Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Czech National Revival

After the Battle of White Mountain, the Czech lands were basically Germanized by the Hapsburgs.  The Czech language was almost wiped out.  He was no longer used in state administration, schools, university or the upper classes.  Many Czech books were burned and Czech became the spoken language of mostly illiterate peasants.

The Czech National Revival, České národní obrození, was a cultural movement in Czechland during the 18th-19th centuries.  Its goal was to bring the Czech language, culture and a national identity back to life.

Some of the most influential people in the movement were Josef Dobrovský and Josef Jungmann who introduced the Czech language in schools.  Jungmann also wrote the first Czech-German dictionary.

Frantíšek Palacký was another leader in the movement.  He was a historian who wrote History of the Czech People.  Czech literature was championed by novelist Božena Němcová, poet Karel Hynek Mácha, and political columnist Karel Haylíček Borovský.
National Museum in Prague

In Prague, the National Theater opened in 1883 and the National Museum opened in 1890.

One side effect of the National Revival is that it made Czech an even more difficult language to learn.  By trying to make the language as "Czech" as possible many very old Slavic words were incorporated which lasts today.  For example, the word for theater in most Slavic languages today is "teatr".  But in Czech it is "divadlo".

"Music" in most Slavic languages is "muzyka" but in Czech the word is "hudba".

This is also one of the reasons why the names of the months in Czech are so different.

Here's a Pilsner Urquell commercial from 2010 that I found on YouTube.  It shows Josef Jungmann get inspiration for the revival.  But then he slips up and says "danke", thanks, in German.

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