Speech can be the bridge that brings us together or the barrier that keeps us apart. The Czech language
, unique though it is, acts as both in different situations. Called Bohemian throughout history, it is a descendant of Old Polish. Around the 10th to 12th centuries, Western Slavic tongues split from Old Polish and evolved later into two separate forms: Slavic and Bohemian. Over the next millennium, it has experienced several iterations, the most recent of which is named Modern. While the literary version remains distinct from the spoken form, both forms of Modern Czech liberated from historical styling by the end of the mid-19th century.
Czech is especially unique because it is closely related by ancestry to Slovak. Because both languages derive from Old Polish the different words in each tongue and the similarity of the structure are so similar as to be understandable by people speaking either one. In this way, it acts as a bridge to at least one other language, connecting individuals who speak either version Western Slavic speech.
Populations That Speak the Czech Language
While Czech acts as a bridge in certain circumstances, in many it acts as a barrier because of its scarcity of use. While the 10-million-person population of the Czech Republic speaks this as it is the country’s official tongue; throughout the world, it is rarely spoken. In fact, outside of its nation of origin, Czech is spoken in moderate to small percentages in these few European countries:
- Slovakia (25%)
- Portugal (2%)
- Poland (1%)
- Germany (.5%)
Interestingly, in the United States, there are counties in the states of Texas, Nebraska, and Missouri where an American form of the Czech Language is primarily spoken in the home.
While not widely used by men and women throughout the world, this language has a unique history, and its unusual characteristics make it an interesting study.