czech aspect

Discussion in 'Grammar & Pronunciation' started by hribecek, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. hribecek

    hribecek Well-Known Member

    I put this in the general discussion section but then realised it's probably better here:

    Does anybody have a clear explanation of the Czech verbal aspects? I know the basic descritption about perfective being a one time thing and not used in the present and imperfective being more continuous but I still find that I often don't understand why a native speaker uses a certain aspect.
    Is the Czech imperfective in the past used the same as the past continuous in English and perferctive like the past simple?
    I'd be really grateful for any help with this, I think it's the most difficult thing to master for a foreigner.
  2. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    just a few examples:

    šel jsem přes ulici (a něco se v té době stalo) = I was crossing the street (and something happened at the same time) (imperfective)
    přešel jsem ulici = I crossed the street (perfective, finished action)
    četl jsem knihu = I was reading a book (imperfective)
    přečetl jsem knihu (za dva dny) = I managed to read the book in two days (perfective, finished action in the past)

    čtu knihu = I am reading a book(present, imperfective)
    přečtu knihu za dva dny = I will finsh reading the book in two days (same form, but using perfective verb means future)
    budu číst knihu = I am going to read the book (imperfective, future)
    budu přečíst = nonsens
  3. hribecek

    hribecek Well-Known Member

    The main problem I have with this distinction is that perfective forms are sometimes used with (for me in English) a present meaning.
    For example - To se stane/stane se to = It will happen, but also when Czechs want to say 'it happens' they use this form too.
    Rekne and rika also provide similar problems for me because I sometimes hear rekne when in my mind it should be rika.
    Anybody know what I'm talking about?!
  4. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    I, too, do not completely grasp why sometimes one tense is used instead of another, but following the basic rule(when I manage to do that) seems pretty safe.

    stavat se......something is happening
    stane se......something will happen

    Can you give examples of some of those questionable uses of the tenses in sentences?
  5. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    I meant 'stávat se'
  6. hribecek

    hribecek Well-Known Member

    The main one is the one I said - to se stane = it happens, also it will happen. I hear this a lot and they are not refering to the future only but sometimes about how things happen in general. Maybe it's just slang and to se stava is the only real version for the present.
    Also - Vzdycky na to zapomenu
    Porad to rekne

    I've heard these sentences with a presnt simple meaning- I always forget it, He always says it.
    I know you can use the forms zapomina and rika instead which are also right but is there a difference in meaning when I use the perfective form with a general every day meaning?
    I always have a feeling that it's slang and not correct Czech. I hope so anyway cuz it's really confusing otherwise.
  7. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Hmmm..Hribicek..I would maybe say this(keep in mind I'm just leaning the language too)

    We can do that in english too.
    He always says....he will always say...pretty much can mean the same thing

    I always forget...I'll always forget(something)(or to do something)..

    Až odejdu pořád zapomenu zamknout dveře.
    When I go out, I always(will always) forget to lock the door.
  8. hribecek

    hribecek Well-Known Member

    Yeah that's a good point. I'd thought about that possibility, but I've never heard anybody say that they do that in Czech. I'd be grateful if a Czech could confirm that this is the explanation and that it isn't a change in meaning.
    Having now read Wicker's website about aspect I feel a lot better about it anyway, a lot of new insights for me. I recommend it if you are having a similar problem to me with the finer points of the aspect.

    While I'm here, I have some more questions!
    What is the difference between these words-
    Vzpouzet se/Odmitnout
    Can't remember the other one I wanted to know.
  9. Troll

    Troll Well-Known Member

    vždycky říká = he always says
    vždycky řekne = he will always say

    vždycky zapomínám = I always forget
    vždycky zapomenu = I'll always forget

    Scrimshaw is right, basically it means the same thing, perhaps due to the adverb vždycky (always). The difference is very subtle.

    You must keep in mind that the adverbs sometimes have an influence on the tenses.


    Zítra nejdu do školy. = Tomorrow I don't go to school.

    nejdu is in the present tense, but it expresses the future due to the adverb zítra (tomorrow)

    using the future tense the meaning is exactly the same:

    Zítra nepůjdu do školy. = Tomorrow I won't go to school.
  10. Troll

    Troll Well-Known Member

    It is not correct.

    The adverbs pořád, stále, neustále (constantly, continually) require the imperfective aspect.

    Pořád/stále to říká.
    Pořád/stále zapomínám zamykat dveře.

    With the perfective verbs use the adverb vždy, vždycky, pokaždé!

    Vždycky to řekne. = He will always say it.
    Pokaždé zapomenu zamknout dveře.
    = I will always forget to lock the door.

    The Czechlands is the official shortened name of the Czech Republic. ;-)
  11. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Troll, Thanks for that clarification about the adverbs.
    I wasn't aware of that.

    Vždycky .....takes the future tense
    pořád,stále,neustále...take the imperfective

    That is useful.

    Vždycky ti řeknu pravdu.

    Neustále mluví ve vyučování a to zlobí učitelku.
  12. hribecek

    hribecek Well-Known Member

    Thanks Troll
    That was interesting about vzdycky.
  13. Troll

    Troll Well-Known Member

    vždycky (= always) is universal

    Vždycky ti řeknu pravdu.
    Vždycky ti budu říkat pravdu.
    Vždycky ti říkám pravdu.
    Vždycky jsem ti řekl pravdu.
    Vždycky jsem ti říkal pravdu.


    Pořád ti budu říkat pravdu.
    Pořád ti říkám pravdu.
    Pořád jsem ti říkal pravdu.
    (only the imperfective)
  14. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    So the preferred name of Czech Republic is Čechách?
    Does that decline?
  15. hribecek

    hribecek Well-Known Member

    It's Cechy and is declined as feminine plural. It really means Bohemia but Czechs in Bohemia usually say it instead of Ceska Republika.
  16. Troll

    Troll Well-Known Member

    vzpouzet se (imp.) = ? (mainly about horses, about persons it is somewhat expressive)
    odmítat (imp.), odmítnout (perf.) = to refuse, to reject
    klusat (imp.) = to jog, to canter (about persons or horses)
    cválat (imp.) = to canter, to trot (about horses only)
    uhodit, praštit (perf.) = to hit, to bump (praštit is more expressive)
    bít (imp.) = to beat

    Kůň se vzpouzel, když jsem jej chtěl osedlat.
    Chlapeček se vzpouzel, když mu oblékali námořnický obleček.
    Koně klusali, cválali. (there is some difference, but I am no horse expert)
    Uhodil mě do nosu. = Praštil mě do nosu.
    Neustále mě bil.
  17. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    To je hezká historka! Nové slovesa.

    Vzpouzel se koně...the horse reared up(we might say he bucked(threw up his rear legs, tried to throw me off).., kdy jsem se jej snažil rajtovat. (this verb needs to be a perfective, but I don't know it.)
    Vzpínal se, když jsem se jej snažil rajtovat. Skákal na čtyřech a téměř mě odhodil, ale nějak jsem zvládl vytrvat.

    Chlapečce se nelíbí námořnický obleček a vzpouzel se když mu do něj zkoušili obleknout.
    In this sense...objected, threw a fit?
  18. Troll

    Troll Well-Known Member

    Kůň se vzpouzel, když jsem se na něm snažil rajtovat.

    Vzpínal se (perf. vzepjal se), když jsem se na něm snažil rajtovat. Skákal na čtyřech a téměř mě shodil, ale nějak jsem zvládl vytrvat.

    Chlapečkovi se nelíbil námořnický obleček a vzpouzel se, když ho do něho zkoušeli obléknout (když se snažili mu jej obléknout).

    vzpouzel se = objected, but more physically (he wriggled and swirmed like a worm)
  19. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    I'm learning as much about English here as I am about Czech!

    When you translated "zítra nejdu do školy" as "tomorrow I don't go to school", I think what we would actually say (I know I would) is "I'm not going to school tomorrow" ie present tense.
  20. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    Unless it is Friday and there is no school on Saturday - "I go to school five days a week, Monday thriugh Friday but, tomorrow is Saturday so, tomorrow I don't go to school".

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