Czech language

Czech language

Overview
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 and spoken by Czechs
Czech people
Czechs, or Czech people are a western Slavic people of Central Europe, living predominantly in the Czech Republic. Small populations of Czechs also live in Slovakia, Austria, the United States, the United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Russia and other countries...

 worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century. Czech is similar to and mutually intelligible with Slovak
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

 and, to a considerably lesser extent, to Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

 and Sorbian.

Czech is widely spoken by most inhabitants of the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

.
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Encyclopedia
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 and spoken by Czechs
Czech people
Czechs, or Czech people are a western Slavic people of Central Europe, living predominantly in the Czech Republic. Small populations of Czechs also live in Slovakia, Austria, the United States, the United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Russia and other countries...

 worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century. Czech is similar to and mutually intelligible with Slovak
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

 and, to a considerably lesser extent, to Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

 and Sorbian.

Official status


Czech is widely spoken by most inhabitants of the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

. As given by appropriate laws, courts and authorities act and make out documents and executions in the Czech language (financial authorities also in the Slovak language
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

). Czech can be used in all official proceedings also in Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

 as granted by Article 6 of Slovak Minority Language Act 184/1999 Zb.

According to article 37, paragraph 4 of Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms
Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms
The Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms is a document enacted in 1991 by the Czechoslovak Federal Republic, and continued as part of the great constitutional systems of both the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic...

 people who do not speak Czech have the right to get an interpreter in a court of law. Instructions for use in Czech must be added to all marketed goods. The right to one's own language is guaranteed by the Constitution
Constitution of the Czech Republic
The current Constitution of the Czech Republic was adopted on December 16, 1992. It replaced the constitution of Czechoslovakia , which split into the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic by act of parliament on January 1, 1993, through the so-called Velvet Divorce.The document is organized into...

 for all national and ethnic minorities.

Czech is also one of the 23 official languages in the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (since May 2004).

Mutual intelligibility



Speakers of Czech and Slovak usually understand both languages in their written and spoken form, thus constituting a pluricentric language
Pluricentric language
A pluricentric language is a language with several standard versions, both in spoken and in written forms. This situation usually arises when language and the national identity of its native speakers do not, or did not, coincide.-English:...

, though some dialects or heavily accented speech in either language might present difficulties to speakers of the other (in particular, Czech speakers may find Eastern Slovak dialects difficult to comprehend). Younger generations of Czechs living after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia
Dissolution of Czechoslovakia
The dissolution of Czechoslovakia, which took effect on 1 January 1993, was an event that saw the self-determined separation of the federal state of Czechoslovakia. The Czech Republic and Slovakia, entities which had arisen in 1969 within the framework of Czechoslovak federalisation, became...

 in 1993 (therefore generally less familiar with Slovak) might also have some problems with a certain number of words and expressions which differ considerably in the two languages, and with false friends. Nevertheless, these differences do not impede mutual intelligibility
Mutual intelligibility
In linguistics, mutual intelligibility is recognized as a relationship between languages or dialects in which speakers of different but related languages can readily understand each other without intentional study or extraordinary effort...

 significantly.

Name


The name čeština "Czech" is derived from a Slavic tribe of Czechs (Čech, pl. Češi; archaic Čechové) that inhabited Central Bohemia and united neighbouring Slavic tribes under the reign of the Premyslid dynasty
Premyslid dynasty
The Přemyslids , were a Czech royal dynasty which reigned in Bohemia and Moravia , and partly also in Hungary, Silesia, Austria and Poland.-Legendary rulers:...

 (Přemyslovci). According to a legend, it is derived from the Forefather Čech, who brought the tribe of Czechs into its land. The variant English name "Bohemian" was used until the late 19th century, reflecting the original English name of the Czech state derived from the Celtic tribe of Boii
Boii
The Boii were one of the most prominent ancient Celtic tribes of the later Iron Age, attested at various times in Cisalpine Gaul , Pannonia , in and around Bohemia, and Transalpine Gaul...

 who inhabited the area since the 4th century BCE.

History


The Czech language developed from the Proto-Slavic language
Proto-Slavic language
Proto-Slavic is the proto-language from which Slavic languages later emerged. It was spoken before the seventh century AD. As with most other proto-languages, no attested writings have been found; the language has been reconstructed by applying the comparative method to all the attested Slavic...

 at the close of the 1st millennium
1st millennium
File:1st millennium montage.png|From left, clockwise: Depiction of Jesus, the central figure in Christianity; The Colosseum, a landmark of the once Roman Empire; Gunpowder is invented during the latter part of the millennium, in China; Chess, a new board game, takes on popularity across the globe;...

.

Phonology


The phonology
Phonology
Phonology is, broadly speaking, the subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the sounds of language. That is, it is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use...

 of Czech may seem difficult to English speakers as some words do not have vowel
Vowel
In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as English ah! or oh! , pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh! , where there is a constriction or closure at some...

s: zmrzl (frozen solid), ztvrdl (hardened), scvrkl (shrunk), čtvrthrst (quarter-handful), blb (dimwit), vlk (wolf), or smrt (death). A popular example of this is the phrase "strč prst skrz krk
Strc prst skrz krk
Strč prst skrz krk is a Czech and Slovak tongue-twister meaning "stick your finger through your throat".The sentence is well known for having a total absence of vowels, the nucleus of each syllable being a syllabic r, a common feature amongst many Slavic languages. It is often used as an example...

" meaning "stick a finger through your throat" or "Smrž pln skvrn zvlhl z mlh." meaning "Morel full of spots was dampened by fogs". The consonant
Consonant
In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongue; , pronounced with the back of the tongue; , pronounced in the throat; and ,...

s l and r can function as the nucleus of a syllable in Czech, since they are sonorant
Sonorant
In phonetics and phonology, a sonorant is a speech sound that is produced without turbulent airflow in the vocal tract; fricatives and plosives are not sonorants. Vowels are sonorants, as are consonants like and . Other consonants, like or , restrict the airflow enough to cause turbulence, and...

 consonants. A similar phenomenon also occurs in American English, where the reduced syllables at the ends of "butter" and "bottle" are pronounced [ˈbʌɾ.ɹ] and [ˈbɒɾ.l], with syllabic consonants as syllable nuclei. Czech also features the consonant ř, a phoneme
Phoneme
In a language or dialect, a phoneme is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances....

 that is said to be unique to Czech. The phonetic description of the sound is a raised alveolar non-sonorant trill which can be either voiceless (terminally or next to a voiceless consonant) or voiced (elsewhere), the IPA transcription being [].

Vowels



There are 10 vowel
Vowel
In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as English ah! or oh! , pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh! , where there is a constriction or closure at some...

s in Czech which are regarded as individual phoneme
Phoneme
In a language or dialect, a phoneme is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances....

s. There are 5 short and 5 long vowels.

Long vowels are indicated by an acute accent
Acute accent
The acute accent is a diacritic used in many modern written languages with alphabets based on the Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek scripts.-Apex:An early precursor of the acute accent was the apex, used in Latin inscriptions to mark long vowels.-Greek:...

 or a ring
Ring (diacritic)
A ring diacritic may appear above or below letters. It may be combined with some letters of the extended Latin alphabets in various contexts.-Ring above:...

.
/iː/ is represented by letters í and ý
/uː/ is represented by letters ú and ů
/ɛː/ is represented by letter é
/aː/ is represented by letter á
/oː/ is represented by letter ó


Short vowels
/ɪ/ is represented by letters i and y
/u/ is represented by letter u
/ɛ/ is represented by letters e and ě
/a/ is represented by letter a
/o/ is represented by letter o


Note that ě
E
E is the fifth letter and a vowel in the basic modern Latin alphabet. It is the most commonly used letter in the Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Latin, Norwegian, Spanish, and Swedish languages.-History:...

is not a separate vowel. Analogous to y, ý and ů
U
U is the twenty-first letter and a vowel in the basic modern Latin alphabet.-History:The letter U ultimately comes from the Semitic letter Waw by way of the letter Y. See the letter Y for details....

, it is a grapheme kept for historical reasons (see Czech orthography
Czech orthography
Czech orthography is a system of rules for correct writing in the Czech language.The Czech orthographic system is diacritic. The háček is added to standard Latin letters for expressing sounds which are foreign to the Latin language...

). ó exists only in loanwords.

/r/ and /l/ (and sometimes also /m/ and /n/) can be syllabic
Syllabic consonant
A syllabic consonant is a consonant which either forms a syllable on its own, or is the nucleus of a syllable. The diacritic for this in the International Phonetic Alphabet is the under-stroke, ⟨⟩...

, i.e. they can take the vowel's role as the nucleus of a syllable
Syllable
A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus with optional initial and final margins .Syllables are often considered the phonological "building...

, e.g. vlk (wolf).

Diphthongs


There are three diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

s in Czech:
/aʊ̯/ represented by au (almost exclusively in words of foreign origin)
/eʊ̯/ represented by eu (in words of foreign origin only)
/oʊ̯/ represented by ou


When these groups come together at morpheme boundaries, they do not form diphthongs in standard Czech; for instance naučit, neučit, poučit ([-au-, -eu-, -ou-] or [-aʔu-, -eʔu-, -oʔu-]). In native Czech words, only ou exists as a diphthong. Vowel groups ia, ie, ii, io, and iu in foreign words are likewise not regarded as diphthongs; they may also be pronounced with /j/ between the vowels [ɪja, ɪjɛ, ɪjɪ, ɪjo, ɪju].

Consonants

Labial
Labial consonant
Labial consonants are consonants in which one or both lips are the active articulator. This precludes linguolabials, in which the tip of the tongue reaches for the posterior side of the upper lip and which are considered coronals...

Alveolar
Alveolar consonant
Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...

Post-
alveolar
Postalveolar consonant
Postalveolar consonants are consonants articulated with the tongue near or touching the back of the alveolar ridge, further back in the mouth than the alveolar consonants, which are at the ridge itself, but not as far back as the hard palate...

Palatal
Palatal consonant
Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate...

Velar
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

Glottal
Glottal consonant
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...

Nasal
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

 m  n    ɲ    
Plosive p b t d   c ɟ k (ɡ)  
Affricate
Affricate consonant
Affricates are consonants that begin as stops but release as a fricative rather than directly into the following vowel.- Samples :...

  t͡s (d͡z) t͡ʃ (d͡ʒ)      
Fricative
Fricative consonant
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...

(f) v s z ʃ ʒ   x       ɦ
   r̝        
Trill
Trill consonant
In phonetics, a trill is a consonantal sound produced by vibrations between the articulator and the place of articulation. Standard Spanish <rr> as in perro is an alveolar trill, while in Parisian French it is almost always uvular....

         
   r        
Approximant
Approximant consonant
Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough or with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow. Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a turbulent airstream, and vowels, which produce no...

   l    j    

is a specific raised alveolar non-sonorant trill which can be pronounced both voiced and voiceless (regarded as two allophones of one phoneme).

The consonant
Consonant
In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongue; , pronounced with the back of the tongue; , pronounced in the throat; and ,...

s in parentheses are regarded as allophone
Allophone
In phonology, an allophone is one of a set of multiple possible spoken sounds used to pronounce a single phoneme. For example, and are allophones for the phoneme in the English language...

s of other consonants:
[ŋ] is an allophone of /n/ when preceding velar consonant
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

s (/k/ and /ɡ/).
[g] is a voiced allophone of /k/ when preceding a voiced consonant, except in loanwords
[d͡z] is an allophone of /t͡s/ when preceding a voiced consonant


The glottal stop
Glottal stop
The glottal stop, or more fully, the voiceless glottal plosive, is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. In English, the feature is represented, for example, by the hyphen in uh-oh! and by the apostrophe or [[ʻokina]] in Hawaii among those using a preservative pronunciation of...

 [ʔ], which appears as a separator between two vowels or word-initially before a vowel, is not considered a separate phoneme
Phoneme
In a language or dialect, a phoneme is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances....

 or an allophone of one.
/ʃ/ is represented by the letter š
Š
The grapheme Š, š is used in various contexts, usually denoting the voiceless postalveolar fricative. In the International Phonetic Alphabet this sound is denoted with , but the lowercase š is used in the Americanist phonetic notation, as well as in the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet.For use in computer...

/ʒ/ is represented by the letter ž
Ž
The grapheme Ž is formed from Latin Z with the addition of caron . It is used in various contexts, usually denoting the voiced postalveolar fricative, a sound similar to English g in mirage, or Portuguese and French j...

/ɲ/ is represented by the letter ň
N
N is the fourteenth letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.- History of the forms :One of the most common hieroglyphs, snake, was used in Egyptian writing to stand for a sound like English ⟨J⟩, because the Egyptian word for "snake" was djet...

/c/ is represented by the letter ť
T
T is the 20th letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet. It is the most commonly used consonant and the second most common letter in the English language.- History :Taw was the last letter of the Western Semitic and Hebrew alphabets...

/ɟ/ is represented by the letter ď
D
D is the fourth letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.- History :The Semitic letter Dâlet may have developed from the logogram for a fish or a door. There are various Egyptian hieroglyphs that might have inspired this. In Semitic, Ancient Greek, and Latin, the letter represented ; in the...

/ɦ/ is represented by the letter h
H
H .) is the eighth letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.-History:The Semitic letter ⟨ח⟩ most likely represented the voiceless pharyngeal fricative . The form of the letter probably stood for a fence or posts....

/x/ is represented by the digraph
Digraph (orthography)
A digraph or digram is a pair of characters used to write one phoneme or a sequence of phonemes that does not correspond to the normal values of the two characters combined...

 ch
Ch (digraph)
Ch is a digraph in the Roman alphabet and Uyghur. It is treated as a letter of its own in Chamorro, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Igbo, Quechua, Guarani, Welsh, Cornish, Breton and Belarusian Łacinka alphabets. In Vietnamese, it also used to be considered a letter for collation purposes but this is no...

/ts/ is represented by the letter c
C
Ĉ or ĉ is a consonant in Esperanto orthography, representing the sound .Esperanto orthography uses a diacritic for all four of its postalveolar consonants, as do the Latin-based Slavic alphabets...

/tʃ/ is represented by the letter č
C
Ĉ or ĉ is a consonant in Esperanto orthography, representing the sound .Esperanto orthography uses a diacritic for all four of its postalveolar consonants, as do the Latin-based Slavic alphabets...

/dʒ/ is represented by the digraph
Dž is the seventh letter of the Croatian and Bosnian alphabets, and the Latin forms of Serbian, Montenegrin and Macedonian, after D and before Đ. It is pronounced . Dž is a digraph that corresponds to the letter Dzhe of the Cyrillic alphabet used for writing the Serbian, Montenegrin and...

/r̝/ is represented by the letter ř
R
R is the eighteenth letter of the basic modern Latin alphabet.-History:The original Semitic letter may have been inspired by an Egyptian hieroglyph for tp, "head". It was used for by Semites because in their language, the word for "head" was rêš . It developed into Greek Ρ and Latin R...



The other consonants are represented by the same characters (letters) as in the IPA.

(See also: Czech alphabet
Czech alphabet
The Czech alphabet is a version of the Latin script, used when writing Czech. Its basic principles are "one sound, one letter" and the addition of diacritical marks above letters to represent sounds alien to Latin...

)

Stress


The primary stress
Stress (linguistics)
In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word, or to certain words in a phrase or sentence. The term is also used for similar patterns of phonetic prominence inside syllables. The word accent is sometimes also used with this sense.The stress placed...

 is always fixed to the first syllable
Syllable
A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus with optional initial and final margins .Syllables are often considered the phonological "building...

 of a stressed unit, which is usually identical to a word. The exceptions are:
  • Monosyllabic prepositions form a unit with following words (if the following word is not longer than three syllables). The stress is placed on the preposition: e.g. Praha (Prague) → do Prahy (to Prague).
  • Some monosyllabic words (e.g. mi (me), ti ((to) you), to (it), se, si (oneself), jsem (am), jsi (are)) are clitic
    Clitic
    In morphology and syntax, a clitic is a morpheme that is grammatically independent, but phonologically dependent on another word or phrase. It is pronounced like an affix, but works at the phrase level...

    s — they are not stressed and form a unit with preceding words. A clitic cannot be the first word in a sentence
    Sentence (linguistics)
    In the field of linguistics, a sentence is an expression in natural language, and often defined to indicate a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that generally bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it...

    , because it requires a preceding word to form a unit with. Example: Napsal jsem ti ten dopis, I have written the letter to you.


Long words have secondary stress, which is usually placed on every odd syllable after the primary stress, e.g.
nej
krásnější (the most beautiful).

Stress in Czech denotes boundaries between words, but does not distinguish word meanings. It also has no influence on the quality or quantity of vowels. Vowels are not reduced in unstressed syllables and both long and short vowels can occur in either stressed or unstressed syllables.

Syntax and Morphology


As in most Slavic languages, many words (especially nouns, verbs and adjectives) have many forms (inflection
Inflection
In grammar, inflection or inflexion is the modification of a word to express different grammatical categories such as tense, grammatical mood, grammatical voice, aspect, person, number, gender and case...

s). In this regard, Czech and the Slavic languages are closer to their Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 origins than other languages in the same family that have lost much inflection. Moreover, in Czech the rules of morphology are extremely irregular and many forms have official, colloquial and sometimes semi-official variants.

Word order


The word order in Czech serves a similar function to sentence stress and articles in English. Often all the permutation
Permutation
In mathematics, the notion of permutation is used with several slightly different meanings, all related to the act of permuting objects or values. Informally, a permutation of a set of objects is an arrangement of those objects into a particular order...

s of words in a clause
Clause
In grammar, a clause is the smallest grammatical unit that can express a complete proposition. In some languages it may be a pair or group of words that consists of a subject and a predicate, although in other languages in certain clauses the subject may not appear explicitly as a noun phrase,...

 are possible. While the permutations mostly share the same meaning, they differ in the topic–focus articulation.

For example: Češi udělali revoluci (The Czechs made a revolution), Revoluci udělali Češi (It was the Czechs who made the revolution), and Češi revoluci udělali (The Czechs did make a revolution). Usually the word order follows the pattern based on importance of the words expressed – from the least important to the most important. By saying Revoluci udělali Češi the speaker stresses that it was the Czechs and not, e.g. the Germans or Slovaks, who made a revolution. By saying Češi revoluci udělali, the speaker stresses that the revolution has been done, this being far more important than that it was the Czechs who stood behind it. Combined with sentence voice melody, which is the same for each type of sentence – announcing, questioning and an imperative, and which marks the end of each sentence, one can easily understand the important context of what is said by just listening to the final word in each sentence.

Parts of speech


  • Noun
    Noun
    In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

     (podstatné jméno)
  • Adjective
    Adjective
    In grammar, an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified....

     (přídavné jméno)
  • Pronoun
    Pronoun
    In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun , such as, in English, the words it and he...

     (zájmeno)
  • Numeral (číslovka)
  • Verb
    Verb
    A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

     (sloveso)
  • Adverb
    Adverb
    An adverb is a part of speech that modifies verbs or any part of speech other than a noun . Adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives , clauses, sentences, and other adverbs....

     (příslovce)
  • Preposition (předložka)
  • Conjunction (spojka)
  • Particle
    Grammatical particle
    In grammar, a particle is a function word that does not belong to any of the inflected grammatical word classes . It is a catch-all term for a heterogeneous set of words and terms that lack a precise lexical definition...

     (částice)
  • Interjection
    Interjection
    In grammar, an interjection or exclamation is a word used to express an emotion or sentiment on the part of the speaker . Filled pauses such as uh, er, um are also considered interjections...

     (citoslovce)


Nouns, adjectives, pronouns and numbers are declined (seven cases over a number of declension models) and verbs are conjugated; the other parts of speech are not inflected (with the exception of comparative formation in adverbs).

Dialects


In the Czech Republic two distinct variants or interdialects of spoken Czech can be found, both corresponding more or less to geographic areas within the country. The first, and most widely used, is "Common Czech
Common Czech
Common Czech is a colloquial variant of the Czech language. It is usually defined as an interdialect used in common speech in Bohemia and western parts of Moravia . Common Czech is not codified, but some of its elements can get into the standard language...

", spoken especially in Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

. It has some grammatical differences from "standard" Czech, along with some differences in pronunciation. The most common pronunciation changes include becoming -ej in some circumstances, becoming -ý- in some circumstances (-ej- in others). Also, noun declension is changed, most notably the instrumental case. Instead of having various endings (depending on gender) in the instrumental, Bohemians will just put -ama or -ma at the end of all plural instrumental declensions. Currently, these forms are very common throughout the entire Czech republic, including Moravia
Moravia
Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

 and Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

. Also pronunciation changes slightly, as the Bohemians tend to have more open vowels than Moravians. This is said to be especially prevalent among people from Prague.

The second major variant is spoken in Moravia
Moravia
Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

 and Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

. Nowadays it is very close to the Bohemian form of Common Czech. This variant has some words different from its standard Czech equivalents. For example in the dialect spoken in Brno, tramvaj (streetcar or tram) is šalina (originating from German "ElektriSCHELINIE"). Unlike in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia tend to have more local dialects varying from place to place, however just as in Bohemia, most have been already heavily influenced and mostly replaced by Common Czech. Everyday spoken form in Moravia and Silesia would be a mixture of remnants of old local dialect, some Standard Czech forms and especially Common Czech. The most notable difference is a shift in used prepositions and case of noun, for example k jídlu (to eat – dative) (as in German zum Essen) becomes na jídlo (accusative), as it is in Slovak na jedlo. It is a common misconception that the use of Standard Czech in everyday situations is more frequent than in Bohemia. The Standard Czech became standardized by the Czech national revivalists in the 19th century, based on an already three hundred year old translation of the Bible (Bible of Kralice
Bible of Kralice
The Bible of Kralice was the first complete translation of the Bible from the original languages into the Czech language. Translated by the Unity of the Brethren and printed in the town of Kralice nad Oslavou, the first edition had six volumes and was published between the years 1579 and 1593...

) using an older variant of the then-current language (for example, preferring -ý- to -ej-). These Standard forms are still common in spoken language both in Moravia and Silesia. Some Moravians and Silesians therefore tend to say that they use "proper" language, unlike their Bohemian compatriots.

A special case is the Cieszyn Silesian dialect
Cieszyn Silesian dialect
Cieszyn Silesian dialect is one of the Silesian dialects. It has its roots mainly in Polish and has also strong Czech and German influences and even Vlachs' and Slovak. It is spoken in Cieszyn Silesia, a region on both sides of the Polish-Czech border. It lacks some official codification and...

, spoken in Cieszyn Silesia
Cieszyn Silesia
Cieszyn Silesia or Těšín Silesia or Teschen Silesia is a historical region in south-eastern Silesia, centered around the towns of Cieszyn and Český Těšín and bisected by the Olza River. Since 1920 it has been divided between Poland and Czechoslovakia, and later the Czech Republic...

 (Těšínsko), which is a transitional dialect between the Czech and Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

 languages.

Some south Moravian dialects are also sometimes, although rarely, considered (also by Czech linguists in the 90's or later, e.g. Václav Machek in his "Etymologický slovník jazyka českého", 1997, ISBN 80-7106-242-1, p. 8, who speaks about a "Moravian-Slovak" dialect from the region of Moravian "Slovácko") to be actually dialects of the Slovak language, which has its roots in the Moravian empire when Slovaks and Moravians were one nation (without Bohemians) with one language. Those dialects still have the same suffixes (for inflected nouns and pronouns and for conjugated verbs) as Slovak.

The minor dialect spoken in the Plzeň Region
Plzen Region
Plzeň Region is an administrative unit in the western part of Bohemia in the Czech Republic. It is named after its capital Plzeň .- Communes :...

 and parts of Western Bohemia and in wester parts of former Prachens region differs, among other things, by intonation of questions: all the words except for the last word of a sentence have a high pitch. This is the reason why the people from Plzeň are said to be "singing". Words that start questions are often given an additional "-pa": "Kolipa je hodin?" (regular Czech: "Kolik je hodin?"; English: "What time is it?"). The words like "this" (regular Czech: "tento/tato/toto") are often replaced by "tuten/tuta/tuto"); some examples: "What is this?" is "Copa to je?" and "What's happening?" is "Copa?" instead of "Co je to? / Co se stalo?" or "Why?" is "Pročpa?" instead of "Proč?".

The region of Chodsko is the home of a very special dialect of the Chods
Chodové
The Chodové were a group of people in Bohemia, mainly in the surroundings of Domažlice, Tachov and Přimda. They were displaced from one of the Polish regions to guard the borders between Bohemia and Bavaria. They were direct servants of the king with significant privileges that differentiated...

 people who were displaced in about the 10th century from Silesia owing to the protection of the western border of Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

.

Declension


Czechs typically refer to the noun cases by number and learn them by means of the question to which they are the answer. These numbers do not necessarily correspond to numbered cases in other languages (e.g., the Slovene locative and instrumental are known as the 5th and 6th cases). When learning a new word, Czech children recite the cases using a set of example phrases, shown as follows:
1. kdo/co? (who/what?) nominative
Nominative case
The nominative case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or the predicate noun or predicate adjective, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments...

2. bez koho/čeho? (without whom/what?) genitive
Genitive case
In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...

3. ke komu/čemu? (to whom/what?) dative
Dative case
The dative case is a grammatical case generally used to indicate the noun to whom something is given, as in "George gave Jamie a drink"....

4. vidíme koho/co? (We see whom/what?) accusative
Accusative case
The accusative case of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. The same case is used in many languages for the objects of prepositions...

5. oslovujeme/voláme (We address/call) vocative
Vocative case
The vocative case is the case used for a noun identifying the person being addressed and/or occasionally the determiners of that noun. A vocative expression is an expression of direct address, wherein the identity of the party being spoken to is set forth expressly within a sentence...

6. o kom/čem? (about whom/what?) locative
Locative case
Locative is a grammatical case which indicates a location. It corresponds vaguely to the English prepositions "in", "on", "at", and "by"...

7. s kým/čím? (with whom/what?) instrumental
Instrumental case
The instrumental case is a grammatical case used to indicate that a noun is the instrument or means by or with which the subject achieves or accomplishes an action...



The case used depends on a number of variables.

Prepositions with certain cases


The simplest of the rules governing noun declension is the use of prepositions (předložky). Excepting expressions and common phrases, each preposition is matched with a certain noun declension case depending on use. The following are basic examples of common prepositions and their corresponding noun cases (note: these examples represent only one circumstance. Often each preposition can be used with two or more noun cases depending on the sentence).
  • Genitive: během (during), podle/dle (according to/along), vedle (beside), kolem (around), okolo (around), do (into), od(e) (away from), z(e) (out of/from), bez(e) (without), místo (instead of), u (at/by the).
  • Dative: k(e) (towards), proti (against), díky (thanks to), naproti (opposite).
  • Accusative: skrz(e) (through), pro (for), na (to/for).
  • Locative: o (around, about), na (on), při (into, in, around), v (in), po (after, around).
  • Instrumental: za (behind), před (in front of), mezi (between), pod(e) (below), s(e) (with), nad(e) (above).


Many of the above prepositions are used in different circumstances. For instance, when motion or a change of position is expressed, prepositions of place such as nad, mezi, na and pod are used with the accusative case.

The second factor affecting noun declension is the verb used. In Czech grammar, the accusative case serves as the direct object
Object (grammar)
An object in grammar is part of a sentence, and often part of the predicate. It denotes somebody or something involved in the subject's "performance" of the verb. Basically, it is what or whom the verb is acting upon...

, and the dative case serves as the indirect object. Some verbs require the genitive case to be used. For example, the verb "zeptat se" (to ask) requires that the person being asked the question be in the genitive case (Zeptat se koho/čeho), and that the thing being asked about follow the preposition "na" and be in the accusative case (Zeptat se koho/čeho na koho/co).

Counting and declension


The third factor affecting noun declension is number
Grammatical number
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....

. Czech has a typical Slavic counting system, explained as follows with the example masculine animate noun
Noun
In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

 muž (man):
  • For the number one, the singular number is used: jeden muž.
  • For the numbers 2, 3, and 4, any case may be used, depending on the function of the noun in the sentence: dva muži (nominative). "Vidím dva muže" (accusative).
  • For all numbers from 5 on, the genitive plural is used when the noun would normally be in the nominative–accusative or vocative case: pět mužů. "Pět mužů je tam." Five men are over there. "Vidím pět mužů." I see five men. For other cases, however, the noun is not placed in the genitive. "Nad pěti muži." Above the five men (instrumental).


The example above shows colloquial use. In literary use, there is an additional rule: The above system is based only on the last word of the number. Thus a number like 101 uses the singular (sto jeden muž) and 102 uses the ordinary plural (sto dva muži). For numbers that can be read in two ways, such as 21, the grammar may depend on which one is chosen (dvacet jeden muž or jednadvacet mužů). This system is becoming less common and is not used in everyday speech, as well as becoming harder to find in modern literature.

Numbers have declension patterns in Czech. The number two, for instance, declines as follows:
Nominative dva/dvě
Genitive dvou
Dative dvěma
Accusative dva/dvě
Vocative dva/dvě
Locative (o) dvou
Instrumental dvěma


The numbers are singular (jednotné číslo), plural (množné číslo), and remains of dual
Dual (grammatical number)
Dual is a grammatical number that some languages use in addition to singular and plural. When a noun or pronoun appears in dual form, it is interpreted as referring to precisely two of the entities identified by the noun or pronoun...

. The number two, as declined above, is an example of the now-diminished dual number. The dual number is only used for certain parts of the human body: hands, shoulders, eyes, ears, knees, legs, and breasts. In all but two of the above body parts (eyes and ears) the dual number is only vestigial and affects very few aspects of declension (mostly the genitive and prepositional cases). However, in Common Czech this dual ending of the instrumental case is used as the regular instrumental plural form, for example, s kluky (with the boys) becomes s klukama, and so on for all nouns.

Gender


The three genders
Grammatical gender
Grammatical gender is defined linguistically as a system of classes of nouns which trigger specific types of inflections in associated words, such as adjectives, verbs and others. For a system of noun classes to be a gender system, every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be...

 are masculine, feminine, and neuter, with masculine further subdivided into animate and inanimate. Words for individuals with biological gender usually have the corresponding grammatical gender, with only a few exceptions; similarly, among the masculine nouns, the distinction between animate and inanimate also follows meaning. Other words have arbitrary grammatical genders. Thus, for instance, pes (dog) is masculine animate, stůl (table) is masculine inanimate, kočka (cat) and židle (chair) are feminine, and morče (guinea-pig) and světlo (light) are neuter.

Verb tenses



Compared to English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 or Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

, Czech has a rather simple set of tenses. They are present
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

, past
Past
Most generally, the past is a term used to indicate the totality of events which occurred before a given point in time. The past is contrasted with and defined by the present and the future. The concept of the past is derived from the linear fashion in which human observers experience time, and is...

, and future
Future
The future is the indefinite time period after the present. Its arrival is considered inevitable due to the existence of time and the laws of physics. Due to the nature of the reality and the unavoidability of the future, everything that currently exists and will exist is temporary and will come...

.

Past is used in almost all instances of past action, and replaces every past tense in English (past simple, past perfect and in some cases the present perfect). The past tense is usually formed by affixing an -l- on the end of the verb, sometimes with a minor (rarely significant) stem change. After adding the -l-, letters are added in order to agree with the subject (-a for feminine, -o for neuter, -i, -y or -a for plural).

The present tense is also used to describe ongoing actions which continue to the present, where in English a present perfect would be used, for instance, "I've been doing this for three hours". In Czech, as there is no present perfect, the present indicative is used and is directly translated as "I do this for three hours". However, when the present perfect is used to denote past actions without a time reference (e.g. "I've been to Italy three times"), the past tense would be used.

There are also sometimes second forms of certain verbs (such as "to go", "to do") that indicate a habitual or repeated action. These are known as iterative forms. For instance, the verb jít ("to go by foot") has the iterative form chodit ("to go regularly").

There is also no tense shifting, as in reported speech, for example in the sentence "he said he loved her", reporting "he loves her", the tense of the verb is shifted from present to past. In Czech it is "Má ji rád" -> "Řekl, že ji má rád". The "má rád" remains in the present tense in both cases.

The future tense is another fickle part of Czech grammar. Verbs in Czech can be divided into two aspects
Grammatical aspect
In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb is a grammatical category that defines the temporal flow in a given action, event, or state, from the point of view of the speaker...

, one expressing an ongoing action (imperfective aspect
Imperfective aspect
The imperfective is a grammatical aspect used to describe a situation viewed with internal structure, such as ongoing, habitual, repeated, and similar semantic roles, whether that situation occurs in the past, present, or future...

) and one expressing the outcome of an action (perfective aspect
Perfective aspect
The perfective aspect , sometimes called the aoristic aspect, is a grammatical aspect used to describe a situation viewed as a simple whole, whether that situation occurs in the past, present, or future. The perfective aspect is equivalent to the aspectual component of past perfective forms...

). Most verbs have different counterparts in each aspect which form pairs. Perfective verbs can only express an action that is already completed (past) or one that is yet to be completed (future), but the latter is expressed in Czech using the present tense. Thus, the future tense (e.g. budu psát for psát, to write) can only be used for imperfective verbs; however, the present tense of napsat (perfective counterpart of psát) also indicates a future action.

Aspectual pairs are in general of two kinds:
  • the perfective is obtained by prefixing the imperfective with a preposition, for example psát becomes napsat;
  • the forms differ in the endings, for example dát (perfective) becomes dávat (imperfective) or koupit (perfective) becomes kupovat (imperfective);


Czech also makes heavy use of prepositional prefixes to modify the precise meaning to the verb. For example, podepsat is a prefixed form of the verb psát meaning to sign (literally to write under). Analogously to the first case above, the addition of such prefixes almost always changes the aspect
Grammatical aspect
In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb is a grammatical category that defines the temporal flow in a given action, event, or state, from the point of view of the speaker...

 of the verb to the perfective aspect
Perfective aspect
The perfective aspect , sometimes called the aoristic aspect, is a grammatical aspect used to describe a situation viewed as a simple whole, whether that situation occurs in the past, present, or future. The perfective aspect is equivalent to the aspectual component of past perfective forms...

. In this case, a modified imperfective form podepisovat forms a pair with podepsat.

Sample text


Czech: Všichni lidé se rodí svobodní a sobě rovní co do důstojnosti a práv. Jsou nadáni rozumem a svědomím a mají spolu jednat v duchu bratrství.

English: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

See also

  • Czech alphabet
    Czech alphabet
    The Czech alphabet is a version of the Latin script, used when writing Czech. Its basic principles are "one sound, one letter" and the addition of diacritical marks above letters to represent sounds alien to Latin...

  • Czech Centers
    Czech Centers
    The Czech Centres comprise an organisation funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Its goal is to promote the Czech language and Czech culture abroad. It was created in 1986, and is based in Prague...

  • Czech declension
    Czech declension
    Czech declension describes the declension, or system of grammatically-determined modifications, in nouns, adjectives, pronouns and numerals in the Czech language. There is a system of 7 cases in Czech...

  • Czech name
    Czech name
    Czech names are composed of a given name and a surname. Surnames used by women differ from their male counterparts.-Given names:In the Czech Republic, names are simply known as jména or, if the context requires it, křestní jména . The singular form is jméno...

  • Czech orthography
    Czech orthography
    Czech orthography is a system of rules for correct writing in the Czech language.The Czech orthographic system is diacritic. The háček is added to standard Latin letters for expressing sounds which are foreign to the Latin language...

  • Orthographia bohemica
    Orthographia bohemica
    De orthographia bohemica is an anonymously-authored Latin work from the early 15th century, in which the Czech language was given a codified spelling.The reformer Jan Hus is often suspected to be the work's author.-Provenance:...

  • Czech phonology
    Czech phonology
    This article discusses the phonological system of the Czech language- Vowels :There are 10 vowel phonemes in Czech. 5 of them are short and 5 are long. The duration of the long vowels is approximately double in comparison with their short counterparts. Long and short vowels form minimal pairs. The...

  • Czech verb
    Czech verb
    Czech conjugation is a term denoting Czech language verb conjugation, or system of grammatically-determined modifications, in verbs in the Czech language....

  • Czech word order
    Czech word order
    The Czech word order is relatively free. However, the Czech language belongs to the SVO type.- Main principles of the Czech word order :The Czech word order is said to be free. This means that the individual parts of a sentence need not necessarily be placed in a firmly given sequence. The word...

  • Háček
  • Moravian language
    Moravian language
    Moravian is the form of the Czech language spoken in Moravia, a historical region in the east of the Czech Republic. While generally viewed as a regional variant of Czech, part of Moravians claim it to be a separate language....

  • Swadesh list of Slavic words

External links