Czech/Alphabet and Pronunciation
Czech alphabet consists of 42 normal Latin letters, some have an accent:
- All vowels can be either short (aeiouy), or long with acute (čárka) (áéíóúůý). (This can denote a different word.)
- The only difference between Ú and Ů is that Ú is used only at the beginning of a word (or a part of a word like: triangle = trojúhelník).
- There are also "softened" versions of the letters D E N R S T Z, with a hook (háček): ˇ
- The accents lengthen the vowels, but they do not imply stress. Stress is almost always on the first syllable. The same rules also apply in Slovak.
A Á B C Č D Ď E É Ě F G H Ch I Í J K L M N Ň O Ó P Q R Ř S Š T Ť U Ú Ů V W X Y Ý Z Ž
Note: Except for foreign words, the letters F G Ó Q W and X are almost never used .
Most of the letters are spelled similar way as in German. Note:
- Ch is pronounced as "kh" and considered as one letter
- C like in the 'zz' in pizza or German 'z' as in 'Zimmer'
- Ď like between 'dz' and 'j' (/d͡ʑ/ or /ɟ/) or Polish 'dź'
- E and G like in "beggar"
- H like in "head"
- J like the 'y' in "yeah"
- Ň like in "menu" or the Spanish 'señor'
- R somewhat harder than in English, a bit like in Spanish "arriba" initially and rolled in the middle of a word.
- Ť like between 'ts' and 'ch' (/t͡ɕ/ or /c/) or Polish 'ć'
The pronunciation rarely changes depending on the position, except for:
- D, N, T are pronounced as Ď, Ň, Ť before I, Í, or Ě
Note: This is the only reason why Ě is used. The letter itself is pronounced as E.
Not quite true, consider following example: "válka měla mnoho obětí" and "těšila se domů na jeho objetí..." etc.
- Czech has word-final devoicing of consonants. This means that in speech, voiced consonants are pronounced as their voiceless counterparts: D → T, Ď → Ť, H → Ch, G → K, V → F, B → P, Z → S, Ž → Š.
- Y and Ý are mostly used to avoid palatizing the preceding consonant where I or Í would palatize the preceding consonant: dy is pronounced /dɪ/
Now you know almost everything. You can go to the Czech pronunciation page and hear it.