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Common Czech

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Common Czech

Common Czech (Czech: obecná čeština) is a colloquial register of the Czech language. It is usually defined as an interdialect used in common speech in Bohemia and western parts of Moravia (by about two thirds of all inhabitants of the Czech Republic). Common Czech is not codified, but some of its elements can get into the standard language. Since the second half of the 20th century, Common Czech elements have also been spreading to regions previously unaffected, as a consequence of media influence.

Morphology and phonology

Common Czech is characterized by quite regular differences from the standard morphology and phonology. These variations are more or less common to all Common Czech dialects:

  • é usually replaced by ý/í: malý město (small town), plamínek (little flame), lítat (to fly);
  • ý (sometimes also í) replaced by ej: malej dům (small house), mlejn (mill), plejtvat (to waste), bejt (to be) – as a consequence of the loss of the difference in the pronunciation of y/ý and i/í in the 15th century;
  • unified plural endings of adjectives: malý lidi (small people), malý ženy (small women), malý města (small towns) – stand.: malí lidé, malé ženy, malá města;
  • unified instrumental ending -ma in plural: s těma dobrejma lidma, ženama, chlapama, městama (with the good people, women, guys, towns) – stand.: s těmi dobrými lidmi, ženami, chlapy, městy (in essence, this form resembles the form of the dual, which was once a productive form, but now is almost extinct, except a few examples; in Common Czech it can often be used indiscriminately, i.e. it can substitute a regular plural form, not just as it was once used);
  • prothetic v- added to most words beginning o-: votevřít vokno (to open the window) – stand.: otevřít okno; but ovoce not *vovoce (fruit)
  • omitting of the syllabic -l in the masculine ending of past tense verbs: řek (he said), moh (he could), pích (he pricked) – stand.: řekl, mohl, píchl.

Example of declension

(with the comparison with the standard Czech)

    Masculine
animate
Masculine
inanimate
Feminine Neuter
Sg. Nominative mladej člověk
mladý člověk
mladej stát
mladý stát
mladá žena
mladá žena
mladý zvíře
mladé zvíře
Genitive mladýho člověka
mladého člověka
mladýho státu
mladého státu
mladý ženy
mladé ženy
mladýho zvířete
mladého zvířete
Dative mladýmu člověkovi
mladému člověku
mladýmu státu
mladému státu
mladý ženě
mladé ženě
mladýmu zvířeti
mladému zvířeti
Accusative mladýho člověka
mladého člověka
mladej stát
mladý stát
mladou ženu
mladou ženu
mladý zvíře
mladé zvíře
Vocative mladej člověče!
mladý člověče!
mladej státe!
mladý státe!
mladá ženo!
mladá ženo!
mladý zvíře!
mladé zvíře!
Locative mladym člověkovi
mladém člověkovi
mladym státě
mladém státě
mladý ženě
mladé ženě
mladym zvířeti
mladém zvířeti
Instrumental mladym člověkem
mladým člověkem
mladym státem
mladým státem
mladou ženou
mladou ženou
mladym zvířetem
mladým zvířetem
Pl. Nominative mladý lidi
mladí lidé
mladý státy
mladé státy
mladý ženy
mladé ženy
mladý zvířata
mladá zvířata
Genitive mladejch lidí
mladých lidí
mladejch států
mladých států
mladejch žen
mladých žen
mladejch zvířat
mladých zvířat
Dative mladejm lidem
mladým lidem
mladejm státům
mladým státům
mladejm ženám
mladým ženám
mladejm zvířatům
mladým zvířatům
Accusative mladý lidi
mladé lidi
mladý státy
mladé státy
mladý ženy
mladé ženy
mladý zvířata
mladá zvířata
Vocative mladý lidi!
mladí lidé!
mladý státy!
mladé státy!
mladý ženy!
mladé ženy!
mladý zvířata!
mladá zvířata!
Locative mladejch lidech
mladých lidech
mladejch státech
mladých státech
mladejch ženách
mladých ženách
mladejch zvířatech
mladých zvířatech
Instrumental mladejma lidma
mladými lidmi
mladejma státama
mladými státy
mladejma ženama
mladými ženami
mladejma zvířatama
mladými zvířaty

mladý člověk – young man/person, mladí lidé – young people, mladý stát – young state, mladá žena – young woman, mladé zvíře – young animal

This is an example of typical declension patterns used in Prague. There can be some small differences in individual regions.

References

  • Karlík P., Nekula M., Pleskalová J. (ed.). Encyklopedický slovník češtiny. Nakl. Lidové noviny, Praha 2002. ISBN 80-7106-484-X.
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