Czech language

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Czech language

(chĕk), in the past sometimes also called Bohemian, member of the West Slavic group of the Slavic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Slavic languagesSlavic languages,
also called Slavonic languages, a subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. Because the Slavic group of languages seems to be closer to the Baltic group than to any other, some scholars combine the two in a Balto-Slavic subfamily of the Indo-European
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). The official language of the Czech Republic, it is spoken by about 11 million people, of whom over 10 million reside there and close to 1 million of whom are in Slovakia and North America combined. Grammatically, Czech has seven cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, locative, instrumental, and vocative) for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. It is not necessary to use personal pronouns with verbs since person and number are clearly shown by the verb endings; however, personal pronouns may be used for emphasis. In the pronunciation of Czech the stress always falls on the first syllable of a word, but this accentuation is not shown by diacritical marks such as accents. A sharp distinction is made between long and short vowels, and an acute accent (´) is used to indicate where vowels are lengthened, i.e., where their pronunciation is relatively protracted. A hook or inverted circumflex (ˇ) over a consonant is the sign that the consonant is palatalized, or pronounced with the tip of the tongue on the palate. The earliest surviving record of Czech is in the form of glosses in a Latin manuscript of the 11th cent. A.D. The period of Old Czech, the oldest stage of the language, is usually placed in the 11th to 14th cent. At that time there were many dialects. A Czech literature began to take shape in the 13th cent. Standardization of the spelling and pronunciation of the language occurred during the Middle Czech period of the 15th and 16th cents., largely as a result of the work of John HussHuss, John
, Czech Jan Hus , 1369?–1415, Czech religious reformer. Early Life

Of peasant origin, he was born in Husinec, Bohemia (from which his name is derived). He studied theology at the Univ. of Prague, was ordained a priest c.
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, the celebrated Czech religious reformer, who made the Prague dialect the basis of his far-reaching linguistic reforms. The modern period of Czech began in the 17th cent. The domination of the Czechs by the Hapsburg rulers of Austria from 1620 to 1918 seriously hampered the development of the Czech language and literature, although a national literary revival began in the 18th cent. After independence was regained in 1918, the language and literature of Czechoslovakia again began to flourish. Czech was one of two official languages (the other being Slovak) of Czechoslovakia, and remained the official language of the Czech Republic after Czechoslovakia was dissolved in 1993. A modified version of the Roman alphabet is used for writing Czech.


See W. E. Harkins, A Modern Czech Grammar (1953); R. G. A. de Bray, Guide to the Slavonic Languages (rev. ed. 1969); M. Heim, Contemporary Czech (1982).

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References in periodicals archive ?
The author argues that journalist Milena Jesensk<AEa>, KafkaAEs lover and translator, had a disruptive effect on Kafka, and that under her influence, the Czech language became more important to him as a written language.
Two sides expressed readiness to cooperate on establishment of a quota for workers from Kyrgyzstan and opening Czech language courses in Bishkek.
"A Dvorak Celebration" will feature 19th-century Czech composer Antonin Dvorak works Mass in D, "Songs of Nature" plus Psalm 149 in its native Czech language.
The envoy informed the Chairman that Pakistani literature had been translated into Czech language though Czech literature had yet to be translated into Urdu.
Part 1, "Czech Language Texts," includes: Radio Show, by Felix Prokes, Vitezslav "Pidla" Horpatzky, Pavel Stransky, and Kurt Egerer (46-95); Looking for a Specter, by Hanus Hachenburg (96-113); Songs from the Revue Prince Bettliegend, by Frantisek Kowanitz (114-39); The Smoke of Home, by Zdenek Elias and Jifi Stein (140-65); Laugh With Us, The Second Czech Cabaret, by Felix Prokes, Vitezslav "Pidla" Horpatzky, Pavel Weisskopf, and Pavel Stransky (166-23).
The website posted a Russian documentary titled 'Syria's Diary' and translated it into Czech language to enable the Czech readers to know the reality of events in Syria with objectivity.
The friars, mostly from France, Netherlands, Germany and Italy, were sent by their order to Protestant-ruled Prague in 1604 to learn the Czech language and rebuild Our Lady of the Snows monastery, which was destroyed in earlier religious wars.
In this critical and interpretive study of Leos Janacek's major operas, Katz (Music History, University of California Santa Barbara) questions established views of the composer's relationship to the Czech language and Slavic culture.
With both the original Czech language and English side by side, "Paper Shoes" is a fine recommendation.
Even words such as pistol, penny and robot originated in the Czech language.
Timothy Cheek's intention in this volume is to provide singers, and those who train them, a manual for learning and practicing lyric diction in the Czech language. The scope of the first half of the book is intended to be a comprehensive treatment of all diction issues in Czech, including production of vowels, consonants, and related issues such as assimilation and stress/length.

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