Topic: Linguistics/Phonetics

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Strč Prst Skrz Krk

Linguistics Czech Republic Slovakia Linguistics/Phonetics

Strč prst skrz krk (pronounced [str̩tʃ pr̩st skr̩s kr̩k] (listen)) is a Czech and Slovak tongue-twister meaning "stick a finger through the throat".

The sentence is well known for being a semantically and syntactically valid clause without a single vowel, the nucleus of each syllable being a syllabic r, a common feature among many Slavic languages. It is often used as an example of such a phrase when learning Czech or Slovak as a foreign language.

In fact, both Czech and Slovak have two syllabic liquid consonants, the other being syllabic l. (There is also the syllabic bilabial nasal m in sedm in Czech.) As a result, there are plenty of words without vowels. Examples of long words of this type are scvrnkls, čtvrthrst, and čtvrtsmršť, the latter two being artificial occasionalisms.

There are other examples of vowelless sentences in Czech and Slovak, such as prd krt skrz drn, zprv zhlt hrst zrn, meaning "a mole farted through grass, having swallowed a handful of grains".

The longest Czech vowelless sentence (with 25 words and 82 consonants) as of 2013 is Škrt plch z mlh Brd pln skvrn z mrv prv hrd scvrnkl z brzd skrz trs chrp v krs vrb mls mrch srn čtvrthrst zrn. The meaning of the sentence is: Stingy dormouse from Brdy mountains fogs full of manure spots firstly proudly shrank a quarter of handful seeds, a delicacy for mean does, from brakes through bunch of Centaurea flowers into scrub of willows. IPA pronunciation of this sentence is [ʃkr̩t pl̩x zml̩x br̩t pl̩n skvr̩n zmr̩f pr̩f ɦr̩t st͡svrn̩kl̩ zbr̩st skr̩s tr̩s xr̩p fkr̩s vr̩p ml̩s mr̩x sr̩n t͡ʃtvrdɦr̩st zr̩n].

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