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Beer, Prague, Hrabal attract Hungarians to Czech language

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Prague, Sept 16 (CTK) – Love of beer, Prague and Czech literature arouses Hungarians’ interest in the Czech language courses organised by the Czech Centre in Budapest, where the participants achieve a decent proficiency in Czech in two years, the centre’s director Lucie Orbok has told CTK.

The centre also organises translating seminars for Hungarian students of Czech language and culture.

Orbok said Hungarians love the works of Czech author Bohumil Hrabal (1914-1997) and film maker Jiri Menzel, 79, which is why the staging of events involving these works is sure of success in Budapest.

The centre, nevertheless, also strives to present contemporary Czech culture, she said.

“Czech beer, Hrabal, Menzel, they are idols that work and everybody loves them. However, we have decided to focus on contemporary artists across all branches of art, from film to literature and theatre. We want to show what Czech culture is like here and now,” Orbok said.

She said regular festivals of new Czech films have become quite popular. The Czech centre secures the films’ Hungarian subtitling, which has made them more accessible to the local audience.

“We have also registered people’s rising interest in the Czech language courses. The number of our students has increased three times in the past 2.5 years,” Orbok said.

“We asked the students why they were learning Czech. Their love of Czech ensues from their love of beer, Prague and literature,” she said.

Furthermore, the centre organises events for university students of Czech language and culture.

The Bohemian studies programme has been taught at two universities in Hungary, but the students lack opportunities to try their knowledge in practice, Orbok said.

The students have only rarely a chance to try interpreting or artistic translation. To help fill the gap, the Czech Centre organises translating seminars for them, Orbok said.

The centre in Budapest is one of the 22 Czech centres operating in countries across three continents, supervised by the Czech Foreign Ministry and tasked to promote Czech culture and support economic ties and tourism.

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