R for radio


Hello and welcome to the ABC of Czech, Radio Prague's Czech language series, which follows the alphabet. Today the letter R is in our focus and with it the topic of "radio". For that I'm joined in the studio by Zuzana Durcakova.

The English word radio is an abbreviation of the word radiotelegraphy. The root was borrowed from Latin - the word "radius" means "ray" or "beam". It's no surprise the Czech word rádio came to the language from English. It's worth mentioning that after Great Britain, Czechoslovakia was the second country to provide regular radio broadcasting or vysílání.

The first attempts at radio broadcasting in Czechoslovakia began before the First World War and the first radio programme, consisting of spoken word and music, was broadcast in October 1919 from Prague's Petrin lookout tower. Regular radio broadcasts began in May 1923 and at first lasted just one hour per day. All the programmes - news and musical productions - were broadcast live. Around that time a truly Czech word for radio was coined and soon caught on. The word is rozhlas and it soon replaced such clumsy expressions as "radiophony", "wireless telegraphy and telephony" and even the English expression "broadcasting".

The official name of Czech public-service radio is Èeský rozhlas. However, the word rozhlas never really became popular in everyday use of the language, people still prefer to say rádio, both when they talk about the broadcast and receiver. Also, commercial radio stations, which started mushrooming after the end of the communist regime, usually have the word rádio and not rozhlas in their title. Still, it is used in official language in the expression rozhlasová stanice or radio station.

Radio would be useless without listeners - posluchaèi. Czech distinguishes between a male listener, posluchaè, and a woman listener, posluchaèka.

So, dear listeners, or vá¾ení posluchaèi, as Czech radio stations use to say, we're out of time today but you'll find the ABC of Czech again in its regular slot next week. Until then - a typical Czech radio good-bye - na sly¹enou - or hear you later.

See also Living Czech.