How similar are really Czech and Slovak?

  • jasio

    Senior Member
    I'd like to add for Olaszinhok that -t- in te and jste/ste (i.e. before the vowel e) are pronounced a bit differently in Slovak and in Czech. In Slovak it is "softer", something like in tuesday or the Hungarian ty.
    And they are cognates to the Polish macie, jesteście, the 2pl past tense suffix -(li/ły)ście and 2pl present tense suffix -cie respectively, which despite the spelling are even more soft.

    Yes, it is. Further more, the 2nd pers. pl. ending -те in Russian is identical to the Slovak 2nd pers. pl. ending -te.
    Which is kind of interesting, because Ukrainians pronounce these suffixes hard as far as I can remember. At least in the standard language, I don't know about the local dialects.
    And Ukraine is somewhat closer to Slovakia than Russia.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    Let me give you my not native perspective, despite its drawbacks. However, my perspective of the speaker of the third major west slavic language (there are also a few minor languages in the group) may put the discussion in a context.

    For me the Slovak language sounds pretty familiar, and the level of understanding is very high - up to 80% I would say, in certain topics and short texts even 100% - at least if you get used to certain systematic shifts in the pronunciation and spelling as well as archaic vocabulary and certain random shifts in the meaning. Yet it requires far more attention than Polish and the reading is much slower.

    Besides, when returning from abroad, I have always had a strange, yet pleasant feeling that I'm already back at home. I've never had this feeling in the Czech Republic.

    I have also had a number of situations of bilingual conversations with the Slovaks. If you speak slowly and mind the false friends it's not really a problem.

    And yes, I've seen a movie in the Czech language (dubbed actually) with Slovak subtitles - it was look who's talking in early 90s.

    Having said that, I would add two things.
    1. I've read somewhere that Slovak sounds most familiar to most native slavic speakers, perhaps because of its central position and quite archaic or conservative structures and vocabulary.
    2. MI is not the best criteria and can be in fact very misleading. There are Polish rural dialects or idiolects which sound Chinese to me - and the standard Slovak does not.
    3. The dialect vs language issue is political per se, especially if you consider a North-Slavic dialectal continuum spanning from Sorbian to Russian and from Kashubian to Czech and Slovak. North German dialects are closer to Dutch (MI) and South German - to the Schweizerdeutsch than to the standard German. Yet they are considered German dialects, not Dutch or Alemanic. Alike, quite dissimilar Italian etnolects are considered dialects rather than languages for political reasons, though they are not MI. The same goes for Chinese and many other locations globally.
     
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    vianie

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    1. Before the creation of the standard Slovak langage in the 19th century, the Czech language (the so called “biblical Czech”) was used among Slovaks as kind of “literal” or written language, especially - but not exclusively - for religious purposes (Bible, religious texts, etc.).
    This deserves an external link to see the consequences - Biblical Czech, based on the Bible of Kralice

    Which is kind of interesting, because Ukrainians pronounce these suffixes hard as far as I can remember. At least in the standard language, I don't know about the local dialects.
    And Ukraine is somewhat closer to Slovakia than Russia.
    There dialects in the West of Slovakia that too pronounce them hard. Especially the Trnava region (21a) is known for this.

    Slovak Rusyns (31), on the other side of Slovakia, have a harder-than-standard pronunciation as well.
     
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    pastet89

    Senior Member
    bulgarian
    It should be pointed out that Czech Republic/Slovakia's got talent TV show (Česko Slovensko má talent) is currently emitted in a mixed environment - the competition is organized for both countries and the hosts are mixed, from both nations. Everyone of them speaks their language and everything goes as fluent as smooth as possible.

    Maybe recently the common cultural media has started to join forces again and the mixed exposure is starting to get common in both countries? Because even the most common question the hosts ask: What's your name - Ako sa volaš/Jak se jmenuješ, is different, but everyone seems to understand it.

    Last time I was in Slovakia, 30% of the movies in the cinema were in Czech - included a dubbed one, and in all bookstores, maybe at least the same number was valid for the books. So there the picture is clear, but I am wondering if recently also in Czech Republic the young generation is restarting their Slovak exposure and mutual communication.
     

    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    Because even the most common question the hosts ask: What's your name - Ako sa volaš/Jak se jmenuješ, is different, but everyone seems to understand it.
    Not too apposite example, both verbs exist in both languages: jmenovat (commonly pronounced menovat) ~ menovať, volat ~ volať.

    In Slovak "Ako sa menuješ?" is possible: „Ako sa menuješ a odkiaľ si?“ „Dorota Polóny z Osrblia“
    In Czech "Jak se voláš?" is rare but understandable: „A jak se voláš příjmením?" „Já?" odtušila Klára táhle tichým hlasem, „no — Němečkova . . ."

    Český úryvek je ovšem hodně starý, od Gabriely Preissové, povídka Králuša (slovácké a slovenské období autorčiny tvorby).
     
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    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    As for prosody, like chalk and cheese.
    But the Czech prosody is extremely difficult to "imitate", now I can remember only 1 young Croatian lady whom I had thought about she was native, Slovak prosody reminds me of Hungarian prosody. But so far I was not able to find any academic text about those differences.
     
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