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Czech: The language of tongue twisters

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10 facts about the Czech language

01

Around 10 million people in the Czech Republic speak Czech as their native language.

02

In the Czech language, the expression “Mind your backs!” is used to excuse oneself which sounds rude but appropriate.

03

There are some expressions in the Czech language that are similar to English, specifically American English, words and phrases.

04

The use of vowels in the Czech language is minimal which can often get very complicated and confusing for foreigners.

05

In the 17th century, the Czech language almost disappeared; however, it was later revived.

06

Czech language shares a lot of similarities with several Slavic languages like Polish and Russian. It is known as one of the West Slavic languages.

07

The Czech language is the only official language containing the letter, or grapheme, “ř.” It appears in other minor languages or dialects as well..

08

The rules of capitalization in Czech are difficult; in fact, 59% of the Czech speakers are familiar with the correct usage.

09

Czech is mutually intelligible with the Slovak language; at times, they are considered one language.

10

Around 47,000 Czech speakers live in the US according to the US census taken in 2013.

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Origin of the language

Czech originated in the city of Prague.

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History of the language

Records indicate that Czech originated during the 12th century.

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Learning the language

Learning Czech could require 1100 hours for an English Speaker.

Czech language for beginners

Ten basic words to start learning in Czech:
Summer: léto
Hello: Ahoj
Goodbye: Ahoj
Family: rodina
Home: domov
Beauty: krasa
Friend: příteli
Please: prosím
Love: milovat
Night: noc

Quotes

A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us.

Franz Kafka

Author, philosopher and short story writer

To live without experiencing some shame and blushes of admiration would surely be a wretched life.

Gregor Johann Mendel

Mathematician and biologist, regarded as the Father of Genetics

One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.

Sigmund Freud

Psychoanalyst, neurologist and author, known as the Founder of Psychoanalysis

Fun facts about the Czech language

Difficult tongue twisters

“A male ostrich with a female ostrich and baby ostriches went to the ostrich house” is an example of a difficult Czech tongue twister.

Not restricted to the Czech Republic

The Czech language is also spoken with fluency in Bulgaria, which creates ease in communication across borders.

Elaborate root system

The Czech language has an elaborate root system and was previously known as Bohemian by native speakers.

Standardization as a language

The Czech language was only standardized after the 15th and 16th centuries once Jan Hus had developed its unique orthography.

There are three dialects

The Czech language is primarily dominated by three dialects which are the Moravian, Bohemian and Silesian dialects.

The first Bible translation

The first Bible translated into the Czech language appeared in 1593; the first books were written in the Czech language.

Foundation for the written form of the language

The foundation for the written form of the Czech language was the dialect spoken in Prague.

The role of diminutives in forming new words

The language allows new words to be formed through diminutives.

Dreadful expressions

Some expressions take a dreadful tone. For example, a common expression meaning “to put pressure on somebody” literally means “to put the knife on someone’s throat.”

Influenced by multiple languages

The Czech language has been influenced by many languages, such as German, Latin and Old Church Slavonic.

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