Declension Markers

Discussion in 'General Language' started by DMMW1984, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. DMMW1984

    DMMW1984 New Member


    I'm new to the Czech Language, but I will be living in Prague for six months to teach English and therefore I want the best Czech I can have when I go over there and I have a little over a month to learn what I can. Now I read a very helpful post to someone else that recommended "Before you know it" website and their free download, which really is excellent. I found myself excited, I now know the months, the colours etc, but then I remembered, I simply know one version (presumably the nominative) of these, as Czech is an inflected language. I don't expect to be able to deal with the full declensions instantly or to even learn them straight away but what I would like is to know which declensions the words that I am learning fit in, so far all the online dictionairies, I have looked at just give me the nominative but no other version, does anyone know where I can find one that will give me the indication of what case and gender the noun belongs I realise the end of the word can sometimes, but not always give a strong clue to this, but is there something more substantial for a beginner who cannot do this automatically. Additionally how will I be able to recognise it when it is given, for instance in Latin, the nouns declension is given by the nominative-genitive endings, ie puella-puellae, from that you can instantly know that is first declension and feminine. Is there a similar system for Czech?

  2. Alexx

    Alexx Well-Known Member

    I do not know latin, but I would say it is even more complicated in Czech.
  3. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    There are some duplications but you can usually tell. And it's important to get to the stage when you can at least recognise them otherwise you'll struggle when you're tying to look up words because they are in the dictionary in their nominative form.

    I don't want to put you off but you're not going to make an awful lot of headway in the time you've got - but good on you for trying. At least you did Latin, as did I, and I have to say, I don't know how people who didn't get anywhere with Czech. What I would suggest is that you get a good small dictionary that has a section on Czech grammar, which should have all the declension tables and indeed, all the verb conjugations. I go everywhere with mine and have found it very useful.
  4. DMMW1984

    DMMW1984 New Member

    I'm not sure how you would be able to tell just from the nominative, I mean -e endings are common in both neuter and feminine nouns, for instance.
  5. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Even for masculines.

    Yes, we use the nominative-genitive convention - unfortunately all online Czech-English dictionaries ignore it. But you can consult a monolingual dictionary - see or Both give you the genitive ending, gender and information about irregularities. In the first dictionary there are even some of other forms, but these are computer generated, thus not always correct.

    I recommend you to search this forum for similar topics, these problems were discussed already.
  6. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Those are the duplications. One way to remember them - not that I did this but now, looking back, it might have been a good idea - might be to learn nouns in pairs with agreeing adjectives eg bílá cibule nebo horké rande (I'm sure you can't really say 'hot date' but you see what I mean!)
  7. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    I would recommend demonstrative pronouns instead of the adjectives: ta cibule, to rande…
  8. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

  9. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Quite right. If I'd done that, I might have more of a grip of pronouns than I do now! I must say, I probably find pronouns the hardest thing of all.

    What I would love is a table with every case, singular & plural, of all the different sorts of pronouns, just to get an overview of what all the words look like. There are so many similarities, I am still totally confused by them. I don't suppose anyone's ever seen one?
  10. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Something is here:
  11. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Excellent. Many thanks. When I get chance, I'll run it all off and try to put it all on one page. Anyone got an A3 printer?!
  12. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    There is one in the back of Czech Step by Step by Lida Hola.
  13. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    That's just the tip of the iceberg; it doesn't even have possessive and demonstrative pronouns. Have a look at Eso's link and be amazed.
  14. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

  15. jen

    jen Well-Known Member

  16. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    neat - thanks!
  17. phi11ip

    phi11ip Well-Known Member

    Just tried this site and looks very good. Unfortunately the first word I tried, věc, Sklonovaní got it wrong. According to Sklonovani, věc declines like a soft male noun. As far as I know, věc, is a feminine and declines like kost.
  18. jen

    jen Well-Known Member

    Well, they don't claim to be perfect :) Would probably be a good idea to let them know...
  19. Troll

    Troll Well-Known Member

    Gem??? :roll:
    In no case!

    For example:

    klec, gen. sing. klce, gen. plur. klců, vok. sing. klče! :)

    Completely wrong!
  20. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Better to trust I tried 6 words and all were wrong – yes, the words I tried (díra, učitel, dítě, Lukáš, muzeum and software) are peculiar, but there is a lot of such exceptional words in Czech.

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