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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