Learn From a Native Speaker - The Czech Language Basics

25. června 2013 v 19:28 | Author |  Learn From a Native Speaker

It´s not so long since I´ve found some people interested in my mother-tongue - Czech. There are whole groups of them. And as I´ve read in one article… it´s really surprising for us, natives :) So, because of them and me myself, too, I decided to try to write some articles/lessons describing the basics of this language. I want to do it just so much practical and useful, as it can be, so you can use it as soon as you go through the text. I only would like to say that my English is not very good sometimes (I haven´t met with some of the words in this article so far), so please be tolerant and correct me. It would be a good deal for both of us ;) Let´s start…


If you want to describe yourself, your status, your feelings, you would often say "I am" => Já jsem or just Jsem. (It´s very strange to explain my own language even I haven´t really start yet :D)
It´ll be very useful and good, if you learn this verb, "to be" = být in all the forms for all the persons, singular, plural and feminine and masculine, too. And, I promise, it´s not difficult. At least not as much as you maybe think now. So, here it is.

We´ve already learnt that for the first person in singular it´s já jsem. That´s same for masculine and feminine. For the second person, "you are", we use ty jsi, or just simple jsi. Again, there´s no difference between m and f form. Then we have the third person. There is a distinction now, similar to English. In Czech we actually have 3 genders. (and we must know them, because...) For masculine words, feminine words and neuter words we use different forms of verbs, adjectives… But in the present tense the verb is the same for all these pronouns (in singular and plural, too). When we´re talking about a boy, we say on je. When it´s a girl, ona je. And finally, if the subject of our conversation is, for example, a city (město), we say ono je. As you can say, we are just changing the pronoun, the verb is remaining without any modification. So in singular there´s no difference between saying I am (a girl speaking) and I am (a boy speaking) and that´s valid for all the persons (except changing of the pronoun). Now we can move to the plural.
It´s very important to know, how to say we are doing something, too. Or you are doing. Or they are. And to distiguish the genders. So… if we say "we are", in Czech it would be my jsme. Same for m and f. For the second person we are using vy jste. And, again, the final three persons in plural. Oni jsou for boys (or for boys and girls, if they are together in one group, no matter if there is one boy and many girls or the other way), ony jsou for girls (and ONLY for them), ona jsou for neuters (= our cities - města). As you can see the forms of the verb být are the same again. And that´s it! You´ve learnt to conjugate your first verb by now ;)

I think our ability to know this al lis good and it really would be helpful many times in future, but there´s something missing… the feelings we´ve mentioned few lines above. Let´s have a look just on few of the most useful and common of them.

I am happy. Jsem šťastný. That´s for a man, for woman it would be jsem šťastná. As you can notice, we are not using the pronoun . It´s because this is really the most common way how to say it. Já jsem šťastný/á we would say when we want to put a special emphasis on the word . For example something like this:
-"Jsme z toho, jak to dopadlo, zklamaní." (We are dissapointed from how it turned out.)
-" Já jsem šťastný." (I am happy.)
It´s like - for me this is not true, I am not dissapointed, contrarily I am happy.

Next situations where we can use, what we´ve learnt:
Jsem smutný. Jsem zklamaný. Jsem nemocný. Jsem rozčílený. Jsem unavený.
I am sad. I am dissapointed. I am ill. I am angry. I am tired.
If you want to turn this into the feminine form, just exchange "ý" at the end of the word to "á". If you want to change it to the neuter form in singular, you change it to "é". Easy, isn´t it? Try it with every single adjective and don´t care about its meaning now, okay?

velké
malá
sladký
těžké
studená
teplý
starý
nové
mladý

It´s just about practicing the changing and knowing which gender we are speaking in. And again, you can add a verb before it. A little summary could help you...

singularplural
I amjá jsemwe aremy jsme
you arety jsiyou arevy jste
he ison jethey are (m)oni jsou
she isona jethey are (f)ony jsou
it isono jethey are (n)ona jsou

And once again, there is no need to use the verb with the pronoun. When there are 6 different forms, we usually know pretty well what person we are talking about/in ;) And you would be able to know this, too.

masculinefeminineneuter
singularšťastnýšťastnášťastné
plural???

Yes, we haven´t mentioned the plural forms yet. And no, it´s not so easy - we don´t simply put "s" at the end, as in English. We are changing the end vowel, again. We are going to have a look at this, soon.

Hope this first article/lesson helped you a bit in your learning process. If you want a next one, your comments would be a good motivation. Or you can tell me, what would you like me to explain, help with… It would be pleasure for me :)

Have a nice day
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