Questions about Tips And Notes: Animals
I have two questions about the Tips & Notes of the Animals section:
1) Do different case-endings in patterns occur often (such as muž-i and kon-ě in the muž-pattern)? If so, how "hard" are patterns?
2) Under the verb table there's a note about another word for 'to eat' (used for animals), I assume as opposed to the word 'human eating' word in the food section? However, there's no such word in the table?
Yes, I am very sorry to say that it's pretty common. If we are talking about the masculine animate words, then it's more about the fact that there is more than one possible ending.
I am bored, so following is an explanation that is intended mainly for language nerds. ;)
If we are talking about the nominative plural for masculine animate, then the most common ending is -i. But there are some others, like -ové and -é. Moreover, some words can have more than one ending. :(
-e is used for koně 'horses' and rodiče 'parents'
This is actually the ending for masculine inanimate but it's used for these two animate words as well. Do not ask me why.
-ové is used typically:
for personal names Petrové 'Peters'
for monosyllabic words Irové 'Irishmen', synové 'sons' (but Češi 'Czechs')
for words ending in -j ('muž' pattern) and -l ('pán' pattern) čarodějové 'wizards'
for words mostly of foreign origin referring to professions etc. ending in -log, -urg, -graf, -fil, -fob or -nom biologové 'biologists' ekonomové 'economists'.
-é is used typically:
for words ending in -tel ('muž' pattern) like učitelé 'teachers', hostitelé 'hosts' (btw, one false friend warning: hosté means 'guests') and for words with similar ending like manželé 'husband and wife', andělé 'angels'
for words ending in -an ('pán' pattern) like Pražané 'Praguers', občané 'citizens', křesťané 'Christians'
for words ending in -ita, -ista, -asta ('předseda' pattern) like fašisté 'fascists'
-é can sometimes be replaced by -i but it's considered colloquial.
It's pretty complicated, eh? But don't despair and don't give up, I believe in you! You will learn most of this by practise, practise and practise.
All of this information was shamelessly copied from http://prirucka.ujc.cas.cz/ the most comprehensive Internet guide to the Czech language, brought to you by the Institute of the Czech Language of the Czech Academy of Sciences - it's a great site, but only in Czech :(
There are a few. "Kůň" is one of them, another example would be "den=day", which declensions float in between singular pattern for stroj and plural pattern for hrad.
There are also differences in plural when declining nouns that are parts of our body and we have two of them (oko-oči = eye-eyes, ucho-uši = ear-ears, etc.), but for example "rope's eye-rope's eyes" would be regular like in pattern město - "oko-oka"; and similarly "cup handle-cup handles" would be "ucho-ucha".