How Was Czech Written before Jan Hus?

Discussion in 'General Language' started by gfross, May 7, 2007.

  1. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Greek and Latin do not use macron. It is only in some schoolbooks to mark whether the vowel is long, but neither Latin nor Greek used such a thing. Latin used almost no diacritics except diaeresis (to distinguish for example that "Aëtius" has one syllable more then "Aetius"). Greek had not been using diacritics until the times of Byzantine empire when accute and grave accents were introduced regularly, ancient Greek did not write but spiritus lenis and asper (occasionally) and (sometimes) iota subscriptum. It is present in today's text but only because it was added later. But still, no macron, as the Greek used special letters for long vowels (ω, η and digraph ου for [ó], [é] and [ú]; α,ι,υ could be both long and short without any sign but potential iota subscriptum which corresponded to ommited iota resulting to prolonging of the vowel). However, the later diacriticon for lenght, was not the macron but rather something like circumflex or "~". So, no macron.

    Great, but the Czech orthography is mostly phonologic, and phonologically, there is only one vowel, not two (on the contrary, in the words like neexistovat, kooperovat, there are phonologically two vowels), the only exceptions are "ch" and "x".

    "bachamr" and "sechamr" - never heard of them, looked for the in Czech national corpora (approximately 600 millions words) and found nothing (even in diachronic corpus) :wink:

    Yes. Of course it is. I even invented some kind of orthography that would suit better the needs of Czech, but as it uses letters from cyrilics, I do not consider it optimal. And yes, it could be solved only with usage of basic latin alphabet, I am sure of it, but the digraphs would be terrible...
    Imagine words like "rzeczisztje", "nejczistszii", "lisztjiczka" or even "jesztjerziczka" - it is ridiculous! Latin used its 26 letters and it used them well! Understand that the English is the only and only language all over the world, that uses the same Latin alphabet as the ancient Latin without diacritics. Every other language uses some, be it French, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Latvian, Finnish, Vietnamese, Polish,...

    And why such affect? Because it is violating the nature of the language! The Czech orthograph with its diacritics is very useful and even though it provides so much advantages, there seem to be still people who would like to pervert it...
    If one learns a language, he must be able to read and write it (if it has the writing system, of course). If you want to distinguish its sounds, use some approximative transcription, but it is no good if you write the language to communicate ideas (well, yes, I admit, there was a phonetic periodical that was written in nothing but IPA, but still... that is somehow... different case). Understand that those proposed "changes" would bring more difficulties than advantages.
  2. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    Never heard these words, even if I can imagine their meaning. I know only the Slovak word "viachlasý", pronounce /c/ /h/. :)
  3. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Yes, in Czech "vícehlasý" :twisted:
  4. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    A já pořád, kdo to tluče,
    a on bednář na obruče!

    And in which way was the barrel-maker hammering?

    Posadil (-> setzen -> Setzhammer ->) sec-hamer na obruč, a bacil do něj bac-hamrem.

    Sorry Zeisig, but I think “sec-hamr” and “bac-hamr” is the correct spelling.

    Or in pure Czech:

    Posadil sedák na obruč, a tloukl do něj kladivem.
  5. Zeisig

    Zeisig Well-Known Member

    I did not mention any details concerning Old Greek. It is "off topic". Nevertheless, for example in μīκρός /mi: 'kros/ the first vowel is iota with macron (i.e. long iota). The circumflex is an accent and there are not two accents in μīκρός. So the diacritic sign over the iota must be the macron sign in this word. Only if the circumflex and macron coincide, the macron is omitted (the vowels with the circumflex accent are long implicitly).

    No wonder. The white collars usually do not use these tools. :)

    There is no reason for the hyphen except solving the ambiguity.
    (similarly the spelling hogs-head instead of hogshead in English)

    And sorry, wer, there is no do něj as well as doň in "pure" Czech.
    But who knows, témpora mūtántur.
  6. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    I read these language related threads with great interest - I can only imagine the discussions about "pure" language over here if English were ever declared the "official" language of the US. I'm sure my common southern usage of "fixing" instead of "getting ready" (as in "I'm fixin' to go to the store") would make me a persona non grata and my usual greeting of "que pasa, kid?" would probably get me locked up. :?
  7. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Well, I definitelly know very little about this topic, but what about view of - for example - middle class person to someone who talks "gheto" English?
  8. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Zeisig: Yes it is off-topic but only a little. The macron is used only in philological texts to mark the length which is not expressed. As I mentioned, Greek diacritics was introduced during the Byzantine empire and there was still no macron as it is not in my ancient Greek texts. The circumflex surely is said to be "accent" but as far as I know, it is not... as it is often called "the long accent" :wink: and the Greeks and Romans were not so skilled phoneticians (they sometimes mixed things horribly - e.g.: the Romans tried to applicate the Greek accent system to the one of Latin even though these systems are completely incompatible).

    i.e.: the word "μīκρός" was written in ancient times only "μικρος" (with no information about the length nor the accent) and later (Byzantine epoch) "μικρός". Your version is the version from dictionnaries, which surely have to mark the exact pronunciation.

    But to cease to be of topic, I do not see the necessity to use macron for the Czech as it has its own diacritics that are much more accessible than the macron.
  9. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    The "do něj" is OK :!:
    The "doň" is used (not very often) and understood, but the literary czech knows -ň in accusative and not in genitive.
    Posadil se na něj (na stůl) = posadil se naň.
    Podíval se na něho, podíval se naň.

    "jeho/něho" with animate subject
    "jej/něj" preferrably with inanimate, but with animate too
  10. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    Usually, not very good. There has always been discrimination, blatant and hidden, against forms of language that considered by a given majority to be uneducated or sloppy. Regional variations can be the cause of discrimination, too. Northerners here sometimes consider Southerners to be less educated or even less intelligent because Southerners tend to speak slower and stretch (drawl) words a bit. Southerners consider Northerners to be rude and impatient because they tend to be verbose and speak quickly. Midwesterners just roll their eyes at both of us - and don't even ask about "Valley Speak" in California. :shock:

    I imagine a lot of regional and educational differences come into play in standard Czech too.
  11. DanielZ

    DanielZ Well-Known Member

    And... this is not an isolated problem.

    In English Shakespeare would write:

    joyne (join)

    noyse (noise)

    prithee (pray thee) [please]


    "Ye olde shoppe" the "ye" is not a yee, rather the"y" is a character for "t" that looked like a "y". Hence, "Ye olde shoppe" is pronounced "The old shop."

    All of the above comes from a time when the peoples of this world began to codify their language. Before printing, which did not arise until 1501, which meant wide-spread circulation of a codied language, not many people cared how words were spelled because the readers got the gist of what was written.

    Mass printinting, in any country, begged for uniformity.


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