Czech Language Solutions
Volatia is a leading provider of professional Czech language translation and interpreter services. Whether you are in the United States or anywhere else in the World, Volatia is uniquely capable of bridging all of your Czech translations and interpretations.
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Czech, previously known as Bohemian, is a Slavic language and the official language of the Czech Republic. The language bears some similarities with Slovakian, mainly because the Czech Republic and Slovakia used to be one country, Czechoslovakia, until 1993. Standard Czech became the standardized version of the language after the translation of the Bible into this variety. Apart from Standard or Literary Czech, there are three main geographical dialects.
Predominant in the Bohemian region, it is the most spoken dialect of the language. When compared to the Standard version of Czech, it carries few grammatical changes and varies in pronunciation. Especially in Prague, Bohemians usually use more open vowels. One of the main features that set Standard and Common Czech apart is the change of “ý” to “ej”, for example, “studený” (cold) in Standard Czech, becomes “studenej” in Common Czech.
Original of the Moravian region, it is estimated that around 100,000 Czechs speak this dialect. It is quite similar to Common Czech, differing only in some words, mainly due to German and Polish influences. In the Moravian region, dialects vary from town to town. Therefore, the dialect spoken in this area is usually a mixture of all the different Moravian dialects, old dialects, Standard Czech, and even Common Czech. Additionally, Moravians consider themselves to be the proper speakers of Czech, unlike the Common Czech speakers, the Bohemians.
Spoken around the city of Ostrava in the Silesian region, this dialect is grammatically similar to Standard Czech. What differs is mainly the way it is spoken. Silesians are said to speak very fast, sometimes shortening the vowels. Additionally, these shortened vowels are usually emphasized. In other variants of Czech, the initial syllables are emphasized, and not short vowels.
Dobré ráno (Good morning), Dobrý den (Good afternoon), and Dobrý večer (Good evening) are all common verbal greetings that can be used in formal situations. In informal situations, Ahoj and Čau will do the trick.
When being introduced a simple Ahoj or Čau is sufficient. Nonetheless, shaking hands is usually the norm. Friends and family usually hug each other, and it is also common to see men and women and women and women kiss on the cheek. In business scenarios, a firm handshake and direct eye contact are expected. It displays honesty and sincerity.
Czechs tend to be indirect in their communication at first, particularly in formal situations. This is also due to speech patterns, as there are formal and informal forms of the Czech language. Politeness and thoughtfulness are core values in Czech culture. For this reason, Czechs will try not to cause offense or embarrassment to their counterpart. So, if you get a vague response to a direct question, when talking with a Czech, it should not be taken as rude. Instead, it is best to ask the question a little differently and try to read between the lines of the answer you get. Also, humor plays an important role in Czech communication.
Personal Space and Touching
Distance may vary depending on the context and the degree of familiarity between people. However, the norm is to keep an arm’s length apart during conversation. In a business setting, touching does not usually occur, but among friends and family light touching during conversation is acceptable and seen as friendly.
Eye Contact and Gestures
Direct eye contact is expected during conversation as it displays respect and consideration. If eye contact is avoided it may be taken as impolite or a sign of indifference. Czechs do not usually gesticulate a lot during conversation. However, some gestures may be considered rude, such as pointing at someone and waiving a closed fist in a provocative manner.
Czech Culture Reference Guide
There are around 13 million speakers of Czech worldwide, over 10 million in Czech Republic alone, the only country where Czech is the official and national language. Nonetheless, there are significant numbers of Czech speakers scattered throughout the world, mainly in Slovakia, where 25% of the population speak Czech. The main reason for this, without disregarding the physical proximity of the two countries, is the fact that once upon a time, both countries formed the now non-existent Czechoslovakia. Also, the two languages are very similar. Considerable numbers of Czech speakers can also be found in Poland, Austria, Germany, Ukraine, Australia, the United States and Canada.