Pronunciation Question

Discuss Czech grammar and get help with pronunciation. For a start, visit <a href=http://www.locallingo.com/czech/grammar/index.html target="_blank">locallingo.com/czech/grammar</a> and <a href=http://www.locallingo.com/czech/pronunciation/index.html target="_blank">locallingo.com/czech/pronunciation</a>.

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josh
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Pronunciation Question

Postby josh » 28-Jan-03 3:32

Thanks for the fast response on my previous question. I guess I don't get a Name Day. Oh well. Image

Your language section over at locallingo.com is excellent and I have found it very helpful to use in conjunction with several other resources. But I keep running into one question that seems like it should be easier than I'm making it.

The letter "y" seems to be pronounced like a long "e" in English, as in "bee." I have read in a few places that a soft "y" in Czech is prounced like the "i" in the words "bit"or "tick." But then I hear words like "vy" or "noviny" pronounced and the "y" sounds to me like a long "e." Can anyone clarify this for me? Should I just pronounce Czech the "y" like the "e" in "bee" or is it more complicated?

Then the same question goes for "i." I see words like "tisíc" and hear both "i" and "í" pronounced as long "e." Then words like "list" where it is pronounced like the "i" in tick, while words like "kino" where it is pronounced again like a long "e".

Any clarification on how the rules for pronounceing - i,í,y,y´ - work would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for the last letter y there...I don't know how to type it correctly on my keyboard.

Also, when I learned my basic german and spanish, I always learned my nouns with their corresponding definite article. Since Czech does not have these, how do Czech children learn the gender of the nouns? Is it just through pattern recognition off the other words in the sentences? Or is there some local secret to it?

Ok, that's enough questions for today I think. Wait, one more. I'm too lazy to buy the Basic Czech College Textbook I've seen used at what few schools teacu it, so I'm kind of putting together my own Czech language instruction materials as it were. Whats a good basic noun to start with? I need a regular noun to use in basic present tense sentences to practice conjugation patterns. Sentences like "I eat potatoes," or "The weather is cold." Just basic stuff to use while I get the verb conjugation patterns down.

Thanks,

Josh
finn
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Postby finn » 29-Jan-03 18:55

The pronounciation of 'i' is the same as pronounciation of 'y', for example 'bidlo' (pole) and 'bydlo' (living, livelihood (?)) are two different words but if I hear one of them I cannot decide which one it was -- they are pronounced exactly in the same way. The character 'i' or 'y' sounds similary to 'i' in English words 'live' or 'this'...

Other two Czech characters are 'í' and 'ý' -- they are pronounced as 'ee' in a word 'bee'. So the word 'milý' (dear, beloved) should be pronounced as 'milee'.

Czech children need not learn the gender of nouns, it's clear for them that the moon (měsíc) is 'he', the sun (slunce) 'it' and the flower (květina) 'she'. Sometimes we have problems with some words taken from other languages, but now I cannot remember any to give an example Image...
Bohaemus
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Postby Bohaemus » 29-Jan-03 22:41

Sorry to disagree. Czech children NEED learn the gender of the nouns! The language knowledge is NOT hereditable. I think that adjectives and demonstrative pronouns play a great part in learning:

(ten) dobrý muž - (ti) dobří muži ... masculinum anim.)
(ten) dobrý den - (ty) dobré dny ... (masculinum inanim.)
(ta) dobrá noc - (ty) dobré noci ... (femininum)
(to) dobré ráno - (ta) dobrá rána ... (neutrum)
etc.
finn
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Postby finn » 30-Jan-03 4:40

Bohaemus: yes you're right, I didn't understand what exactly was Josh asking about (I wrote about children at school), sorry...

Well, when little children are learning new words they simply have to remember the gender of each word. There is no simple rule which could be applied to any word. In some cases one can guess the gender (example: if the last character of the word is 'a' then it's probably feminimum -- 'tiskárna' (a printer), 'žárovka' (a bulb), 'hvězda' (a star)...; if the last character is 'o', it's probably neutrum -- 'sedadlo' (a seat), 'město' (a city, town)...). But in some cases you cannot guess the gender -- 'sele' (a little pig) and 'růže' (a rose) both have 'e' as the last character, but 'sele' is 'it' but 'růže' is 'she'.
josh
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Postby josh » 30-Jan-03 4:54

Thanks for the replies. Image

A few follow-up questions on the i and y pronunciation.

tisíc - is this pronounced (by an english speaker) as tee-seets or ti-seets?

noviny - is this pronounced (by an english speaker) as no-vin-ee or no-vin-i?

I ask because these letters have no accents, yet appear from the audio examples to be long anyways....

On the children question, Bohaemus, is correct on what I was asking. When learning what little Spanish I know, I always learned the vocabulary with the definite articles - el gato, la chica, etc. Same with German. I assumed there's some method that is used for Czech children...and demonstrative pronouns + adjectives is a great answer. Thanks! I will use this as I learn my vocabulary words.

Thanks for the help,

Josh
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Dana
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Postby Dana » 31-Jan-03 0:45

Hi Josh,

The "i" and "y" without the accent are pronounced short.

"tisíc": ti- as in "tip" but with a soft "t", -síc and in "seats"

"noviny": no- as in "not", -vi- as in "victory", -ny as in "penny".

Which audio samples are you referring to? I listened to "tisíc" on the Numbers page and "noviny" on the Czech Short Vowels page and they sound right to me.
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Postby Lorenzo » 31-Jan-03 2:57

Hi all,

Talking about pronunciation, it seems to me that also the letter "L" is pronounced in a peculiar way in Czech... kind of longer than it is in English. It reminds me of the way the letter "L" is pronounced in Russian.

Lorenzo
josh
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Postby josh » 31-Jan-03 4:08

Thanks Dana for the clarification. I am referring to the pronounciations over at locallingo.com. Tisíc just sounds more like tea-seats to me than ti-seats. But that's why I asked - probably just my sound card. Noviny sounds exactly how you sounded it out for me, no-vi-nee. On that one I was confused because if the "y" at the end doesn't have an accent, why is it "nee" instead of "ni" (as in nickel). I've taken to just making all ending "y"s long.

Of course this may all simply be my American accent at work here. I do appreciate the help very much.

Thanks,

Josh

P.S. I agree with Lorenzo on the "L" - it's definitely not like an American "L." I don't know any Russian, but I do agree it just sounds longer. Maybe this is wrong, but it seems like Czech sounds seem to come out of the front of my mouth, whereas American sounds seem to originate further back. Just my thoughts Image
Ani
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Postby Ani » 31-Jan-03 20:07

Could Josh be hearing tisic as 'tee-seats' because of the soft 't' sound. Josh do you know that this sound is produced with the tip of yr tongue behind yr front teeth? Dana am I right abt this?
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Dana
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Postby Dana » 01-Feb-03 1:20

Ani, you may be right in that Josh might be hearing a long "tea-" because of the soft "t" sound. I listened to the audio on Local Lingo again and to my Czech ears the first syllable in "tisíc" sounds as short as it could possibly get.

The regular "t" is formed by pressing the tip of your tongue right behind and against your upper front teeth whereas with the soft "t" the tip of your tongue touches against the lower front teeth while the middle area of the tongue presses against the roof of your mouth.

Josh, actually the way I sounded out "noviny" for you, the "-ny" was supposed to sound like the "ni-" in "nickel". Image In any case, don't pronounce all ending "y"s long. That wouldn't sound right. Just those with the accent should be long. Sorry Czech is so confusing! Image

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