Section One – Grammar and Spelling
1. Gender: There are 3 genders in Czech: masculine, feminine, and neutral. They are not easily recognisable from the form of the word. The simplest way is the following: most masculine nouns in singular end with a consonant, feminine nouns have .a. or .e., and neutral would often end with .o. or .e.. There is no particular logic to how genders are allocated to inanimate objects (e.g. a table is .he., a wall is .she., a window is .it.). Living objects (people, animals) have grammatical gender aligned with their natural gender.
2. Case and plurals: There are 7 cases in both singular and plural sometimes giving up to 14 different forms of one word (usually some cases have the same form of the word so there are not always 14 forms). Plural forms are not easily recognisable, e.g. .starý mu.. (old man), .staří mu.i. (old men).
3. Articles: The definite and indefinite article do not exist in Czech. These are expressed by separate words such as .nějaký., .ten., and .takový..
4. Agreement: Agreement between nouns and adjectives and nouns and verbs means that if you change something, the ending of a dependent word usually has to be changed as well.
5. Double consonants: The same consonant repeated twice is rare.
6. Capitalisation: If addressing a person in a formal tone in writing, .vy. (you) is used and the .v. is usually capitalised, e.g. We would like to ask you: .Rádi bychom Vás po.ádali..
Accents are used on upper case letters.
Proper names are capitalised. Names of days and months and seasons are not capitalised. The first letter of a sentence is capitalised, as is the first letter of a heading.
Section Two – Punctuation
1. Commas: A comma is used in front of many prepositions (e.g. ale, proto.e, kdy., a tak, ačkoli, nebot), which introduce a dependent clause. A comma in front of 'a' (and) is rare and this should be checked.
A missing comma is a serious grammatical error.
2. Hyphens: Hyphens are not as commonly used as in English and are often replaced by commas or a semi-colon.
3. Speech marks: Speech marks are as follows: . ... .
4. Colons, semi-colons and ellipsis: These forms of punctuation are used similarly to how they are used in English, although semi-colons are not as common.
5. Brackets: Brackets are used in the same way as in English and there are no special rules for use of punctuation.
6. Apostrophes: Apostrophes are not used in Czech.
Section Three – Measurements and Abbreviations
1. Measurements: The abbreviations for metric measurements like centimetre, kilometre, litre, etc. are the same as in English.
Time: Examples would be as follows:
10.30 am = 10.30
noon = poledne OR 12.00
4.30 pm =16.30
midnight = půlnoc OR 24.00
Date: Dates are always written with the number of the day first, followed by a full stop, the name of the month and then the year (or the number for the month followed by a full stop): 1.3.2004 or 1. března 2004.
Spacing: There is a space between a number and an abbreviation, unless it is being used in the sense of an adjective, e.g. 5% solution.
When writing numbers greater than 999, a space should separate units from thousands, e.g 1 200.
The marker for a decimal is a comma (4,5 is Czech for 4.5).
Currency: The currency is a 'crown' = 1 Kč. The international symbol would normally be used with foreign currencies, e.g. GBP instead of £.
N/a . nehodí se
No. (nos.) . č.
e.g. . např.
WxLxHxD . . x d x v x h
1st / 2nd / 3rd / 4th . 1. / 2. / 3. / 4.
Mr. / Mrs. . pan / paní
Miss . slečna
Dear Sir / Madam . vá.ený pane / vá.ená paní
m (for metre) . m
cm (for centimetre) . cm
lb (for pound weight) . not used
g (for gram) . g
km (for kilometre) . km
yr (for year) . rok (written in full, no abbreviation)
k (for 1000) . k (but only in computer sense)
EMEA (Europe, Middle-East & Asia) . possibly EMEA, no Czech equivalent
Days of the week: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun . po, út, st, čt, pá, so, ne
Months: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec . leden, únor, březen, duben, květen, červen, červenec, srpen, září, říjen, listopad, prosinec
Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter . jaro, léto, podzim, zima
Section Four – Hyphenation
If one-letter, non-syllabic prepositions are at the end of a line, take them down to the next line. This only applies to v (in), k (to), s (with) and z (from).
Words at the end of a line can be divided, if needed, into syllables.
Hyphens do not usually join words, except in the case of names of compound colours (e.g. black and white .černo-bílý. but also .černobílý., light blue .bledě-modrý. but also .bledě modrý., green and blue .modro-zelený. etc.).
Prefixes and suffixes are joined to words without hyphens.
Section Five – Miscellaneous Peculiarities
First names are followed by surnames. All female surnames have different endings. As a general rule, .ová. is added to the end of the masculine name (e.g. Novák for a man will be Nováková for a woman). However, some names such as those that would normally mean a colour have different endings
(Černý for a man meaning .black. will be Černá for a woman).
Addresses do not contain any punctuation.
The letters x, q, w only appear in foreign (or assimilated) words.
The character 'ú' is only used at the beginning of words. When used in the middle and at the end of words, it changes to 'ů'.
Section Six – Geographic Distribution
Czech is the official language of the Czech Republic, spoken by virtually the entire population of 10 million people. It is closely related to Slovak and the two languages are mutually intelligible. Czech is a Slavic language written in the Roman script.
Czech is also known as Cestina and Bohemian. There are several dialects: Central Bohemian, Czecho-Moravian, Hanak, Lach (Yalach), Northeast Bohemian, and Southwest Bohemian.
Czech is spoken/used in the following countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Canada,
Czech Republic, Israel, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, United States of America.
Branch: West, Czech-Slovak
Source: Katzner K, The Languages of the World. Routledge. Available from
http://www.worldlanguage.com/Languages/Czech (accessed 8 April 2004).
Ethnologue: Languages of the World. SIL International. Available from:
http://www.ethnologue.com/web.asp (accessed 8 April 2004).
The World Factbook: Field Listing – Language. Central Intelligence Agency. Available from:
http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/fields/2098.html (accessed 8 April 2004).
Section Seven – Character Set