Re: Are Slovak and Czech different ?
- Slavic as a branch of the Indo-European family of languages,
is usually divided into East Slavic, West Slavic, and South Slavic.
East Slavic (Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian)
West Slavic (Polish, Czech, Slovak, Sorbian)
South Slavic (Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian, Macedonian, Bulgarian,
Old Church Slavonic)
So Czech and Slovak are both West Slavic languages.
Czech language doesn't like to use many vowels.
One Czech phrase is 'strc^ prst skrz krk' = stick your
finger through your throat. Now that's hard ! :-)
Slovak has some features that distinguish it from Czech.
43 letters of Slovak language are pronounced similarily
to those of Czech 40 letters.
Slovak has a flat vowel ä (Slovak pät=Czech pe^t, 'five)
a palatized l [written l'](Slovak majitel'a vs. Czech
Slovak uses diphthongs ia, ie, io, iu, and Czech doesn't.
(Slovak zamestnanie vs. Czech zame^stnáni = employment)
Slovak uses dz and dz^ and does not have the Czech r^
(pron. rzh)[Slovak u'rad vs. Czech ur^ad =office]
Czech alphabet uses certain diacritics : A~á,C^c^,D^d^,E~é,
E^e^, I'í, N^n^, O'ó, R^r^, S^s^, T^t', U'ú, U~u~, Y'y', Z^z^.
(As you can see except for certain ASCII equivalents you
need to use Czech fonts and KB to replicate these diacritics)
But Czech spelling is among the most phonetic of all European
However, Czech spelling in the past differed quite a bit from
modern pratctice. Present day diacritical marks were introduced
about 1820. In the past a different system was used similar to
current Hungarian and Polish practices. For example, 'ch' was
'cz', 'v' was 'w', and 'sh' was 'sch'.
The main reason the spelling of Czech surnames varies was the
conversion of the Czech letters with diacritical marks into
German i.e. Dvorak - Dvorschak.
When the Czech immigrants moved to America they often dropped
the diacritics to reflect the actual pronunciation (i.e.Nemetz,
for Nemec), or retained the German spelling (i.e.Swoboda, for
You can use ASCII characters only so far, and for e-mail, Netscape
automatically converts Central European (Win1250) to ISO-8859-2
(Internet) before sending. You must use what your correspondents
are using and most are using nothing !
MS Internet Explorer is suppose to be multi-lingual but it isn't.
Accent Marks ?
[Slovak diacritical marks c^,s^, z^, n^ can't be reproduced in
('caret' should appear inverted above the letter, not next to
letter as above) This mark is called a mäc^en^ = 'softener' in Slovak.
Many use ~ or just ' to represent diacritics.
Slovak alphabet uses certain diacritics : A'á; Ä,ä ; C~,c~; D~,d';
É,é;I',í; L',l'; L`,l`; N~,n~ ; O',ó; O~,ô; ,R,'r'; S~,s~; T~,t'; U',ú
Y',y'; Z~`,z~. A few marks can be made using extended ASCII code, but
most require Slovak fonts and a Slovak keyboard.
Hác~ek in Czech (literally "little hook")
the two dots over a are called dve bodky = two dots (ä = s~iroké ä or
'wide ä and pron. same as e )
the dl'zen~ = prolonger is called dlz~en~ = long sign (as in á)
makc~en is called mäkc~en~ = soft sound (c~,D~/d')
vokán~ = cicumflex (ô)
Using Special Characters - Instructions
As mentioned there is no way to print the diacritic marks used in
Slovak c^, s^, z^, n^, T^, D^, E^ correctly and to use them in
your e-mail messages.
However, there is a trick for entering some of the other letters
using the Foreign Language Extended Characters (ASCII).
Character Hold <Alt> key + Enter following numbers (in panel at
right side of your
á Alt 1 6 0
é Alt 1 3 0
í Alt 1 6 1
ó Alt 1 6 2
ú Alt 1 6 3 (can't do a capital U')
ô Alt 1 4 7
ä Alt 1 3 2
ö Alt 1 4 8
ü Alt 1 2 9
As to whether surnames are Slovak or Czech ?
Near present border of CR and SK Hungarian-German-Slovak names were
Czech-Bohemia had German towns and Czech towns and 'mixed towns'.
Before WW I there were also German settlements in 3 regions of
I'm not even getting into former Austrian Crownland of 'Galicia' (now
located in Poland and Ukraine).
Possible disputes over ethnicity of a surname have nothing to do with
the etymological origin of a surname (its linguistics components).
The ethnic identity of a person can change over a lifetime and does
not always reflect the ethnicity of one's father, GF, and ancestors.
Only the etymological origin of a surname doesn't change.