Czech

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    	Gloss
Vowels.

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	

Consonants.

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 t' d'.

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 J.

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