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Varieties of Czech-slovak

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The main vernacular of Bohemia is “Common Czech”, based on the dialect of the Prague region. Other Bohemian dialects have become marginalized, while Moravian dialectsremain more widespread, with a political movement for Moravian linguistic revival active since the 1990s.

Common Czech

The main Czech vernacular, spoken primarily in and around Prague but also throughout the country, is known as Common Czech (obecná čeština). This is an academic distinction; most Czechs are unaware of the term or associate it with vernacular (or incorrect) Czech.[90] Compared to standard Czech, Common Czech is characterized by simpler inflection patterns and differences in sound distribution.[91]

Common Czech has become ubiquitous in most parts of the Czech Republic since the later 20th century. 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 have become adopted in the written standard. 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. Standard Czech is still the norm for politicians, businesspeople and other Czechs in formal situations, but Common Czech is gaining ground in journalism and the mass media.[91]

Common Czech is characterized by quite regular differences from the standard morphology and phonology. These variations are more or less common among all Common Czech speakers:[92]

  • 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 and retained in a lexically specific set of words. In Common Czech the ending became productive again around the 17th century, but used as a substitute for a regular plural form.[93]
  • 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.

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