Monday, May 11, 2015

Czech language in the past (updated)

Michaela is preparing long post about traps of Czech spelling. I anyway decided to write short blog post about changes which are those most visible in registries. There are some changes which can complicate your research if you are not aware of them. So, let's take a look on them.

AU to OU or Ú
This is typical vowels change. You can see it in many words - names, nouns, verbs. Here are some examples:
Old CzechCurrent CzechEnglish translation
s Annau, dczeraus Annou, dcerouwith Anna, daughter
s kterau slaužils kterou sloužilwith whom he served
AubienitzOuběnicevillage name
RaudnitzkyRoudnickýfrom Roudnice, surname
AutiechowitzÚtěchovicevillage name
auřadúřadoffice

I and Y
These two are special case. They are interchangeable and you can see one word written in two different records with both letters - for example sin/syn (son), dobitek/dobytek (cattle) and so on. So if you have a surname containing Y or I (such as Vykydal, Liška, Bílý), you can see it written both as Vikidal (Wikidal), Lysska or Byli/Byly/Bili.

IE to Ě
Another example where two letters create one. When you pronounce IE in Czech, it sound quite exactly as Ě - that's why there was this form used in old documents. Again, some examples: 
Old CzechCurrent CzechEnglish translation
MierzinMěřínvillage name
diediczdědicheir
WietrowetzVětrovecsurname

EJ/EG to Ý 
Tough one, not so easy to understand. Desinence -ej is used in Czech slang language till nowadays, correct version is ý.
Old CzechCurrent CzechEnglish translation
wegminkarzvýminkářretired farmer
prawegpravýright, real
staregstarýold
megtomýtotoll

J to Í, G to J
This change was caused by the fact that Latin used J for I (and also for Í) and replacement of J by letter G which is not too common in Czech language. Examples of some of words containing these letters:
Old CzechCurrent CzechEnglish translation
kregczjkrejčítailor
GirzjJiříGeorge
GanJanJohn
TrztjTřtívillage name
panstwjpanstvídomain

RZ to Ř
The most difficult letter in Czech alphabet. Ligatures were used in these cases because it was the easiest way how to express hook without writing it. Examples follow: 
Old CzechCurrent CzechEnglish translation
rzeczenyřečenýso called
RzehorzŘehořGregor
przislussenstwjpříslušenstvíequipment
strzewnjstřevníintestinal

CZ/TSCH to Č
Another case of ligatures and of German record of letter Č. 
Old CzechCurrent CzechEnglish translation
CzernyČernýsurname/black
weczervečerevening
CzernjczČerníčvillage name
koczkakočkacat

SS/SCH to Š
Double S, sometimes written as ß, is read as Š. SCH is usually German and is read as Š in German language too. Examples:
Old CzechCurrent CzechEnglish translation
ssenkyrzšenkýřinnkeeper
SsimonŠimonSimon
kossjkkošíkbasket
KoschenitzKošenicevillage name

W to V
Very common one, causing problem even today because some of the surnames have both Czech and German version. Based on German language where W is read as V. 
Old CzechCurrent CzechEnglish translation
PawelPavelPaul
wlastnjvlastnílegitimate
wegminkarzvýminkářretired farmer
WaczlawVáclavWenceslaus

9 comments:

  1. Šenkýř = innkeeper, and Hostinský = innkeeper: Do these two words have the exact same meaning?

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    Replies
    1. Yep, they have. Šenkýř is older word for hostinský.

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  2. Thank you, Blanka, for this very interesting blog. Czech spelling is hard enough for us at the best of times but you have made it a bit easier to understand ;-)

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  3. It is clear I need to go back to my records and "fix" some things. Thanks for another great article. This would be much harder with out your help.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Debra. I believe there won't be so many fixes... :)

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  4. Thanks for this help. If you could show us how the Months of the year are spelled in Old Czech that would really help when using the Registers. Great blog

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  5. This explains so much. I have a Rzehorz in my family, but had never heard the name before. I wasn't sure that I was translating it correctly, but looks like I had it spelled correctly. Thank you for giving the current version of the name.

    ReplyDelete