workshop (23.5.)

Nominative; genitive; dative; accusative; vocative; locative; and instrumental: for foreigners who try to penetrate the secrets of the Czech language, these seven words are almost a mantra. This mantra is the essence of Czech grammar, which at first seems terrifying, but soon brings students a feeling of victory - for example, when they learn to use the word “beer” in all its forms (piva, pivu, pivem). In addition to this tricky grammar, students learn in our courses the correct usage of the “formal” and “familiar” (or informal) forms of address (tykat, vykat); why men have the right to use an egg whip in April; who is Cimrman; or even what the connection between Charles Bridge and eggs is. :) Socio-cultural competencies are an integral part of language learning. Grammar must go hand in hand with learning about culture, customs and stereotypes, and if there is one topic that comes out right on top, it is most certainly, from my point of view, food!

Some foreigners believe (thanks to some rather thin guidebooks) that Czech cuisine equals marinated sirloin beef with six dumplings (svíčková se šesti) or a pork knuckle (roasted ham hock) washed down with a couple of beers and a Becherovka to top it off. I mean, not that this stereotype isn´t partly true, but every Czech housewife (or homemaker to be politically correct :)) obviously knows that Czech cookbooks harbor many other tasty goodies. Students learn about these recipes in our CLT courses, and what's more, they even taste some of these dishes, because it is more fun to try the Czech customs and traditions than to just talk about them. Even Confucius once said: "I hear, I know. I see, I remember. I do, I understand." Students have the opportunity to try some things from Czech culture in the CLT workshops. One workshop took place in May and the topic was a tempting one - Czech cuisine.
On that Friday evening in May, the students managed to create an open-faced sandwich (or so-called “little bread” - chlebíček); learned what Štramberk ears are (štramberské uši); cooked imaginary meals; learned a new Czech recipe; and delighted their taste buds. And there was so much more! While it was pouring with rain outside, in the CLT classroom we tasted, cooked, laughed about, competed and argued about which Czech food is the best. It turned out that although many feared Olomoucké syrečky (aged cheeses with a strong odour), in the end they didn´t taste so bad, yet students still preferred pickled cheese (nakládadný hermelín). The evening was beneficial for both students and teachers (indeed, just as the lessons are) as the teachers also discovered recipes and other gems from all around the world.  Even the classroom changed for the evening - at the end of the workshop, everyone headed to an improvised restaurant. On the tables where the students usually prepare their homework, menus appeared, knives and forks replaced pens and the teachers became waitresses for a while. The students then showed that to place an order in a restaurant in Czech is no longer a problem for them by ordering and enjoying a Czech evergreen - strawberry dumplings. It was a nice and useful evening. Students were apparently inspired by the workshop and want to cook some of the meals soon at home. Maybe we will find out how they did at one of our upcoming workshops.