Passive constructions in Czech

Discussion in 'Grammar & Pronunciation' started by Lorenzo, Aug 24, 2003.

  1. Lorenzo

    Lorenzo Well-Known Member

    Hi everyone,

    I?m sort of digging into Czech grammar [​IMG] and so here I am again with a new request [​IMG]
    Could someone here please give me a brief (or extended if possible) overview of Czech passive constructions?

    What I know is that you need to add the auxiliary verb "být" to the passive participle of the verb as in "Je milována" (she is loved) or "Kniha je čtena" (The book is read). But I think it works differently with sense verbs (chutnat, čichat, dotýkat se, slyšet, vidět) as I know the translation of "When the sky is clear mountains can be seen from there" should be as follows: "Když je jasná obloha, jsou odtamtud vidět hory" and here we have být+infinitive+noun (in accusative).
    Is that the way passive sentences are build with all sense verbs? Or is this just an exception?
    For instance, would it be correct to say "Potuček je slyšet"?

    Thank you!

  2. Ondrej

    Ondrej New Member

    Hi Lorenzo,
    I see You dig very deep.
    At first, "hory" in your sentence is not acc. but nom., "Potůček je slyšet." is correct.

    I think passive construction "být + infinitive" is commonly used only for several verbs expressing sences. I would use "You can ..." construction i English for it. It says someting general. "Everybody can see, hear..." "Something is visible, hearable, noticeable."

    Hory jsou vidět. = You can see mountains.(Mountains are visible)

    Je slyšet vodopád. = You can hear the waterfall

    Je tu cítit plyn. = You can smell the gas.
    Byl z něho cítit rum. = You could smell the rum from him.
    Je z tebe cítit hospoda! = I smell the

    "cítit" also works for taste:
    V tom koktejlu je cítit gin.

    Also verb "znát" works this way
    Rozdíl je znát. = You can see the difference.
    Bylo znát (vidět), že se bojí. = You could see, he/she was frightened.
    In fact in this moment I cannot find any other verb except these four. I cannot imagine any passive usage of chutnat (maybe because of construction "something is tasteful for me"-Polévka mi chutná), čichat (means to sniff, so it´s not really verb of sence) or dotýkat se (reflexive verbs are already in some way "pasive" so you cannot make another passive voice from them)

    Forms viděn(-a,-o,-i,-y), slyšen(-a,-o,-i,-y) exist as well as cítěn(-a,-o,-i,-y) a znám(-a,-o,-i,-y)
    "Prezident byl viděn s milenkou."
    "Jeho adresa není známa."

    Concerning passive in Czech, forms with passive participle (Dům je stavěn, Metro bylo otevřeno) are quite literary, you can find them in texts, but very rarely hear them except very official speaches.

    Reflexive passive with "se" is used often (it has maybe also cultural aspect - it happened itself, it wasn´t me):

    Sklenice se rozbila. = The glass broke (itself).
    Ztratila se mi tužka. = My pencil lost (itself), disappear.

    Staví se nový dům.
    Muzeum se otevírá v deset hodin.
    Dveře se zavírají.
    Tady se nekouří.
    Koncert se koná ve středu.
    Fotbal se hrál včera.
    Nájem se platí desátého.

  3. zxcvb

    zxcvb New Member

    You know I heard that czech was the third hardest language to learn in the world.

    I believe this.Grammar is a Ł$"Ł$.

    My czech now is not very good since I have not spoken in a few years...

    Ale ja si myslim ze mluvil jsem cesky docela dobre ale ted je to se da delat?

    I made a big effort with grammar spending time with nom,voc,dative etc etc. learning a new language is great.

    tesim se navstevovat praha znovu and ale kdy kdovi?

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