Final Word from Thursday, October 5, 2023

Standard intonation in Czech for a declarative sentence - one that relays information and is punctuated with a period - calls for the voice to fall at the end. A new sort of progressive intonation that rises at the end of a sentence and glides into the next sentence is spreading far and wide. The biggest practitioner of it in the Czech presidential elections was Sen. Pavel Fischer. In the Fiala cabinet it, surprisingly, isn't Chair Ivan Bartoš of the Pirates, but rather Defense Min. Jana Černochová of ODS. She's perhaps even more progressive in this respect than Chair Michal Šimečka of Progressive Slovakia, who is living proof that the intonation revolution is becoming globalized. Many Czechs have joined the cause without even realizing it; others are proactively transmitting the new pattern. Ukrainian refugees and other foreigners who are already struggling to learn Czech now face the additional quandary of whether to brand themselves conservative or progressive by the intonation they adopt. [ Czech Republic tone falling rising ]

Glossary of difficult words

to relay - to receive and pass on (information or a message);

to punctuate - to insert punctuation marks, such as a period, comma or question markt, in (text);

to glide - to move with a smooth, quiet continuous motion;

practitioner - a person involved in an art, discipline or profession; anyone who does something habitually;

proactively - by taking action to control a situation rather than just responding to it after it has happened;

quandary - a state of perplexity or uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation;

to brand - to mark out as having a particular bad or shameful quality;

to adopt - to choose to take up or follow (an idea, method or course of action).


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