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  5. "Jsou to velcí osli."

"Jsou to velcí osli."

Translation:They are big donkeys.

October 22, 2017



Can I use this phrase as an idiom to describe e.g. political establishment?


Wiktionary says that "osel" can also mean "ass (stupid person)", so I suppose yes.


I need to write this out to be corrected or confirmed.

The reason this sentence calls 'velcí' instead of some other form of the Czech word for big/large: The noun being described is masculine animate plural nominative, so the hard-ending-adjective requires an -í. And, because of the consonant shift required when appending an 'í', the 'k' gets converted to a 'c'. So we get 'velcí'.

Is that correct?


Yes, í cannot be used with a hard consonant (h, ch, k, r, d, t, n) and it changes to a soft consonant, so there is a regular shift.

velký, velcí
mnohý, mnozí
hluchý, hluší
dobrý, dobří
krásný, krásní (ní means ňí)
mladý->mladí (dí means ďí)
prostý->prostí (tí means ťí)

This only happens for hard consonants, it does not happen for the group of "ambivalent" or "neutral" consonants b, f, l, m, p, s, v, z that can be used with y and i in various words.

hrubý->hrubí and so on...


I wrote "They are those big donkeys" and it says I am wrong, I don't really see why though? :( Why is "to" even in that sentence?


"To je" and "To jsou" (also "Je to" and "Jsou to") are phrases meaning "It is / That is" and "They are / Those are." You'll see them often throughout the course. (Gotta love 'em!)


"Those donkeys are big" was wrong. Why?


We decided to differentiate between attributive and predicative adjectives in the course. Your suggested sentence is similar but it is better translated as "Ti osli jsou velcí."


"They are the big donkeys", in Czech is it To jsou ti velcí osli / Jsou to ti velcí osli or Jsou ti velci osli ? Or are they all correct ?


Why is not the consonant before 'i' always palatal? What I hear is 'osly' in this very sentence.

Also, the word 'velcí' which sounded like 'velcy' to me made me think that there is a rule in Czech, one just like in Russian - that 'i' after c, ž, š does not make the consonant palatal. Am I right?


Have a look at Tips and Notes for the "Hello" skill (web version) for information on pronunciation.


Czech doesn't have the old Slavic palatalized/non-palatalized distinction that is still maintained in Russian. Instead of that, we simply have a set of hard consonants: h, ch, k, r, d, t, n; a set of soft consonants: ž, š, č, ř, c, j, ď, ť, ň, and a set of ambivalent consonants: b, f, l, m, p, s, v, z.

Czech has also lost the distinction between soft and hard /L/ - we only have one /L/ and it's an "ambivalent" consonant. There is no difference in the pronunciation of "osli" (nominative) and "osly" (accusative).

The consonant before "i" must be either soft or ambivalent, whereas the consonant before "y" must be either hard or ambivalent. Whenever you put an "i" after a hard consonant, it immediately changes into a corresponding soft consonant - that's why we have "velký" (singular masc.) -> "velcí" (plural masc. anim.). But nothing happens to the /c/ in "velcí" - there is only one /c/ sound.


Can I say "je to velcí osli" instead of "jsou"?


No, you must use the plural verb:

"Jsou to velcí osli." "To jsou velcí osli." "Oni jsou velcí osli."

These are the same sentences in singular:

"Je to velký osel." "To je velký osel." "On je velký osel."

The singular verb also works with numbers 5 and higher (with the donkeys in genitive):

"Je to pět velkých oslů."


"That are big donkeys" is correct I suppose. But Duo rejected it. Should I have reported it?


It is not. You can't use 'that' with plural.

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