Dialogue - Czech

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Vocabulary

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spolu together
brzdit to brake
jezdit to go by something, to ride, to cycle
kolečkové brusle roller-skates
mít to have
dobře well
ještě yet
moct can
umět to know (how to do something)

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The Focus Of This Lesson Is Using the Present Tense and Imperfective Verbs to Talk About One's Own Skills.

Jo, jezdim asi dva roky.

"Yeah, I've been roller-skating for about two years. "

 


 

 

1. The modal verb moct


 

 

Moct translates as "can, be able, could, is possible'' and can be very useful when you want to talk about what you can or can't do.

When used formally, moct can also be written as moci, meaning ''to be able, can.'' In the formal form, the verb is slightly irregular in conjugation.

 

The modal verb moct has no meaning on its own and is used to modify the main verb.

A modal verb is usually followed by a verb in its infinitive form.

I.e.

Můžu řídit "I can drive."

 

Furthermore, the verb can be followed by an object in its accusative form.

I.e.

Můžu řídit motorku. "I can drive a motorcycle."

 

 

How moct / moci conjugates according to the person:

 

(já)                    můžu / mohu "I can, I'm able"

(ty)                   můžeš "you can"

(on/ ona)           může                            "he/ she can"

(my)                  můžem "we can"

(vy)                   můžete "you can (also formal speech)"

(oni)                  můžou / mohou "they can"

 

For example:

 

Můžu tě naučit bruslit. "I can teach you roller-skating."

Můžem jít do parku bruslit. "We can go roller-skating to a park."

Tady se bruslit může. "It is possible to roller-skate here."

Já už můžu bruslit. "I'm already able to roller-skate."

 

Moct should not be confused with umět ("to know how").

 

Umět ("to know," "how to," "can") is used with skills, abilities, and languages

I.e.

Umím bruslit, lyžovat, zpívat ("I can roller-skate," "I can ski," "I can sing.")

Umím anglicky, německy, japonsky ("I can speak English, German, and Japanese.")

 

How to distinguish between moct and umět:

 

umí bruslit "She can roller-skate," or "She knows how to roller-skate."

může bruslit "She is able to roller-skate," or "She is allowed to roller-skate."

 

 

 

2. Imperfective verbs - introduction


 

 

Unlike English, Czech language has only three basic tenses-present, past, and future. But this simplicity in tenses is compensated for by aspects.

 

The aspects of the Czech verbs are:

 

1.     Perfective

2.     Imperfective

 

The perfective aspect and verbs can be used to talk about present, completed actions, and completed actions in the future. The imperfective aspect and verbs are used to talk about general and ongoing activity, or ongoing activity and states in the future. Only imperfective verbs have a present tense referring to something that is happening now.

 

E.g.

Look at the imperfective aspects of brzdit, jezdit "to brake/slow down" and "to ride/drive."

 

(Já) brzdím. "I'm slowing down."

(Já) jezdím na kole. "I'm riding a bike."/ "I'm on bike."

 

Most of the time Czech verbs are in pairs, and one is perfective, the other imperfective. From an English perspective, both verbs have the same meaning, but the difference is in their aspect. That means they differ in the sense of completion or incompletion of an action.

 

Imperfective aspect and verbs

This indicates incomplete, ongoing, habitual, reversed, or repeated actions without a reference to their completion.

 

Perfective aspect and verbs

This indicates actions or a set of actions that have been finished completely.

 

 

Most basic verbs without a prefix are imperfective.

To make such a verb perfective, we just need to add the prefix.

There is more than one prefix, such as, na-, o-, po-, u-, vy-, s-, z-, za-.

 

 

In this lesson we will deal with the imperfective verbs.

They are used to express:

 

*In the following section, let's have a look at the imperfective verb jezdit ("to ride/ drive")

 

An action that we repeat on a regular basis:

For example:

 

1.     Jezdím na kole každé ráno. "I ride a bike every morning."

 

An action that is in progress:

For example:

 

1.     Teď jezdím na kole. "Now I'm riding a bike."

 

The duration of an action:

For example:

 

Past continuous

1.     Jezdil jsem na kole celé ráno. "I was riding a bike the whole morning."

 

Present continuous

1.     Jezdím na kole už celé ráno. "I've been riding a bike all morning."

 

An action that has a very general character:

For example:

 

1.     Rád jezdím na kole.                    "I like to ride a bike."

2.     Příští rok budu jezdit víc na kole. "Next year I will ride more on the bike."

 

In the above examples, we don't really have too many specifics as to whether the riding, was, or will be completed, hence the use of the imperfective verb jezdit ("to ride"). Imperfective verbs can form present, past, and the compound future tenses.

 

Some Czech verbs only appear in the imperfective form.

For example:

 

Czech

"English"

být

"to be"

moct

"to be able"

muset

"have to/ must"

vědět

"to know"

chtít

"to want"

ležet

"to lie"

sedět

"to sit"

 

 

Examples from the dialogue:

 

A jezdíš už dobře?
"And can you do it well?"

 

 

Jde to. Ještě neumim moc dobře brzdit.
"Could be better. I can't brake very well yet. "

 

 

 

Sample Sentences


 

 

Obě mé děti umí bruslit.
"Both of my children can ice skate."

 

 

Už umím řídit motorku.
"I can ride a motorcycle now. "

 

 

Sestra umí jezdit na koni.
"My sister can ride a horse."

 

Cultural Insights

Outdoor activities

 


 

Roller-skating is very popular in the Czech Republic. Many new tracks have been designed not only within cities, but also across the country going from town to town, or around lakes and national parks. The most popular one is in Šumava National Park (http://www.npsumava.cz/en/). Depending on the season, some of other popular activities are mushroom picking in forests in the autumn, or blueberry picking in summer. Less common, but labelled as a renaissance of the use of medical herbs, is picking healing herbs in nature, especially for common illnesses such as colds, sore throats etc. In recent years Czechs have become more interested in exploring their own country and original culture, which is resulting in more people visiting Czech heritage sites, such as castles, manors, or other historical sites. Some of the most visited places are castles in Český Krumlov and Hluboká.

 

 

Useful expression:

 

stezka pro in-line bruslení
"a track for in-line skating (roller-skating)"

 

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
Becky: Hi everyone, and welcome to CzechClass101.com. This is Beginner, Season 1 Lesson 1 - Talking About Your Skills in Czech. Becky here.
Martin: Ahoj! I'm Martin.
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use the present tense and imperfective verbs to talk about your skills. The conversation takes place during a meeting in a park.
Martin: It's between Helena and Matěj.
Becky: The speakers are friends, so they’ll use informal Czech. Okay, let's listen to the conversation.
DIALOGUE
Helena: Matěji, máš kolečkový brusle?
Matěj: Jo, jezdim asi dva roky.
Helena: A jezdíš už dobře?
Matěj: Jde to. Ještě neumim moc dobře brzdit.
Helena: Aha. To je dobrý. Já neumim jezdit vůbec.
Matěj: Můžu tě to naučit, jestli chceš?
Helena: Jo, to bych ráda. Můžem jezdit spolu.
Becky: Listen to the conversation one time slowly.
Helena: Matěji, máš kolečkový brusle?
Matěj: Jo, jezdim asi dva roky.
Helena: A jezdíš už dobře?
Matěj: Jde to. Ještě neumim moc dobře brzdit.
Helena: Aha. To je dobrý. Já neumim jezdit vůbec.
Matěj: Můžu tě to naučit, jestli chceš?
Helena: Jo, to bych ráda. Můžem jezdit spolu.
Becky: Listen to the conversation with the English translation.
Helena: Matěj, you have roller-skates?
Matěj: Yeah, I’ve been roller-skating for about two years.
Helena: And can you do it well?
Matěj: Could be better. I can't brake very well yet.
Helena: I see. That's all right. I can't roller-skate at all.
Matěj: I can teach you, if you want?
Helena: Yeah, I'd love to. We can roller-skate together.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Becky: Martin, do Czech people like outdoor activities?
Martin: Yes, I think so.
Becky: Is roller-skating a popular activity?
Martin: It is. For example, there are special tracks, called stezka pro in-line bruslení, not only within cities, but also across the country going from town to town, or around lakes and national parks. The most popular track is in Šumava National Park.
Becky: What are some other popular activities?
Martin: Depending on the season, some other popular activities are mushroom picking in forests in the autumn, or blueberry picking in summer. Also in recent years Czechs have become more interested in exploring their own country and original culture, which is resulting in more people visiting Czech heritage sites, such as castles.
Becky: That sounds interesting! Okay, now onto the vocab.
VOCAB LIST
Becky: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary from this lesson. The first word is..
Martin: mít [natural native speed]
Becky: to have
Martin: mít[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: mít [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: kolečkové brusle [natural native speed]
Becky: roller-skates
Martin: kolečkové brusle[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: kolečkové brusle [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: jezdit [natural native speed]
Becky: to go by something, to ride, to cycle
Martin: jezdit[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: jezdit [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: dobře [natural native speed]
Becky: well
Martin: dobře[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: dobře [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: umět [natural native speed]
Becky: to know (how to do something)
Martin: umět[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: umět [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: ještě [natural native speed]
Becky: yet
Martin: ještě[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: ještě [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: moct [natural native speed]
Becky: can
Martin: moct[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: moct [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Martin: brzdit [natural native speed]
Becky: to brake
Martin: brzdit[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: brzdit [natural native speed]
Becky: And last..
Martin: spolu [natural native speed]
Becky: together
Martin: spolu[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Martin: spolu [natural native speed]
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Becky: Let's have a closer look at some of the words and phrases from this lesson. The first word is..
Martin: umět
Becky: meaning "can do,” “to be able to do,” or “to be good at."
Martin: The word umět is used with skills, abilities, language, and so on. Related words with the same root are umění
Becky: “art”
Martin: umělec or umělkyně
Becky: male and female “artist,” respectively,
Martin: umělecký
Becky: “artistic.”Can you give us an example using this verb?
Martin: Sure. For example, you can say.. On si umí poradit.
Becky: ..which means "He knows how to help himself. " Okay, what's the next phrase?
Martin: jezdit na něčem or jezdit někam
Becky: meaning "to ride on something,” or “to go somewhere."
Martin: Jezdit is an imperfective verb and although it’s similar to jet which also means “to go,” and “to ride,” the difference is that jezdit contains a sense of regularity.
Becky: That means that you use this verb when describing habits. Let’s make a comparison.
Martin: For example, you can say “to go on holidays” in two different ways – jezdit na dovolenou or jet na dovolenou.
Becky: The first one indicates that you probably go every year, on a regular basis, and the second means that you will go once.
Martin: Here’s an example - Jezdíme na dovolenou do Itálie.
Becky: meaning "We (usually) go on holiday to Italy."
Martin: Finally, let’s also remember that when it comes to transportation, such as vehicles where one needs to get inside, jezdit is usually not used with the preposition na...
Becky: ...which means “onto.” You need to conjugate the noun instead. Can you give us an example?
Martin: Sure. For example, you can say.. jezdit autem
Becky: .. which means "to go by car."
Martin: or jezdit metrem
Becky: .. which means "to go by metro." Okay, now onto the lesson focus.

Lesson focus

Becky: In this lesson, you'll learn how to use the present tense and imperfective verbs to talk about your skills.
Martin: The modal verb moct can come in handy for this purpose.
Becky: This verb translates as "can, be able, could, is possible,’’ and can be very useful when you want to talk about what you can or can’t do.
Martin: The modal verb moct has no meaning on its own and is used to modify the main verb.
Becky: As with other modal verbs, it’s usually followed by a verb in its infinitive form.
Martin: For example, Můžu řídit
Becky: which means “I can drive.” Furthermore, the verb can be followed by an object in its accusative form.
Martin: For example, Můžu řídit motorku.
Becky: “I can drive a motorcycle.” Martin, can we give some examples that show how the verb is conjugated in different persons?
Martin: Sure, for example, for the first person singular you can say Můžu tě naučit bruslit.
Becky: meaning “I can teach you roller-skating.”
Martin: In the first person plural, you can say Můžem jít do parku bruslit.
Becky: Meaning “We can go roller-skating to a park.”
Martin: It’s important to not confuse moct with umět, which we just talked about.
Becky: How are they different?
Martin: For example, umí bruslit and může bruslit are different.
Becky: The first indicates “She can roller-skate,” or ”She knows how to roller-skate,” and the second “She is able to roller-skate,” or “She is allowed to roller-skate.” Ok, let’s now move to a different topic, the imperfective verbs.
Martin: The Czech language has only three basic tenses – present, past, and future.
Becky: But this simplicity in tenses is compensated for by aspects, which can be either perfective or imperfective. The PERFECTIVE aspect and verbs can be used to talk about present, completed actions, and completed actions in the future. The IMPERFECTIVE aspect and verbs are used to talk about general and ongoing activities, or an ongoing activity and states in the future.
Martin: Right.
Becky: Most of the time, Czech verbs are in pairs, and one is perfective, the other imperfective. From an English perspective, both verbs have the same meaning, but the difference is in their aspect.
Martin: Imperfective aspect verbs indicate incomplete, ongoing, habitual, reversed, or repeated actions without a reference to their completion, but perfective aspect verbs indicate actions or a set of actions that have been finished completely.
Becky: Most basic verbs without a prefix are imperfective. To make such a verb perfective, we just need to add the prefix. In this lesson we’ll deal with the imperfective verbs. How are they used?
Martin: First, they are used to express an action that we repeat on a regular basis, for example Jezdím na kole každé ráno.
Becky: which means “I ride a bike every morning.”
Martin: They can also indicate an action that is in progress, for example Teď jezdím na kole.
Becky: meaning “Now I’m riding a bike.”
Martin: Imperfective verbs can indicate the duration of an action in the past, for example Jezdil jsem na kole celé ráno.
Becky: meaning “I was riding my bike the whole morning.”
Martin: or also in the present, for example Jezdím na kole už celé ráno.
Becky: meaning “I’ve been riding a bike all morning.”
Martin: Finally, imperfective verbs can also refer to a general action, for example Rád jezdím na kole.
Becky: which means “I like to ride a bike.” In all these examples, we don't really have too many specifics about whether the riding was or will be completed, which is why we use an imperfective verb.
Martin: Imperfective verbs can form present, past, and the compound future tenses.
Becky: What are some of the verbs that appear only in the imperfective form?
Martin: být, meaning “to be,” moct, “to be able,” vědět "to know" and chtít, "to want."
Becky: Ok, let’s wrap up with a couple of sample sentences with imperfective verbs.
Martin: Už umím řídit motorku.
Becky: "I can ride a motorcycle now. "
Martin: Sestra umí jezdit na koni.
Becky: "My sister can ride a horse."

Outro

Becky: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time! Bye!
Martin: Čau.