Strange cases?

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Strange cases?

Postby Lorenzo » 21-Nov-03 5:53

Hi everyone,

It's late on a Thursday night fading into Friday morning and this might be the reason why things aren't that clear... Image

I was reading something about Prague in my Czech grammar book and I came across a sentence which I don?t know how to translate properly?

Řeka s řadou mostů, obklopená zelení zahrad, parků a stromořadí, dodává městu kouzelného rázu.

The river, with the row of bridges, green gardens (surrounded by green), parks and lines of trees, adds a magic atmosphere to the city.

Now, what confounds me is this obklopená zelení zahrad? is it correct to translate it as "of gardens surrounded by green"? Zahrad is (must be) the genitive plural of zahrada but what kind of construction is "obklopená zelení"? Is obklopená an adjective in this case? And zelení? Shouldn't it be zelený? What's the rule that turns it into a soft adjective? What's more, shouldn't that stromořadí be stromořad (genitive plural of stromořada) instead? This is all very confusing!

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Postby Dana » 21-Nov-03 7:20

Hi Lorenzo,

So Czech doesn't even let you sleep, does it? Image

Ok, this should explain the mysteries to you. The word "zelení" is a noun and it is in the instrumental here. The nominative is "zeleň", which means "greenery", "green color". It is a feminine noun that follows the declension of "píseň". The phrase "obklopená zelení zahrad..." means "surrounded by the green(ery) of gardens, parks and lines of trees".

The word "stromořada" does not exist in Czech. The correct noun is "stromořadí" (line or row of trees). It is a neuter noun that behaves like "stavení".

The nouns "zahrad", "parků", "stromořadí" are in the genitive plural here, as you correctly wrote.

Just a note on the names of colors in Czech. In everyday speech, they are usually in the form of an adjective, such as "zelená" (the color green), "červená" (the color red), "modrá" (the color blue), "bílá" (the color white), etc. But colors can also be referred to by nouns: "zeleň", "červeň", "modř", "běloba", etc. These are not commonly used in everyday speech (except for "zeleň" when talking about "greenery"), but you can run into them in books, poems, names of art paints, etc.
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Postby Lorenzo » 21-Nov-03 22:21

Dana, I guess it was the late hour Image I should have taken a better a look in my dictionary! Image
I feel reassured now!
By the way, I think "ráz" (kouzelného rázu) is treated here like an animate noun, isn't it?

Ještě jednou děkuji!


[This message has been edited by Lorenzo (edited 21-11-2003).]
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Postby Bohaemus » 27-Nov-03 13:44

No, "ráz" is inanimate.

... dodává městu kouzelného rázu.

"kouzelného rázu" is the partitive genitive (ráz ze všech rázů ten kouzelný).

It can be replaced by the accusative:

... dodává městu kouzelný ráz. (a ne něco jiného)

Differentia est subtilis.

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