Luboš Velek

On Semantic Transformation of the Term "výtečník"

pp. 111–122 (Czech), summary p. 121–122 (English)

The paper deals with the origin and surprising semantic transformations of the Czech term vy?tečník. The term originated as a neologism in the mid-19th century as a special designation for important and meritorious political representatives of the Czech nation, namely the "Father of the Nation" František Palacky?, the "Leader of the Nation" František L. Rieger and several of their closest associates. The term, derived from the adjective "vy?tečny?" (excellent), initially had a purely adoring connotation and served as an appreciation of the work of the leading personalities for the benefit of the nation. In the first half of the 1860s, however, the rival liberal democratic political faction called mladočeši (the Young Czech Party) began to promote in the contemporary press a completely opposite value meaning of the word vy?tečník. Its discourse turned it into a derisive term for authoritarian political
leaders from the prevailing liberal conservative faction called staročeši (the Old Czech Party). Thus, the frequently used term of appreciation became an equally widely used insult. However, in the course of the following decades, it completely left the language of politics and took hold as a specific slang term in school and even
police environments. The paper traces not only these changes in meaning, which illustrate the emergence of modern Czech political culture, but also the tools and processes that were used in this transformation.

Keywords: the Young Czech Party – the Old Czech Party – political culture – František Ladislav Rieger



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