Learn From a Native Speaker - The Czech Language Basics (2)

26. června 2013 v 17:12 | Author |  Learn From a Native Speaker
Like I´ve promised last time, today we´re going to learn another adjectives, their meanings and mainly their plural forms. We will practice, too, so you can use it immediately. Let´s begin ;)

In the last lesson we learnt how to conjugate the verb být, "to be". In a few days of practicing it should be pretty easy for you to do it on your own. Or even now, for some of you. We´ve also mentioned some rules for making different forms of adjectives. Masculine, feminine, neuter…
That´s all very good, but what about the plural? And, unfortunately, it´s not so easy with all these adjectives. There are some of them, which doesn´t change at all, and the others, which we were (and actually still are) talking about… So, now you may have a basic outline of what we are going to explain today.

As we said, the form of the adjective does not depend just on the person of the word it belongs to. There are two more factors - the gender and number. If we want to say that we are happy, we would say jsme šťastní in Czech. If we are in a group of boys and girls together, or just in a group of boys. When there are just girls, we use jsme šťastné. Finally for the neuter gender it´s jsme šťastná. But this, combined with the verb, is not used very often. If it´s separately then it´s usual, for example šťastná děvčata, malá kuřata, bílá vejce. But not with the verb být, okay? Maybe in some fairytales… We are little chickens...
Jsme malá kuřátka
In the second person in plural we use jste šťastní, jste šťastné, jste šťastná. But pay attention! When we use jste šťastná and, for example, put it into a question Jste šťastná? it can mean we are talking to a woman and we are showing our respect to her at the same time (because we are using the plural form of the verb, ok?). And we can apply this rule on every other person.
Jste šťastný? (asking a man)
Jste šťastná? (asking a woman, once again)
Jste šťastné? (asking a girl, for example - in Czech we have a word děvče, which has a neuter gender, so we can use it here, but it´s absolutely uncommon: who would give a respect to a little girl…?)
This "respect-thing" we call vykání in Czech.

I hope that you get this and if not, please, read it once more or just simply ask me, I´d try to explain it to you better. Now we can move to the different forms of adjectives…

In Czech we call them tvrdá a měkká. Přivlastňovací (father´s, mother´s…) are in every language and we are going to learn them next time. So… Tvrdá přídavná jména (lit. hard or tough adjectives) are these we must change for every person. For měkká (the soft ones) we don´t have to. Or, more precisely, we mustn´t change them. So far we were learning just the tough ones. Once more here they are and finally with their meanings. You can also check if you were right with your last "homework" (even I think it´s pretty easy - just change the last letter to another one). The darker ones are these from the last lesson.

malýmalámalésmall, little
těžkýtěžkátěžkéhard, heavy
teplýteplátepléhot, warm

We use sladký as "cute", too. But, don´t call anybody teplý in that meaning like the English "hot" - when you are saying this, you are telling him that he´s homosexual. So please avoid misunderstandings and use it just in the "normal" meaning to describe that the thing is not cold, but it´s warm...
The word těžký, as you can see, we are using for saying "it´s hard" and "it´s heavy". You can distinguish these two meanings from the context easily with some training, so don´t fear ;) It´s the same for the word malý. We can use it when saying "my little brother" or "this small toy".

As I realized now, I´ve mentioned some adjectives that are not so easy to change from singular to plural, because we don´t simply do the "ý-í-ending-thing". So let´s look at it.

First the easy adjectives. They are malý, studený, teplý, nový, mladý. The plural forms are going perfectly with the rules. But here comes the others…


Actually, the "troublemakers" are just the plural masculine forms . If there was "k" instead of "c", the pronounsiation of the whole word would be the same as in singular (we don´t have any special way how to pronounce differently "ký" and "kí", so thank God the "kí" does not exist anywhere). And that´s the same reason for the adjective starý, too. We can´t say "rý" and "rí" (which doesn´t exist, too) in two different ways. So there must be a bigger change, in this case it´s "r" to "ř".

Uff… it´s very exhausting :) And we haven´t got to the other adjectives, yet… But as I´ve said, they are much easier. You just have to remeber which are these and which are the harder (a good way how to remember their name, by the way; hard - tough - tvrdá). Now a few examples of the "soft adjectives". Try to remember them. They have something to do with the animals very often. And keep in mind - we don´t change them. In any person, any gender and any number. Never!


At the and of this article there is some more exercicing for you... Try to say this:

We are young. (men and women together)
He is (from) foreign (countries). (see that we don´t say the words in the brackets, we just say "he is foreign", but it´s possible, too, of course)
They are old. (masculine)
She is little.

For today´s lesson I think it´s enough. We´ll see what we can learn next time :) Have fun with studying and feel free for asking… and correcting me.

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