The czech languages
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The Czech Languages. Laura A. Janda UNC-CH. Pre-History. Original inhabitants were Celts Slavs arrived in 6 th century Legends of matriarchal rule, prophesy of Libuše, and “Girls’ War” in 7 th century Creation of Greater Moravia in early 9 th century. Christianization of the Slavs.

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The czech languages

The Czech Languages

Laura A. Janda


Pre history

  • Original inhabitants were Celts

  • Slavs arrived in 6th century

  • Legends of matriarchal rule, prophesy of Libuše, and “Girls’ War” in 7th century

  • Creation of Greater Moravia in early 9th century

Christianization of the slavs
Christianization of the Slavs

  • SS. Cyril and Methodius travel to Moravia in 863, invited by Prince Rostislav, first development of written language for Slavs

  • 880 S. Ludmila is baptized by Methodius; Svatopluk blinds Rostislav, drives Methodius out, makes deal with Franks

  • 924-935 Prince Václav (“Good King Wenceslaus”) reigns briefly and is murdered like his grandmother Ludmila

Charles iv 1346 1378 king of bohemia and holy roman emporer
Charles IV 1346-1378, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emporer

  • 1348 founding of Charles U. in Prague, oldest university north of the Alps

  • Founding of New Town, construction of St.Vitus’ Cathedral, Charles Bridge, many monasteries and castles, golden age of Bohemian art

  • First complete translation of the Bible into Czech

Reformation and early habsburg rule
Reformation and Early Habsburg Rule

  • 1415 Jan Hus, preacher and inventor of diacritics burned at the stake

  • 1419-1434 the Hussite wars

  • 1526, Ferdinand I, a Habsburg, becomes King of Bohemia, and ultimately Austria and Hungary as well, ushering in 400 years of Habsburg rule in Bohemia

  • 1579-1594 translation of Kralice Bible and golden age of Czech literature

Decline and renewal
Decline and Renewal

  • 1618 Habsburg repressions incite Prague defenestration, initiating 30 Year War

  • 1620 Defeat at White Mountain

  • Two centuries of decline and oppression

  • 1809 Josef Dobrovský’s Czech grammar

  • Remainder of 19th century: Czech National Revival

The twentieth century
The Twentieth Century

  • 1918 Dr. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk becomes president of the “First Republic”

  • 1938 Munich agreement signed by Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain, Daladier

  • 1948 Communist party comes to power

  • 1968 Prague Spring and August invasion

  • 1989 Velvet Revolution

  • 1993 Velvet Divorce


  • When a population uses one language for high-brow purposes, such as written documents, but another language for all other purposes

King james scots english
King James > Scots English

  • Phonology (sounds)

    • Loss of final consonants

      • and > an; of > o; have > hae; with > wi

    • Diphthongization

      • to > tae; parts > pairts; dogs > dowgs; eating >aitin

  • Morphology (forms of words)

    • Verb endings

      • saying > sayin; the dogs get > the dowgs gets

King james scots english1
King James > Scots English

  • Syntax (how words are combined)

    • Be it unto thee even as thou wilt > ye will een hae your will

    • Her daughter was made whole > her dachter cowred her ill

  • Lexicon (words)

    • Children’s > bairns’

    • Table > buird

Literary czech spoken czech
Literary Czech > Spoken Czech

  • Phonology

    • é>í; ý>ej; o- > vo-

  • Morphology

    • Endings are different for nouns, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, numerals, conjugated verb forms

    • Gerunds and participles are absent in the spoken language

Literary czech spoken czech1
Literary Czech > Spoken Czech

  • Syntax

    • Relative clauses are formed differently

    • Pronouns and cases are used differently

  • Lexicon

  • Hundreds of common words are different, such as the words for ‘father’, ‘house’, ‘money’, ‘mouth’, ‘few’, ‘much, many’

A true story
A true story…

  • Já mluvím úplně spisovně. Ty to ale slyšíš nespisovnejma ušima.

  • “I speak in a completely literary fashion. You, however, hear it with unliterary ears.

  • The literary Czech version would be nespisovnýma