https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eduralph

Issue with a plural Czech sentence in the "To be plural" exercises

In the "To be plural" exercises is a sentence

"You are girls, and we are boys"

to which the translation is given as

"jste holky a my kluci"

anything else is marked as wrong. I had

"jste holky a jsme kluci" which would also be correct.

I spoke with my native speaking wife and she said she would intuitively use the second version and she feels dropping the verb is done really seldomly in Czech.

September 10, 2017

8 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tatka_
  • 1508

The sentence "jste holky a jsme kluci" is not correct. You can say "Vy jste holky a my jsme kluci" or "Vy jste holky a my kluci" or "Jste holky a my jsme kluci" or "Jste holky a my kluci".

September 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eduralph

I'm a bit unsure about when you must use the pronoun, but my main point is that a beginner like me would use the verbs, especially as that is what the exercise is about. It should also be counted as a viable answer.

September 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nueby

You are incorrect that there is only one accepted answer. There are currently 36 of them (have been at least a year), and the preferred one does not drop the second verb.

What is (and will continue to be) marked wrong is Jste holky a jsme kluci. It would be a disservice to users for us to pretend that it is a correct Czech sentence, so we won't. The second pronoun needs to stay, as should preferably even the first one. Why? We are setting up a contrast, and that's when exceptions to the pronoun-dropping kick in.

I have not studied Czech as a foreign language, but it may be helpful to quote from the really good Czech: An Essential Grammar by James Naughton (p. 76):

The subject pronouns já, ty, on etc. are only needed for extra emphasis or contrast, or in combinations.

Já mám kufr, ale ona nemá. I have a suitcase, but she hasn't.

Ty, já a Petr to uděláme spolu. You, I and Petr will do it together.

Mostly the verb is sufficient to indicate the subject, and you can simply omit the subject pronoun[...]

Note that the author chose to treat the exception first, probably so the pro-drop message does not crowd out everything else. His kufr example is not as revealing as the sentence we are talking about here.

Now, if we all could, let's use the sentence discussion threads to discuss specific sentences. For your convenience, here is the link to discuss this exercise:

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24330566

In fact, I will now be locking this thread to nudge everyone along.

September 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ally.x
  • 1186

"Vy jste holky a my jsme kluci." ... that is what I would say, it's a funny sentence anyway but since we are stressing this distinction between girls and boys I would use the pronouns "vy" and "my" to make the information clear. It is a question of personal taste, but there are sure more correct ways how to translate this.

September 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lemniscatarum

But Czech is a pro-drop language, like many Slavic languages, so are the pronouns really necessary?

September 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ally.x
  • 1186

I have never heard any of the versions used in original post. If any then the first one sounds more ok to me... but "Jste holky a jsme kluci." is tearing my ears. That is not to say it could never be used but probably just in a very specific situation. I have no theoretical support for why this is this way, just a practical use of my native Czech language :-)

September 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lemniscatarum

Thank you!

September 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JessicaYoung3

I saw that too and actually discussed this with a friend over coffee today.

September 10, 2017
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