Note: in the representation of Czech orthography shown below,
c^ e^ n^ r^ s^ z^ stand for
c e n r s z with a wedge accent (caron, hác^ek), and
ű stands for
u with a ring (krouz^ek) above.
SAMPA symbol Orthography Transcription GlossVowels.
There are five vowels in Czech. Length is contrastive: all occur both short and long.
i mys^ miS mouse e les les forest a pas pas passport o rok rok year u kus kus piece i: pít pi:t to drink e: lék le:k drug a: rád ra:t glad o: móda mo:da fashion u: pűl pu:l half
There are three proper diphthongs, as shown below. The first two are found only in adopted words. Other phonetic diphthongs arise through the combination of a vowel (long or short) plus
j; only two of them are shown below.
au auto auto car eu neutrální neutra:ln'i: neutral ou mouka mouka flour aj kraj kraj region a:j ráj ra:j paradise
The Czech consonant system comprises paired plosives at the bilabial, dental, palatal and velar places. In each pair the first is voiceless and unaspirated, the second voiced. The palatals are written here as
p pes pes dog b bota bota shoe t tam tam there d dűm du:m house t' tito t'ito these d' de^d d'et grandfather k krk kr=k neck g kde gde where
There are four affricates.
ts cíl tsi:l aim dz podzim podzim autumn tS c^as tSas time dZ dz^bán dZba:n jug
There are paired fricatives at the labiodental, alveolar, and palatoalveolar places. The sound written
r' is an alveolar fricative trill; by default it is voiced, but a voiceless variant is used when it is word-final or adjacent to a voiceless consonant. The sound written
h\ is a voiced glottal fricative.
f forma forma form v vak vak bag s sen sen dream z zub zup tooth r' r^ek r'ek Greek S s^ál Sa:l scarf Z z^al Zal regret j boj boj fight x chlapec xlapets boy h\ had h\at snake
There are two liquids and three nasals.
r is an alveolar tap or trill.
n' is a palatal nasal, and could alternatively be written
r ret ret lip l led let ice m mrak mrak cloud n noc nots night n' nic n'its nothing
Three of these can also be syllabic and thus function as vowels.
l= vlk vl=k wolf m= osm osm= eight r= krk kr=k neck
Voicing. Obstruents are subject to obligatory final devoicing: in word-final position, only voiceless obstruents occur. They are also subject to voicing assimilation: before a voiceless consonant, only voiceless obstruents occur, and before a voiced consonant (but excluding
v), only voiced obstruents occur.
Stress. Word stress (not transcribed in the examples above) is generally on the first syllable. Most monosyllabic prepositions are stressed, and form a stress-unit with the following word.
kabát "kaba:t coat bez práce "bes pra:tse without work