Czech differs from some other Slavic languages also in the characteristic sentence intonation, the first-syllable word accent, the absence of elision, the use of the Latin alphabet instead of the Cyrillic, the exceptionally free word order, and the prominence given to vocalic r and l. The quality of a ringing, staccato speech distinguishes it from other Western Slavic languages. Also we can notify the unique sibilant sound [r'] as the distinguishing feature of Czech.
Before the 11th century Czechs wrote in Old Church Slavonic, the first
Slavic literary language, which had been developed by Saints Cyril and
Methodius for missionary work in Greater Moravia (now Slovakia and the
eastern region of the Czech Republic). In the 11th century two important
linguistic events took place: In the West, including Bohemia, Moravia,
and Slovakia, Latin replaced Old Church Slavonic for church and literary
use, and the regional Slavic dialects began to develop into separate languages.
After centuries in which Czech was a despised and suppressed peasant tongue,
the 14th-century Bohemian religious reformer John Huss (Jan Hus) standardized
Czech spelling. His stature as a national hero endowed the peasant vernacular
he used with a new dignity. The work of Huss was consolidated and advanced
during the 15th and 16th centuries by the Unity of Brethren, a Protestant
sect later known as the Moravian Brethren. The writings of this sect stabilized
the Czech language and determined its future as a literary language. Except
for the growth of vocabulary, the Czech and Slovak languages have not changed
significantly since the 16th century.