* 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 u stands for u with a ring (krouz^ek) above. If you have a Unicode-compliant browser, go to the Unicode version of this page, where Czech orthography will be displayed correctly. ---

SAMPA symbol  Orthography   Transcription    	Gloss

There are five short and five long vowels in Czech.

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:		pul		pu:l		half

There are three diphthongs, as shown below.

aU		auto		aUto		car
eU		leukémie	leUke:mie 	leukemia	
oU		mouka		moUka		flour


The Czech consonant system comprises paired plosives at the bilabial, alveolar, 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		dum		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		leckdo		ledzgdo		anyone	
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 (R') 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
S		s^ál		Sa:l		scarf
Z		z^al		Zal		regret
r'		r^ek		r'ek		Greek
R'		ker^		keR'		bush
j		boj		boj		fight
x		chlapec		xlapets		boy
G		te^chz^e	t'eGz'e		of the same ones
h		had		hat		snake

There are two liquids and three nasals. In addition, F and N occur as allophones of m and n, respectively, arising out of place-of-articulation assimilation. r is an alveolar trill, l is an alveolar lateral approximant. n' is a palatal nasal.

r		ret		ret		lip
l		led		let		ice

m		mrak		mrak		cloud
F		tramvaj		traFvaj		tram
n		noc		nots		night
n'		nic		n'its		nothing
N		podmínka	podmi:Nka	condition

Three consonants can also be syllabic.

l=		vlk		vl=k		wolf
m=		osm		osm=		eight
r=		krk		kr=k		neck

Voicing. Obstruents are subject to obligatory final devoicing: in a 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 and all unpair consonants), 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

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This page is maintained by J.C. Wells. It was created 1999 May 24 on the initiative of Robert Batus^ek.