Czech and Slovak "Language Law"

Discussion in 'General Language' started by gfross, May 9, 2007.

  1. gfross

    gfross Member

    Can you discuss this more fully, eso (or anyone who's interested)? I don't know whether there are any books in English about this topic, so I turn to you for information.
  2. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    For start, here is Wikipedia article about language policies accross the world:
  3. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Czech republic now haven't language law, only official language for communication with state authorities.

    Slovakia, on other hand, have very strict language law, which says, how use Slovak language in media, cultural events and public rallies.

    For example it bans using foreign words in original form
    like - software - must be wroted as softwér.
  4. gfross

    gfross Member

    Again, thank you for this reference! It is very helpful.
  5. mbm

    mbm Well-Known Member

    If I may generalize, language policy in the Czech Republic is mainly about providing protection to minority languages. The Czech Republic is a signatory to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, and this obligates the country to protect certain minority languages. In Czech administration, the issue of linguistic minorities is usually conflated with the issue of national minorities. The Rada vlády pro národnostní menšiny is the government's agency for looking after these matters. Some information in English about minority languages in the Czech Republic is available here on the website of the European Commission.

    As for legislation to uphold the status of Czech, as far as I know, the Czech Republic has none. The general feeling in the country is that Czech is not under threat and that its status as the country's main language is uncontested - so there is no need for legislation.
  6. mbm

    mbm Well-Known Member

    I've just realized where this question came from. There is another thread here about Pravidla českého pravopisu.

    While some Czech people naively believe the Pravidla isa law, it isn't. There is no legal obligation in the Czech Republic on anybody to speak or write Standard Czech or indeed any particular variety of Czech. The only exceptions, perhaps, are:

    - schools, which teach Standard Czech (although you can happily forget about it once you're out of school),

    - the internal house styles of various media outlets which usually also impose Standard Czech on their own writers, newsreaders and so on,

    - and the effect of peer pressure. It simply is inappropriate sometimes to speak or write anything other than Standard Czech, while in other situations the opposite is the case.

    Either way, there is no legislation to impose Standard Czech. People can talk any way they want. I recall in 2004 the Communist Party brought a bill before Parliament that would obligate broadcasters to use only Standard Czech on air but it was rejected.

    (And while I'm at it, I've just discovered another interesting report in English on language policy in the Czech Republic).
  7. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Well, I can only say, that some (often young) Czechs really butcher Czech language (especialy on internet)
    ...ehm, I'm sorry, they freely express their personal opinion about Czech grammar ;)
  8. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Czech grammar, lexique, orthography... yes. And their opinion is generally quite perverted.

    But one has to understand that even as there is no law to bind him to speak "correctly", the other people generally are well able to perceive it and note the mistakes he does (even unconciously) and then judge him accordingly.

    There is no law that prescribes anyone to pronounce the word "demokracie" as [demokratsije] instead of [demogratsije] and there are people who use the form with [g]. But it is widely considered as a sign of low education. And it is very sad that even our representatives - for example our prime ministre Topolánek (but the leader of the strongest opposition party Paroubek as well) use that variant...

    One must realise that there is a codification that usually corresponds to the norm which is generally considered neutral and unmarked (for the conception of markedness, see my other posts), i.e.: they do not sort you in a specific group (and the codification is somehow prestigious as it is widely considered "correct").
  9. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Like we have a president that says "Nu-cu-lar" instead of "Nu-clear."
  10. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

  11. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Of course not. My purpose in bringing it up, is that many people perceive him to be so because of the accent and mispronunciation, similar to the phenomenon you described in earlier posts, which I quote below (my emphasis added):

    I assume that, likewise, your representatives and prime minister are not uneducated.
  12. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    That’s a question! :twisted:

    But the politic orientation and the quality of Czech are definitely correlated. Especially the “communistic Czech” is very significant :twisted:.

    It is said that some of the disputed changes in standard Czech were introduced in order to make the language of communistic leaders standard. :D
  13. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Of course, being educated and being intelligent aren't the same thing ...

    I assume it's easier to indoctrinate a populace when using vernacular language, than when speaking higher-class language, particularly when a politician is making the claim of being part of the proletariat. :wink:
  14. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    It’s even more complicated in the CR, since we don’t have a lot of career politicians. And some politicians are without formal education because of political reasons.

    Wow, a new word for me - at first I thought you used a Czech word instead of English “population”, but then I found the word exists in English with slightly different meaning.

    Well, maybe you’re right a little, but the lower-class language was typical for the post ’68 nomenklatura, because the educated communists were mostly swept away. The propaganda was somewhat formal in this era.

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