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Did you know this about Czech?
- Czech, the official language of the Czech Republic, is spoken by 96% of the population and by around 12 million people in Slovakia, Germany, Austria, the United States and Canada. It belongs to the Indo-European language family, including the Western Slavic languages. Its closest relative is Slovak - there is mutual intelligibility between the literary languages of the two languages.
- With the exception of a few special letters, all letters and syllables should be pronounced as written. The stress should always be on the first syllable, regardless of the length of the word. Some letters have a "háček" or a small circle on them, these are considered separate letters, as is the consonant compound ch.
- Czech belongs to the Slavic family of languages, derived from Sanskrit. The Czech language was already highly developed in the 16th century, but was later superseded by German for a long time, surviving only on the lips of the common people. It was only towards the end of the 18th century that it was cultivated again, with the establishment of a chair in Vienna and later in Prague.
- The Czech language first came into everyday use in the Czech Republic under Ján Hus. The Czech language, based on the Králice or Králice Bible, was initially used among the Slovak population in Hungary mainly by Protestant clergymen fleeing from the Czech Republic, both orally and in writing, and mostly in Lutheran church services and sermons.
- Czech and Slovak are mutually intelligible despite the differences between them. But while older Czechs and Slovaks understand each other well, younger people do not. The similarity between Czech and Slovak is not such that they are mutually intelligible without special practice. In the days of Czechoslovakia, radio and TV programmes were broadcast in both languages, so speakers of both languages had frequent contact with the other, but nowadays films are dubbed and books are translated, so they do not have as much contact with it.
- Find out more about the history of the Czech language on Wikipedia.