The international service of Czech Radio 
14-11-2019, 06:10 UTC
Living Czech

Money Talks

Listen in RealAudio: Streaming - Download

Welcome again to Living Czech. I am here with Olga Szantova, and today we are going to look at an important part of any culture, money. What are the terms for money in Czech, and where do they come from?

Well, let's start with the basics. The Czech word for money is peníze, and this word comes from the German pfennig and the English word penny. It also possibly has its roots in the Latin word pecus, which meant "wealth in cattle."

The Czech mince, which means coin, comes from the German word Munze, which was taken from the name of the Roman Goddess Moneta, in whose temple coins were minted.

A piece of paper money is usually referred to in Czech as a bankovka, which originally meant "smìnka vydávána bankou", or "currency issued by a bank".

And what the specific terms for the currency used in the Czech Republic. Well, first of all there is the main coin, the koruna, or crown, which was named after the old Austrian coin the krone, which in turn comes from the Latin corona. The crown, by the way, is also the currency in other countries, such as Sweden.

The koruna is a made up of sto haléøù, or one hundred hellers. This smaller denomination is named after the town of Halle in Saxony, where coins were minted in ages past.

As we have seen, the majority of Czech words for money come from other languages, but it is a little known fact that Czech has provided us with the name of the world's best known currency, the American dollar. The word found its way into English via Czech coins from the Middle Ages. These were minted in today's Jáchymov, which in German was called Joachimsthal. The coins produced there were called Joachimsthaler, which was shortened to thaler, from which we have the word dollar. In Czech, however, the term is no longer in use.

Well, that's it for this time. Next week we will have a closer look at money, and in particular at slang terms. So, until then, mìjte se fajn, take care!

In order to properly view letters from the Czech alphabet it is necessary to set your browser to Central European languages (ISO 8859-2).