Why Study Czech with the KU Slavic Department?

Languages in the Slavic Department


Why Study Czech?

Czech is the language spoken by about 10 million citizens of the Czech Republic and another 2 million or so worldwide. Czech is a Slavic language from the West-Slavic group, which also includes Polish and Slovak. The Midwest and Great Plains regions of the United States is home to many Americans of Czech heritage.

The Czech Republic is located in the heart of Europe, between Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east, and Poland to the north. Its capital Prague, one of the jewels among European cities, is located on the Vltava River, which flows northward into the Elbe River. Prague is home to one of Europe’s oldest universities, Charles University.

Along with Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and others, the Czech Republic joined the European Union in May, 2004. Czechs are particularly known for their brilliant art, architecture, literature, and theater, which express a strong national identity.


Courses Offered


In Memoriam

Reed Rankin ✝ 12/29/2019

The faculty and students in the Department Slavic Languages and Literatures are deeply saddened that one our undergraduate majors, Reed Rankin, passed away last week (12/29) in Fredonia, Kansas. Reed was a beloved student in the department and is fondly remembered by his peers and professors. He began studying Russian as a Freshman and stayed with a challenging but rewarding language for three and a half years, tackling introductory, intermediate, advanced levels, and even continuing his studies into his senior year with Russian for the Professions. We know that he was planning further study in Moscow in the next academic year, prior to matriculation at KU School of Law.

A thoughtful student, Reed often contributed insight and posed challenging questions in class. ​​ Reed’s dedication to the study of Russian language, culture, and history was tremendous and fueled by infectious curiosity. He showed great acumen in translating from Russian into English, always finding English-language equivalents for Russian cultural concepts through skillful use of one-liners from American films. We also treasured his ability to speak in fluid Russian about rural, farm life in Kansas, and the effects that natural phenomena, like floods, on a farming community. He was a pleasure to know and teach, and will be remembered for his kind and polite demeanor. Our thoughts are with Reed’s family at this time

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KU’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies program is one of only 12 federally-funded national resource centers in the US
Only doctoral program in Slavic Languages and Literatures between the Mississippi and the West Coast
100% of graduate students in the Slavic program had funding in academic year 2012-13
KU's Libraries house over 500,000 volumes of Slavic books and electronic editions
Two of the department’s last four doctoral candidates have won a Fulbright grants to conduct dissertation research abroad