::Czech language


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Czech ({{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}}; čeština Czech pronunciation: [ˈt͡ʃɛʃcɪna]), formerly known as Bohemian<ref name=brit>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> ({{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}}; lingua Bohemica in Latin), is a West Slavic language spoken by over 10 million people. It is the official language in the Czech Republic (where most of its speakers live), and has minority language status in Slovakia. Czech's closest relative is Slovak, with which it is mutually intelligible. It is closely related to other West Slavic languages, such as Silesian and Polish, and more distantly to East Slavic languages such as Russian. Although most Czech vocabulary is based on shared roots with Slavic and other Indo-European languages, many loanwords (most associated with high culture) have been adopted in recent years.

The language began in its present linguistic branch as Old Czech before slowly dwindling in importance, dominated by German in the Czech lands. During the mid-eighteenth century, it experienced a revival in which Czech academics stressed the past accomplishments of their people and advocated the return of Czech as a major language. It has changed little since this time, except for minor morphological shifts and the formalization of colloquial elements.

Its phoneme inventory is moderate in size, comprising five vowels (each short or long) and twenty-five consonants (divided into "hard", "neutral" and "soft" categories). Words may contain uncommon (or complicated) consonant clusters, including one consonant represented by the grapheme ř, or lack vowels altogether. Czech orthography is simple, and has been used as a model by phonologists.

As a member of the Slavic sub-family of the Indo-European languages, Czech is a highly inflected fusional language. Its nouns and adjectives undergo a complex system of declension for case, number, gender, animacy and type of ending consonant (hard, neutral or soft). Verbs (with aspect) are conjugated somewhat more simply for tense, number and gender. Because of this inflection, Czech word order is very flexible and words may be transposed to change emphasis or form questions.

Czech language sections
Intro  Classification  History  Geographic distribution  Dialects  Phonology  Vocabulary  Grammar  Orthography  Sample text  See also  Notes  References  External links  

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