H for Home

It's time for the letter H in the ABC of Czech and this week Pavla Horakova will explain all the vocabulary concerning home, sweet home.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the ABC of Czech. As usual I'm joined in the studio by Vladimir Tax. The time has come for the letter H and as promised we look at the vocabulary concerning home and family.

The word for home in Czech is domov. Indeed the Czech national anthem is called "Kde domov mùj?" meaning where is my home. The word domov is linked with the word dùm which means house. The word changes its shape according to the situation. For example I'm going home is jdu domù whereas I am at home is jsem doma. Czechs like to say Vude dobøe, doma nejlépe, which roughly translates as East, West, home is best.

For most people home equals family. When a couple get married they become husband - man¾el and wife - man¾elka. And later they may become a father - otec and mother - matka if they have children - dìti. Children usually call their parents by more intimate names táta or tatínek for dad or daddy and máma or maminka for mum or mummy. A boy child is syn or son and a girl child is dcera or daughter. The word for baby does not distinguish between genders. It is miminko for both baby girls and baby boys. The Czech words for siblings are startlingly similar to their English counterparts. Sestra means sister and bratr is brother. Often you will hear the slang expressions for sister and brother which are ségra and brácha.

There is a Czech saying which goes Já na bráchu, brácha na mì. It can be translated roughly as "I help my brother and my brother helps me" or "I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine". Czechs have developed a whole lifestyle approach based on that principle. It is jokingly called jánabráchismus. It can be translated as mutual backscratching, nepotism or cronyism and it's successfully applied mainly in politics and business. I guess we'd better stop here since we've got quite far away from the topic of home.

So that's all for today, I'm afraid, but you can join us next week for another edition of the ABC of Czech. Until then it's good bye, na shledanou.

See also Living Czech.