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This article is within the scope of WikiProject Czech Republic, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the Czech Republic on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
I've recently started working on this article in hopes of pushing it to GA status and, possibly later, FA. I don't think any articles on individual languages have reached either status within the past few years, so I'm taking a few liberties with the standards to account for escalating demands, but overall I'm basing it on Swedish language, Nahuatl, and Tamil language. Also, while the Czech ethnic group makes up the largest part of my heritage and I know the language to a moderate degree, my background on Wikipedia is in video games (particularly Sonic the Hedgehog articles), not linguistics, so feel free to correct me if I make any newbie blunders. Tezero (talk) 03:53, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
A noble endeavor! We definitely need more high-quality language articles. Here are a few suggestions:
Better figures and sources for total speakers. NE is not terribly reliable in my view. Some clarification about the sources used for the Texas Czechs would be nice too. Is it taken from the US Census? Ref is unclear. Statements like "12,805 Texans can speak the Czech language" should be avoided; opt for "According to Reference XYZ, c. 12,000 residents of Texas reported themselves as speakers of Czech" (assuming it's self-reported).
Standard Czech = the written standard language, Common Czech = the normal spoken language in most of Bohemia and some parts of Moravia where local dialects aren't spoken. Some declension and conjugation endings differ between the two, and there are phonological changes as well. Standard Czech can obviously be spoken, it is on TV and radio for example. I guess that is the real standard language. I will try to find some sources when I come back from holiday. – filelakeshoe (t / c) 16:15, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
That seems like a rather unusual way of dividing up a standard language. More details (and references) would be nice. But I'm quite skeptical to the idea that there would be a "spoken written standard". It sounds more like a simple formal register. Modern standard languages are all influenced by the written standards, but even formal speech is by definition very distinct from written language.
FWIW, Dialects will be one of the last sections I work on, so you two will have time to decide how segmented we should represent Czech to be. Tezero (talk) 19:50, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm definitely not an expert on Czech language policies, just observing that it looks odd from what I've seen. Just make sure your sources are actual linguists or authorities like the Institute of the Czech Language.
I agree. Keep in mind that if a source isn't one of those in References (i.e. the actual bibliography), I haven't gone through it yet. I've already noticed, actually, that the 10.0 million figure's citation looks unsatisfactory, but I have not yet sought an alternative. Tezero (talk) 20:17, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
Well it didn't take me long to find a usable source from the Czech language institute about "spoken written Czech" . Actually this article discusses more registers (artistic, technical/non-technical etc), I'm not sure how many would be useful to cover on this page. As for dialects, most sources divide Czech into four main dialects - Bohemian, Central Moravian, Eastern Moravian, Lach/Silesian (see for example this. I've worked a fair bit on the article Moravian dialects representing the latter three in subsections, so we could probably just cover the differences between Bohemian and Moravian on here. – filelakeshoe (t / c) 05:28, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
You know, that article isn't bad, filelakeshoe. If you trimmed down the intro significantly, corroborated a few unsourced statements, and formatted a few of the sources, it would look like GA material to me. Anyway, this page is definitely coming along, if I do say so myself. Are you still interested in contributing/correcting information about Czech dialects here, or should I handle that myself? Tezero (talk) 19:52, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Just so you all know, I'm gonna put this up at GAN as soon as everything's cited and looks reasonably nice, which should be either today or tomorrow. Other changes can still be made after the fact, of course. Tezero (talk) 18:58, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks very much for your work on this, I'm back home now and have had time to read through. Just a few questions:
Do East Slavic languages not distinguish between hard and soft consonants, moreso even than Czech and Slovak?
I don't know. Why does that matter? Tezero (talk) 17:07, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
It was the second paragraph in the "classification" section which said Czech is different from East and South slavic in that it distinguishes hard and soft consonants. As far as I know, all Slavic languages do this to some extent, South Slavic very minimally, but East Slavic and Polish use it more than Czech (and the ref says so about Polish) – filelakeshoe (t / c) 16:06, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Czech and Slovak speakerrs understand each other "more so than speakers of most pairs of languages within the West, East, or South Slavic branches." – is this explicitly stated in the source? I find it questionable - with East Slavic, most people in Belarus/Ukraine have the advantage of knowing Russian as well, and it depends on how much we're segmenting South Slavic, whether Bulgarian and Macedonian are really separate, etc. (I think Wikipedia rightly takes the general stance that BCS is one language) – filelakeshoe (t / c) 10:25, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Here's the source; go to page 58, specifically the part about Polish and Sorbian and the surrounding few sentences. I may have been reading too much into it; can't be sure. Tezero (talk) 17:07, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the ref, I have fixed it to something we can assume from that source, which is that Czech and Slovak are the closest two West Slavic languages. – filelakeshoe (t / c) 16:06, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
"Czech is one of the most highly inflected languages in the world" - again, is that explicitly stated in a source which discusses "world languages?" It sounds like the sort of thing a Czech person would say but I find it dubious, even in Europe, Finnish Estonian and Hungarian have a whole load more cases and verb forms than Slavic languages, and I'd wager some of those Native American languages and Georgian outclass even them. – filelakeshoe (t / c) 10:25, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Regarding "most highly inflected": it's your basic native speaker focus on stressing uniqueness. It's probably been a part of virtually every language article by now. Czech grammar seems no more complicated than Russian or Polish, so this is clearly dubious. The statement be removed or toned down until there's a source that can actually confirm it. PeterIsotalo 11:57, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
You know, it's easy to miss, but this is cited in he body text of the article. The source is academic, too. I'm on my iPod now, but I'll take a look at the other complaints a bit later. Tezero (talk) 13:33, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Right you are. It's in Qualls (2012), p. 5, but it says that "[t]he most widely spoken highly-inflected Indo-European languages are members of the Slavic group (Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, Serbian. etc.)." That's definitely not the same as saying that Czech specifically "one of the most highly inflected languages in the world". PeterIsotalo 13:45, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
And I should add that this is The Qualls Concise English Grammar. It's an English grammar focused on North American English. It is definitely not a work that is focused on comparative linguistics. PeterIsotalo 13:52, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. I'll remove/reword it in both locations in a few hours, or you can now. Tezero (talk) 13:55, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Alright, done. Tezero (talk) 17:07, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, filelakeshoe! So, if you haven't seen, someone's picked up the review and, while he likes it overall, he's made kind of an odd complaint: that there aren't enough sources numerically, not specifying that anything in particular needs further corroboration. Any ideas on how I might deal with this to his liking, while we wait for a native speaker to chime in on the way aspect is described? Tezero (talk) 16:18, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I guess use more specific sources? I found an old copy of pravidla českého pravopisu lying around the house (which is the Czech Language Institute's authority on orthography) and just double checked the whole orthography section against it and added a few more cites from it. All I have time for tonight I think. To be honest I don't think we need to do this for the whole article :) – filelakeshoe (t / c) 18:36, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Noticed the GA. I don't feel I have time to do a full review, but I noticed that the phonology section is still based on Czech orthography, not IPA. This really needs to be fixed. Referring to phonemes with normal spelling is not appropriate. It should always be with proper linguistic notation so that it is unambiguous.
By the way, I hope I'm not being annoying with all of this. I just want to be sure I know pretty well how to write language articles, as there are others I'd like to work on. Tezero (talk) 17:09, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Well, I suppose I'm somewhat of a stickler when it comes to phonetics... But I should stress you've done wonders with this article. There's a world of difference between that and this. Keep up the good work!
The stuff about aspect in the verbs section needs attention from a learned native speaker and possibly better sources. I'm not sure it's as simple as all verbs coming in pairs with either prefix or suffix. One imperfective verb often has many perfective derivatives, for instance "dělat" has "udělat" and also "dodělat". One thing I can be sure of is that -ovat, -ávat verbs are imperfective, not perfective, so the longer infinitive ending is added to the perfective stem, e.g. koupit, prodat (perfective) become kupovat, prodávat (imperfective). Imperfective verbs can also have these stems added too, e.g. dělat → dělávat, as can perfective verbs with prefixes e.g. "vyhledávat", which has a different meaning to both "hledat" and "vyhledat". I'm not sure how best to explain it. – filelakeshoe (t / c) 08:54, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Hmm, I'm aware of this, but I'd forgotten about it and I don't believe it was mentioned in the source. I wrote it when I kept getting perfective and imperfective mixed up. Tezero (talk) 13:34, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Since we got no response on here, I asked my girlfriend what she thought and she thinks the explanation is more or less accurate and that I was confused - hledat/vyhledat are not a pair but different verbs and vyhledat has the imperfective form vyhledávat. Adding a prefix to a verb can also change the meaning of the verb which is something we should perhaps find a source for.
You can make -ávat verbs from imperfective ones like "kupovávat" and they denote repeated actions. There is a source on the cs.wiki article  here which describes this using the scale "durative - iterative - frequentative" (using "jít - chodit - chodívat" as an example, all of which are imperfective). I have summed this up briefly using the same example. I removed the "list of suffixes" and replaced it with an example since it's a bit confusing - all of those were just standard infinitive endings and apart from the -vat ones can denote perfective verbs as well. – filelakeshoe (t / c) 08:29, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
Maunus, I've finally gotten around to looking at that citation issue and I've figured it out: it was an error in the "harv" citation to Hajičová regarding the author fields. I've fixed it now; to be clear, it was correctly referring to her rather than Stankiewicz. Tezero (talk) 04:05, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
Could a legend be added for the upper map in that box (does those have a particular name?) on the right? It looks as though all of Europe speaks Czech as a majority... Cwbr77 (talk) 10:23, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm also not sure what that's supposed to show. I'm even more unsure about the map below saying that Czech is spoken by a "significant minority" in the whole of Zaolzie... are there any figures on how many Cieszyn Silesian speakers there are left? The Template:Polish municipalities in the Czech Republic can only name three towns and a scattering of villages with 10% Poles in them. – filelakeshoe (t / c) 22:10, 26 January 2015 (UTC)