Czenglish

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An example of Czenglish at the Campus of Charles University in Prague

Czenglish, a portmanteau of the words Czech and English, stands for the interlanguage of English heavily influenced by Czech pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar or syntax spoken by learners of English as a second language.

Characteristics[edit]

Examples include confusing verbatim translations (such as "basic school" for základní škola, which should be "primary school" or "elementary school"), incorrect word order in a sentence and use of inappropriate prepositions and conjunctions because of the influence of their Czech equivalents.

Another typical aspect is the absence of definite articles (due to the lack of articles in the Czech language) and the use of "some" in place of an indefinite article. In Czenglish as well as Central European accents /θ/ is often pronounced as [s], [t] or [f] and /ð/ as [d], and /r/ is usually pronounced as an alveolar trill as in some Scottish accents, rather than the more standard approximant. Voiced consonants at the end of words like "big" are pronounced unvoiced ([bɪk]); "ng" is understood as a /ng/ sequence and therefore follows the final devoicing rule (e.g. to sing merges with to sink [sɪŋk]).

Reception[edit]

Most elements of Czenglish only cause little confusion and are eventually understood by a native speaker. Some, however, may lead to embarrassing situations, since to a native English speaker they seem to be correct English sentences, although the Czech speaker meant to say something different. Such misunderstanding may be recognized only by considering the appropriateness of each of the possible meanings in the given context. Czechs in general tend to be openly hostile to one-another's grammar mistakes, both in English and Czech.[1][better source needed]

Examples[edit]

  • A Czech girl was working in a pub in the UK when the landlord asked her if she could possibly continue to work longer hours. She replied, "Only if you get down on your knees and please me".
    • The confusion here arises from the Czech word prosím, which is most commonly an idiom which translates as "please", but is literally part of the verb prosit meaning "to beg".
  • "The control of maintaining the purity of your cells have been identified gross deficiencies that are contrary to the principles of accommodation."
    • Notice informing the inhabitants of a student dormitory that the insufficient cleanliness of their rooms is in violation of the Accommodation Contract.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Sparling, Don (1991). English or Czenglish?: jak se vyhnout čechismům v angličtině. Prague: Státní pedagogické nakladatelství. ISBN 80-04-25329-6. 

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Malý, Martin (2011). "Anglicky radši špatně, než vůbec". zdrojak.cz (in Czech). Internet Info, s.r.o. Co je vám platné, že znáte spoustu jiných věcí, když v angličtině děláte chyby! Jste nula, niktoš, niemand a loser (běda tomu, kdo napíše v českém diskusním fóru „looser“; bude ukamenován!) ... Věta „Nauč se česky, když po nás něco chceš, nebo sem nelez!“ je vrcholem buranství, které není ničím omluvitelné – snad jen sníženým sociálním intelektem a těžkým mládím, stráveným ve chlívě… ... Mám na mysli situace, kdy (třeba) Angličan rozumí, ale kolega vás česky vypeskuje za to, že děláte chyby. [excessive quote]