• Historical ‘signposts’ and other temporal indicators in the Czech lexicon

      Tom Dickins (2012)
      This article posits that the Czechs employ a great many historical markers, previously applied to other events of national importance, which help to shape collective memory and right the ‘wrongs’ of the past. It is argued that these temporal indicators share a number of clearly defined characteristics, and that their use is too systematic and calculated to be merely a function of the constraints of the lexicon. The first part of the study considers in detail questions of semantics (especially the distinction between denotation and connotation), the lexicographical sources available to the researcher, and the lexical ‘signpost’ in context, while the second part focuses on practical examples of lexical re-appropriation since 1918, with particular reference to dictionaries and the Czech National Corpus.
    • The Czech-Speaking Lands, their peoples and contact communities: titles, names and ethnonyms

      Tom Dickins (2011)
      This article provides a detailed overview of the official and unofficial names applied to the Czech-speaking lands, their peoples and their language(s), and of the terms used by Czechs for contact communities and their territories. Particular attention is paid to the ethnolinguistic and semantic implications of the descriptors employed, and to the debates which they have stimulated. It is argued that the Czech lexicon continues to reflect traditional, relatively prescriptive perceptions of belonging, based on historical territorial claims and shared linguistic and cultural norms, which have symbolically marginalized outsiders and reinforced Czech solidarity. While erstwhile enmities have now largely given way to cooperative coexistence, critical attitudes to ‘problematic’ foreigners prevail, as confirmed, inter alia, by opinion surveys, and as exemplified by new pejorative designations for non-Western immigrants.