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  5. "Čí je to manželka?"

"Čí je to manželka?"

Translation:Whose wife is she?

September 5, 2017



The audio on hover of "či" is broken (also for another sentence).


I am confused about the "she" here. Couldn't the translation also be "Whose wife is that?"

I actually wrote that in another word order: "Whose is that wife?" and I believe that should have been accepted as correct, no?


Whose wife is that' is accepted. 'whose is that wife' is not really correct in English.


Thanks for the reply. I am not sure you are right, though, that this is not a correct English sentence: https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions/141595/whose-apple-is-that-or-whose-is-that-apple


It might be gramatically correct, but it's not something that you would ever actually say. A wife is not a simple object like an apple, but a word that implies a relationship to someone else. "Whose wife is that?" is querying the relationship (who is married to that person?) whereas "whose is that wife?" suggests that the wife is an object belonging to someone. A similar example - if you saw a boy in a playground looking a bit lost, you might ask "whose is that boy?", "whose boy is that?" or "whose son is that?" to a fellow parent, but NOT "whose is that son?".


please make it acceptable, because to most of learners english is not a native language, so we just try to be grammatically correct...


But it‘s not correct. The two sentences bear different meanings so they are not interchangeable. Is your native language Russian? Then the difference is like between "Чья это жена?" and "Чья эта жена?". These sentences do not mean the same (would you use the second one btw? according to what was said below, I don't think so) and the same applies here.


Kacenka is correct. It is not correct to say whose is that wife? Whose wife is that / she is correct. After whose you need a noun . except in a conversation /context where that whose points to a noun referred to before. and only with things not with persons. Ex: There are pencils on the table... pointing to one you can say ... Whose is that? Many people..... pointing to one person ... then... who is that? At a party of couples. you can refer to one wife and ask. Who is that or whose wife is that/she. I hope I was able to make things a bit clearer.


"Ta manzelka" I understand - the wife, that wife. But "to manzelka" confuses me. Is is referring to an unseen husband, and attaching his gender to manzelka? What if the people in question were two women? Would it then revert to Ci je ta manzelka? Help!


Don't think of it as "to manželka." Think of it as a set phrase "je to," which is equivalent to "to je." I noticed the "PL" at the end of your handle, so I'm assuming you understand Polish. The Czech "je to" is equivalent to the Polish "to jest."


Analogicznie jak w polskim. "Czyja żona to jest?" / "Czyja jest to żona?" / "To jest czyja żona?". "To jest żona ...". NIE "Czyja jest ta żona" (no chyba, że traktujemy żonę jako własność męża, wtedy jak najbardziej).

  • 1347

Why not "Čí je ta manželka"?


I think the reason is that it would mean 'Whose is that wife?', which, as stated above, would sound unnatural. Btw, there's difference between 'Whose is that X' and 'Whose X is that', isn't there?

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That's the problem—I don't feel it. To me, "Whose wife is that" (intuitively) is more like "Čí manželka je to" (by the way, is that correct Czech?), and I'm struggling to understand, how it converts to the sentence in question.


Being a native speaker of Polish, this word order is quite familiar and intuitive to me (even though Czech word order isn't always like in Polish, and this particular, too - I'd say "Czyja to jest żona?"/"Czyją ona jest żoną?", depending on which I'd want to put the emphasis on).

I guess that moving the subject we ask about just after the verb we use in the question (rather than putting the subject just after the question word, like in Polish) is typical for Czech language (at least that's what I feel after a while spent with the Duolingo course). Still it'd be the best to wait for an opinion of somebody who actually knows the language. Maybe both are correct, I don't know. (Sometimes while not being careful, I'd maybe ask "Czyja żona to jest?", but I would probably never write like that").

  • 1347

I think I understood, the main source of confusion for me is the word "byt" which doesn't translate in Russian well (it's skipped in most contexts). Thanks!


Oops. Well, you're right. Ten/ta/to are the pronouns you're talking about and you understand them well. Don't worry. They work exactly like you have described! :-)

The "confusing" part is the sentence with "je to". In Czech, we have a phrase "to je/je to" or in plural "to jsou/jsou to", which was used here in the original sentence in the headline.

You definitely ran across the phrase in some of the previous lessons and sentences as well. It is often used to identify nouns (people/things/intangible things/etc). This phrase does not change together with the gender of a noun, it's only the verb that is changed to match with the noun in singular or plural form (je to - sg / jsou to-pl).

Examples: Čí je to pes? Čí je ten pes? / Čí je to zahrada? Čí je ta zahrada? / Čí jsou to psi? Čí jsou ti psi? / Čí jsou to zahrady? Čí jsou ty zahrady?

Since you are asking questions, you are asking about something specific and the pairs of these sentences have pretty much the same meaning.

I don't want to go into too much detail not to overwhelm you with all the information and confuse you even more, but if you would have further questions, feel free to ask.


You mean "být" I guess, dTAT6. I am still at the beginning (let's call me a big zero for Czech, right?!) but some days ago, on Memrise I learned that "byt" means home, appartement. One thing though I would like to be explained a little better: why in this course we must translate "Whose machine is that?" into Čí je TA mašina?, while "Whose wife is that?" is translated Či je TO manželka?, especially realising that "manželka" is a feminine noun too. Is there a clear (technical) grammar rule to justify this difference? Thank you.


I think it's some kind of a logical matter. Machine is a word that can be used on its own. But wife is not the same kind of a word, like, you wouldn't point at somebody and say 'this is a wife" as this rather works as a kind of relation: 'this is my/his wife' would be already natural, as opposed to 'this is a machine', which already works. That's at least how I understand it, I hope I'd be able to explain it better.


dTAT6, Fabiola!

You can say "Čí je ta mašina?" as well as "Čí je to mašina?" There is no difference in meaning. "Čí je to manželka?" and "Čí je ta manželka?" are grammatically correct too.

I can see the only issue that "Čí je ta manželka?" is not being used because you might get ambiguous answers and instead of finding the husband, you will learn the wife's surname and the fact that she is not his possession. :-)

An example where you could use the sentence (I can't think of any better at the moment, sorry!):

A friend talking to the husband: "Čí je ta manželka? Tvoje? Tak se snaž!" (Whose is the wife? Yours? So try (harder)!)

  • 1347

va-dim, not in Russian. When the question is formulated this way (the sentence begins with "чья/чей/чьё/чьи это"), "это" is sort of abstract and isn't strongly coupled with the object and isn't inflicted. You can do that in spoken language (and it's mostly OK, but would sound a bit weird), but you'll have hard time finding examples in the written form. You can ever drop it at all in the spoken language: "Чьи носки?" (when you're holding socks and asking someone, for example), "Чья машина?" (when you're asking someone who sits in the car, for example); beware, however, that this contraction makes the question more aggressive, sounding like interrogation. Compare this with "Эта жена — чья?" or "Чья та жена?", when "эта/та" specify the object and are inflicted (and can hardly be dropped).

Sorry, I'm not a linguist, so my explanation may be also confusing. Long story short, it just "sounds natural" that way.

  • 1347

Jamie08MD, ughhh, this is so confusing. At first a percieved that the difference between to/ta in this context is similar to difference between это/эта in "Чья это жена" (like, "эта" barely fits, and mostly used in spoken language; sorry for Russian, this is the only other Slavic language I know), but your comment shuffles the cards, I definitely not able to grasp the whole underlying context as of now.

  • 1347

va-dim, they don't, but since the second vowel is not stressed in them, the difference between them is more or less subtle (when you pronounce "эта" instead of "это", mouth opens wider at the end of the word).


Are the sounds back open 'ɑ' in это and central open 'ä' in эта?

  • 1347

Well, in "это" it's more like "ə" in IPA notation (so, it's not as articulated as when it is under stress). In "эта" there is quite regular unstressed "a" for Russian, something like "ʌ" or "ɑ".


The translation says "whose wife is she", wouldnt that be "Či manželka je ona" , cause I read whose wife is this


I'll leave my thought here because I don't know if anybody will answer you soon (this won't appear in the New Discussions tab so it'd be easy to miss it).

From what I've seen, 3rd person pronouns seem to be avoided as much as possible, so your sentence would sound a bit forced (like a direct translation from English) or very emphatic on "she". I find it rather intuitive because it works the same way in my mother tongue.

Have you tried using this translation, however? I'm also wondering if "Čí manželkou je ona?" would work.

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