Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Czechs

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CZECHS (chegs), the extreme W. branch of the great Slavonic family of races. The Czechs have their headquarters in Bohemia, where they arrived in the 5th century. The origin of the name is unknown. They speak a Slavonic dialect of great antiquity and of high scientific cultivation. The Czech language is distinguished as highly inflectional, with great facility for forming derivatives, frequentatives, inceptives, and diminutives of all kinds. Like the Greek it has a dual number, and its manifold declensions, tenses, and participial formations, with their subtle shades of distinction, give the language a complex grammatical structure. The alphabet consists of 42 letters, expressing a great variety of sounds. In musical value the Czech comes next to Italian. See Czecho-Slovakia.