The desire to explore and develop is the most important quality for the participants of the SOČ competition. Students and faculty members honored the victims of the shooting. Jiří Zahrádka introduces Janáček's operas of hope and disappointment.

Faculty website  |  1/2024
12 Jan 2024, 9:55  |  Čeština

Faculty Newsletter

Let's call things by their real names

Dear colleagues,

As we enter a new year, it is usually time to take stock. As a linguist, I frequently follow the annual word of the year polls. In previous years, words like pandemic, lockdown or anti-vaxxer dominated the English-speaking areas. In 2023, it was words like rizz or those associated with big language models: hallucinate, authentic, and AI. I don't think I'm alone in rejoicing at this development.

Even the Czech “words” of the year, which in the past have been voted by readers of Lidové noviny (e.g., pražská kavárna, motýle, sorry jako), awaken, if not hope, at least a kind of temporary relief by their irrelevance. For me, the hot candidate for word of the year for several years has been the word výjimka (exception). Not because of its content but because of the way it is written. On the internet, one can find plenty of explanations for why the výjimka is spelt the way it is. Just think (supposedly) that výjimka is from the word vyjímat (excerpted from) same as výšivka (embroidery) is from the word vyšívat (embroider). The fact that we all make a “mistake” in writing this word (and write vyjímka or výmka) is, for many, a reflection of ignorance, disinterest and loss of feeling for the mother tongue. For me, the word is a symbol of something else entirely. I am convinced that vyjímka is at least as good a way of writing as výjimka. Why? Suffice it to say that the vyjímka is from the word vyjímat as much as vyžírka (freeloader) is from the word vyžírat (eat). I am also convinced of the correct spelling of výmka. When something locks (se zamyká), it is a lock (zámek); when five things are out of the rule (se vymyká), it is five exceptions (výmek).

The word výjimka thus symbolizes for me everything that is wrong with teaching Czech: it is the propagation of dogmatic thinking in the name of tradition and scholarship. I don't know how much pedagogical effort has already been devoted to collectively denying facts and logic to convince generation after generation of relatively obvious nonsense: that výjimka is the only correct spelling of the word výmka. The consequence of this approach is generations of children who feel that they cannot speak Czech correctly when they go through school.

As it happens, the least rational elements of belief tend to be the most solid. The idea that the spelling of the word výjimka will change in anyone's lifetime is in the unlikely category. From my position as an associate professor of Czech studies, I should presumably serve as the one who, with a raised finger, will gladly repeat for the hundredth time that výjimka is like výšivka. But perhaps the purpose of bohemistics, and the humanities in general, is not just to preserve tradition, nor is it to relentlessly convince others of the meaning of that tradition. Perhaps the meaning of the humanities is also to be able to call things by their proper names. To help ensure that students are not afraid to use their reason despite tradition.

I don't know how transferable my experience is to your fields. But I wish all of us that the word of 2024 will become výmka.

Pavel Caha
Vice Dean for Research and Project Management, Faculty of Arts MU

Podcast Artefakt

The desire to research and develop is the most important characteristic for the participants of the SOČ competition

Listen to the interview with Hana Žižková, Barbora Headlandová and Andrej Bružeňák, who talk about the SOČ.

Find out more (CZ)

Students and academics commemorated the victims of the shooting

About three hundred people attended the commemorative meeting in front of the Faculty of Arts MU. They lit a candle and silently, without speeches, remembered the victims of the shooting at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University.

Find out more (CZ)

Crisis psychological assistance in connection with the shooting at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University

A tragic event can trigger feelings of anxiety, scepticism and hopelessness. Students and employees of Masaryk University can take advantage of consultations with psychologists in this context.

Find out more

A new book by musicologist Zahrádka has been published

The book is the second volume in a five-volume series that will ultimately present the complete musical and dramatic works of Janáček.

Find out more (CZ)

Four MUNI Scientist awards go to the Faculty of Arts MU

At the end of the year, the MU Grant Agency awarded the MUNI Scientist Awards 2023 – prizes for outstanding research achievements.

Find out more (CZ)

A new club room was created at the faculty

It is located on the ground floor of Building L and can be used by all associations registered at the Faculty of Arts MU.

Find out more (CZ)

Do you park in the faculty underground garage? Beware of insufficiently plastered snow

Melting snow from vehicles can lead to overflowing catch basins.

Find out more

Get faculty merchandise

You can buy them at the red counter in the Central Library of the Faculty of Arts MU. You can find pens, bamboo pens, notebooks and tear pads.

Find out more

Follow the minutes of the management meetings

Mon 8 Jan

Faculty Management Meeting No. 17 

What awaits us in the coming weeks

Wed 17 Jan

Your Name is Israel Conference. The Life of the Modern Jewish State 

Conference organised by the Department of History of the Faculty of Arts MU and the Department of International Relations and European Studies of the Faculty of Social Studies MU in the Aula of the Faculty of Social Studies. Start at 10:00 AM.

Fri 19 Jan

Open Day 

Thu 25 Jan

Symposium and launch of the online textbook 

The presentation of a methodological toolkit on theatre for the 15+ age group will take place with a symposium focused on the cooperation of universities and secondary schools and the involvement of theatre in education and training. Start at 2:00 PM.

Thu 1 Feb

Czech and German in the Central European language area 

The Artes liberales Brunenses lecture series will feature Prof. Stefan Michael Newerkla from the University of Vienna. Starting at 10:30 AM.

Sun 18 Feb

End of course enrolment

Mon 19 Feb

Start of teaching

Other events can be found in the calendar of events on the website. For all study dates, see the schedule in IS.

Faculty in the media

Forbidden books. Censorship has caught up with America (CZ)  Externí odkaz

Motivation to health (CZ)  Externí odkaz

Death to overcome death: about medieval relics and their power (CZ)  Externí odkaz

The next issue of the faculty newsletter will be published on 9 February. Submissions can be sent until 7 February to

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Masaryk University

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