"Ostravak" blog reaches cult status as third book published

17-10-2005

Last week saw the publication of a third compilation of entries from the "Ostravak" Internet blog - an online diary and chat forum written entirely in the Ostrava dialect of North Moravia. The first two books spent months on the publishing top ten, and the third is set to follow.

"V pondeli cestu na sichtu sem dumal, jak neusnut ve stoje a nechrapnut se hlavu do teho madla, bo lokalka byla narvana, jak kosik jablek. V tym polospanku sem uvazoval, co kdybych se kupil novu televizu?"

If you had trouble understanding that you're not alone. It was Czech, but spoken in the unique dialect of the Ostrava region of North Moravia. It's taken from a website which has become something of a cultural phenomenon in the last 12 months - a regular blog written in the dialect by someone known only as Ostravak. It's been so successful two editions have already been published in book form; a third was released last week. So what makes the Ostrava dialect so special, and how widely is it spoken? Radio Prague spoke to Jan Kamradek, a bona fide Ostrava speaker who now lives in Prague.

"Some people use this language, and of course everybody who is from this region understands this language."

Do you use it?

"When I'm in the pub with my friends in Ostrava, or when I'm talking to my grandpa or grandma, we use it. But normally when I'm at work, or here in Prague, of course I don't use it!"

A third edition of the blog has just been published, and people are buying it all over the country. Why are people so fascinated by Ostrava slang?

"I think it's the colour of this region. On one side there are mines and heavy industry, and on the other side a very lively cultural life, with Stodolni street [home to the greatest concentration of night clubs in the Czech Republic] or [the popular singer-songwriter] Jarek Nohavica or the very famous Ostrava theatre. So there are two worlds in this region. One with heavy industry, a lot of mines, a lot of workers and poor people. And one the other, a poetic side to this region."

Readers from across the country, not just Ostrava, are buying the book, and the third instalment will most likely reach the top ten. Even the publishers claim they've never even met the mysterious Ostravak, and so the man behind the blog remains a mystery.

http://ostravak.bloguje.cz/index.php.

17-10-2005