Why adding the letter ‘y’ is so funny

Hot dogy anyone? 🙂 © Ricky Yates

Right from the beginning of my time spent living and working in the Czech Republic, one of the things that has constantly amused me, is seeing an English word on a shop, an advertising hoarding, or in a menu, with the letter ‘y’ added to the end of the word. For example – a sports shop advertising that it sells ‘Snowboardy’ and ‘Skateboardy’.

There is a simple explanation as to why this occurs – adding the letter ‘y’ to the end of a noun, is the most common way in Czech, to make a word plural. It is the virtual equivalent of adding the letter ‘s’ in English, so that ‘snowboard’, becomes ‘snowboards’.

However, very few of even the most fluent English-speaking Czechs, understand why ‘snowboardy’ and ‘skateboardy’ seem so funny to a native English-speaker. But the reason is because, adding the letter ‘y’, is the way the diminutive is made in colloquial English. For example, ‘John’ becomes ‘little Johnny’. In fact it is more common, for the diminutive to be made by adding ‘ie’, with ‘James’ becoming ‘little Jamie’ But the way both ‘y’ and ‘ie’ are pronounced, when added to a noun, is exactly the same.

Some of the earliest examples I observed are above supermarket shelves which offer ‘Snacky’ and ‘Chipsy’. This second example I find particularly amusing. Czechs have adopted the American English ‘chips’, for what in British English, would be called ‘crisps’. Yet despite already being plural, because of the letter ‘s’, they still go ahead and add the letter ‘y’ 🙂

Similar examples can be found in bookshops. There will be section headed ‘Thrillery’ and nearby, another section headed ‘Detektivky’. This second example does include a slight change from the English spelling, but the origin of the word is still obvious.

Other examples I’ve come across include, for feminine hygiene purposes, you require ‘tampóny’. And in the male toilets of some bars, you will find a machine from which you can purchase ‘kondomy’ 🙂

Until recently, my favourite example has been the one featured in the photograph at the beginning of this post – ‘hot dogy’. I saw it first, over four years ago, when stopping at a service area on the Prague-Dresden motorway. Sadly, when I last called in there, some months ago, the sign had gone, during the redevelopment of the venue. But in similar fashion, I have also seen signs for ‘fast foody’, but not yet captured them on camera.

Anyone for a hot drinky? © Ricky Yates

The example in this photograph is the hot drinks menu in one of our local bar restaurants. It is amusing because of featuring ‘drinky’ 🙂 But as any Czech language purist would tell you, there is actually no need for it. There is a perfectly good existing Czech word for ‘drinks’ – ‘nápoje’. But in this venue, popular with students from the nearby Technical University, the English word is preferred – but made plural the Czech way!

I am always on the lookout for fresh examples to bring a smile to my face. In recent months, I’ve seen more than one conference offering, as part of their programme – ‘workshopy’. And I gather it it possible to go shopping in a number of edge of town ‘hypermarkety’.

However, my current favourite, I spotted (appropriate description 🙂 ), in an advert on a tram, a few weeks ago. Last Sunday morning, it was the tram on which I travelled from the Chaplaincy Flat to Church, and so I got a photo. A wi-fi provider is offering the possibility of several ‘hotspoty’ 😀

Hotspoty 😀 © Ricky Yates

Happy eighth birthday to my blog

Kostel sv. Mikuláse in Malá Strana © Ricky Yates

Tomorrow, Saturday 4th February 2017, marks a significant anniversary – it is exactly eight years since I wrote and posted my first-ever blog post here on ‘Ricky Yates – an Anglican in Prague’. Yes – eight years on, I’m still blogging 🙂

Believe it or not, this is post number 375. But I have to confess that in the past year, I’ve only managed to add 33 posts since celebrating the blog’s seventh birthday, a year ago. Therefore it sadly ranks as my least productive year 🙁 However, I am proud that if you scroll down the right-hand side bar to ‘Archives’, you will see that in each of the 96 months since I started writing, I have managed at least one post in every single one of . . . → Read More: Happy eighth birthday to my blog

A morning walk around Brussels

Palais de Justice, Brussels © Ricky Yates


As I explained in my previous post, on Wednesday 18th January, I had a very long day-trip to Brussels. Whilst the round table discussion with Lord George Bridges that I was to attend, was not scheduled to begin until 14.00, the only way I could be sure of being there on time, was to take a flight leaving Prague Airport at 06.45, which landed at Brussels Airport at 08.15.

Whilst I have driven around Brussels on the city’s ring road, many times, I have never previously visited the city itself. So I decided to take advantage of a frosty but clear morning, to explore a little on foot.

First I found the correct machine in the airport arrivals area where I could purchase my €4.50 . . . → Read More: A morning walk around Brussels

A flying visit to Brussels

The headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels © Ricky Yates

On Wednesday 18th January, I spent a very long day, travelling to Brussels and back. It involved getting up at 04.00 in the morning and eventually getting back to the Chaplaincy Flat at midnight.

I did so, in order to attend a meeting to ‘discuss concerns and priorities in relation to the Brexit process’, with Lord George Bridges of Headley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union – in other words, the Junior Minister at the Brexit Department. The meeting had been set up by my Diocesan Bishop Robert, ably assisted by his sidekick David Fieldsend, and it is to their joint credit that the minister agreed to it in the first place. I was one of seventeen British people, both clergy and . . . → Read More: A flying visit to Brussels

Into 2017

A humorous reminder from my son Phillip, that Christmas 2016 would be my last in Prague. Artwork © Phillip John Yates


The New Year of 2017 has arrived and for me, all the forthcoming changes that go with it.

As I wrote here back in October 2016, at the end of this post and this post, I have formally written to both Rt Rev’d Dr Robert Innes, Anglican Diocesan Bishop in Europe, and to PhDr Pavel Stránský, Bishop-elect of the Old Catholic Church in the Czech Republic, resigning as Priest-in-Charge/Chaplain of St Clement’s, Prague and retiring from full-time ministry, with effect from Sunday 30th April 2017. Both have since responded, acknowledging my letter and expressing appreciation for my ministry.

My decision came completely into the public domain when in the ‘Church Times’, . . . → Read More: Into 2017