"Why are Žofie's sons not here?"
Translation:Proč tady nejsou synové Žofie?
I'm still confused with word order, but I seem to be getting better at identifying what does and doesn't sound correct. Why? I think because I spend so much time going over the lessons again and again. While I'm not always right by any means, and I still affectionately hate Word Order, it definitely has improved for me! So there's hope... :-)
You have to use the nominative case, not the accusative. That's why synové is correct, and syny is not.
Why not syni? Isn't that the normal nominative plural for masculine animate nouns ending in n?
Not always, there are two possible endings like: páni, pánové where both are posible. There is also the -é ending in sing. soused- pl. sousedé = neighbour(s).
But not always it is the case, often only one of them is possible. And there are several rules how to choose and they are not that simple (Czech handbook). For example:
Short words tend to use -ové.
Animal names use more -i.
Proper names use more -ové.
Sometimes both are possible, but -ové is more formal standard and -i is for spoken Czech (less formal, but not completely colloquial).
There are some dialectal differences.
Regular phoneme changes of the stem wovel induce the -i ending: k > c (kluk → kluci), h > z (pstruh → pstruzi = trout), ch > š (hoch → hoši)
And in spoken dialects it is pretty complex
But this map shows historical tendencies. Today everything becomes equalized. And the standard is more likely to come from Bohemia, not Moravia. We oppress them. So that's why it is "synové".
There is the effect of the shortness of "tu" on the naturally sounding word order. It is so short that it takes on the enclitic behavior, meaning it likes to go after the first unit of meaning in its clause and sounds rather out of place in the clause-initial and clause-terminal positions. However, it is not an obligatory enclitic, so I have been adding the more marginal sounding translations whenever I notice their absence.
I answered "proč nejsou tady ...." and was corrected "proč tu nejsou ...", whereas "proč tady nejsou ..." is the official translation. What did I do wrong? Is it the word order?
With adverbs and adverbial phrases (of location, of time and others) it is always questionable where you can and where you can not put them. This one will be one of the lesser used orders. You can find almost anything in spoken Czech, but I am not sure if this is OK for written Czech.
This may sound stupid, but even though I've been through genitives for a while already, I can't still see why isn't it needed the genitive plural form (synů) here: it's Zofie's sons, the sons of Zofie the ones we are talking about, so in some way there should exist a need of expressing whose sons they are, right?
In this sentence sons is the subject, so they are in nominative: 'synové'. They are Žofie's sons, so 'Žofie' is genitive, which is indistinguishable from the nominative in this word.