1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Czech
  4. >
  5. "Ten pes nevidí myši, ale koč…

"Ten pes nevidí myši, ale kočky."

Translation:The dog does not see mice but cats.

October 19, 2017



"The does does not see mice but cats" does not sound like idiomatic English to me. A native speaker would say "The dog doesn't see mice, it sees cats." or "rather, it sees cats."


I got the spelling wrong. How come the plural of mice end in "i" but the plural of cats ends in "y"?


i/y is a hard thing to deal with - Czech children spend at school several years of Czech classes just to master the skill when to write which. So no big deal when you make mistake there, less educated people in CZ also mistake those.

However a handy thing to remember:

  • There is always i after these letters: š č ř ž j c

  • There is always y after h ch k r

Only exceptions are foreign words as "kino" or "cyklus"


Similarly, American children struggle with spelling in words containing 'e' following/preceding 'i.' And we have a little rhyme: "'i' before 'e' except after 'c', or when pronounced like an 'a' as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh.'

I wonder if there a Czech mnemonic for the i/y dilemma?


We remember "hychykyrydytyny", "žščřcjďťň" and "befelemepeseveze".

For the last group we then learn the list of words that use y, as the others use i. We call the list ("vyjmenovaná slova" "specified words") https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vyjmenovan%C3%A1_slova http://prirucka.ujc.cas.cz/ ).


Thank you for that explanation!


I want to talk about pronunciation. In my reading of the lightbulb lessons, and other sources, I think the 'y' in 'myši' and the 'y' in 'kočky' should be pronounced the same. Is that correct? - sorta like 'i' in English 'bit'? And these should also be the same as the 'i' in 'ti'? To my American ears, 'kočky' sounds more like 'kočkee,' while 'myši' sounds more like I think it's supposed to, less 'beet' more 'bit.'


Do you mean the length or the narowness? In "bit" the wovel is wider and longer than "beet" at the same time.

Czech has only one short i-like vowel and one long. Any wider/narrower differences are not phonemic and will be perceived as the same vowel by Czech listeners.

The actual phonetic realization can be slightly variable between different persons and regions.


For an example of a speaker with very narrow is, try https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PGnB4LTs9E But even here he will sometimes say it more narrow and sometimes less. And quite unpredictably, not like he would distinguish between i and y.


In "myši a kočky", both 'y's as well as the 'i' are pronounced /ɪ/ - the same as in English "bit". All short 'y's and 'i's in Czech are pronounced like that. And all long 'ý's and 'í's are pronounced /i:/ - the same as in English 'beet'. For English speakers, these two vowels are one of the easiest bits of Czech phonology.


This sounds like it's a proverb, or saying, meaning that you only see what interests you. Is this an actual saying in Czech?


no, it is literally a sentence about what some dog can see


I keep putting in "The dog does not see mice but cats." and getting it wrong, because it says I have to say "but THE cats."???


I wrote "The dog does not see mice but cats" and it was accepted 31 Oct 2017.


I wrote "The dog does not see mice, only cats". Although I know the given translation of 'ale' is 'but', I think 'only' (or 'rather') is what one would say in English.


"Ten pes nevidí myši, pouze kočky." - different sense of the sentence.


why not "toho psa"? is the subject of the sentence mice and therefor dog is not accusative? sorrryyy


Nope, the subject of the sentence is the dog and he sees something which is an object (cats or mice).


Shouldn't the subject be in accusative case, i.e., "toho psa"?


All subjects are always in nominative. Accusative is used for objects.


Why cant it be "cant" instead of "doesnt" in the "the dog doesnt see mice but cats"


Both "can't" and "doesn't" are accepted. You must use the apostrophes correctly and report the complete answer.


Why doens't it accept "The dog does not see A mice but cats."?


Because you cannot use indefinite articles in plural in English.


What is the difference between pes and psa? Doesn't both of them mean dog? Thanks for your help


Czech grammar uses cases https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_case Please read about the accusative case in the Tips and notes provided (available in any web browser).


@ Miki155897

Yes, both mean " dog". But it is in different "case". It is inflected. Many languages, including Czech, have more cases than English (English used to have more but lost them over time). They can indicate what is happening, in this instance, with the dog.

"Pes" means the dog is the one/the thing doing something. Psa" means that something is happening to the thing/dog/person.

For example: "the dog sees" = "pes vidí / ten pes vidí " I see the dog" = "Vidím psa / Já Vidím psa"

or with "člověk": "the human sees" = "člověk vidí /ten člověk vidí" "I see the human" = " Vidím člověka / já vidím člověka*"

That's why it is important to start getting familiar with the cases of words from the beginning since it can totally change the meaning. (It is not necessary to be perfect right away, but it is a bad idea to ignore them)

In English you can see inflection easily with verbs (in this case it's called conjugation). For example: " to be". It is not "I be , you be, it be ..." but "I am, you are, it is...".

Cases may seem cumbersome in the beginning but they can make the sentence more flexible and allow for more nuance/emphasis.

http://www.locallingo.com/czech/grammar/nouns_cases.html "The case expresses the "attitude" of the speaker towards the subject he or she is talking about"


It's exactly like saying that "he", "him" and "his" all mean the same - they all mean "he", they all refer to a third person singular masculine entity. And yet, there are rules when to use which:

  • He sees a dog. - On vidí psa.
  • The dog sees him, too. - Pes ho také vidí.
  • Is that dog his? - Je ten pes jeho?


I thought that mouse and cat are in the accusative form here? But isn't the accusative form of myši, myše?


"myš" is feminine and its accusative plural form is "myši":


(In all feminine nouns, plural accusative is the same as plural nominative. And the same applies to neuter and masculine inanimate nouns.)


Doesn't and does not should be used equally


Not really, there are contexts where contractions are undesirable - in formal texts, for example. One does not use contractions in scientific articles.

But anyway, why are you writing this? Contractions are accepted in translations automatically by Duolingo software. If something wasn't accepted for you, you have to report the complete sentence. Use the report button and always double-check your answer.


Isn't it miši im plural?


It's "myši" in the plural, and "myš" in the singular.

Learn Czech in just 5 minutes a day. For free.