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  5. "I am thinking of that beauti…

"I am thinking of that beautiful face."

Translation:Myslím na tu krásnou tvář.

January 20, 2018



why is face here "tvar" and not "oblicej?"


are tvar and oblicej interchangeable?


Very commonly yes. In some specific contexts tvář means a cheek, a part of a face.


I wrote, "Myslím si o tamtom krásném obličeji," and was told that that's wrong, and the correct answer is, "Přemýšlím o tamtom krásném obličeji."!


Your answer was rejected and rightly so.

The reflexive verb "Myslet si" is "think" but only in the meaning "having/expressing an opinion". See examples below:

Myslím si, že máš pravdu = I think you are right.

Myslím si o něm, že je hloupý = I think that he is stupid (My opinion of him is that he is stupid)

On the other hand "think of/about" can be translated as "myslet na" or "přemýšlet o".


I must be missing something obvious, but why "tu krásnou" when tvář is masculine?


"Tvář" is a feminine noun (pattern "píseň"). :-)


I used oblicej and it was wrong, yet tvar is interchangeable. Please explain.


Obličej is masculinum. Myslím na ten obličej. Or Myslím na tu tvář.

I wrote the same mistake. :)


You must always write the complete sentence. Otherwise no-one can explain what we cannot see.


I wrote "myslim na tu krasnou oblicej" - is that wrong?


Yes, obličej is masculine (ten krásný obličej).


Is tvař used more for a womans face and obličej for a man's or it doesn't matter?


No, there is no sexism involved :D

"obličej" is the neutral, default word, used most commonly

"tvář" also means "cheek" - then it's also an ordinary neutral word. When used to mean "face", it's higher register, nicer, more refined. So it goes well with "krásná tvář", the two words match.

Then there's also "xicht" (or "ksicht", from German "Gesicht") which is low register, an ugly/crude word. Saying "krásný xicht" would be a ridiculous combination.


Isn't it said that the Czech alphabet does not include the letter X? Or is Xicht really just a colloquial loan word that seldom appears in speech, and then only among youngsters?


It would normally be written as ksicht. Although X belongs to the Czech alphabet, it is normally used only for loanwords from languages that use it themselves as ks can describe the same sound.

There is no X in German Gesicht either. Czech will not introduce X on its own.

It will be quite informative to open a Czech disctionary, best one including colloquial words, at words starting with Ks... Right now, only ksindl (Gesindel) comes to my mind.

There is more ks inside words: piksla (Püchsel), vekslák, veksl (wechseln), vikslajvant...

BTW, all these are German loanwords and as such are likely at least 100 years old, possibly much more (must be checked for each word individually) and hence unlikely to be used "just by the youngsters". Modern youngsters prefer English. Some of the words would mostly be used by the old farts, actually.

Polish is stricter with x/ks you can see at https://cs.wiktionary.org/wiki/Speci%C3%A1ln%C3%AD:Str%C3%A1nky_podle_za%C4%8D%C3%A1tku?prefix=ks&namespace=0 , which would use x in Czech.

Finally, there is also a musician called Xindl X.


As you wrote, »Ks« describes the sound X represents, and so it is used within the IPA. I just thought that the Czech language would thus transcribe the letter X with »Ks«.

As for the German word Gesicht, it's true, but we also have no sound inside the word that required its addition. But I see that with the loaning of German words starting with »Ge-«, the first vowel is dropped general. But what does Püchsel mean? I could not find the word neither in my physical dictionary (where it should have been listed between Puccini and Puck), nor in the dictionary's online addition. Did you derive it from a historical dictionary? Google didn't show me literal results but only family names that underwent alterations, such as “Pichsel” (which now sounds like the word Pixel) However, in those two words you listed as examples, apparent sounds were included, although in an alliteration of their own.

Nevertheless, my comment to which you responded referred solely to the word “Xicht“ and not to any of the words you mentioned, of which I haven't heard in the Czech version. Only Xicht sounds like something adolescents may still use; as for the rest, it depends on the context in which they could be used. Gesindel is considered obsolete nowadays, although it still works as a colloquial terminology for the »Family« in the Dutch language, next to the more general »Familie«.


The word is ksicht in normal dictionaries, not xicht.

Piksla is a small box. Püchsel is a dialectal diminutive of Büchse. The Czech word is no longer used as much as it used to be.

Czech germanisms often come from the Bavarian dialect group with the b->p sound change (Berg -> Perg, hence Žižkaperk for Žižkův vrch).

There is even vikslajvant ( Austrian dialectal Wiksleimat from Wachsleintuch).


Lol, I'm sorry I confused you with "xicht" - that's how I spell it because I love the way it looks, although the official spelling is "ksicht" indeed. https://prirucka.ujc.cas.cz/?slovo=ksicht - IMHO the alternative spelling "xicht" goes well with how the word is used - it's a slang word, an equivalent English word would be "mug" (in the sense of "face"). It's definitely used across all ages, not just by teenagers. These German loanwords are , in general, actually more common in the vocabulary of older people, but "ksicht" is universal when someone means "ugly face" or to say "to make faces (i.e. grimaces)" -> "dělat ksichty" (I have to concentrate to type "ks-", I want to automatically use "x" in this word...) - of course, there is no "x" in "Gesicht" so the Czech language wouldn't change it to an "x on its own "volition".

But loanwords with "x" in them get borrowed with the "x" - for example: taxi, taxonomie, xylofon, taxidermie, pixel, fixa, latex, fixní, relax, box (sport), text, flexe, or sex. This is unlike some languages that tend to replace "x" with "ks", for example Finnish: "taksi", "seksi", etc.


@VladaFu As for Ksicht/Xicht, I see, it makes sense to me. After your explanation on Piksala/Püchsel, I found a copied entry from a dictionaryo n Austrian German by the Austriaca, but a friend of mine from Austria told me that she had never heard it, so that it may have become archaic by now.

I would extend this range of import from the German-speaking neighbour to Bavaria and Austria. Their dialect group is mostly described as “Südbairisch”, or Southern Bavarian. Still, Berg (góra) is a standardised term, not narrowed down to a dialect. Just saying, as I don't know whether you're fluent in German or not. The Wachsleintuch too seems to have become archaic, I even read a similarly peculiar term in Nevil Shute's »On the Beach«, but I unfortunately don't remember anymore. I also don't want to skip through it to find it, I just remember that it was some kind of curtain, maybe from linen or whatever. It's just interesting to see what the Czech language assimilated from its neighbours, while we conversely may have adapted little from Czechia. (Perhaps knedly, as Knödel, although I don't know who came up first)

@AgnusOinas More common with elders? Huh, that's interesting, I may have completely misinterpreted the word itself, which is not all that surprising for me, given that I still know so embarrassingly little about the czech language, in terms of content as well as of the culture and the usage of the language. Does the Czech keyboard even feature the letter X when it is not featured in the standardised language? (I would exclude slang words from the standardised Czech language, as no-one would consider “Digger” (an informal addressing of a friend amongst adolescents, derived from “Dicker”, a fat man) or “Kippe” (A cigarette blunt) equipment of the standard language, Hochdeutsch. (High German) I know that the Polish keyboard features it although the letter is not part of the standard Polish language.

Thanks for the reminder that Czech keeps the letter X with loanwords that originally feature it as well, I will try to remember it within the process of learning Czech. I think that Russian too replaces it with a KS, although I had to guess, relying on the very, very little I know from Russian. (Taxi was one of the first introduced in the Duolingo course, to introduce the learner to the Cyrillic alphabet with commonly known words such as Metro, Sushi, Taxi, etc.)


Russian has no choice but replace "x" with "ks" (кс) because the Cyrillic script has no character for "x". Also, Russian (as well as Serbian etc.) transcribes all loanwords phonetically (or near-phonetically), disregarding the original spelling.

The situation is very different in Czech, which uses the Latin script and which was in intense contact with Latin (and German) for many centuries. It's a bit of a weird question whether the Czech keyboard layout has an X key - how else would be type common words like "taxi", "text" or "sex"? Our keyboards have all the basic Latin characters in the same layout as the German keybord (QWERTY). The Q and W keys are more useless for writing Czech than the X key, since "x" appears in loanwords, but "q" and "w" don't - with a few exceptions such as "Watt", "software", or "IQ". By the way, the letters "f" and "g" also appear almost only in loanwords, not in domestic words (again, with a few exceptions such as "doufat" and "foukat").


I am not fluent in German but I have learnt it for 10 years and I am interested in regional differences.

See, for example how they use the dialect at https://bar.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werkzuig_unt_Geprauchsg%C3%A9gnst%C3%A9nt_in_die_Tir%C3%B3ler_Dialekte

Even the first sentence "In dén Artikl fintet man aa Geräte, Pehälter, Maschinen, Matrialien. In an oagenen Artikl sólltn hingégn die Tiróler Pezeichnungen va Gwanter (Toale va die Tråchtn unt Ålltågskleider) unt Nåhrungsmittel kémmen, weil’s spezifische unt umfångreiche Thémen sein." is telling (Behälter, Bezeichnung).

Knedlík is actually also a borrowing from German. The original Czech word was šiška and Jan Hus reprimanded Czechs for using the German word.


@AgnusOinas But isn't there also a letter X in the Belarusian alphabet? I think it looked similar to the Greek Χ / χ, but I am sure that I saw it once, although its pronunciation is certainly different from the [ks]. The Russian does not have it, I should have known that and actually do. Doesn't Serbian also use both scripts, Latin as well as Cyrillic? I think they do, or at least both are permissible, I also saw the Latin script used in Serbian news. So, if they applied the Latin script as well, they could also use the letter X in this variant, but transcribe it when using the Cyrillic script.

Is their close relation with Germans and Latin (in shape of close cooperation with the Romans) the reason they too did not equip the Cyrillic script as the Eastern Slavs? I thought about it the day before when trying to figure out which phonemes were not transcribed in the Cyrillic alphabet, the reason why the Poles chose the Latin script with additional diacritics to suit their language, but Czech does not seem to have such phonemes. Even all of their diacritics could be found in the Cyrillic alphabet. Or could the [ď] and [ť] be the reason, the plosives that seem to be accompanied by a glottal stop, or however i could transcribe the function of the apostrophe. I know how to pronounce them, only to explain them is somewhat... Strange.

I am also sorry for my dumb question concerning the keyboard layout for Czech. It was one of my clumsy, short-sighted questions I should have thought about for one more moment before pushing the »Post« button. I also looked up the letter Q in my Polish dictionary and saw that all the loanwords initiated by it were also offered the alternative writing with a [Kw], except for quiz, funnily. Whatever may be the reason. Just one more less clumsy question: Does Czech too use the QWERTY layout, with diacritics available via Alt Gr+ [...]? I still have to learn the position of the special characters, so that in the end, I would be careless about which variant Czech chose when it's either one, QWERTZ or QWERTY.

@VladaFu Well, ten years of studying this language should at least give you an advanced understanding of the German language, at least to read it and have a modest conversation with a Native, without any obstacles.

I see that you picked Boarisch, the dialect of Bavaria, which I then had to describe as clearly distinguished from the Austrian, although both share the same branch dialect of “Oberdeutsch” (to translate it as Upper or Higher German would be fallacious, so I will just leave it as it is; I think that it also derived from High German, as a further development from the standardised language everyone speaks in Germany). I wonder about the plosive P in Pehälter as compared with the P in Püchsel, as the vowel in the latter is longer than in the former, in which it is shortened to a mere schwa. In the former, the vowel is pronounced as a [ÿ], with normal length. Whether it was aspirated or not — upon searching for information on a probable softening of the plosive from P to B, I could only find what I already knew, seeing that aspirated plosives were introduced only later, thus are not of the standard equipment —, should be of less interest, but maybe you are interested in reading it too: https://www.phonetik.uni-muenchen.de/institut/veranstaltungen/mampf_materialien/SchikowskiMampf2009.pdf

So, why did the Czechs then retrieve the loanword in preference over their original expression? Do you happen to know anything about it immediately? Otherwise, I will look it up myself.


@Ollyfer: This thread is getting a little difficult to navigate and also the topics are many :D

Ok... The Belarusian alphabet, same as the Russian alphabet or any other Cyrillic-based alphabet, contains the letter X, which has the phonetic value of IPA [x], i.e. the same sound that is spelled "ch" in Czech and German. (This character is transcribed as "h" in Croatian and Serbian when using the Latin script, but as "kh" in a typical transciption of Russian.) This is directly taken from Greek, where the letter "X" also has the value of [x] = Czech/German "ch", i.e. a voiceless velar fricative. It has nothing to do with the Latin letter "X" which has the value of [ks] - that corresponds to the Greek letter "Ξ" and it's absent from Cyrillic. And yes, Serbian can be written in both scripts, although Cyrillic is the official standard. Both Latin-written Serbian and Croatian prefer to spell "taxi" as "taksi": https://sh.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taksi

As for why different Slavic alphabets chose different scripts, it comes down to religion (religional influence). The nations that have been under the sphere of influence of the Catholic Church, i.e. Czechs, Poles, Slovaks, Slovenians, Croatians, use the Latin script, while the nations adhering to the Orthodox Church, i.e. Russian, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, North Macedonians, Serbians, use the Cyrillic scripts. Each nation has its own version of the (Latin or Cyrillic) script.

Czech orthography used to look very similar to current Polish orthography, with all the digraphs (cz for č, w for v...), several centuries ago, but thankfully underwent a series of reforms. The only digraph in Czech now is the letter "Ch" and I wish we had gotten rid of that as well, it could have been written as an "H" with a háček, for example.

Polish has more phonemes (sibilants and nasal vowels) than other Slavic languages - Cyrillic would suit it fine if it used a lot of the available characters including those that were used in Old Church Slavonic and never since.

The Czech [ť] and [ď] have absolutely nothing to do with glottal stops or with apostrophes. The little mark that looks similar to an apostrophe is a graphically reduced háček (ˇ). Phonetically, they are palatal stops (no glottal stop involved), and they correspond to Polish affricates ć and dź, respectively (while Czech affricates č and dž correspond to Polish cz and dż, pronounced differently).

Type Czech keyboard layout into google and look at the images - it's easier than explaining it. Letters with diacritics are mostly on the numbers row (and numbers can be typed using Shift), some infrequent ones (ď, ť, ň, ó) plus all upper case ones are missing and can be typed using a combo key (´/ˇ) next to the backspace.

And interestingly, the only way to write "quiz" in Czech is: "kvíz".


Adoption of loanword happens quite unpredictably. Quite recently I read about Spanish adopting words from Latin when it already had its own words that did actually come from Latin and Vulgar Latin themselves (often from the very same Latin word).

Depends on the state of society. Later German borrowings in Czech are often used for tools by worksmen (vercajk instead of nástroje, but also the individual tool names) and are colloquial, not official.

As for knedlík, who knows, the middle age society was complicated, Czechia was a part and even the capital of the Holy Roman Empire and German was used a lot. There many more words from that time. Jan Hus wrote:

"...odni by byli mrskánie Pražené i jiní Čechové, jenž mluvie odpoly česky a odpoly německy, řiekajíc: tobolka za tobołka, liko za lyko, hantuch za ubrusec, šorc za zástěrku, knedlík za šišku, renlík za trérožku, pancieř za krunéř, hunškop za konský náhlavek, marštale za konnici, mazhaus za svrchní sieň, trepky za chódy, mantlík za pláštiek, hauzsknecht za domovní pacholek, forman za vozataj."

Many of those words prevailed, some did not. For example, we kept pláštík. Forman became the word for a a normal carriage driver who delivers goods while vozataj became a high-style word. And a normal carriage driver is actually kočí or sometimes vozka.

As for Cyrillic, there is no doubt it was much better suited for Slavic. It took many centuries to get to a similar accuracy and convenience with Latin. However, the Church politics was clear and the Great schism decisive.

Serbian was orthodox and hence used Cyrillic. Only very recently did significant usage of Latin appear, more in Montenegro. Croatia was Catholic and so used the Latin script (and Glagolitic in liturgy).

It took a very long time to get to some acceptably accurate use of the Latin script for Czech. Diacritic only appeared in the 15th century and took a lot of time to prevail.

There is Х in Cyrillic and means the same as the Greek Χ (khi), and Czech CH. There was actually Ѯ in Cyrillic used for ks in foreign words, but it was dropped. Other Greek letters had their own Cyrillic symbols too Ѱ (ps), Ѳ (th/f), Ѡ...

There was an important Slavic - Glagolitic presence in Czechia in the 10th century, but only fragments remained. The Latin culture was politically much stronger.


@AgnusOinas I see, the format is just really counterproductive, and I wouldn't blame you if you chose to not answer this comment anymore as it gets rather long, and as I also waited many days until I found time to answer. But still, I will not hesitate to have the last word. ;-)

As for the [x] in German, it is rather common to also mention a word in which the diphthong /ch/ is pronounced this way, such as Dach. [dax] The problem is that we use it in two separate ways, one of them being the aforementioned [x], and the other being the softer [ç], used in words such as Milch (Milk). Needless to say, Southern dialects such as those spoken in Bavaria tend to harden it to a [k] when the soft [ç] is also the initial letter in a word, such as China [kina] or Chemie [kemi:]. But this just as a side-note. (In transcriptions of Russian for English speakers? Transcriptions of Russian for German speakers, at least in the news, does not seem to follow a rule but is rather up to each for their own, so that I have seen both variants—[x] as /kh/ as well as just /ch/—, but I believe that some just copy from English speakers as they had no clue how to latinise the Cyrillic alphabet) Also, thanks for the explanation on how the issue of which alphabet to choose for Serbo-Croatian. I am just surprised as most of the Serbian news sites I found so far were written in the Latin script. Of course the fact that I too use this script only, although one may wonder how many Serbians and Croatians still prefer this one over the other.

The influence is intriguing, although questionable at the same time: That the Western Catholic church accelerated literacy while advocating the Latin script and even put in efforts to unitise their languages, while the Eastern Orthodox Church made the same, but with the Cyrillic script. Alas, at least I now know how languages other than Polish came to choose a less attractive alphabet for their own purpose—for Polish I found a suitable explanation, but not for the others, unto this day. Thanks for that as well!

“Thankfully”? Pardon me, but why don't you like the Polish orthography, with those fancy diphthongs? Although I prefer many writings of common words between the two languages in Czech, especially in terms of the numbers as they are less cramped with letters, I prefer the Polish orthography in summa, it just looks better for me as a German. :D But seriously, zviře is so much better to write than zwięrze, and padesát is so much better than piećdziesiąt, but all in all... I don't know, Polish just looks more transparent in terms of text-to-speech comprehensibility. But this is just a subjective point of view, I do not claim any authority on this. As for what I know, there exists no H with a háček at the moment, I only found an H with a circumflex, for whichever language this may come in handy. But wouldn't a single H suffice, just as Serbian and Croatian have it? I am sure there is an explanation on when to use a [x] in the Czech language, such as between two vowels, or so. I don't know, but for most of such shifts in pronunciation, there are rules to explain it, just as there are rules for vowel shifts that differ standard varieties from dialects.

About the next paragraph I cannot tell anything more, let alone agree consciously or disagree at all. All my knowledge concerning the Cyrillic alphabet is gathered in the modern-day Russian alphabet, I do not know which letters have been lost from Old Church Slavonic during the centuries in which separate Slavic languages developed. The only letter I see from time to time, on Wiktionary, and which does not seem to exist anymore in any Slavic language is the /ъ/. I do not know how it differs from the other two related signs—ь and ы—, so that I do not know whether a phoneme has been lost therewith.

About the sounds /ť/ and /ď/, I am confused now, as I actually meant to say that they might equal something like [tj] and [dj], so that my previous opinion was poorly phrased, completely absent of what I meant and what was imaginable. But to now read that they represented fricatives is rather unexpected. Could you maybe tell me which IPA symbols would be chosen for them? (I know, this is a stupid request, but I cannot imagine that the two were actually fricatives...)

I did so (as you were right), and my first thought about the layout was that it looked confusing... To have diacritical letters on the number keys instead of the keys to which they are related (e.g. ř on the R key), is beyond me to understand. And they are accessible only via the Alt Gr key, so that there is no advantage but only a strange order. EDIT: Just saw that they were the main signs on the numbers row, my bad. You even wrote so, but I typed faster than I read. Still a confusing order...

I too don't understand why Quiz is not supposed to be transcribed as you did, only with a W instead of a V in Polish. Maybe an oversight by those who were in charge of assimilating such words for the dictionary.

@VladaFu About which age did the article speak in which you read that Spanish adopted loanwords from Latin? The sudden adaptation of foreign words of course is unpredictable, as the people themselves do this, without any organised conduct, without any concerted action navigating it. But from Latin? I can only imagine it to be the Late Middle Ages, and, as in English, related to the upper classes and professions related to them, such as the Law, or the Church.

So, a craftsman might use the more frequently used, colloquial name for a tool, whereas an outsider without any relation to the physical jobs of a craftsman might use the official, but uncommon name for the tool? Understood.

Unfortunately, I did not understand everything from Hus' quote, but I will translate it once I am done with this comment. What I found surprising is the /zs/ in Hauzsknecht, a combination I so far only saw in Hungarian, whereas it is /sz/ in Polish; likely with the same value, [ʃ]. This explains where Hungarian has got it from, or at least I believe so, assuming it is not a fixed part of Finno-Ugric languages.

So, the official term for a carriage driver would be /kočí/ (which reminds me of a carrion, or a Kutschfahrer; rather obsolete in German), while the forman became the colloquial name?

As for the division between the countries that use Cyrillic and those that use Latin, @AgnusOinas already described it concisely, but again, thanks for picking the topic up, it is indeed interesting and somehow, it did not spring to my mind earlier, even though I knew that Old Church Slavonic was one of the first Slavic languages that emerged in Eastern Europe, also bringing up a first scripture in this branch of PIE languages, besides the separate Czech scripture invented by Kyrill and Method, if I get the names correctly.

Unfortunatley, I have nearly no news sources from Montenegro, even for news about the local elections I had to rely on Serbian pages. But on theo ther hand, I speak no Serbian, no Croatian, but ha-handedly navigate through them. Of Glagolitic I have never heard, but I noted it down for further research. I knew that Georgian features up to three different scripts, but this is South Caucasian, not Slavic, so I will not mention anything related any further. It's no good to speak of something one does not know anything about...

Agnus wrote that the Greek X and was only transcribed as /kh/ from Russian Cyrillic to Latin in any language (I mentioend English as I saw it transcribed as such especially in news about Belarus). Do I opine correctly that you too just transcribed it as such although its value was a fricative? Normally, as your native tongue features the sound the Greek letter represents, I thought that you would transcribe it apparently as you faced no obstacle in pronouncing it orally. Or am I wrong in my presumption? Of Greek I have as little knowledge as about South Caucasian languages, but Ѯ looks obscure to me, I have never heard about it beforehand and must confess that the transcription as of today looks better to me than this obviously Greek letter that would have appeared like an outcast in any Cyrillic scripture, at least to me.


@Ollyfer: Yeah, I know about the ich-laut [ç] and the ach-laut [x] being the two allophones of the digraph "ch" in German. I wanted to react especially to your question why not simply use the letter H in Czech, like Croatian/Serbian does. Well, Croatian and Serbian can easily do that because they don't have the sound [ɦ] (voiced glottal fricative) or even [h], they only have [x]. Czech has two sounds where S-C has one, hence the need for two letters. The Czech "ch" corresponds to the S-C "h" (both pronounced [x]), while the Czech "h" [ɦ] evolved from Slavic [g]. Czech later re-introduced the letter "g" due to new loanwords. There are many minimal pairs such as "hlad" (hunger) vs. "chlad" (cold/chill) or "duha" (rainbow) vs. "ducha" (spirit, genitive).

Regarding Ď and Ť, you must have misread what I wrote, I never said they were fricatives. I wrote they are palatal stops (corresponding to Polish or S-C affricates). Another word for "stop" is "plosive" (probably more familiar to a German speaker). Their IPA symbols are [ɟ] and [c] respectively. Just take a look at the Czech Phonology article, esp. the consonant table and it'll be clearer to you. Realizing them as [dj]/[tj] is very misleading, they are one sound, not two. Sequences such as "letěl" and "let jel" (can't think of a better example now) sound absolutely different. There is no dental/alveolar component in Ď and Ť.

As for Polish orthography, it's clearly a matter of taste/opinion. I don't understand why any system of writing would use W if there's not contrasting V. Replacing all Ws with Vs in Polish (as Czech has done) would create ZERO ambiguity and save both ink and paper. And secondly, when I look at Polish, I see a striking amount of Zs (cześć, szczęśliwa mężczyzna ze Szczecina!) and only a few of them are actually pronounced as [z] (or at least [s]), so to me it looks like a lot of noise/clutter. Every other written Slavic language, whether in Cyrillic or Latin, including both Lower and Upper Sorbian, looks much neater by comparison.

The Czech keyboard may look confusing, but it's very practical. We can type on it with ease, pressing one key for each letter (unless it's the rare ď,ť,ň or ó, for which we need two keys) - which means typing fast and comfortably. If the letters with diacritics were somehow on the keys that have plain letters, we'd have to press Alt Gr all the time and that would be very annoying. Not to mention that "ě" and "é" wouldn't both fit on the E key, or "ů" and "ú" on the U key. After all, the German keyboard also has separate keys for "ä", "ö", "ü" (which the Czech keyboard can also type, along with å, ë, etc.) - taking up space normally used by special characters. Imagine having to press a combo key (such as Alt Gr) every time you want to type ä/ö/ü - and multiply that by about three since Czech has a lot more letters with diacritics than German.


@AgnusOinas I will try to keep my comment short as I lack the time I wished I had to write this comment, but in order to tick off the discussion I am having on Duolingo, I will answer yours now too, with due elaboration nevertheless.

In regards to the problem of how to shorten the CH to a single H, I see the problem, but now I wonder which options we had to somehow indicate within the letter that it had to be pronounced [x]... A quick gaze into the Windows Sign Chart, which I usually rely on when writing the diacritics of Czech, it showed me that an Ħ / ħ existed, but who knows which language used this in either transcription or original scripture. I don't know. But maybe it could function as the realisation of what hitherto was written as CH.

As for your second paragraphs, I did misread it, sorry. But I am more familiar wit the plosive indeed, as the only time i use the word stop, it's with the glottal stops. As with what you meant, I prefer to call them plosives as it matches the phone they realise more. I also listened to a video in which the [ɟ] was pronounced, and I must agree with one of the commenters under the video: This phoneme sounds more like an affricate, not like a stop, although I see where the argument for its categorisation rises from; especially when placed at the end of the word, the brief stop can be heard, but I for myself wouldn't categorise it as such, generally. Thanks for the link to the Wiki article, I will keep it and taker a closer look on it for the two phones we hereby spoke about it, especially for the HLAD - H. Just to make sure, it seems as if I hitherto mispronounced it, or at least not distinct enough from the CH. It's easier to do when it's not the initial letter, as the H is also rather weak in German when placed in the forefront, although we do not omit it entirely, as the French do.

I wouldn't blame you for any weakness concerning your „letěl” / „let jel” comparison, but this is a rather crass example; I do not realise them as two letters with an apparent pause in between, but I also cannot imagine how the former could be pronounced as one single sound. In this case, it could indeed be realised as a plosive, but not as one single sound. I will look it up on YouTube, nevertheless, to find an example on how I could pronounce it properly. still, when such sound appeared in a word on Duolingo, I still imagined that I come at least close to the TTS speaker.

As for Polish orthography, it's clearly a matter of taste/opinion. I don't understand why any system of writing would use W if there's not contrasting V.

But doesn't Czech do it the other way around—a V, but no contrasting W? Just to understand your argument, but they seem to just have applied the mutual opposite to their respective neighbour. Your argument concerning ambiguity within the Polish language I do not understand, I must oversee something. But so far, I hardly saw any ambiguity, but on the other hand, I am still learning, and today somehow managed to confuse List and Dopis, but don't ask me how I did that, I can't understand either. But with regards to the saving of ink, this is a peculiar argument; the saving of ink by switching from W to V might be... Meagre. Even the saving of space on your hardware may be equally little, although it could barely be more when we just scrapped Polish in favour of Czech, as the overall amount of letters used could sum up to a significant height. Maybe. I don't know.

And secondly, when I look at Polish, I see a striking amount of Zs (cześć, szczęśliwa mężczyzna ze Szczecina!) and only a few of them are actually pronounced as [z] (or at least [s]), so to me it looks like a lot of noise/clutter. Every other written Slavic language, whether in Cyrillic or Latin, including both Lower and Upper Sorbian, looks much neater by comparison.

I must confess, this was funny, but please don't be offended, but at this point, I really thought that you were joking, although you are right, some of those words are ridiculously overencumbered, but so is German too—I think that we could safe a lot of letters by simply applying the usage of accents as they do in French, and as we used to during the era of the Middle High German language. Notker der Deutsche, a chronicler and poet, created a consequential system of accents for the German language, and it is not even hard to read from a standing point of High German. I think we could save some letters, although the argument of saving ink could be undermined by the accompanying argument that we should break up our equally overencumbered bureaucratic body. Much more written correspondence could be conducted digitally, and frankly, you don't lose much space on your hard drive through plain text, regardless of the data format you choose: May it be a .docx, .txt. or .rtf. It just doesn't matter, so that you finally had to bring up something more persuasive to convince anyone of slimming Polish, or the German language. (The latter which of course I brought in, not you, but I think that the shoe fits for our language as well. But on the other hand, many Germans already struggle to switch from the occasional -SS / -ss (Such as in Strasse, which would be properly spelled as Straße, except in Switzerland) to ẞ / ß. (You may not be familiar with the upper-case ß, it's new, introduced last year. And the resemblance with the -SZ / -sz is a false cognate, they do not sound the same, although many Germans call it the „Scharfe S/ ,SZ'”. I don't know why some think so, but I believe that they just don't know better)

I do believe that you are capable of getting the most out of your keyboard, but during my professional training, I was trained on the German variant of the QWERTZ keyboard, so my first gaze at the Polish and Czech keyboard sparked confusion, an utter untidiness met my eyes. :D And I think that when the diacritical letters are reached through an easily accessible button such as SHIFT, typing fast can be easy. But the Alt Gr button is just poorly located, so that it naturally interrupts the writing flow, and reaching approx. 10,000 signs within ten minutes becomes a hardship. (The standard we had to reach for written correspondence, I don't know if it differs in Czechia)

If the letters with diacritics were somehow on the keys that have plain letters, we'd have to press Alt Gr all the time and that would be very annoying.

That's what I think too when I switch to the Polish keyboard, but it seems to be a standard, their adjusted QWERTY; To be fair, I chose the “Programmer” layout instead of the other variant whose name I forgot, and this one is closer to the German QWERTZ variant, where the diacritics are consequently cramped under the plain variants. Maybe I should try out the other variant, where the umlauts are replaced with some diacritics. It could be easier to switch to from my standing. But so far, the experience was awkward and counter-productive. É, from my opinion, could be added with the ´´-button next to the deletion button on the right-hand side, as is the case with our layout—just type it once and then hit the E button, and there you go: You had the accentuated E. I do it this way, and it does not interrupt my flow in typing. But I get your point, altogether, and am sure that the Czech language found a proper realisation on the keyboard. If I dedicated some time to learn writing in Czech on my computer, with a full comprehension of the language, I might learn to deal with this layout, but at the moment, I even seldom use the Polish one, so there's that.


@Ollyfer: The video you linked sounds a bit different than what the Czech Ď sounds. In the video, I'd say it sounds more like an approximant, or maybe it's the fact that it's "dorsal", so it sounds too far back. It's probably closer to the Turkish phoneme.

You might be familiar with the palatal nasal - [ɲ] which occurs in Spanish (España), Italian (gnocchi), French (magnifique), as well as Czech (něco) or Polish (nie). You can probably (?) hear how it's a single sound - a plosive sound, not even an affricate. Well, Ď (I don't want to keep searching for the IPA symbol) and Ť (IPA [c]) are exactly the same, except they're not nasal. The same alveolar triade: D - T - N (voiced - voiceless - nasal) exists in the palatal position: Ď - Ť - Ň. If you know how to produce the Ň (in French or any other language) from N, apply the same principle, the same shift in the tongue position for making Ď from D, and Ť from T.

That's for the phonetics part, which I consider important if you want to learn the Czech pronunciation better.

As for Polish vs. Czech orthography, it's really just bickering. My point about why would Polish use W if it uses no V is about the redundant doubling. It's (almost) like if a language didn't use the letter D, but only used the letter DD. And saving space/ink is not that marginal, especially if you include all the digraphs (and W actually looks like a digraph too, a very redundant one). Write WARSZAWA and VARŠAVA under each other and you'll see what I mean. And yes, German is guilty of the same in case of SCH and TSCH. Compare the space used when you write DEUTSCH and TSCHECHISCH (a nightmare!) and the same using Czech orthography: DOJČ and ČECHIŠ (or better yet Čeħiš using your suggestion of the letter "ħ" for "ch" - I like that). :D

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