• The legacy and limitations of Czech purism

      Dickins, Tom (Maney Publishing, 2007)
      In this article, diachronic and synchronic methods of investigation are combined to evaluate perceptions of lexical borrowing in Czech. The introduction contextualizes the role of purism in the emergence of Czech national consciousness, and highlights the importance of the new linguistic currents in the first quarter of the twentieth century. The main part of the study presents the findings of a detailed survey into attitudes to loanwords and language change, conducted in 2005 on the author's behalf. Wherever possible, the author draws on the methodology and examples of three previous research projects, by Antonín Tejnor (1970), Jiří Kraus (1995) and Silke Gester (2000), in order to maximize the statistical basis for his comparative analysis. The second part of the study considers a list of 540 foreign words, defined as superfluous by František Bartoš and Petr Zenkl in two well known early twentieth-century Czech language manuals. The lexicon compiled from these publications is correlated with data from the latest, authoritative corpus-based frequency dictionary of Czech, Frekvenční slovník češtiny. Although there is some evidence of residual puristic sentiments amongst Czech speakers, the results of part 2 of the study suggest that the prescriptive approach of Bartoš and Zenkl has had little (if any) practical impact on current usage. (Ingenta)