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An example of Czenglish at the Campus of Charles University in Prague

Czenglish, a portmanteau of the words Czech and English, is a poor or 'broken' English spoken by native Czech speakers. Examples include confusing verbatim translations (such as "basic school" for "základní škola", which should be "primary school" or "elementary school"), incorrect word order in a sentence and use of inappropriate prepositions and conjunctions because of the influence of their Czech equivalents.

Another typical aspect is the absence of definite articles (due to lack of articles in Czech language) and using of "some" in place of an indefinite article. In Czenglish as well as Central European accents [w] is often pronounced as [v] and [th] as [dz] or [ss], [r] is pronounced in a sharp way similar way to Scottish. Voiced consonants at the end of words like "big" are pronounced unvoiced ([bik]); final "ng" is pronounced as [nk] or [ŋk].

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Language humour

Some elements of Czenglish only cause a little confusion and are eventually understood by a native speaker. Others, however, may lead to much more embarrassing situations, since for a native English speaker they seem to be correct English sentences, although the Czech speaker meant to say something different. Such misunderstanding may be recognized only by considering the appropriateness of each of the possible meanings in the given context.

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Example

  • A Czech girl was working in a pub in the UK when the landlord asked her if she could possibly continue the shift to later. She replied, "Only if you get down on your knees and please me".
    (the mistake here is the inappropriate use of the adverb "please" in a role of a verb, while the correct word should be "ask" or "beg")

Literature

  • Sparling, Don (1991). English or Czenglish?: jak se vyhnout čechismům v angličtině. Prague: Státní pedagogické nakladatelství. ISBN 80-04-25329-6.  

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

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Proper noun

Singular
Czenglish

Plural
-

Czenglish

  1. The poor English spoken or written by some Czechs.

Synonyms


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