Today in the programme: The oldest airports in the country, response to Radio Prague broadcasts. Listeners quoted: Rassem Ben Brahim, Michael Binz, Stuart Hathaway, Ted Schuerzinger.

Hello and thanks for tuning in to Mailbox, the programme for your views, questions and comments.

Rassem Ben Brahim from Tunisia sent in a question about the Czech Republic:

“Which is the oldest airport in your country?”

Several airports around the country seem to be claiming that they are the oldest, but here are the dates: In 1911 an airfield was officially established near the city of Pilsen. On July 1, 1917 the Cheb airport started operation in the west of the country and in 1920 the first passenger airport was opened at Kbely outside Prague.

Michael Binz writes from Australia:

“I've been slowly going through your podcasts since discovering podcasting recently. I wanted to mention a couple of programs that really tickled my fancy and I found exceptional and really enjoyed. Spotlight on Polička, SoundCzech: Kitty cat the stunner, and Special: The view from the square: a unique perspective on seven decades of Czech history. These programs show how quality radio should be made.”

Many thanks and I have forwarded your e-mail to the respective reporters.

Stuart Hathaway from London responds to Rosie Johnston’s Panorama titled “Džíny, hamburgry and komputry: is Czech under threat from English?” He disagrees with the view of one of the interviewed Czechs who says that he doesn’t think English borrowings enrich the language but rather that Czech will die out eventually.

“I don't think Czechs need to worry [about] that. A language that doesn't change will certainly die. Who today speaks Sanskrit or Old Church Slavonic? Yet their descendant languages are spoken by millions. English itself is full of loan words from many languages, most of which become 'anglicized' in the same way that English words taken into Czech, or German words before them, have become 'Czechified'.

“Indeed, if you look at the history of English, there was a huge change from Anglo-Saxon (or Old English) to Middle English in the 14th century as a result of assimilation of Norman-French over a period of centuries. .... Czech will undoubtedly alter and maybe in time its grammar will become simpler, though if centuries of domination by a German-speaking upper class hasn't had that effect I doubt that the mere use of English to speak to tourists will! But die? I don't think so.”

Ted Schuerzinger is our regular listener in New York:

Patrik Eliáš, photo: Michael Miller, CC BY-SA 3.0
“I very much enjoyed your interview with Patrik Eliáš, as I happen to be a fan of the New Jersey Devils. Unfortunately, they had a rather tough time in the playoffs this past season, giving up two goals in the final two minutes of Game 7 to turn a one-goal lead into a one-goal deficit. I did, however, find it humorous that your interviewer didn't realize that the Devils had moved out of the Meadowlands.”

Many thanks for all the mail that keeps coming despite the holiday season in much of the world. Time now to repeat our quiz question for one last time as next Friday is the deadline for your answers:

This month we are looking for the name of the Austrian composer born in 1797 whose both parents hailed from the German-speaking areas in North Moravia. His father was born in Neudorf (now Vysoká, part of Malá Morava near Šumperk) while his mother was born in Zuckmantel (now Zlaté Hory).

Four of you who send us a correct answer to or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague will receive Radio Prague’s goodies. Thank you for joining me today and until next week, happy listening.