different declensions

Whodunit

Senior Member
Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
Nazdar lité, :)

I'm learning Czech with help of this site. I really like the tables, however there's a little problem. When I look at Dative Singular of "pán", I can see "pánovi" and "pánu", so I'm not sure, which word is correct. Is it maybe dialect, slang, etc.?

The same goes for "mužovi/muži", "koňům/koním", "člověkovi/člověku", "ideami/idejemi", "noh/nohou", "Goethovi/Goethu", and many more. I just chose some words in which the pronunciation would be relatively different.

Děkuji za Vaši pomoc. :)
 
  • Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    Ehm... All of them are correct (neither slangy or dated). I randomly tried to say several sentences with the words you listed. The -ovi declension tends to sound a bit more colloquial but I was not always consistent. Let me think about it, I will get back to you. :)

    Jana

    P.S. At least something now:
    When pan is followed by a proper name, the shorter declension is used for "pan" and the longer for the name itself.
    Mluvili jsme o tom pánovi. (pánu would be stilted)
    Mluvili jsme o panu Novákovi.
    Mluvili jsme o panu Nováku. :cross:
    Mluvili jsme o pánovi Novákovi. :cross: (but many people would actually say it)

    P.P.S. Ein süßer Tippfehler: Nazdar lité lidé. Lité - gegossen (neutr.). :)
     

    Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!

    Member
    Czech | Czech Republic
    Jana's tip can be generalized: If there's a string of masculines where you can choose between -u and -ovi, you ought to use -u for all but the last one.

    E.g. Václav -> Václavovi, Václav Havel -> Václavu Havlovi, pan Václav Havel -> panu Václavu Havlovi, etc.

    I'd also like to post more, but I don't have much time for the internet now, so I'll gladly leave this to Jana and others. :)
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    Jana337 said:
    Ehm... All of them are correct (neither slangy or dated). I randomly tried to say several sentences with the words you listed. The -ovi declension tends to sound a bit more colloquial but I was not always consistent. Let me think about it, I will get back to you. :)
    I'm glad this topic isn't closed for you yet. It still sounds a bit weird to me beginner. :)

    P.S. At least something now:
    When pan is followed by a proper name, the shorter declension is used for "pan" and the longer for the name itself.
    This I understand. But now you make me ask another question: Why did you use "pan" and the grammar tables "pán"? My dictionary indicates that both are correct. Does this belong here, by the way?

    Mluvili jsme o tom pánovi. (pánu would be stilted)
    Mluvili jsme o panu Novákovi.
    Mluvili jsme o panu Nováku. :cross:
    Mluvili jsme o pánovi Novákovi. :cross: (but many people would actually say it)
    Hm, so you want to say that the last two declensions are grammatically totally wrong? :)

    P.P.S. Ein süßer Tippfehler: Nazdar lité lidé. Lité - gegossen (neutr.). :)
    :eek: Děkuji, Jano, že označeš toho jako sladký. :)
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    Whodunit said:
    I'm glad this topic isn't closed for you yet. It still sounds a bit weird to me beginner. :)
    After thinking about it for a while, I must say that it is next to impossible to offer reliable guidance. As I said previously, both parts of each pair are correct.
    mužovi/muži" - completely interchangeable
    "koňům/koním", - I would say koním
    "člověkovi/člověku", - I would prefer the latter in formal speech
    "ideami/idejemi", - I would say idejemi
    "noh/nohou", - nohou sounds more formal
    "Goethovi/Goethu" - Goethu sounds weird
    This I understand. But now you make me ask another question: Why did you use "pan" and the grammar tables "pán"? My dictionary indicates that both are correct. Does this belong here, by the way?
    No, it doesn't. I am going to open a new thread.
    Hm, so you want to say that the last two declensions are grammatically totally wrong? :)
    Yes, but they are common nevertheless.
    :eek: Děkuji, Jano, že označeš (unpassendes Muster) toho jako sladký. :)
    etwas als Adj. bezeichnen - označovat něco (Akk.) za Adj.
    Bin auf die Korrektur gespannt. :)

    Jana
     

    Tchesko

    Senior Member
    Czech
    Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li! said:
    Jana's tip can be generalized: If there's a string of masculines where you can choose between -u and -ovi, you ought to use -u for all but the last one.

    E.g. Václav -> Václavovi, Václav Havel -> Václavu Havlovi, pan Václav Havel -> panu Václavu Havlovi, etc.

    I'd also like to post more, but I don't have much time for the internet now, so I'll gladly leave this to Jana and others. :)
    Same for me now...
    However, you can refer to the online resource "Czech" by Laura A. Janda and Charles E. Townsend, p. 16 seq.

    What it says about -ovi vs. -u is:

    DLsg: most animate nouns in this paradigm admit both endings. -ovi tends to be favored for viriles (male human referents), with rare but notable exceptions (člověk, člověku 'person', Bůh, Bohu 'God'), and can be used for most animals. In concatenations of titles and names, the last word will have -ovi, but all others will have -u: panu doktoru Janu Novákovi 'Mr. Dr. Jan Novák'.

    This resource not only lists the declensions, it also explains a lot about their use when there are several possibilities.

    As for "noh/nohou", the difference has already been evoked in another thread ("nohou" is a remnant of the dual number and can only be used when talking about legs as limbs).

    I also tried to google "člověkovi" and "člověku". It appears that "člověku" is about 100 times more frequent than "člověkovi"!

    See you,

    Roman
     

    DaleC

    Senior Member
    From reading the 106 page reference grammar, http://www.seelrc.org:8080/grammar/mainframe.jsp?nLanguageID=2

    which includes several statistical findings, the big-picture answer is that

    1. Czech declensions are not fully standardized, especially not in the spoken language but apparently this is to some extent also true of the written language. By "standard" I mean for a given noun.

    2. Czech declension makes Russian declension look easy. There are exceptions to the exceptions to the exceptions, invoking vocabulary item, final stem consonant, and even other factors.

    3. Even if we limit ourselves to regular declensions, there are three or four regular feminine declensions that differ so little from one another that it's very irritating trying to keep them straight. In the perspective of centuries, there is a gradual merging of many endings.
     

    nebt

    Senior Member
    Czech, CZ
    So, please not this way.

    Firstly, Czech is not easy but on the other hand the Czech people are generally really easy going and helpful and like joy and fun (which for many of them conversation with a non-native speaker in Czech possibly is)!

    Secondly, the best, fastest and easiest way of learning Czech is speaking and talking. No other way will by as efficient and rewarding. Czech is really not a language to learn from books and achieving certain level will take much more time you could ever imagine.

    Good advice: This is not a language to learn not to make mistakes and speak correctly, this is the language to be used whatever errors or nonsense you may say.

    Therefore mainly, have fun.

    Why do you learn Czech, anyway?
     

    DaleC

    Senior Member
    nebt said:
    Good advice: This is not a language to learn not to make mistakes and speak correctly, this is the language to be used whatever errors or nonsense you may say.

    Therefore mainly, have fun.

    Why do you learn Czech, anyway?
    Czech declension combines elaborateness and huge irregularity to the extent that most adult learners, me for example, can never hope to speak correctly for more than a few sentences in a row. This is disturbing to some learners. You say it is not disturbing to the Czechs who will be listening.

    Pronunciation is my sport. I study Czech because I like the sound and I want to see if I can master the contrast of long and short vowels, each of which type occur in this language (and hundreds of others, to be sure) in any position in a word without phonetic restrictions.

    Czechs and Slovaks speak with a relaxed throat, like Canadians. This creates a pleasant and emotionally relaxing voice quality. But while Canadians are slow talkers, many Czechs speak as fast as Spaniards.
     
    Hello, DaleC!
    I really like Your motivation of learning Czech, I´m deeply impressed

    And I am quite surprised that from all "nasty" specialties of our noble language
    You find tricky the contrast of short and long wovels. I have allways considered this to be the simpliest thing on earth, but obviously this is just because I have never had to learn it!

    By the way, what about "ř"? (no, I am not being sarcastic)

    I wish good luck in Your exciting advanture!
     

    DaleC

    Senior Member
    Tinu said:
    Hello, DaleC!
    And I am quite surprised that from all "nasty" -- POSTSCRIPT: I, Dale, myself did not use the word 'nasty'. -- specialties of our noble language http://forum.wordreference.com/images/icons/icon10.gif You find tricky the contrast of short and long wovels.
    By the way, what about "ř"? (no, I am not being sarcastic)
    What about "ř"? It's difficult. Difficult doesn't necessarily mean unpleasant; that is a general observation. To make a specific observation, I see an important distinction between an anatomical difficulty and a difficulty consisting of grammatical chaos. :(
     

    Hryts

    New Member
    English (UK)
    They have the same two dative singular endings in Ukrainian too (but not in Russian).

    Пану (panu)
    Панові (panovi)
     

    cajzl

    Senior Member
    Czech
    My observation:

    I prefer the ending -ovi after the hard consonants:

    Dej tomu chlapovi (pánovi, strýčkovi, psovi) pokoj!

    conversely I prefer the ending -i after the soft consonants:

    Dej tomu chlapci (muži, strýci, koni) napít!
     
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