French proper nouns in the Czech press of the XVIIIth century
[Les noms propres français dans la presse tchèque du XVIIIe siècle]
Václav Matěj Kramerius (1753-1808) was a Czech publisher, writer, playwright and journalist, founder of modern Czech journalism.
His newspaper, named Krameriusovy c. k. vlastenecké noviny (Kramerius' Imperial-Royal Patriotic Newspaper), published since 1789, focused mainly on enlightenment of the common people, on national emancipation. Their main sections included official notices, announcements, foreign and domestic news, literature and theater news. One of the most important news were reports of revolutionary events in France at the end of the XVIIIth century (Great French Revolution).
The subject of this article is an analysis of the transcription method of French proper nouns in this Czech newspaper published by Kramerius. In order to simplify the reading of foreign names and place names, Kramerius tried to approximate their pronunciation as much as possible using the spelling system of the Czech language of his time. He used different ways such as phonetic transcription using Czech letters, changing or omitting French diacritics, using Czech diacritics (e.g., vowel length), changing the order of letters, omitting letters. Some proper nouns remain indeclinable, others are declinated according to their classification into declination types. Kramer's transcription also informs us about the pronunciation of French at that time, e.g., soft l /λ/ is still in use, /wɛ/ is already pronounced as /wa/.
Kramerius' newspaper is not only an important historical testimony of its time, but also provides valuable insights into the development of the Czech language.
Key words: V.M. Kramerius, Czech language, French proper nouns / names, spelling, Czech press of the XVIIIth century