word order question

Discussion in 'Grammar & Pronunciation' started by scrimshaw, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    These are sentences I copied from a teacher off of the internet.
    They puzzle me because it seems the word order is not what I have been learning.
    I'm not sure where I've gone wrong.

    The examples
    hers....., že původně neočekávaná událost se stane mezníkem.
    mine...., že se původně neočekávaná událost stane mezmíkem.

    Hers.... Nikdy jsem nezamýšlela stát se učitelem, ale i přesto jsem.
    mine...Nikdy jsem se nezamýšlela stát učitelem.

    Myslel jsem si, že ''se'' má vždycký ve větách druhé místo.

    Děkuji předem
  2. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    In Czech , the order of words is not so fixed. Both possibilities are correct. In addition, there exists third possibility in both cases:
    5) že původně neočekávaná událost stane se mezníkem
    6) Nikdy jsem nezamýšlela se stát učitelem

    I would order them 2), 1), 5)
    and 4), 3), 6), if I take as criterium "smoothness" of the sentence :)

    In cases 1), 5), 3), 6) the "se" is close to the verb and considered more as a part of this verb. In cases 2), 4) it lives its own life, but belongs to the verb too. 8)
  3. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Both is correct, but your variant is more natural and stylistically better.

    But in this case, your sentence is incorrect (resp of different meaning). The reflexive is related to the nearest verb - by putting it before the first verb you relate it clearly to this verb.

    zamýšlet = intend
    zamýšlet se = meditate
    stát = stand
    stát se = become

    Nikdy jsem nezamýšlela stát se učitelem = I never intended to become teacher
    Nikdy jsem se nezamýšlela stát učitelem = I never meditated to stand teacher
    Mostly, it is so. Often, there is more possibilities, and the second slot is prefered. Sometimes, the reflexive is squeezed out of the second slot by another word tending to occupy the very same place (e.g. the auxiliary “jsem”). And of course, there is the problem of more verbs - you can’t put another verb between a verb and its reflexive.
  4. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Got it, thanks both of you. :D

    So the 'se' is not so rigidly placed in the second slot. Preferably, if possible, but not always incorrect if it is not.

    I really get it about the 'zamyšlet', wasn't aware that it had an alternative meaning if connected with 'se'.

    Zamyšlel jsem se chvíli ráno, a náhle se mi to napadl, 'Důvod, že jsem nikdy nezamyšlel stát se učitelem, je, protože si hluboký uvnitř nemyslím, že bych se byl k učeni dobrý.' (because deep down inside I don't think I would be good at teaching).

    Hope I formed that sentence correctly. :wink:
  5. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Mimochodem, ty vysvětlení to skutečně ujasní.

    Connecting the 'se' with the wrong verb can really lead to misunderstanding.

    Stál jsem se, a rychle se ji zeptal, ''Kolik to stojí''.
    Stál jsem se tak rychle, že jsem si myslel, že jsem se mi bala.
    Vyskočila, a měla na tvař cele strách. Omlouval jsem se, a rychle si znova sedl.
    Anna se mi ptá, ''Proč jsi to udělal? Podívej se jak se chveje''.
    Zvednám rameny smířlivě.
  6. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Both are correct, but let's see the more closely

    ...že se původně neočekávaná událost stane mezníkem.
    This is natural Czech word order. Word "se" is physically in the second place. This is neutral.

    ...že původně neočekávaná událost se stane mezníkem.
    This variant is not stylistically worse but less neutral, more emphasised. The word "se" is not physically in the second position, but it IS there syntactically.
    The problem is you are probably told it should be the second word of a sentence but it is simplified. In reality, it should be second part of speech, which does not necesserily mean a word (Velký člověk se viděl v zrcadle - "se" is materialy on the third position as a word, but as a part of speech it is on the second, because "velký člověk" is on part of speech, namely the subject - of course "velký" is an attribute to the subject but is considered as its integral part for this purpose).
    In the second sentence, the word "že" can be perceived as outside the phrase (something like the conjunction "a").

    Normally you have the order:
    "(Phrase1), (že Phrase2)" or "(Phrase1) a/nebo/... (Phrase2)"
    In this case you achieve order:
    "(Phrase1), že (Phrase2)"
    which is a little bit unusual and brings attention of the listener, because you conceive the second phrase as an autonomous sentence. Even in pronunciation it would be a little bit different. The first is more fluent, the second has a very little pause before the word "se" and then a little rise of intonation.


    Nikdy jsem nezamýšlela stát se učitelem, ale i přesto jsem.
    Nikdy jsem se nezamýšlela stát učitelem.

    Both are correct and stylistically more or less the same. Word "se" really tends to be in the second place of the sentence but it has to be there only if it is a pronoun tied to the main verb of the sentence. Which is not the case. In this case, the pronoun "se" is tied to the secondary verb of the sentence, the infinitive, so it can be either on the second position (with a risk of confusing it with a possible tie with the main verb, because "zamýšlet se" (to be thinking) is a legitimate verb as well as "zamýšlet" (to intend), or it can stay with the infinitive ("stát se").

    In fact there is a third possibility:
    "*Nikdy jsem nezamýšlela se stát učitelem" which is very frequent when translating from romance languages but this is really stylistically impaired and should not occur.
  7. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    So all of these variants can be heard.
    I will look for that, and not confuse myself, by sticking to rigid rules.
    Nesměj se mi, že se vždy tak pletu. :wink:

    Byl jsem neschopen se rozhodnout sám.
    (three words in first slot)

    Rozhodl jsem se, že bych si ji vzal první den, co jsem ji viděl.
  8. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    All sentences are perfect except the highlighted one. It canbe heard normally but whe written, it does not seem to correct. Better would be normal second position (well, this is kind of problematic, as there are two contestors for the second position - the clitics "jsem" and "se"; the word "jsem" wins).

    "Byl jsem se neschopen rozhodnout sám"

    but even better would be the variant with complete infinitive ("rozhodnout se"):

    "Byl jsem neschopen rozhodnout se sám"

    But the very best option is to transfer the negation to the verb (we do not say much "jsem neschopen" but rather "nejsem schopen", or at least in this context). So the optimal version is:

    "Nebyl jsem schopen rozhodnout se sám"

    And concerning sticking to rigid rules... you should stick to the rigid rules, there is no problem with it but the fact the rules are quite complex.
    You know, it is much simpler (and attractive for the learners and beginners) to write "the pronoun 'se' is always in the second position of a phrase" than "the clitic pronoun "se" is in the second position always in case X, tends to be there in case Y, contests with other clitics in case Z and the possible sequences of such clitics are A,B,C,D,... and A1,B1,C1,D1,... or in special case of emphasising the auxiliary verb A2,B2,C2,D2,...." :twisted:
    It is understandable, but troubles occur when such a simplification concerns central points of grammar (i.e. parts in everyday usage).
  9. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    Discussed variants:

    Byl jsem neschopen se rozhodnout sám.
    Byl jsem se neschopen rozhodnout sám
    Byl jsem neschopen rozhodnout se sám
    Nebyl jsem schopen rozhodnout se sám

    Form the 720 possible variants of different order of 6 words many are possible.
    The meaning is almost the same, the stress is what changes.

    In my opinion all following sentences are correct - try to pronounce them with adequate stress 8)

    Nebyl jsem schopen se sám rozhodnout.
    Nebyl jsem schopen se rozhodnout sám.
    Nebyl jsem schopen sám se rozhodnout.
    Nebyl jsem schopen rozhodnout se sám.
    Nebyl jsem sám schopen se rozhodnout.
    Nebyl jsem sám se schopen rozhodnout.
    Nebyl jsem sám schopen rozhodnout se.
    Nebyl jsem se schopen rozhodnout sám.
    Nebyl jsem se schopen sám rozhodnout.

    "schopen" usually precedes the verb "rozhodnout" with the exception when the verb rozhodnout is near the beginning of the sentence.

    "nebyl jsem" - correct order if this is the first part of the sentence

    If the beginning of the sentence is occupied by another part, the order changes to "jsem nebyl"

    Sám jsem nebyl schopen se rozhodnout.
    Sám jsem se nebyl schopen rozhodnout.
    Sám jsem nebyl se schopen rozhodnout.
    Sám se rozhodnout jsem nebyl schopen.
    Sám se rozhodnout jsem schopen nebyl.
    Sám rozhodnout jsem se schopen nebyl.
    Sám rozhodnout jsem se nebyl schopen.

    Rozhodnout se sám jsem nebyl schopen.
    Rozhodnout se sám jsem schopen nebyl.
    Rozhodnout sám jsem se schopen nebyl.
    Rozhodnout sám jsem se nebyl schopen.

    Schopen se rozhodnout sám jsem nebyl.
    Schopen rozhodnout se sám jsem nebyl.
    Schopen sám se rozhodnout jsem nebyl.

    Probably we could find more more or less possible variants.
    I don't also give the variants with "neschopen" 8)

    Formulation of the rule left to eleshar 8)
  10. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Ok, thanks for all the clarification.
    I see your point, that it is safest to just expect that the little word 'se' will always be placed in the second slot.
    To many variables only confuse the Czech novice(like me).
    With time maybe I will learn all the intracasies.

    But sometimes the 'se' needs to be placed closer to the verb for clarity.

    Nebyl jsem schopen rozhodnout se zda slovičko 'se' patřilo v druhém mistě nebo ne.
    Nebyl jsem schopen to vyřešit sám, tak ti moc děkuji za pomoc.
    Odpověd je zasadně 'ano' ale.......

    Učil jsem se v dřivějši přispěvky, že někdy to slovičko se podělí (passive..is shared..so I am putting them together?) slovesem.
    Rozhodl jsem se ji včera na to zeptat, protože se dobře nedomluvila ve přednásce.
  11. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    :shock: :shock: :shock:
    Soo many to choose from.
    Čzech can be flexible.
    Allows you to be very precise in what you want to say.

    Sám rozhodnout jsem se nebyl schopen.
    Alone, I wasn't able to decide.

    Rozhodnout se sám jsem nebyl schopen.
    To decide alone, I just wasn't able to.

    Tak řekni mi Davide, jsi schopen rozhodnout se sám nebo ne?
    Musím to vědět zrovna ted', nebo chceš abych se tvému otcovi zeptal.
    No...maminko, dej mi moment. To není přesne snadné otázku.
  12. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

  13. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member


    Hmmm, genitive after 'ptát se'

    Dám někomu něco
    ptám se někoho na něco
    Nevím proč nejsem schopen vzpomínout si na to.
    Když na to vzpomínám, je jasné, že bych se to měl naučit davno.

    Nechceš aby se tvého otce na to zeptal, jo? Tohle je poslední možnost, abys mi řekl pravdu mladý muže. A dávám ti ji jen protože mám dnes dobrou naladu.
    Přestaň plakat, není to tak zlé. Bud' můž. Je ti tolik let, abys plakal tak.
  14. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

  15. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Well... The English does not have nominal cases, the Czech does. So the relations the Czech is able to express with cases, the English has to express in other ways. Most obviously, it is the word order.
    But Czech does not need to express syntactic relations with word order. So the word is free to assume some other functions. And... it actually does.
    The Czech word order is often said to be free but this is far from true. While it may be more liberal than the English one, it is not by any means free. There many possibilities of organising words but everytime, there is a slight nuance (the sentence is grammatically correct with more word combinations than an English sentence but not every combination is appropriate for the given situation).

    In fact, the most blatant errors in translations from foreign languages (commited by native Czech translators!), especially form English, French and such, is the preserving the original word order used in the language from which the text is translated. Sentences they produce are grammatically correct, but do not make sense (or at least do not sound good) in the context where a different order would do the trick.

    While I CAN imagine sucha sentence to be said, it is extremely cumbersome when the word "se" does not come before the verb it is tied to (rozhodnout) or immediately after the verb. It should be "Sám se rozhodnout jsem nebyl schopen"


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