cyle Joseph:

Letohrádek Hvězda
“I am currently looking for information on the history of the Letohrádek Hvězda, and found a link to your website dated from September 2006 by Zdeňka Kuchyňová. Unfortunately for me, the information was reported in Czech (which I understand little, and speak even less), and I have tried in vain to locate its English equivalent on your website. Was it translated into English? If yes, could you please send me the corresponding link?”

Similarly, Róbert Kiss from Hungary writes:

“I am interested in learning Czech online. I am using a Czech online programme and I find your site very useful also. I’m writing to you because I’m looking for direct English-Czech dual text (news, etc.) with Czech audio files. It would be great if you can offer me some such text (perhaps with some grammar contents) on your internet site.”

And finally, a similar e-mail came from Eva Ehrlich from the United States who found an article on the Czech pages of Radio Prague dealing with an aspect of the Czech language:

“I think the article is a very valuable explanation of the Czech language – custom. I would like to read more on this subject; i.e. Czech superlatives vs. English: ‘good’ in Czech may equal at least ‘excellent’ in English. This is actually a very important point, whether you send a recommendation for a student or employee... or describe a situation or someone's work, or are selling a house. BUT I would like it in English.”

The six language sections of Radio Prague work independently as far as the choice of daily stories and features is concerned. There are no articles that would be direct translations, they may cover the same topics but will always be written differently, using different interviews and covering slightly different angles. Therefore there are no exact matches or dual versions of texts to be found on Radio Prague’s website.

But as regards learning Czech with the help of English, the English section has plenty to offer. Our current Czech language series SoundCzech runs on Saturdays and the complete series can be found in sound and text at http://www.radio.cz/en/current/soundczech.

Our previous series, ABC of Czech, Czech by Numbers and Czech from Head to Toe are available here: http://www.radio.cz/en/archive/abc

Some of your queries may be answered in the English Section's old Czech language series Living Czech which is available in Radio Prague’s archives at: http://www.radio.cz/en/html/living.html

Speaking of archives, Stephen Hrebenach from Ohio was sorry to hear that David Vaughan’s “From the Archives” is taking a break:

“I was sad to hear that From the Archives on March 27 was the last of the current series. But then I was relieved to hear that it will be back at a later time. I think that David Vaughan has done a brilliant job with this series, and I have been looking forward to Thursdays to hear the next edition. Radio Prague has spoiled me with such wonderful programming.”

Ian Morrison from China also mentions the programme in his letter:

“I can't believe it but it's over 20 years since I started listening to Radio Prague. I'm delighted that, after all those years, you're still going strong. And, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I can listen to you loud and clear via the Internet here at my home in Beijing. Just out of curiosity, can I ask you if Radio Prague has many listeners to its shortwave broadcasts in China? I have never been able to pick you up in China on my shortwave radio, but maybe it's not good enough or there is some problem with my antenna. Also, many thanks for the ‘From the Archives’ series. I'm particularly interested in history, so this gives a fascinating insight into key events in 20th century Czech history. Here's another question for you: What do Czechs think of Emil Hacha?”

Well, that’s a question for a longer programme, for example a Czechs in History. Radio Prague has dealt with Emil Hacha, the country’s president during the German wartime occupation, to some extent in a number of programmes in the past. To answer Ian’s first question: listeners from China regularly take part in the monthly competitions and we also get plenty of reception reports from China every month.


Before I say good bye, let me repeat our listeners’ competition question for April. The question must be extremely easy as we have already received dozens of answers since last Sunday.

Our mystery lady was born in Prague in 1932. As a student of medicine she took up the discus and won gold at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. There she fell in love with the American gold medal winning hammer thrower. The couple got married in Prague but she was no longer allowed to represent communist Czechoslovakia. At the subsequent four Olympic Games she represented the US and even carried the US flag at the opening ceremony of the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Please send us your answers as usual to english@radio.cz or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. I’d like to remind you that you can also take part in Radio Prague’s annual writing contest – this year also concerning Czech sport. All the details can be found on our website or in our programmes throughout the week. Until next week, take care.