mnoho dívek

Discussion in 'Čeština (Czech)' started by Elektrisk564, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. Elektrisk564 Member

    English - American
    Hey guys. I'm a Swedish-speaking American and I'm attempting to learn Czech on my own. I live in Oklahoma, so there's practically no classes I can take. That's fine, though.. I learnt Swedish on my own and I do enjoy a challenge, hence going with Czech. Anyway, let me get to the point. Considering Swedish nor English use cases (at least, not to the extent Slavic languages do), it's hard for me to grasp the concept of the 7 Czech cases.

    Previously, I had thought the genitive case was generally just for possessive situations. But, a Czech friend of mine showed me these different sentences to try to illustrate the difference. I still don't understand though:

    Jsou tu dívky - There're girls [here].
    Je tu dívka. - There is a girl [here].
    Je tu mnoho dívek. - There're many girls [here].

    dívky and dívek both mean 'girls', but I understand that dívek is the genitive plural.. why do we switch from the nominative to genitive just because we added "many" to the sentence?
  2. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Simply because mnoho takes the genitive - that's the rule. Genitive is used for possession, as you say, but also - in general - to express "of" - as in a lot of girls, so it's actually a genitive in English too, although nouns don't inflect for case in English.

    As you'll appreciate, explaining the Czech case system is, unfortunately, beyond the scope of one thread on a language forum, but any course book will explain the different cases and how they are used in a systematic way as they are introduced. You could also have a look at this (scroll down just over halfway to 'Declension').

    If you have specific questions about a specific point of grammar, no doubt everyone on the forum will be happy to help.
  3. francisgranada Senior Member

    Also "Je tu pět dívek" - There are five girls [here].

    In this case the reason for the genitive is not so evident, but the explanation of Enquiring Mind is still valid: for etymological reasons, the numerals above 4 behave like nouns (as if we had "five of girls" in English).

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