Conditional mood, past tense, future tense...

Discussion in 'Grammar & Pronunciation' started by adder, May 23, 2004.

  1. adder

    adder Active Member

    Please I beg you for help if you are able. How do you build the conditional mood in Czech? I'm Polish, so I guess it will something like 3rd person of past tense + by or something similar, but anyway I don't know how to make the past tense. What should I put into the stem and where can I find some list with irregular verbs if it ever exists. Future tense is kind of simpler but could someone write me the conjugation of the verb 'být' in the past and the future tense? Thank you in advance and please I really need help. :)
  2. Jirka

    Jirka Well-Known Member

    Hi Adder,

    Present conditional mood in Czech is basically "by" + PAST form of the main verb. "By", however, changes with the person and the main verb too:

    main verb: e.g. jít (perfective of "chodit")
    1st) já bych šel
    2nd) ty bys šel/šla
    3rd) on by šel
    ona by šla
    to/ono by šlo
    1st) my bychom šli
    2nd) vy byste šli
    3rd) oni by šli
    ony by šly
    ta/ona by šla

    I'm afraid I am unable to explain formation of past tense forms off top of my head. It seems to me there's often a final "L" in place of the infinitive's final "T", but this is a very superficial observation and there certainly are irregularities.

    "být" in PAST:
    1st) byl jsem
    2nd) byl/byla jsi
    3rd) byl
    1st) byli jsme
    2nd) byli jste
    3rd) byli

    "být" in FUTURE:
    1st) budu
    2nd) budeš
    3rd) bude
    1st) budeme
    2nd) budete
    3rd) budou

    The 3rd persons (both singular and plural) have three forms each, for the masculine, feminine, and neutral genders, respectively, usually listed in this order.

  3. adder

    adder Active Member

    Thank you a lot, Jirka. I really appreciate your answer. It was very helpful. :)
  4. Wicker808

    Wicker808 Well-Known Member

    I don't mean to contradict a native speaker, but it seems to me that Jirka is incorrect in indicating that the verb "jit" is the perfective form of "chodit." I believe these are both imperfective. The test of a perfective verb is that, when conjugated, it has future meaning. For example, "znicit" is perfective, because "znicim" is future. But "jdu" is present tense, therefore "jit" is imperfective.

    The perfective form would be "zajit." As far as know, the forms of the verb "to go" in Czech look like this:

    zajit -- perfective - one time action as an event
    jit -- durative imperfective - one time action as an action
    chodit -- iterative imperfective - repeated, regular action
    chodivat -- frequentative imperfective - repeated, irregular action

    Zajdu na koncert. - I will go to a concert.
    Jdu domu. - I'm going home.
    Chodil jsem na univerzitu. - I used to go to university.
    Chodivam na koncerty. - I occasionally go to concerts.

    The frequentative form, as far as I can tell, is almost never used. The iterative form is equally rare except for chodit and jezdit. Theoretically, though, all (?) verbs have these forms. For example, I should be able to say:

    Piju pivo. I'm drinking beer.
    Pivam pivo. I drink beer.
    Pivavam pivo. I occasionally drink beer.

    ...although I've never encountered the latter two forms in reality. I think people would be much more likely to use the durative imperfective, combined with a clarifying adverb, as in "Piju pivo ted" versus "Piju pivo obcas."

    Which leads me into a quesion that perhaps someone here can answer. Excluding the verbs of motion, are the iterative and frequentative forms ever necessary or preferred? Or are they pretty much obsolete, along with the past conditional? Have you, personally, ever used a iterative verb other than chodit and jezdit?

    It's also worth noting that the imperfective durative "jit" (as well as most unprefixed durative verbs of motion) has an irregular future "pujdu" "pujdes" rather than the expected "budu jit" "budes jit."

    Please note that my information on this subject is rather sparse--the flavors of imperfective verbs in Czech is a frequently neglected subject. I naturally welcome correction, amplification, clarification.

    I expect that Bohaemus will have something to say on this subject. :)
  5. Jirka

    Jirka Well-Known Member

    Hi Wicker808,

    you are right about the imperfective aspect of "jít"; I've checked it in a dictionary.

    As a native speaker of Czech I understand English grammar better than my native language's. I'm always amazed how foreign learners of my language can explain grammatical points, like you have about the way of testing whether a verb is perfective or imperfective. I believe the method is widely unknown to Czech native speakers as well as many others like that. It's simply because you just speak the language as you hear it and take things for granted. I don't, however, recall anything like that from my school years either. Well, Czech grammar is also objectively much more difficult than English grammar.

    I'd rather get away from the thin ice of Czech grammar for now and let someone else contribute...

  6. adder

    adder Active Member

    Wecker, I'm a Pole and I live in a neighbouring country, so I got it :). Pujdes etc. is not a form of the verb 'jit' but a form of the verb like pujit i guess, but i am not sure. It's 'pójść' in Polish and it's not a verb called 'iść'. Their aspects are different. :)
  7. Bohaemus

    Bohaemus Well-Known Member

    You are right, the form pívat sounds strange.
    The durative verbs can express repeated actions as well.

    You have omitted many usual and frequent iterative/frequentative verbs:

    Iter.: nosím, vozím, vodím, házím, vídám, bodám, honím, vracím, létám, sedám, etc.
    Freq.: dávám, stávám, vstávám, bývám, mívám, zpívám, sedávám, etc.

    The iterative/frequentative verbs are often necessary in the negative sentences:

    Sedni si! -- Nesedej si!
    Lehni si! -- Nelehej si!
    Vrať se! -- Nevracej se!
    Vstaň! (Vstávej!) -- Nevstávej!
    Dej mi to! -- Nedávej mi to!

    Note that the prefixed verbs derived from frequentative verbs are also frequent:

    být - bývat - přebývat, pobývat, nabývat
    čekat - čekávat - očekávat, přečkávat, vyčkávat
    sedat - sedávat - posedávat, vysedávat
    mýt - (mývat) - umývat, omývat
    lít - (lévat) - zalévat, polévat
    krýt - (krývat) - zakrývat, skrývat, pokrývat

    Thus we cannot say that the iterative and frequentative verbs are obsolete.

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