- Czech spoken in Bohemia and Moravia
- Journal of the International Phonetic Association
- Volume | Issue number
- 42 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
As a western Slavic language of the Indo-European family, Czech is closest to Slovak and Polish. It is spoken as a native language by nearly 10 million people in the Czech Republic (Czech Statistical Office n.d.). About two million people living abroad, mostly in the USA, Canada, Austria, Germany, Slovakia, and the UK, claim Czech heritage (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic 2009). However, it is not known how many of them are native speakers of Czech.
Sociolinguistically, the language situation in the Czech Republic bears diglossic features. There is a substantial gap between formal, highly codified language and the language used in everyday situations. Our aim is to describe the way most people speak most of the time rather than artificial orthoepic norms (for the latter see Palkova⁄ 1997: 320-345).
Geographically, in the western part of the country (Bohemia and western Moravia) pronunciation is relatively homogeneous compared to the greater dialectal diversity of the east (the rest of Moravia), where several dialectal areas can be distinguished (Cvrˇcek 2010: 24). Still, there are a number of features common to Moravian dialects, distinguishing them clearly from the pronunciation of Bohemia and allowing native speakers to identify someone as either Bohemian or Moravian. The present paper elaborates on the earlier illustration of Czech (Dankovicˇova⁄ 1997a) by describing the differences between Bohemian Czech (BC), spoken by more than six million Czech citizens, and Moravian Czech (MC), spoken by about three-and-a-half million Czech citizens. At the same time, our illustration provides additional information about what both varieties have in common.
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