Mailbox

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Today in Mailbox: New signature tune, vocabulary concerning same-sex marriages, wetlands in the Czech Republic, a question about an internet TV channel, Czech tennis players. Listeners quoted: Gary Glaser, Meng Cheng, José Ramírez, Ted Schuerzinger.

What you just heard is a brand new signature tune which will from now on announce the start of Mailbox every week. It’s part of Radio Prague’s new sound design which has been in place for almost a week now – as you have no doubt noticed if you’ve listened to our broadcasts over this past week. The changes were necessitated by amendments to the Czech copyright law. On Friday, September 3rd we broadcast an interview with Radio Prague’s editor-in-chief Gerald Schubert who explained the details. If you missed it you can go back to it on our website.

Now onto your letters. Gary Glaser from the US was interested in a particular aspect of Czech vocabulary:

“I was just curious about one thing. Here in the United States we have a big controversy over what I'd call a semantics issue. The issue involves whether a civil union by two gay people is really a marriage. I've heard that the Czech Republic is very liberal with respect to gay people, but I also know that the Czech language has two words for getting married depending on whether the person is marrying a male or female. So, how do Czechs handle this language issue?”

The Czech Republic legalized same-sex marriages in 2006. The legal term used for the institution is “registrované partnerství” or registered partnership. When speaking about it we use the expression “uzavřít registrované partnerství” or enter into a registered partnership, thus avoiding the sex-specific words “vdát se” (referring to a woman marrying a man) and “oženit se” (referring to a man marrying a woman).

Meng Cheng from China sent us this query as part of her letter:

“Last weekend, I traveled to a wetland about 200 kilometers northeast of Xi'an, and stayed there for two days. It's near the Yellow River, and was developed and modified as resort in late 1990s. I saw many birds there. Wetlands are often regarded as the earth's lungs, but some of them are waning indeed due to global warming. I wonder if wetlands in the Czech Republic are well protected...”

The Czech Republic is a contracting party to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance which pays special attention to waterfowl and is committed to the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The country runs subsidized programmes to revitalize such locations and since its accession to the treaty, it has put a dozen wetlands of international importance on its list with an overall area of almost 55,000 hectares. Also, World Wetlands Day is observed in the Czech Republic.

José Ramírez from Venezuela wrote:

“Dear friends, I acknowledge the reception of the QSL sent by you. By the way, I would like to know if you have a TV channel on the internet.”

From your question it’s not clear whether you mean a special Radio Prague channel or something else. Radio Prague’s website www.radio.cz features many special video projects which can be found here: www.radio.cz/en/static/video but if you are interested in events in the Czech Republic, the public service Czech Television runs a 24-hour news channel ČT24 which is available on the internet at www.ct24.cz– but only in the Czech language.

Ted Schuerzinger from the USA does follow Czech happenings and last week he included this note in his reception report:

“I'm sorry to see that Tomáš Berdych played such a lackluster match at the US Open, and went down in the opening round to an injured player. I thought he had a favorable draw, even though he would have to face Radek Štěpánek. Then again, Štěpánek lost early too. It's sad that there is a good possibility of a semifinal in that half of the draw between Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, who are two of my least favorite players. As for the women, it looks as though Petra Kvítová gets to be the next sacrificial lamb for Kim Clijsters. It's not as if the other Czech women did well, although I'm sure non-Czech announcers are thrilled that Lucie Šafářová lost early.;-)”

And from sports to music – it’s time to repeat our monthly quiz question:

In September we are looking for the name of an opera singer who was born in 1807 in the east Bohemian town of Teplice nad Metují and died in 1886 in the German city of Dresden.

Please send us your answers by the end of September to english@radio.cz or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. We welcome all your feedback on those addresses but you can also leave us a comment on our Facebook page. Mailbox will be back again next week. Until then, happy listening.