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14-11-2019, 06:14 UTC
Living Czech

Dr. Livingston I presume...

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Hello and welcome to Living Czech. I'm Nick Carey, and I'm joined in the studio today by Linda Mastalir. Our theme for today is names. Well, Christian names for this week, and as there are so many names to choose from, we'll save surnames for next week.

Now, for Christian names in the Czech Republic, there is a prescribed list of acceptable names available for Czechs. When you have child, you can go along to the matrika, or birth register at your local council, and check with the omniscient, predominantly old women in this department will tell if the name you have selected is allowed or not. They do make exceptions for many names that are common in other languages, like, say, Marie-Claire, but you certainly wouldn't be able to get away with a name like chocolate or Saddam.

A great many male Czech names end in either slav, which comes from the word sláva, which means glory or celebration, in mír, which means peace or the world, or in mil, which when used in this context means love. The majority of these names were created during the era of the Czech National Revival in the latter half of the nineteenth century, and were translated directly from Latin. For the female equivalent names, you simply add a to the end of the names, so the female version of Vladimír is Vladimíra.

Let's first take a look at some of the names ending in slav. There is Pravoslav, which means a celebration of justice, or could as easily be linked to the word Pravoslaví, which means Orthodoxy, or the Russian Orthodox church. Then we have Vítìzslav, who is a celebration of vítìz or victory, and is an equivalent of the name Viktor. And the last, but not least of our slavs for today is Kvìtoslav, who is a celebration of kvìty or flowers. I can very well imagine what would have happened to me back home if I had turned up on the first day of school and told everyone that I was called celebration of flowers. One sound thrashing later I would have changed my name to Bob.

One name that is glaringly missing from the long list of slavs, considering the Czechs fondness of beer, is Pivoslav, or celebration of beer.

There a quite a few names ending in mír, which if you remember means peace or the world. There is our very own Vladimír, which means "ruler of the world". Then there is Kazimír, which can be confusing, as it sounds like it should come from the verb kazit, which means to destroy, and destroyer of peace and that does not really sound very friendly. It actually comes from the Russian verb kaza», which means to preach, so he is a preacher of peace.

Then there the names in mil, or a lover of something. There is Bohumil, or one who loves Bùh, or God. There is also Vlastimil, or one who loves his vlast or country. This is an equivalent of the name Patrick. There is also Jarmil, who is a lover of jaro or spring.

There are some other names worth mentioning in Czech quickly for their English translations. There is Svatopluk, whose name means "hosts of the Lord", and Boøivoj, who tends to boøit destroy vojska armies.

Two girls' names worthy of special mention as they are not formed from their male equivalents are Rù¾ena, which comes from rù¾e, which means rose. There is also Zlata, which comes from zlato, which means gold.

Well, that's all we have time for. Next week, as promised, we will take a look at Czech surnames. If you would like to receive to transcripts of Living Czech, just write to Radio Prague 120 99 Prague. So, until next time, mìjte se fajn, or take care.

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