1.2 – “soft” pronunciations

1.2 – soft pronunciations

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1.2 – soft pronunciations
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1.2 – "soft" pronunciations

writing the sounds ť, ď, ň

A lot of times you’ll see the letters ť, ď and ň written just as you see them here (with an apostrophe or háček over them to indicate their soft pronunciation). This is the case before the vowels a/á, o/ó, u/ú, and at the end of the word, e.g. –

ť

koťata ‘kittens’ (audio)

ťuknout ‘to tap’ (audio)

ď

Maďarsko ‘Hungary’ (audio)

Vláďovi ‘to Vláďa’ (audio)

ň

koňak (audio)

píseň ‘song’ (audio)

before i, í, or ě

However, when followed by the vowel letters i, í, or ě, they are written without the háček. In other words, d, t, n  i, í or ě are pronounced ď, ť, ň

ě

i

ť

tělo ‘body’ (audio)

studenti ‘students’ (audio)

ď

dělat ‘to do’ (audio)

kamarádi ‘friends’ (audio)

ň

něco ‘something’ (audio)

nic ‘nothing’ (audio)

p, b, v, m  ě

When these consonants are followed by ě, they are pronounced with a j sound. The one exception is m ě, which is pronounced with ň sound after the m (i.e.  is pronounced [mně]).

Is pronounced as if it were spelled…

Example word

p ě

[pje]

pěna ‘foam’ (audio)[1]

b ě

[bje]

běhat ‘to run’ (audio)

v ě

[vje]

Věra ‘Vera’ (audio)

m ě

[mně]

město ‘city’ (audio)

Images used in this document come from these sources.


[1] This might seem like a strange word to know, but Czechs actually value the foam on the top of a beer more than you might expect. It is a sign that the beer was freshly poured and also contributes to aromatic qualities of the beer. In fact, receiving a beer without a foaming head at the top is almost unheard of in any decent establishment.