Proposed Czech profile

Discuss the HTLAL forum's past and its future
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Re: Proposed Czech profile

Postby Serpent » Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:16 pm

RAMDRIVEsys wrote:1. I have never, ever heard of any Slovak teenager or child having problems with understanding Czech. This might be an issue on the Czech side (although, as I will write in the next paragraph, very much exaggerated by people who love to whine about how rotten the young generation is (what I noticed is that the "cutoff age" being mentioned is always slightly below the person doing the complaining, say, a 20 year old will say everyone under 15 has problems, a 25 year old that everyone under 20, a 35 year old that everybody under 30 etc.), but I would say it is near impossible on the Slovak side, as the saturation with Czech language medis is immense. My 3 and 5 year old nephews watch cartoons in Czech dubbing without any understanding problems. Note that time passes on, and even through I am 24, I was actually born after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, yet I got so much Czech exposure that I can not only understand it but write and speak it!

See this thread from the old forum. It's all about exposure.
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Re: Proposed Czech profile

Postby RAMDRIVEsys » Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:49 pm

It is not all about exposure, through it is a factor. The Slovak spoken in Serbia is different from Slovak in Slovakia. I actually chatted to a Lowlander Slovak on this topic on the internet, and he said that while Czech is indeed hard for him, he can pretty much understand all text, but it takes effort. Spoken language - he mentioned chatting with a group of Czech students in a train and mentioned that while they understood him perfectly, he had to tell them to slow down a little to properly understand them. So yes, Czech is definitely harder for Serbian Slovaks but far from blind non-comprehension. He also mentioned speech of western Slovaks is sometimes also hard to understand and that it is ear-tearing, so the comprehension really decreases before the Czech border.

As for how different their Slovak is, well, in the thread you mentioned Delodephius said"To us, honestly, the language of Slovaks from Slovakia, regardless of whether from the east or west, has a distinct flavour of Czech, both in sound and in vocabulary.". So, it is not just exposure, Slovak from Slovakia, even eastern Slovak, is heavily Czech influenced in phonology and in lexis. I do understand Serbian Slovaks fully, but the way they speak is definitely a different dialect than standard Slovak, I heard it spoken by a Slovak Uber driver from Vojvodina.

One curious information I slso got is that the Serbian Slovaks understand Vojvodina Rusyns, whose "Rusyn" language is linguistically an Eastern Slovak dialect rather than an East Slavic language, very well. The guy I messaged to (the train conversation guy), suggested this is due to dialect continuum. So not only is Serbian Slovak not influenced by Czech (but by Serbocroatian), but the original dialect was probably more east than the one that was made into the standard language (through still Central Slovak).

Mind you, I mentioned Serbian Slovaks in my post, and I still stand by my statement that it is nonsense to say "Young Slovaks have problems with Czech". The Serbian Slovak case is a special one, first, their Slovak is nonstandard, second, their difficulties extend to all age groups equally (all age groups of Serbian Slovaks find Czech hard, not just kids). Young Slovaks from Slovakia have no problem with Czech, and the problems Slovaks in Serbia have are present for all age groups.

What Serbian Slovaks actually show is that the languages are more converging than diverging. Their Slovak is a more archaic one and our Slovak seems very "Czeched" for them. If the languages were diverging, you would expect the opposite.

Another factor is the high usage of loanwords by Serbian Slovaks instead of national awakening era neologisms used in official Czech and Slovak. This might make Czech even harder to understand for them.
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Re: Proposed Czech profile

Postby emk » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:19 pm

Just a quick technical note, for anybody who's interested: the existing language profiles are stored here on GitHub, and they're written in Markdown format, which is basically a simpler, newer relative of the BBCode we use here on the forum.

If you want a place to edit a profile interactively, you may be able to use the blog's own wiki page, which uses the same Markdown syntax. From there, we can easily move it over to the actual site.

And as usual, virtually everything used to run this site can be seen on GitHub and we happily accept "Pull Requests", which are proposed modifications. :-)
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Re: Proposed Czech profile

Postby RAMDRIVEsys » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:52 pm

Btw, here is an interesting article that slightly touches on the issue indirectly, for anyone who understands Slovak:

https://zurnal.pravda.sk/rozhovory/clan ... -ci-kyjak/

Especialy these parts: "Slovakočeština či čechoslovenčina bola teda predchodkyňou kodifikovanej spisovnej slovenčiny. Aký bol medzi nimi vzťah? Prebrala niečo štúrovská slovenčina aj z češtiny?
Samozrejme. Štúrovci radikálne – až príliš radikálne, neskôr museli spúšťať – slovakizovali hláskoslovie a tvaroslovie, fonologizovali pravopis, ale netýkali sa slovníka. Tak ako predtým v takzvanej kralickej bibličtine Slováci hojne používali svoje slová, tak teraz v novokodifikovanej slovenčine ponechali zaužívané české slová, v skutočnosti celú kultúrnu slovnú zásobu, iba im dali, ak bolo treba, slovenskú hláskovú a tvarovú podobu.

Môžete uviesť príklad?
Tak ostala napríklad „otázka“, hoci nemáme slovenské sloveso "otázať sa“. Ostalo "bezpečný“, hoci nemáme „pečovať“, ostala „zmluva“, hoci nemáme „mluviť“ a tisíce ďalších."

"Pozrite, slovenčina kedysi absorbovala celý kultúrny slovník český, dobrou slovenčinou tým neprestala byť a vďaka tomu sa môžeme dnes s Čechmi baviť na rovnakej úrovni. Preto je dnes slovenský text v Česku úradne prijímaný, ústne i písomne, vo všetkých súvislostiach; vďaka tomu tisíce slovenských študentov na českých vysokých školách môžu používať slovenčinu aj na skúškach a v dizertačných prácach a nemusia sa pokúšať zvládnuť pekelne ťažkú českú gramatiku."

I will try to translate them later but in short - Štúr's Slovak codification, while based on Central Slovak dialects also included pretty much the whole Czech cultural vocabulary not present in the dialects itself. The form of these words was throughly Slovakized, but otherwise, Štúr did not shy away from Czech loanwords at all. What really differentiated him from people like Kollár is that his Slovak codification was merely similiar to Czech and heavily borrowed from it, while Kollár's "old Slovak" literally was just mildly Slovakized Czech. A lot of these words would be completely different in the Slovak spoken in Serbia. Hattalas reforms included several Czech features. So, yeah, no wonder Slovaks from Serbia find Czech hard, for all the whining of prescriptivists about "bohemizms", Štúr probably added more bohemisms than half a century of Czechoslovakia. What differs Štúr's bohemisms from the modern ones is that modern ones are taken raw from Czech, while Štúr took care to fully "nativize" them.
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Re: Proposed Czech profile

Postby Chung » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:37 pm

Moc děkuju za komentář a opravy, Caveso a RAMDRIVEsyse! No zdá sa, že musím opraviť aj profil slovenčiny, však?

Gah! Cavesa, why didn't you say anything more the first time round? I've looked even more like an idiot for the last several months! :oops: I'll try to tweak the Czech and Slovak profiles over the next few weeks and it could take a little more time than usual.

On Už Jsme Doma, I just asked one of my Czech friends for some recommendations and got a grab-bag of names. I then worked them into the profile and I was in no position to question the popularity or familiarity of these musicians among you Czechs.

One thing that's bugging me a bit now: I've ALWAYS gathered that using já byl / šel / měl etc. is colloquial after observing that all of my textbooks without exception have presented byl / šel / měl jsem etc. as THE (standard) way to express past tense, and to boot this was also the only way I was exposed to in my Czech classes. I first encountered já byl / šel / měl etc. in some of my Czech friends' posts on Facebook a few years ago leading me to conclude that they're colloquial or maybe a recent development. It's been a negative inference for me on the lines that since já byl / šel / měl etc. were never shown to me in classes or textbooks focused on standard Czech, then I would end up regarding these variants to be colloquial (or non-standard). What's going on here? Are byl jsem etc. slowly being supplanted by já byl etc. in the 21st century or have they've always been around as part of standard Czech but at a lower frequency than now?
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Re: Proposed Czech profile

Postby Cavesa » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:56 pm

Chung wrote:Moc děkuju za komentář a opravy, Caveso a RAMDRIVEsyse! No zdá sa, že musím opraviť aj profil slovenčiny, však?

Gah! Cavesa, why didn't you say anything more the first time round? I've looked even more like an idiot for the last several months! :oops: I'll try to tweak the Czech and Slovak profiles over the next few weeks and it could take a little more time than usual.

On Už Jsme Doma, I just asked one of my Czech friends for some recommendations and got a grab-bag of names. I then worked them into the profile and I was in no position to question the popularity or familiarity of these musicians among you Czechs.

One thing that's bugging me a bit now: I've ALWAYS gathered that using já byl / šel / měl etc. is colloquial after observing that all of my textbooks without exception have presented byl / šel / měl jsem etc. as THE (standard) way to express past tense, and to boot this was also the only way I was exposed to in my Czech classes. I first encountered já byl / šel / měl etc. in some of my Czech friends' posts on Facebook a few years ago leading me to conclude that they're colloquial or maybe a recent development. It's been a negative inference for me on the lines that since já byl / šel / měl etc. were never shown to me in classes or textbooks focused on standard Czech, then I would end up regarding these variants to be colloquial (or non-standard). What's going on here? Are byl jsem etc. slowly being supplanted by já byl etc. in the 21st century or have they've always been around as part of standard Czech but at a lower frequency than now?

You're welcome. I have no clue why I hadn't written more the first time around. But you didn't look like an idiot!

That music band: there are many. The most well known ones are older, from the era of Czechoslovakia. The older generation knows Olympic, Marta Kubišová (who is awesome btw, too bad the communists destroyed her career as a punishment), and many others (the Slovak examples are just as numerous as the Czech ones, perhaps even more). It is much more common for the musicians from the communist era to be known by the whole nation, because they simple didn't have to compete with the foreigners. They were often the only way a czech or slovak could get to know a foreign melody. With added Czech lyrics (or Slovak but I cannot remember those. that is probably just a gap in my education though), it was an easy shortcut to success to just get a great melody, already tried on public elsewhere. And probably without having paid the real authors, and now they dare to complain about pirates and some even call the copied songs "national treasure". It was hard to get the foreign music. LPs were smuggled from Bulgaria or Yugoslavia (each socialist country was allowing their citizens a different list of foreign music, and the Czechoslovak censors tended to be among the most strict ones. But other kinds of goods were being smuggled from Czechoslovakia in the other direction, for example chocolate, from what I heard). And they were sold in the streets similarily to the way you can buy drugs these days. And the punishments for their distribution were comparable too.

The younger generations are much more split among various artists and genres. There are not that many bands or musicians that would be liked by everyone, or even known by everyone. We know the originals these days, you need to come with your own stuff, that is more difficult. We can listen to long playlists of music from all over the world, you need to compete against those for our attention. It is easier to be known within a genre, or within a region, that might be the root of the "Už jsme doma" band recommendation. I could give you examples of other such bands, that I personally find much better than the Czech mainstream, but they simply won't serve as general national representants either. And out of the Czech mainstream, I personally don't want to inflict some of them upon the ears of innocent people reading a Czech profile. All this makes it hard to recommend something Czech, widely known, of good quality, and contemporary, all this at once.
...........

No, I don't think adding personal pronouns more often is a sign of colloquialism, or a new trend. New trends tend to go in the direction of further simplification and shortening, not the opposite, anyways. Both versions, with and without the pronoun, have their place in both standard and colloquial register. And the difference in their use is the same in both too. I think you may have encountered one of the problems of coursebooks that we often discuss here on the forum. I would say that the problem is not your textbook not showing your colloquial language, because this is not a typical feature defining it. I would rather assume that your textbook didn't introduce you to the examples and situations, where adding the personal pronoun would be the right choice. But I haven't read your textbook, so it is just an assumption, based on my knowledge of Czech and of language textbooks in general. They may simply have chosen not to confuse the learners, and stick to the simple rule "no personal pronoun as subject of the sentence".
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Re: Proposed Czech profile

Postby tarvos » Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:45 pm

I have to agree with Cavesa here, even in colloquial speech adding the pronouns in those places seems weird, from my experience with the language. Russian, though, is another story.
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Re: Proposed Czech profile

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:46 am

I was wondering if it might be worthwhile including “Linguaphone Czech / Teach Yourself” amongst the materials in the “Learning material” section along with the clarification that Linguaphone offered such a course in the period from the 1960’s through the 1990’s as five 45 rpm vinyl records or, later, two audio cassettes, plus a reprinted copy of the Teacher Yourself Czech course book. Linguaphone clearly labelled the product for what it was. Nevertheless, it seems that some customers had expected the course to be a regular Linguaphone course, particularly as they had paid the higher prices for which this publisher is known to maintain, and were disappointed to receive an older version of a Teach Yourself course that they could have purchased directly at a much lower price. I mention this as copies of the now out-of-print courses resurface on the online shopping websites from time-to-time. Just a thought!
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Re: Proposed Czech profile

Postby Theodisce » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:05 pm

Cavesa wrote:
Chung wrote:Moc děkuju za komentář a opravy, Caveso a RAMDRIVEsyse! No zdá sa, že musím opraviť aj profil slovenčiny, však?

Gah! Cavesa, why didn't you say anything more the first time round? I've looked even more like an idiot for the last several months! :oops: I'll try to tweak the Czech and Slovak profiles over the next few weeks and it could take a little more time than usual.

On Už Jsme Doma, I just asked one of my Czech friends for some recommendations and got a grab-bag of names. I then worked them into the profile and I was in no position to question the popularity or familiarity of these musicians among you Czechs.

One thing that's bugging me a bit now: I've ALWAYS gathered that using já byl / šel / měl etc. is colloquial after observing that all of my textbooks without exception have presented byl / šel / měl jsem etc. as THE (standard) way to express past tense, and to boot this was also the only way I was exposed to in my Czech classes. I first encountered já byl / šel / měl etc. in some of my Czech friends' posts on Facebook a few years ago leading me to conclude that they're colloquial or maybe a recent development. It's been a negative inference for me on the lines that since já byl / šel / měl etc. were never shown to me in classes or textbooks focused on standard Czech, then I would end up regarding these variants to be colloquial (or non-standard). What's going on here? Are byl jsem etc. slowly being supplanted by já byl etc. in the 21st century or have they've always been around as part of standard Czech but at a lower frequency than now?

You're welcome. I have no clue why I hadn't written more the first time around. But you didn't look like an idiot!

That music band: there are many. The most well known ones are older, from the era of Czechoslovakia. The older generation knows Olympic, Marta Kubišová (who is awesome btw, too bad the communists destroyed her career as a punishment), and many others (the Slovak examples are just as numerous as the Czech ones, perhaps even more). It is much more common for the musicians from the communist era to be known by the whole nation, because they simple didn't have to compete with the foreigners. They were often the only way a czech or slovak could get to know a foreign melody. With added Czech lyrics (or Slovak but I cannot remember those. that is probably just a gap in my education though), it was an easy shortcut to success to just get a great melody, already tried on public elsewhere. And probably without having paid the real authors, and now they dare to complain about pirates and some even call the copied songs "national treasure". It was hard to get the foreign music. LPs were smuggled from Bulgaria or Yugoslavia (each socialist country was allowing their citizens a different list of foreign music, and the Czechoslovak censors tended to be among the most strict ones. But other kinds of goods were being smuggled from Czechoslovakia in the other direction, for example chocolate, from what I heard). And they were sold in the streets similarily to the way you can buy drugs these days. And the punishments for their distribution were comparable too.

The younger generations are much more split among various artists and genres. There are not that many bands or musicians that would be liked by everyone, or even known by everyone. We know the originals these days, you need to come with your own stuff, that is more difficult. We can listen to long playlists of music from all over the world, you need to compete against those for our attention. It is easier to be known within a genre, or within a region, that might be the root of the "Už jsme doma" band recommendation. I could give you examples of other such bands, that I personally find much better than the Czech mainstream, but they simply won't serve as general national representants either. And out of the Czech mainstream, I personally don't want to inflict some of them upon the ears of innocent people reading a Czech profile. All this makes it hard to recommend something Czech, widely known, of good quality, and contemporary, all this at once.
...........

No, I don't think adding personal pronouns more often is a sign of colloquialism, or a new trend. New trends tend to go in the direction of further simplification and shortening, not the opposite, anyways. Both versions, with and without the pronoun, have their place in both standard and colloquial register. And the difference in their use is the same in both too. I think you may have encountered one of the problems of coursebooks that we often discuss here on the forum. I would say that the problem is not your textbook not showing your colloquial language, because this is not a typical feature defining it. I would rather assume that your textbook didn't introduce you to the examples and situations, where adding the personal pronoun would be the right choice. But I haven't read your textbook, so it is just an assumption, based on my knowledge of Czech and of language textbooks in general. They may simply have chosen not to confuse the learners, and stick to the simple rule "no personal pronoun as subject of the sentence".


Maybe it's just the way you've labeled this phenomenon, but there is more to it than using the personal pronoun. My understanding is that it's more about leaving the present forms of the verb být, which creates the need to name the subject whose identity may become unclear without být. jsem šel is pretty clear, but the past participle alone (šel) does only point to the gender and number, but not to the person. Já šel does the trick. As to the phenomenon being colloquial: it was my initial immersion, but Masaryk uses it on many occasions, at least in his conversations with Čapek (Hovory s T. G. Masarykem).
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Re: Proposed Czech profile

Postby Cavesa » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:23 pm

Theodisce wrote:
Cavesa wrote:No, I don't think adding personal pronouns more often is a sign of colloquialism, or a new trend. New trends tend to go in the direction of further simplification and shortening, not the opposite, anyways. Both versions, with and without the pronoun, have their place in both standard and colloquial register. And the difference in their use is the same in both too. I think you may have encountered one of the problems of coursebooks that we often discuss here on the forum. I would say that the problem is not your textbook not showing your colloquial language, because this is not a typical feature defining it. I would rather assume that your textbook didn't introduce you to the examples and situations, where adding the personal pronoun would be the right choice. But I haven't read your textbook, so it is just an assumption, based on my knowledge of Czech and of language textbooks in general. They may simply have chosen not to confuse the learners, and stick to the simple rule "no personal pronoun as subject of the sentence".


Maybe it's just the way you've labeled this phenomenon, but there is more to it than using the personal pronoun. My understanding is that it's more about leaving the present forms of the verb být, which creates the need to name the subject whose identity may become unclear without být. jsem šel is pretty clear, but the past participle alone (šel) does only point to the gender and number, but not to the person. Já šel does the trick. As to the phenomenon being colloquial: it was my initial immersion, but Masaryk uses it on many occasions, at least in his conversations with Čapek (Hovory s T. G. Masarykem).


You are partially right, it is about leaving it the verb být in the past tense. But that has nothing to do with formal vs. colloquial language. Já jsem šel or já šel can be used in both. And they will still be a minority choice, šel jsem is the standard in both. Either já jsem šel or já šel is a particular situation, where you need to make it absolutely clear that "Constable, I don't know what they were doing in the bank in the middle of the night after our party, I (!!!) went home!". Perhaps a stupid example but I am trying to illustrate the use of this.

As to the Masaryk example:
1.that was a hundred years ago. A lot has changed since. All the registers of the language have become less formal, somewhere more and somewhere less.
2.This was a specific type of conversation. Don't forget that it was one of the best journalists and authors of that era making an interview based biography of our greatest president who also happened to be a professor of philosophy. Normal people, including highly educated ones, simply don't speak that way.
3.The amount of personal pronouns in speech varies among individuals. I wouldn't go as far as trying to sort the users by education or age, as I really think it is always a mix of factors and personal taste. And of personality, some people simply feel it more important to point out the pronoun more than others. However, even people using the pronouns "a lot" still use them in minority of cases.
4.I didn't read the books, even though I should, but don't forget Masaryk was an important politician. And talking about politics includes a lot of need to distinguish one's actions from those of others. It is absolutely normal for politicians to say stuff like "It's them who messed up, I was doing everything right.", their speeches are a genre of its own.

Btw it is possible to make a completely correct standard Czech sentence without a verb! :-D
A žába žbluňk do rybníka! this is the example I remember from the Czech classes. And the frog splash to the pond!
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