Czech it out

UK citizens returning from the Czech Republic must quarantine, but one issue never goes away: why do we spell Czech with a “Z” but pronounce it as Check?

This “absurd” spelling, according to the historian, Alan Taylor, is based on the Polish adaptation of Latin characters to Slav sounds; this adaptation, he says, is no longer used in any Slav language except Polish.

“It would be more sensible to write Čechs as the people do themselves; or to follow the German (Tscheche) and French (Tcheque) examples and write Checks, an English phonetical spelling.”

But, he concludes, writing in 1948, “I regret that I lack the courage to do so.”


Source: The Habsburg Monarchy 1809 – 1918 by AJP Taylor.

blueprint brief – 30th September 2020

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