An Anthology of Modern Bohemian Poetry/The Bohemian Language
THE BOHEMIAN LANGUAGE
The Bohemian or Czech language belongs, together with Polish, to the western group of the Slavonic languages, thus being closely akin to Russian, Servian, and the minor members of this branch of speech. It is spoken by nearly ten millions of people in Bohemia, Moravia, Austrian Silesia, and, in the slightly modified form of Slovak, in the northern districts of Hungary. In common with the other Slavonic languages, it displays a high degree of inflection. The nouns have seven cases, and the verbal structure displays a remarkable variety and intricacy. Bohemian forms derivatives and compounds with great ease, and is remarkably vigorous and expressive. As a rule, it employs far more purely native words than Polish, but some of the modern writers are beginning to introduce words of foreign origin to a greater extent.
Let it, therefore, not be supposed that Czech is a barbarous jargon. It is a noble, highly cultivated language, of whose kinship Russian may well be proud. Its facility for representing the finest shades of thought renders it peculiarly adapted to lyric poetry.