Learn From a Native Speaker - The Czech Language Basics (4)

30. června 2013 v 14:55 | Author |  Learn From a Native Speaker
Hello everyone :-)
In today´s lesson we are going to learn some basic verbs. This will help us later when we´ll be building our first simple sentences to describe our family, house… So let´s have a look on them!


We´ve actually met the most important verb být. You should be familiar with it now, but let´s practice a little bit… You can write these sentences down on a paper or if you´re more sure, you can just tell them to yourself in your mind.

I am happy. (said by woman)
He is tall.
She is slim.
We are friendly. (said by a group of men and women together)
They are polite. (said about men)
This girl is nice. (remeber the word děvče and its gender?)
They are young. (said about women)
It´s new.

Are you finished? Okay. Now you can look below for the translation and check it with what you´ve done.

Was it hard to you? Where you confused, did you have to look at previous lessons or at your notes from them? How many times? This is really important, you know. Now we are just starting, so looking back is not forbidden. Contrarily, it´s maybe better than staying in confusion. Well, first write your tip and then try to find in your notes the place, where it´s written surely right. And only then check it here. More later it would be conversely. Try to rely on your tip even you´re not sure rather than seek in your notes immediately. OK, enough about this. Now just check, if you were right in this short practicing.

Jsem šťastná.
Je vysoký.
Je štíhlá.
Jsme přátelští/kamarádští.
Jsou zdvořilí.
To děvče je hodné.
Jsou mladé.
Je (to) nové.

I am pretty sure there are some things you are unsatisfied with. That´s normal, because we haven´t mentioned them, yet. For example the masculine plural form of the adjective přátelský (and kamarádský as well). We´ve already learnt something about this "strange changes" in the Lesson 2, but not everything. Here comes the next… You just have to remeber that adjectives with ending -ský change to -ští in masculine plural. Feminine and neuter plural are following the rules, just like the other ones. I don´t know any definite number, but this adjectives are not so uncommon to just forget them. Nebeský, ženský, mužský, český… (heavenly, woman, man, Czech…)
Another thing we haven´t met with is the word to. It has got a completely different meaning than in English - it´s a demonstrative pronoun. We can tell toto as well. I think it´s a case of differencing nuances rather than something what we should worry about now. But, for make it clear, this pronoun has its own forms for singular, plural and all the genders as well and, depending on the forms, it could have "this", "that", "these" and "those" meaning.

Uff. I think it´s enough for now, if you haven´t got any other questions… Finaly, let´s move to the verbs.

In Czech, verbs are being inflected a lot. It can be confusing, discouraging, complicated… but it has so many advantages. For example the thing we´ve already spoken about - we don´t have to use the pronoun everywhere. Contrarily, it´s more common to don´t do it. We know what person the verb belongs to from it´s form. How simple ;)
There are many things we are determining for each one form of the verb. We are learning them in school by heart. In Czech they are called osoba, číslo, čas, způsob, rod, vid, třída and vzor. For us the most important are osoba, číslo and čas for now. The person, number and tense. Time to start with concrete examples…

Very useful is the verb chtít, to want. In Czech it´s not connected to anything like "to" in English (even if we want to do something). We just simply say the right form of verb and the thing we want right after it. Let´s start with the forms. I´ve made a chart for you:

singular
plural
já chci
my chceme
ty chceš
vy chcete
on chce
oni chtějí
ona chce
ony chtějí
ono chce
ona chtějí

Notice that there is the same pattern of changes as with the verb být - there are just six forms for ten pronouns. And that remains static in the present perfect for all the verbs.
Some example sentences:
Chceš něco k pití? Do you want something to drink? (familiar)
Chci vodu. I want some water.
Chceme pět lístků. We want five tickets.
Chtějí jet jinam. They want to go to another place/ elsewhere.

Next verb is a bit similar to our previous - potřebovat, "to need". And just like with the chtít we don´t use the "to" there, too.

singular
plural
já potřebuju
my potřebujeme
ty pořebuješ
vy potřebujete
on potřebuje
oni potřebují
ona potřebuje
ony potřebují
ono potřebuje
ona potřebují

Potřebuju spát. I need to sleep.
Potřebují peníze. They need some money.
Potřebuješ něco? Do you need something?

Just a little note to the forms of this verb: these are the most usual with considering the right, standard forms. But if we want to speak in absolutely standard language, we would say já potřebuji, not potřebuju.
On the other hand, if we want to speak more familiar, we can say my potřebujem, oni/ony/ona potřebujou instead of the forms in the chart above (for now just practice these common and tolerably standard ones and don´t worry about the others).

At the end we will learn two verbs with a similar meaning in situations in which we are telling somebody we live there, in Czech Republic, in Prague etc. The verbs are žít and bydlet, "to live" and, if it was possible to say it like that, "to house" somewhere (maybe the best literal translation ever…).

singular
plural
já žiju
my žijeme
ty žiješ
vy žijete
on žije
oni žijí
ona žije
ony žijí
ono žije
ona žijí

Notice that there are the same endings as the verb potřebovat has. So there it´s the same "rule" for the verb forms when we are talking colloquially or in standard language…

singular
plural
já bydlím
my bydlíme
ty bydlíš
vy bydlíte
on bydlí
oni bydlí
ona bydlí
ony bydlí
ono bydlí
ona bydlí

Just as a matter of interest, this verb has the same endings as verbs jíst (to eat), chodit (to go), myslet (to think), cítit (to feel/smell)… We can look at some of them in the next lessons ;)

Jak dlouho tu už bydlíš? How long have you lived here?
Kde teď žiješ? Where do you live now?
Bydlím v Brně. I live in Brno.

You see? In English we are using "live" all the time but in Czech we have two words for it, so you can choose - and it almost makes no difference.

Hope you´re not too much exhausted after this very, very long lesson J I´ll try to make it shorter next time and to focus just on one topic to make it more easy for you. Write a comment if you want (to ask, to correct me or just for fun and for my enjoyment J).

Have a nice day and don´t be afraid of repeating your Czech skills in front of friends.
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