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33380Two questions

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  • James Kirchner
    Apr 29, 2007
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      When a man I knew during my years in the Czech Republic used a
      conspicuous number of Latinisms and international words, people
      around him -- educated people -- tended to bark at him, "Mluv cesky,
      proboha!" I also noticed that many Czechs who understood the word
      "prevteleni" did not understand the word "reinkarnace". These are
      just two examples I can give that probably won't attract accusations
      that I'm spinning tales (as does my *true* story about an English
      class of well-educated Czechs in which no one understood the word
      "frustrace"). In any case, the Czech lands were the only European
      country I had ever been to where one could not be certain that most
      people would understand international words.

      I have been noticing international words showing up more in the Czech-
      for-foreigners texts now than I saw in the textbooks I learned from.
      The book "New Czech Step by Step", for example, seems never to use
      the word "velvyslanectvi" and some other Czech words that were the
      only words the books taught when I was studying, and instead uses
      "ambasada" and other internationalisms.

      Last night I was listening to the "Clovek a trh" podcast from Cesky
      rozhlas, and it hit me that people in those interviews and in other
      broadcasts use even more Latinisms than would have gotten my friend
      yelled at when I lived in the CR.

      So, my first question is, Has obrozenecky linguistic protectionism
      weakened over the past several years?

      My second question: In the 1990s, the Czech announcers on TV and
      radio tended to sound like eight-pack-a-day smokers, and their
      proclamations were often accompanied by background music that would
      have sounded somewhat odd in the West. Now I notice that radio
      bumper music sounds just like in Germany, and the announcers' voices
      have an almost drugged-up friendly sound to them, making the show IDs
      and station IDs sound exactly like they do on Antenna Bayern. Has
      anyone else noticed this change?

      Jamie
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