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/ ).
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.
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.
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?
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.