Imperative help

Discussion in 'Grammar & Pronunciation' started by flapcats, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. flapcats

    flapcats Member

    Hi there,

    Does anyone know how to use/form the imperative in Czech or know a good link which explains it?

    Our teacher covered it a little while ago but I didn't understand and we've moved on now.

  2. bibax

    bibax Well-Known Member

    There is no simple answer. Nearly every verbal class has its way to form the imperative.

    For example:

    4th class: pros-i-ti (thematic vowel i)

    sg. 2. pros, 3. pros (prosiž); pl. 1. prosme, 2. proste

    5th class: děl-a-ti (thematic vowel a)

    sg. 2. dělej, 3. dělej; pl. 1. dělejme, 2. dělejte

    Another tricky thing: negative commands usually use imperfective verbs.

    Sedni si! - Nesedej si!
    Lehni si! - Nelehej si!
    Vstaň! - Nevstávej!
  3. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    There is more ways to express orders in Czech, I suppose you are interested in the most basic and most common one – in the imperative mood of verbs.

    The imperative is formed from the non-past verbal stem. There are three imperative forms for second person singular, first person plural and second person plural respectively.
    Second person singular uses either null ending or “-i/-ej” ending, first person plural uses the ending “-me/-ěme/-ejme” and the second person plural uses “-te/-ěte/-ejte”. The particular use of endings depends on the verbal classes. You could either learn the verbal class tables, or use this algorithm (take it with reserve, I made it off-hand):

    Take the present/future 3rd person plural form and remove the ending.

    1) For the verbal models “dělat” (class V) and “sázet” (class IV) use the endings “-ej/-ejme/-ejte”:

      (ty) dělej
      (my) dělejme
      (vy) dělejte

    2) For other verbs:

    a) If the resulting form ends in one consonant use endings “null ending/-me/-te”:

      (ty) nes
      (my) nesme
      (vy) neste

    b) If the resulting form ends in cluster of more non-syllabic consonants use endings “-i/-ěme/-ěte”:

      (ty) spi
      (my) spěme
      (vy) spětě

    Sound alternations:

    For 2a):

    The stem vowel is always shortened. This applies even for diphthong: ou → u.

    The final “h/k/d/t/n” is replaced with “z/c/ď/ť/ň” respectively.

    For 2b: The verb undergoes the standard “ě” alternation (possibly softening of preceding consonant or “ě→e” alternation).

    Note: Model “sázet” could be classified under both 1) and 2a).
  4. flapcats

    flapcats Member

    Thank you, both things to mull over - those tables on Wiki may be useful too.
    It is incredibly complex.

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