Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

Czech and Slovak

  Tags: Slovak | Czech
 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages Post Reply
20 messages over 3 pages: 1 2 3  Next >>
zoshchenko
Diglot
Newbie
United States
Joined 3609 days ago

16 posts
Speaks: English*, Russian
Studies: Georgian, Turkish

 
 Message 1 of 20
08 April 2007 at 5:04pm | IP Logged 
I am new to this forum and noticed in the profiles that there are a few people whose native language is Czech.

What are the key differences between Czech and Slovak? Do you think the differences are growing?



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 4325 days ago

4232 posts - 4064 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 2 of 20
08 April 2007 at 5:48pm | IP Logged 
See this link for a list of differences.

Here're some brief articles about Slovak in Czech Republic from the website of Radio Prague.

Aug 2004

Jan 2005

Sep 2005

Feb 2007

From what I can tell, the differences are more pronounced in Czech Republic. In general, my Slovak friends know Czech better than my Czech friends know Slovak. This isn't surprising considering that Bohemia and Moravia (constituent parts of Czech Republic) were stronger economically and politically during the era of Czechoslovakia. There was greater incentive for Slovaks to get at least good passive knowledge of Czech than the other way around.

Edited by Chung on 08 April 2007 at 6:00pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



zoshchenko
Diglot
Newbie
United States
Joined 3609 days ago

16 posts
Speaks: English*, Russian
Studies: Georgian, Turkish

 
 Message 3 of 20
09 April 2007 at 5:13pm | IP Logged 
Dekuji! (is that the same in cesky/slovensky?)

Also, everyone in Slovakia has access to lots of Czech TV, radio, news, while Czechs have to go out of their way to find Slovak.



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 4325 days ago

4232 posts - 4064 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 4 of 20
09 April 2007 at 6:46pm | IP Logged 
Prosím (~ 'you're welcome' - same in both languages.)

děkuji is Czech. ďakujem is Slovak.

Even this pair of words illustrates one of the differences between Czech and Slovak.

The ending for verbs of the stem -ovat / -ovať have the following endings in present tense (I'm sure that Russian also has verbs that end in -оватъ so this should look familiar to you.)

děkovat // ďakovať

děkuji (děkuju is non-formal) // ďakujem
děkuješ // ďakuješ
děkuje // ďakuje
děkujeme (děkujem is non-formal) // ďakujeme
děkujete // ďakujete
děkují (děkujou is non-formal) // ďakujú

As you can see, the endings in present tense for this class of verbs differ in the first person singular and third person plural.

Basically, some people in Bohemia and Moravia for whatever reason started to pronounce these endings (which were originally nasal vowels long ago) as "narrowed" vowels (i.e. 'i' or 'í') a few hundred years ago. When the Czech language was standardized in the 19th century, the pronunciation was accepted as standard, even though in colloquial settings, Czechs usually use the non-formal endings.

On the other hand, some people in central Slovakia for whatever reason ultimately replaced the old nasal vowel in the first person singular with the ending -em. When Slovak was standardized for the second time in the 19th century, this pattern was accepted as standard.
1 person has voted this message useful



Vlad
Trilingual Super Polyglot
Senior Member
Czechoslovakia
foreverastudent.com
Joined 3753 days ago

444 posts - 163 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: Czech*, Slovak*, Hungarian*, Mandarin, EnglishC2, GermanC2, ItalianC1, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Serbian, French
Studies: Persian, Taiwanese, Romanian, Portuguese

 
 Message 5 of 20
17 May 2007 at 4:44am | IP Logged 
I wanted to reply to this post some time ago, but at the time I realized, that Chung’s posts (as always) provide almost a complete explanation.

I read somewhere on this forum, that some students of foreign languages sometimes get to the point, where they know much more about the language they study, that an average educated native speaker of that language. This is definitely Chung's case, so I will provide only some observations as far as Czech and Slovak languages go from a Slovak speaker’s point of view. I am no expert in Czech and Slovak language differences or philology, so these are really only my subjective observations:


-     I heard many times (although never had the chance to observe it myself) that young Czech kids do not understand Slovak, or that they have difficulties doing so. My Slovak friend is a tennis coach in Prague and he says, that he has to speak Czech, otherwise the kids have trouble getting what he wants to say. In his words: ‘they don’t understand a word I’m saying’. I think this is a bit exaggerated, but he made his point.
-     Another friend of mine was a counselor at a day camp in north Slovakia, which hosted kids from Prague. She also had to speak Czech, unless she didn’t want to repeat everything. My surprise was, that the kids were anywhere from 9 to 16 years old.

So this only hints to the fact, that as we were born in Czechoslovakia and were used to the language since our birth, and since the languages are quite close, they seemed almost the same to us. We were always making fun of each other, when we were sending our CV’s somewhere, that we should add Czech as a foreign language, where everyone thought that they sounded almost the same, but in Great Britain for instance, they necessarily didn’t have to know that. Then foreigners learning Czech started telling us, that they have big problems understanding Slovak and now kids in both countries have problems understanding each other as well. I have a Hungarian friend, living in Slovakia, studying at a Slovakian university in Slovak, where a lot of the studying materials are in the Czech language and once I had a discussion with her, where she said, that for her it was a real problem at the beginning to be studying from these materials. I wanted her to start speaking in Czech, just to see, how she was doing, and she really didn’t know. It wasn’t the fact that she was doing mistakes while she was speaking, she just didn’t know how to speak at all. She started with a couple of odd words and then said that it’s useless.

-     Czech language, even mentioned that it uses less platalization than Slovak, sounds softer to our ears. Maybe it’s the frequent Czech „ř“ sound, which causes this effect.
-     Some consonants and vowels are pronounced slightly different. The example that I can come up with right now is the „d“ and „t“ sounds respectively. The Czech ones are much softer. They are pronounced in a way, where only the tip of the tongue is touching the teeth ridge, where in Slovak the tip and the front-central part of the tongue are pressed against it, causing the D and T to sound harder.
-     To my ears, Czech sounds almost crystal clear. Slovak has a harder and thicker sound.
-     Czechs sound like they are singing their language
-     Now, after studying Russian, I can say, that even though Slovakia is geographically closer to Russia, Czech language is closer to Russian in many many ways. I find new examples every day. It’s a paradox, but if you know the history of this region, it is actually logical. Has anyone read about this before? There are expressions and words in the Czech language that are not present in Slovak, but can be found in Russian.
-     There are more dialects in the Slovak language then in the Czech one. I read somewhere, that it is because of geography (a lot of mountains and valleys) and the small size of the country (influence of other languages).


I didn’t mention the grammar differences, because I cannot describe them at all. We never studied Czech grammar. I think in the 8th class of elementary school we had a couple of classes dedicated to Czech grammar, but very superficial.

I think it would be interesting to know, how Czechs and Slovaks communicated before Czechoslovakia was created in 1918 and even before that. Whether they considered their languages as separate as let’s say Slovak and Polish is. (Although I heard one Slovak man argue, that Polish is much closer to Slovak than Czech is, we just don’t realize that, because we are not used to hearing Polish at all and on the contrary we hear Czech every day..so the mystery goes on)

These are my observations. If I’ll come up with something new, I will gladly share.





5 persons have voted this message useful



showtime17
Trilingual Hexaglot
Senior Member
Slovakia
gainweightjournal.co
Joined 3253 days ago

154 posts - 57 votes 
Speaks: Russian, English*, Czech*, Slovak*, French, Spanish
Studies: Ukrainian, Polish, Dutch

 
 Message 6 of 20
04 April 2008 at 4:36pm | IP Logged 
This is an older post, but since I consider both Czech and Slovak as my native languages I will try to answer. First to clear up, I actually speak both Czech and Slovak, unlike most Slovaks who say they "speak" Czech, but instead what they really mean is they understand the language, but if you actuallly asked them to speak it they would have problems. The language I speak with my parents at home is Slovak. However since I was little I grew up in Prague and started school in Czech. So at home I spoke Slovak and with everyone else I spoke Czech. Now I am kinda not as comfortable in Czech as I used to, since I live in Bratislava.

To answer some questions that Vlad wrote. Before the creation of Czechoslovakia, I think most Czechs and Slovaks would communicate with each other either in Czech or using their own dialect. Czech was actually used as the literally language in Slovakia. Even now I believe, that the Lutherans in Slovakia use Biblical Czech as their language in church. (or at least used to until very recently) In the 19th century there were actually many discussions about whether Czech and Slovak are different languages or just dialects. People like Safarik were for example arguing that Slovak is a dialect of Czech and that the languages should be standardized on a common standard. However the argument of people around Stur won out and Slovak was standardized around the Central Slovak dialect. (the dialect of western Slovakia is much closer to Czech as well)

The decision whether Czech and Slovak are dialects or different languages was very much a political decision. There were some Slovaks that as late as the 1880s were using Czech as the "real" language of Slovakia. You can compare this with the developments in the Netherlands and Flanders, which actually went the other way. At the same time that people were arguing over Czech and Slovak, people in the Low Countries were arguing over Dutch and Flemish. Some people were arguing that Flemish was a separate language. However in the 1850s it was decided that Flemish was just a dialect and the language was standardized.
1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 4325 days ago

4232 posts - 4064 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 7 of 20
04 April 2008 at 5:39pm | IP Logged 
showtime17 wrote:
This is an older post, but since I consider both Czech and Slovak as my native languages I will try to answer. First to clear up, I actually speak both Czech and Slovak, unlike most Slovaks who say they "speak" Czech, but instead what they really mean is they understand the language, but if you actuallly asked them to speak it they would have problems. The language I speak with my parents at home is Slovak. However since I was little I grew up in Prague and started school in Czech. So at home I spoke Slovak and with everyone else I spoke Czech. Now I am kinda not as comfortable in Czech as I used to, since I live in Bratislava.

To answer some questions that Vlad wrote. Before the creation of Czechoslovakia, I think most Czechs and Slovaks would communicate with each other either in Czech or using their own dialect. Czech was actually used as the literally language in Slovakia. Even now I believe, that the Lutherans in Slovakia use Biblical Czech as their language in church. (or at least used to until very recently) In the 19th century there were actually many discussions about whether Czech and Slovak are different languages or just dialects. People like Safarik were for example arguing that Slovak is a dialect of Czech and that the languages should be standardized on a common standard. However the argument of people around Stur won out and Slovak was standardized around the Central Slovak dialect. (the dialect of western Slovakia is much closer to Czech as well)

The decision whether Czech and Slovak are dialects or different languages was very much a political decision. There were some Slovaks that as late as the 1880s were using Czech as the "real" language of Slovakia. You can compare this with the developments in the Netherlands and Flanders, which actually went the other way. At the same time that people were arguing over Czech and Slovak, people in the Low Countries were arguing over Dutch and Flemish. Some people were arguing that Flemish was a separate language. However in the 1850s it was decided that Flemish was just a dialect and the language was standardized.


Indeed it was. I remember reading that the Czechs were rather disappointed that Šafarik's and Bernolák's reforms (first standardization) were replaced by Štúr's reforms, even though Czech had been used as a literary and prestigious language until the 19th century. At that time, it was feared that by imposing a noticeable difference between the Czechs and Slovaks, it would have been more difficult for the Czechs and Slovaks to unite and work together for independence from Austria-Hungary. At that time, the concept that each ethnic group must have its own language was very strong, and it tied into the then-popular but simplistic idea that all speakers of one language must belong to the same ethnic group. Because of standards that were based on rather widely separated dialectal groups ("Prazske" (sort of) for Czech and "Banskobystricke" (sort of) for Slovak), one couldn't in those days easily claim a Czechoslovak ethnic group (barring offspring of mixed marriages ;-)) since there wasn't such a thing as a "Czechoslovak" standard language. Using the logic of strength in numbers, 12 million "Czechoslovaks" should have been a more powerful force for independence than two smaller groups of 8 million Czechs and 4 million Slovaks. In hindsight, the existence of separate (but still closely-related) standard languages didn't hinder the goal of Czech and Slovak nationalists from breaking free from Austria-Hungary.

As a learner of Slovak and ex-learner of Czech, I would say that Czech and Slovak (i.e. standard languages that everyone learns) are different languages, but barely. I remember what confused me were the effects of prehlaska and softening (e.g. "moja ulica" in Slovak and in old Czech > "moje ulice" in modern Czech) on declension and conjugation. It took me a while to express myself properly in Czech because of these differences.

I also believe that it's hard to say that they're dialects of each other since they're based on different dialectal subgroups. These dialects presumably share an ancestor dating from about 800 - 1000 years ago ("Proto-Czechoslovak"?, "Proto-South Western Slavonic?", "Proto-Non Lechtic"?), but the untrained eye can spot a lot of differences in the modern languages.
1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 4325 days ago

4232 posts - 4064 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 8 of 20
16 February 2011 at 7:20pm | IP Logged 
For anyone who's still interested in this topic, I came across the following studies on Czech perception of Slovak, Czechoslovak inter-intelligibility and contact between Czech and Slovak


2 persons have voted this message useful



This discussion contains 20 messages over 3 pages: 2 3  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 0.3281 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2017 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.