"starý stroj"

Translation:old machine

September 13, 2017

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What's the difference between 'starý' & 'stàří'? I got the second one right but not sure how it's supposed to be used.


Starý is used with singular masculine INanimate nouns (nominative and accusative), while staří is used with plural masculine animate nouns (nominative).


When is it appropriate to use mašiny instead of stoj?


It's yet another of those little differences between Czech and Polish which I find quite fascinating!

In Polish a machine is either "maszyna" or "urządzenie", whereas "strój" means either "outfit" or "costume" (although we do have a separate word "kostium" for costume too).

So, for example one child could ask another: "Jaki masz strój/kostium" na bal przebierańców?" - What kind of outfit/costume do you have for the costume ball?"

And the other child might answer: "Ja mam strój/kostium superbohatera/Batmana/pirata/wampira/rycerza/lwa, a ty?" - I have an outfit/costume of a Supehero/Batman/pirate/vampire/knight/lion, and you?


I guess Czech "stroj" as "a machine" comes from some Proto-Slavic root which is still present in such Polish verbs as "dostroić" or "nastroić" which means something like "to adjust", "to tune" or "to tweak".

It's all about the prefixes in Polish, so a similar pair of verbs means something quite different than the previous one: "przystroić" means "to decorate" and "wystroić" means "to dress up", so they go together with the "outfit/costume" theme which I mentioned above.

(But I quess we could argue that it's about "tuning and tweaking" the appearance of someone or something in that case)... ;)

We also have, for example, such word as "strojnisia" in Polish - which is a bit old-fashioned term for a girl or a woman who really likes to change her clothes often, beautify herself and generally dress up ;)

(Although nowadays it's mostly encountered in an old-ish literature, not in everyday use anymore, I think).


Don't forget about "to stare ustrojstwo" everybody has in their house and everybody hates it but it still works (sometimes) :p


These other meanings are still present in Czech as well:

  • výstroj -- outfit, equipment, gear
  • ustrojit (bookish) -- to dress up
  • vystrojit (uncommon) -- to equip, to rig
  • přestrojit se (uncommon) -- to wear a costume, to dress up as someone else
  • ústrojí (uncommon) -- system (such as the circulatory system -- oběhové ústrojí)
  • postroj -- harness (e.g. for a horse)
  • přístroj -- device, apparatus
  • nástroj -- instrument, tool
  • (the last two are just derived from the "machine" meaning of "stroj", obviously)

The word "stroj" in Czech was originally (centuries ago) coined for "trap" (which is "past" now). Since the verb "strojiti" used to mean "to set up" or "to arrange", it made sense to use it setting up a trap (when hunting), which was later generalized to "conTRAPtion", i.e. any mechanical device that has been set up or arranged into a meaningful system.

Croatian, for example, later borrowed the word "stroj" in the sense of "machine" from Czech. Other Slavic languages borrowed the Germanic "machine" instead.

But yes, we have remnants of the original meaning, when the "setting up" also referred to putting on clothes, so if a girl is "ustrojená", she's dressed up prettily, but it's not used that much nowadays.

  • EN: What kind of outfit/costume do you have for the costume ball?
  • PL: Jaki masz strój/kostium na bal przebierańców?
  • CZ: Jaký máš převlek/kostým na maškarní ples?

An uncommon/bookish word for "převlek" in that sentence would also be "přestrojení".


In this course always. Mašina is quite colloquial though.

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