People regularly ask me, "So do you speak Czech, then?"
The answer is no, but it could increasingly be: "No, but sometimes I understand it." My attempts at learning the language have in many ways failed, but somehow (in a way I don't quite understand) it is creeping into my subconscious.
I now know this for a fact rather than a fancy, because a week ago I actually had a dream some of which was in Czech. Am I certain it was Czech? No, as I didn't entirely understand what was said in my dream, but I understood bits of it. Nevertheless I rather think that my brain has been processing Czech without me realising it.
I certainly can understand sometimes when a) it doesn't matter, b) the person speaks slowly and c) there are enough words that I do know and the context is such that I can probably guess a significant number of the rest.
But speaking Czech - that is another matter. However even here I am beginning to detect signs of progress. I had to speak Czech a bit for the tour I organised and I was even complemented on my pronunciation of the famous Czech soft r - which apparently I pronounced perfectly. There is a downside to this: in the museum at Zumberk, as I had asked for the tickets etc in Czech, I was expected to translate for the guide. And did I manage it - do I hear you ask? Yes, some of it anyway.
Yesterday I drove to England from the Czech Republic and I got linguistically extremely confused. Although German is officially my second language (I have an A level in it), I kept speaking in Czech both in Germany and France. Then on the ferry I actually managed to apologize to a Brit in Czech!
Ah well, all these signs seem to indicate that I am getting somewhere with this infernal language at last.