Background and status
Czech (formerly known as Bohemian) is the only official language in the Czech Republic, as well as one of the 23 official languages of the European Union. It is from the Slavonic language family and share traits with Slovak, Polish, Serbian, Russian, Croatian and Bulgarian.
The language has about 10 million speakers in the Czech Republic, or Czechia, and about 200,000 speakers in other countries, mostly emigrants and children of emigrants who left the country in sizable migrations around World War I, World War II, and the years 1948 and 1968. Many Czech speakers can be found especially in Austria (mostly in Vienna), Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Croatia (mostly in the Daruvar area), in Western Romania (in Banat), in Australia, and Canada. Several tens of thousands of Czechs have continued to live in the Slovak Republic after the split of Czechoslovakia at the end of 1992.
The largest group of Czech speakers outside the Czech Republic lives in the United States, in cities like New York, Chicago, Cleveland and in a number of rural communities in Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Interestingly, aside from Prague and Vienne, Chicago is the city in the world with the most Czech speakers, showing that the inhabitants and the language have spread around the globe.
Other languages spoken in the Czech Republic include English and German, with a little Russian as well, though the majority of the Czech Republic inhabitants are Czech, with 94% speaking the Czech language as their own native language.
Growth and usage
During the mid-eighteenth century, the language experienced a revival in which Czech academics stressed the past accomplishments of their people and advocated the return of Czech as a major language. It has changed little since this time, except for minor morphological shifts and the formalisation of colloquial elements. The dialect of Prague, the capital of the country, forms the basis for this Standard Czech and is the language of government administration, education and the media. It exists alongside Common Czech, the colloquial spoken language.