S for signs

Damy - Ladies

We've reached the letter S and today we'll talk about signs. When you get off a plane, a train, a bus, what first greets you is signs, signs and more signs. True, some of them are in English, or other languages, too, but in smaller towns at least, you'll have to rely on your knowledge of Czech.

In today's programme, we're going to explain at least some of the most common signs. As you get off a plane, you'll probably look for Passport Control or pasová kontrola and Customs or Celní kontrola. After you pass those, you'll be looking for the Exit sign, which is východ. This word can be easily mistaken for its exact opposite vchod which means entrance. Vladimir will now repeat them for you once again. Východ means exit and vchod is entrance. If you want to know which way to run in an emergency, look for the sign Nouzový východ or Emergency Exit.

Another two signs which might sound and look frustratingly similar to a foreign visitor are Otev"eno Open and Zav"eno Closed. If you're not hundred percent sure if a place is open or closed, you should try the door. In that case you'll want to know whether you push or pull it open. In Czech, the signs read sem which actually means here and tells you to pull the door towards you, and the other is tam, meaning there, in which case you have to push the door to open it.

In many public places you'll find the sign Zákaz kou"ení which means No Smoking. If a sign reads Zákaz vstupu, it means No entry. There is another pair of signs, which could, at times, be really important. Unless there are internationally comprehensible symbols on the doors, you simply have to be able to tell between the words Mu¾i and ¾eny in public toilets. Well, Mu¾i stands for Men and ¾eny means women. There is another pair which is also used frequently páni and dámy. The first word, páni, stands for gentlemen and dámy for ladies.

And that's all for today's edition but the ABC of Czech will be back next week with more useful vocabulary and phrases.