"Matěj is her young cousin."
Translation:Matěj je její mladý bratranec.
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What's the difference between that and "Jsou ženy mých bratrů."? It seems like most of the sentences we've been learning have the order with the possessed thing before the possessor. Why is this sentence an exception? When do we need to put the possessor before the possessed thing?
Here's a simplified grammar analysis that can perhaps shed some light.
Jsou ženy mých bratrů = [They] (subject, nominative) are the wives [of my brothers] (genitive phrase)
Matěj je její mladý bratranec. = [Matěj] (subject, nominative) is [her young cousin] (possessive pronoun + adjective + noun, nominative).
In the first example the genitive phrase must follow the noun (the possessor).
In the second, it is not a genitive construction, but a possessive pronoun that marks the possession. Possessive pronoun declines like an adjective (here, it is in the nominative case, being part of the predicative of the subject). Also, and more importantly, possessive pronouns, like adjectives, precede the noun they modify.
To make the second sentence follow the model of the first one, we could construct something like this:
*Matěj je mladý bratranec jí/ní.
BUT, I don't believe this is grammatical for any native speaker. (Therefore, I put the asterisk)
Thank you so much for this explanation. I've always seen that "word order doesn't matter" so it's good to know that in some cases (i.e., possessive preceding a noun and genitive phrase following the possessor), it does in fact matter. I'm sure there are other places too, so I'll be on the lookout. This clears things up a lot.