"A cat is eating the mouse."

Translation:Tu myš žere kočka.

November 21, 2017

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"Ta kocka zere tu mys" Czech guy sat next to me says that this is spot on. He points out that the emphasis on the sentences is different which is leading to some confusion. If this is correct is there any chance to have the translated sentences matching the emphasis of the Czech ones?

The Czech answer statement is saying "The mouse is being eaten by the cat" and the English one is saying "A cat is eating the mouse."

Unless this is deliberate to make us think about the construction of the sentences and how it goes together in which case I'm not that clever in the first place guys this is making it a lot harder for me! ;)


It is deliberate and there is no way to match exactly because in English you can stress any word in the sentence just by pronouncing it with more stress/more loudly.
"A CAT is eating the mouse."

Czech works differently and widely employs the word order to focus on different words in a sentence.

Tu myš žere kočka. A CAT is eating the mouse. (It is a cat who is eating the mouse.)
Tu myš kočka žere. The/a cat IS EATING the mouse.
Kočka tu myš žere. The cat IS EATING the mouse.

Note that you should not start with the verb here, it would be the question word order.
Žere kočka tu myš? Does the cat eat the mouse?
Žere tu myš kočka? Does a/the cat eat the mouse?

You can read much more about focusing on various elements of a sentence at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topic_and_comment Because the words are shuffled in Czech sentences this way, one uses grammatical cases to distinguish the subject and the object in a sentence.

The grammatical cases are one of the key points of the Czech grammar and are necessary to decode many sentences you will encounter in natural daily speech.

Even though it may look difficult at the moment, it is extremely important to realize that this feature exists early during learning Czech, otherwise you could be left seriously misinformed and confused later.


So.. if I'm understanding correctly.. in answer to "what is the cat doing to the mouse" you would say "tu myš kočka žere" to emphasize is eating... tu myš žere kočka says a cat is eating the mouse as in response to something like "what is eating the mouse".. "Ta kočka žere tu myš", would be emphasizing the mouse? Like.. "what is the cat eating?" "The cat is eating the mouse" (if say there's a known mouse in the house/family) and no "tu" if you just want to say a mouse? Sorry if it seems like I'm just repeating everything you already wrote.. im just making sure i understood correctly..


Thank you for such a good explanation


I agree. Making the language unnecessarily difficult is demotivating.


Yes you are right.i was also confuse.the answer is: the cat is eating a mouse.xxx


Why correct answer is "Tu myš žere kočka."? It means that the mouse is eating a cat, isn't it?


No, you can tell that the mouse is the object of the sentence because it is in the accusative case (Tu mýs).


No, it just means we stress it is a cat and not something else who is eating the mouse. Please read the comments that I and AgnusOinas wrote elsewhere on this page.


There are a lot of unfounded complaints in the discussion. This sentence perfectly shows how the Czech word order works.

We put the new information at the end. English uses an indefinite article to mark new information (a cat). And we put the topic - what we've already talked about - at the beginning (the mouse). The case system allows us to switch the order of the subject and object as needed - we still know what's eating what, because "kočka" is a subject (doing the eating), while "kočku" is an object (being on the receiving end of eating).

  • Co žere ta kočka? - What is the cat eating?
  • Ta kočka žere myš. - The cat (topic - what we've been talking about) is eating a mouse (focus - new info).
  • Co žere tu myš? - What is eating the mouse?
  • Tu myš žere kočka. - A cat (focus - new info) is eating the mouse (topic - what we've been talking about).

(objects shown in bold - in the accusative case)


This is the best explanation I've seen of this. Thank you, so much. The complaints are probably arising from the fact that word order should probably be a topic on its own (maybe it is... I haven't gotten far enough). Trying to keep the cases straight, and the number, and the demonstratives while at the same time being introduced to new words occasionally (without clues as to whether it's masc, fem, or neuter until it's too late) is already a bit overwhelming. Adding the word order at the same time when it hasn't been discussed in depth in the tips makes it more difficult for these things to sink in. The good thing about the complaints is that they've yielded comments in responses like this one that help bring it all together.


I'm glad my explanation was helpful. Czech word order is, especially for English native speakers, a huge issue. It can't really be all discussed in a single skill/topic, it has to be spread out over many lessons, parallel to everything else. Also, since it's involved even in the most basic sentences, it's an issue from the very early lessons onwards. It could certainly be done in a better way (with a lot of effort), and perhaps it will -- in the second version of the course tree.



But just like our users are distracted by all the conjugations, declensions, new words, and I suspect their resistance to new concepts, I see my energy going into the black hole of lexemes not being humanely reorganizable and retaggable, with associated sentences not being inheritable or readily reassignable.

For a better job, I need a much better tool than the existing Incubator. Or I need to accept that no such tool will ever be available, bite the bullet, and simply start with the existing tool all the way from scratch, free of the inertia of all the existing unoptimizable clutter.


This is the best explanation so far for this and actually cleared up some of my confusion on the u/a endings for certain words. That makes much more sense! Thanks!


Rich, yer right - I think this is meant to make us think. Czech is very different in this aspect - I've been experimenting with trying different sentence orders in my practice answers and usually the 'weird' ones are also accepted as correct. But hey, if helps us it to learn, good is!


I am not a grammar "nerd" . I just want to learn Czech so I can communicate when I go to Prague. This is unnecessarily difficult for a beginner.


The word order is confusing me as well.


If and when you learn more languages, you'll see that a lot of them, especially those that mark the object (e.g. kočka vs. kočku) are completely happy with this word order. The reverse word order (Kočka žere myš) is more likely to mean "The cat is eating a mouse."


Exactly the correct answer was should be "Ta kočka žere tu myš". Please fix it.


No, you are wrong. "A cat" cannot be "ta kočka". Only "the cat" can be "ta kočka".


I already reported this issue but now I read it might not be one. It is frustrating and confusing.


Do you want to learn Czech, or do you want to learn what you think Czech should be?


I want to learn Czech people speak nowadays...


And what makes you think that "Tu myš žere kočka." is something that Czechs don't normally say nowadays? For Czechs, this is a completely natural sentence.


Why such difficult examples.


Surely the most likely phrase to be used would be 'that' cat is eating a mouse..? I know... ...this comes under a whole other section(!) ...and there are so many versions of 'that' and I have not got my head around them all yet. What would it be? -'tamte', 'tamtu', 'tamleta'.. ? =S


we are trying to teach you the czech sentence. what you would rather say in english is not that relevant if you fail to match the meaning.

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