C for Czech
Hello and welcome to the ABC of Czech. For this week's episode I'm joined by Vladimir Tax and we're going to look at the letter "C" which stands for Czech. Is it confusing? The whole series is about Czech, isn't it? Sure it is, but this time we'll talk about the word "Czech" itself which in Czech takes on surprisingly many different forms.
Let's begin with the name of the country, the Czech Republic, or "Èeská republika"."Èeská" because the word "republika" is feminine. "Èeská" changes to "èeský" in the masculine gender, for example if we talk about the Czech language, which is "èeský jazyk". Or you can say that simply in one word - "èe¹tina", which means the same, the Czech language.
But back to the country; "Èeská republika" consists of three historic lands: Bohemia - "Èechy", Moravia - "Morava" and Silesia - "Slezsko". Some people think the official name of the country is too long; they don't want to say "Èeská republika" every time they speak of the country. There have been attempts to come up with a one-word name, and one is slowly but surely establishing itself, though many people still have their reservations. The word is "Èesko". And it stands for the whole of the Czech Republic, so please don't confuse it with "Èechy" which refers only to Bohemia, the western part of the country where the capital Prague is located.
The inhabitants of Bohemia are Czechs - "Èe¹i" - that's when there are many of them. A male Czech is "Èech", a female Czech is "Èe¹ka" - genders are a catch in Czech. A person who lives in Moravia is "Moravan" - and "Slezan" is someone who comes from Silesia.
"Èech", as in a male Czech, is also quite a frequent surname in this country. The wife of Mr "Èech" is Mrs "Èechová", as most Czech female surnames end with the suffix -ová. And again, it's different from "Èe¹ka", which is a Czech woman, as we've already said.
There are quite a few words in Czech for which English has a common term - Czech, don't you think?
Before we say goodbye, here's one Czech patriotic saying for you which you can practice if you want: "Co je èeské, to je hezké," meaning 'What is Czech is nice'.
And that's all for today, I'm afraid. Next time, it will be the letter "D" and things we say at the doctor's. Until then - stay healthy and na shledanou.
See also Living Czech.