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Lesson Transcript

Martin: Hello everyone! Welcome back to CzechClass101.com. My name is Martin!
Brandon: And I’m Brandon! This is Pronunciation, lesson 4: -Czech Regional Dialects. How’s it going, listeners? Are you getting the hang of Czech pronunciation? We hope so!

Lesson focus

Martin: This time we’re going to go over some regional variations in pronunciation.
Brandon: Up to now, you’ve learned that Czech has a set number of consonants and vowels – 8 native consonants,13 vowels, and several compound consonants and vowel pairs.
Martin: That’s right. But we also want to tell our listeners that depending on where you go in the Czech Republic, people might say things differently.
Brandon: And we’ll focus on three regions - Central Bohemian Dialect, Central Moravian Dialect, and South Moravian Dialect. These are also among the most visited regions by foreign tourists. However, out of these three dialects, the Central Bohemian dialect is considered standard Czech, and is the one spoken by most foreigners learning Czech, as well as most Czech people. With standard Czech or its forms, you will be understood wherever you go.
Martin: That’s right. Now, let’s go into some more detail.
Brandon: Firstly, let’s talk about the differences in standard versus colloquial Czech. There are a few variations in vowel pronunciation between standard Czech and the non-standard, colloquial Czech.
Martin: This frequently happens specifically with the endings of adjectives, and with the middle part of nouns and verbs.
Brandon: Hmm, this seems a bit confusing. How can the learners distinguish the vocabulary if the words change when speaking?
Martin: Well, it’s only a matter of practice. People get used to it. You hear it so often that it soon becomes quite natural. Compare it to the standard form and you will see which words tend to change.
Brandon: Okay, I see. Let’s continue with the non-standard use then.
Martin: Alright, I will explain the three most important changes that happen in adjectives, nouns and verbs.
Brandon: These are the changes of vowels, right?
Martin: Yes, that’s right. Now I’ll explain how the letter “ý” - “y” with an accent - changes into “ej” - the letters “e+j” when speaking.
First with adjectives….
studený meaning “cold” becomes studenej. malý meaning “small” becomes malej.: druhý meaning “second” becomes druhej: :
Brandon: Can you give us some examples with nouns?
Martin: výlet meaning “a trip” becomes vejlet.
výška meaning “height” becomes vejška.: brýle meaning “Glasses” becomes brejle
Brandon: And lastly let’s have some examples of verbs….
Martin: mýt meaning “to wash” becomes mejt.
plýtvat meaning “to waste” becomes plejtvat.
být meaning “to be” becomes bejt.
Brandon: These changes seem be quite regular. Does it apply to all words containing a “y”?
Martin: Most of them, yes. But there are exceptions when the form does not change. For example, the word “kýla” meaning “hernia” does not change into “kejla”. We don’t say that.
Brandon: Ok, is there anything else we need to know here?
Martin: There is one more point. Sometimes changes into “ej” also occur after the letters C, Z, and S. Here are the examples… cítit meaning “to smell” becomes cejtit. sítko, meaning “sieve” becomes sejtko. And finally, zítra meaning “tomorrow” becomes zejtra.
Brandon: OK, What about other letters?
Martin: There are also changes from the written “é” - “e” with an accent - into spoken “ý” - “y” with an accent or “í” - a long “i” - and again, they can be found in adjectives, nouns and verbs.
Brandon: All right, let’s start with the adjectives then…
Martin: Sure. sladké meaning “sweet” becomes sladký. lehké meaning “light” becomes lehký, and špinavé meaning “dirty” becomes špinavý.
Brandon: Okay, let’s take some examples about nouns.
Martin: Here are a couple of examples. mléko meaning “milk” becomes mlíko. polévka meaning “soup” becomes polífka. In the word polívka, “v” also becomes “f ”
Brandon: And lastly let’s talk about verbs…
Martin: létat meaning “to fly” becomes lítat. kvést meaning “to blossom” becomes kvíst. And zamést meaning “to sweep” becomes zamíst.
Brandon: And there are also some changes to the letter “o”, aren’t there?
Martin: Yes. The “o” change is the most common form that occurs in colloquial Czech, but this should definitely be avoided in formal situations.
Brandon: And how does it change?
Martin: “o” changes into “vo” when speaking. Let’s start with how this affects adjectives. opilý meaning “drunk” becomes vopilý. ostrý meaning “sharp” becomes vostrý. ospalý meaning “sleepy” becomes vospalý.
Brandon: ok, Now nouns...
Martin: okno meaning “window” becomes vokno. oko meaning “eye” becomes voko. And omáčka meaning “sauce” becomes vomáčka.
Brandon: And what about verbs?
Martin: osušit meaning “to dry something” becomes vosušit. otrhat meaning “to pluck” becomes votrhat. And ostříhat meaning “to clip, to cut, to trim” becomes vostříhat.
Brandon: Does the “vo” change apply to all words beginning with “o”?
Martin: Actually, no. Formal vocabulary is excluded from these changes. Words like organizace meaning “organisation”, oceánie meaning “oceania”, and ofenzíva meaning “offensive” do not change into “vo”.
Brandon: I see. So there are some exceptions our listeners should be aware of.
Martin: Yes. And one more exception is the word “otec” meaning “father”. “Otec” does not change into “votec”. We never say that in Czech. Instead, in colloquial use, we say “tatínek” or “taťka”, which means the same as the English “dad”.
Brandon: So Martin, do Czech people have trouble understanding each other if they’re from a different region?
Martin: There’s usually not a big problem because all regions should speak the standard Czech language and vice versa. People from the central Czech Republic are aware of the regional differences. But it does happen, of course, that we come across vocabulary we don’t know and we have to ask what it means. But that does not mean we don’t understand the whole sentence.


Brandon: Well, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening, everyone. And we’ll see you next time, bye!
Martin: Ahoj!