The Czech alphabet consists of 42 letters. However, letters g, q, w, and x usually do not
appear in Czech words (by origin).
Czech alphabet and pronunciation
- The acute accent letters
(Á, É, Í, Ó, Ú, Ý) and Ů
indicate long vowels. They have the same alphabetical ordering as their non-diacritic
- The hacek (ˇ)
indicates historical palatalization of the base letter. The letters
Č, Ř, Š, and Ž currently represent postalveolar consonants and are ordered behind their corresponding base letters; while
Ď, Ň, Ť represent palatal consonants and have the same alphabetical
ordering as their non-diacritic counterparts.
- Stress is always on
the first syllable in Czech; a monosyllabic preposition (if any) counts as the first
syllable of the following word. A vowel in any syllable can be
either long or short. The length of Czech vowels is completely independent
on the stress.
- ě = [je] after p, b and v; [e] after d, t and
n (which become palatalized: ď, ť, ň). After m, ě = [mɲe], but it is pronounced [mje] in some
- ú in normally used at the beginning of
words, while ů is used
elsewhere, except in interrogatives and loan words.
- Word-final voiced consonants
are pronounced unvoiced, even in loan words, e.g. chléb [xle:p],
jazz [ʤes], rub [rup].
The noun cases are typically referred to by
number, and learned by means of the question to which they are the answer.
There are seven cases in Czech: Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Vocative, Locative (also known as Prepositional) and Instrumental.
The case used depends on a number
of variables, and for foreigners can be very confusing.
The numbers are singular, plural
and remains of dual.
The dual number is used for only several parts of the human body, of which each
person has two: hands, shoulders, eyes, ears, knees, legs, breasts. In all but
two of the above body parts (eyes and ears) the dual number is only vestigial
and affects very few aspects of declension (mostly the genitive and
masculine animate, masculine inanimate, feminine, and neuter. Masculine animate
is used only to describe living things (note: plants are not considered animate
in Czech noun declension).
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