helping verbs.. or the lack thereof

Discussion in 'Grammar & Pronunciation' started by milton, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. milton

    milton Well-Known Member

    OK.. I think I just had an epiphany.

    If I am correct, I think I found the source of most of my grammatical problems.

    In the Czech language, there is no use of the 'helping verb' right?

    for example-->> if I wanted to say, I will begin speaking Czech, I would normally say something like budu zacinat mluvim cesky.

    BUT, now I know this is not right, my part time Czech GF tells me the equivalent in czech would be " budu mluvim cesky" in this case and there is no need to use the verb ZACINAT in order to define how I will speak cesky.

    any comments are welcome.

  2. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, that's wierd. To me it doesn't say the same. I will speak czech is not the same as I will begin speaking czech. I will begin implies that one hasn't started the process of learning czech whereas I will speak czech can imply that one has studied for a while and still doesn't fluently speak Czech yet.
  3. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    You can say either
    Začnu mluvit česky - I will begin speaking Czech
    Budu mluvit česky - I will speak Czech
  4. mbm

    mbm Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure what you mean by "helping verbs", but this is what I can say:

    I will begin speaking Czech - this would read like this in Czech: začnu mluvit česky.

    The rendition you are suggesting, budu začínat mluvit česky, that actually translates as I will be (repeatedly) beginning to speak Czech - quite an odd thing to say, but possible.

    And your informer's version, budu mluvit česky, that simply means I will speak Czech, no indication of beginning.
  5. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    For those Czechs/non-native speakers of English who do not understand what a "helping verb" is, it is the "am" in "I am going" or the "will be" in "I will be going."

    Czech does use helping verbs in the exact same way as English. That is to say that the English helping verbs do not translate literally into Czech. Yet there are auxiliary forms (not sure of the technical terms for them) which can change the meanings/tense/aspect of a verbal phrase. Ex.:

    I am doing. -> Já dělám.
    I will do (once). Já udělám.
    I will do (repeatedly).budu dělat.
    I did (once).jsem udělal.
    I did (repeatedly). jsem dělal.
    I would do.bych udělal.

    Note that these three forms budu, jsem and bych all conjugate by number and gender.
  6. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Are helping verbs the auxilliary verbs? If they are, the Czech uses mainly verb "být" (to be).

    future imperfective: být (in future tense, inflected according to person) + infinitive

    past (both): být (in present tensein, inflected according to...) + past participle

    passive: být (any tense desired, inflected...) + passive participle

    conditionnal: být (in old aorist form, inflected...) + past participle

    past conditional: být (in old aorist form, inflected...) + být (past participle inflected according to number and gender) + past participle

    budu volat (I will be calling)
    volal jsem (I called)
    budu volán (I will be being called)
    jsem volán (I am being called)
    byl (for passive) jsem (for past) volán (I was being called)
    volal bych (I would call)
    byl bych volán (I would be called)
    byl (for passive) bych (for conditionnal) volal (I would have called)
    byl (for past) bych (for conditionnal) býval (for passive) volán (I would have been called)

    Never say again that Czech does not have auxilliary verbs.
  7. doman

    doman Well-Known Member

    Maybe they are corected these verbs, but I feel how strange they are...
  8. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Já bych jí to rád udělal ale mí řekla, že to chcí udělat sáma.
    I would have gladly done it for her, but she told me she wanted to do it herself?

    Byl bych ti volal ale ztratil jsem čislo.
    I would have called you, but I lost the number?

    Volal bych jí zítra, ale vím, že jak obvykle tam nebude.
    I would call her tomorrow, but I know that like usual, she will not be there?
  9. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

  10. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Better: "Já bych to pro ni rád udělal, ale řekla mi, že to chce udělat sama"
    Otherwise it could have some... well... undesired implications.
  11. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    Why is it that "she wanted" is "chce" instead of "chtěla"?
  12. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Přání otcem myšlenky? :?
    Někdy je doutník prostě doutník. :twisted:
    You are absolutely right, it is not in the past, the English translation was wrong.
  13. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    No, it is not. I will explain why.
    In English, there is absolute concordance of tenses:

    "She told me that she wanted" = She wanted in the time when she was saying it

    In Czech there is relative concordance:
    "Řekla mi, že chce" = She wanted in the time when she was saying it

    if you say:
    "Řekla mi, že chtěla" it is translated "She told me that she HAD WANTED", in other words she wanted it BEFORE she sayd it.

    The Czech uses only main tenses who have both main (temporal) AND secondary (concordance) meanings.
    The English uses main tenses which have temporal meaning and secondary tenses which have concordance meaning.

    In other words:
    Czech present tense has temporal meaning of present in main clauses, and concordance meaning of simultaneity in relative clauses.
    English present tense has only the temporal meaning.

    Czech past tense has temporal meaning of past in main clauses, and concordance meaning of anteriority in relative clauses.
    Engish past has only the temporal meaning of past (which, in relative clauses, can be used "relatively" as simultaneity with another past action)

    The same is with future.

    In another words:
    One can say, that Czech tenses have only relative temporal meaning (i.e. the concordance), because in main clause they are relative to the moment of the speech act. I say "it was" and it is related to NOW.
    The English verbs, however, have only absolute temporal meaning. If I say "it was"... it is somewhere in the past (of course there is a relation to now, but it is really not important). And if I say "I had been" it is somewhere in the past long gone...
    Of course, the English cannot avoid reltive meanings because sometimes you have to express even another past (past to the pluperfect) and you cannot use "I had had been":))) So to conclude, I more or less rasisticaly think that the Czech tense system is more logical and flexible than the English one :twisted:

    addendum: this problem maybe should have its own topic[/quote]
  14. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    Na co ty hned nemyslíš ... 8) 8)
  15. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Thanks, this English point of view is new for me. If I understand correctly, English differentiates "she said she want" (~she want it regardless the moment of saying it) and "she said she wanted" (~she wanted it at the moment she said it), which both is translated as "řekla, že chce" into Czech.
  16. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    In English, we could say "she said she wants" but it means that she still wants it. For example, "What should we get mom for Christmas?" "She said she wants a dress". She said she wanted could mean that she still wants it or she wanted it but no longer wants it. It could go both ways.

    So if I said "řekla že chci" it means that she wants it still like in English or it could mean that she wanted it at the time she said it but she may no longer want it?
  17. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    It could be both. Simply said, we preserve the tense from direct speech.

    Řekla, že chce. = Řekla: "Chci."
    Řekla, že chtěla. = Řekla: "Chtěla jsem."
    Řekla, že bude chtít. = Řekla: "Budu chtít."

    BTW, "řekla, že chci" means she said I want(ed).
  18. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    You're right, my bad.
  19. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Just to clarify a little more what dzurisovak and Eleshar are saying, one can say in English:

    She said she wants ...
    She still wants it and hasn't gotten it yet.

    She said she wanted ...
    She wanted it before when she said it, but now she doesn't.
    (e.g. She said she wanted to go to the movie, but now she wants to go to the museum.)
    She wanted it and already got it.
    (e.g. She said she wanted to do it herself, so I let her.)
  20. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Ha= eleshar=just saw your post
    That is funny.
    I see your point.

Share This Page