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  5. "Mluvil a díval se na vlastní…

"Mluvil a díval se na vlastního psa."

Translation:He was talking and looking at his own dog.

November 26, 2017



When do we use "vlastní" instead of "svůj"(eg. svého psa)?


vlastní stresses that it was his own dog more strongly.


You are missing a word in the English translation...should be "He was talking to and looking at his own dog."


Could you please explain the scenario of the Czech sentence: 1. Is the man talking in general (e.g. on the phone, or to somebody else) while he is looking at his dog? 2. Is the man talking to his dog? ("Sit!") Thank you.


I understand it as 1 and I am not sure if it can also mean 2. I certainly would not understand it as 2.


Thank you! All those questions on that matter in this discussion forum did confuse me on that matter. You cleared it up completely.


You are right but talking at is not a very natural thing to say.


Why not talked to and looked at?


That is accepted as well.


How would you write "He was talking to and looking at his own dog"?


Not sure actually. English here allows you something that Czech does not like - the stray preposition. I am not sure the present sentence can mean that - but perhaps... really not sure. To be clear we would choose a different wording "Mluvil na vlastního psa a díval se na něj.".


Why not "He spoke and watched..."?


"He spoke and watched his own dog" is also accepted. There is, however, a report in the system for "He spoke and watched AT his own dog" that came in at the same time as your comment, which may have been your complete answer. "Watched AT" doesn't work in English -- it should be either "looked at" or "watched."


"He spoke to and looked at his own dog." Why is this incorrect?


Because that's not what the Czech sentence means. It means he spoke (to someone else or to himself or whatever) and also looked at his dog. It's not specified at all to whom he spoke.

"He spoke to and looked at his own dog." would be "Mluvil se svým psem a díval se na něj." because you just can't mix "mluvit s" (speak to) and "dívat se na" (look at).


How is 'se' obeying the 2nd position rule here? I assume that Mluvil is treated as a separate phrase, and that 'a' does not count as a first position word, but I thought that Czech was quite strict at using a comma to seperate phrases in a sentence.

(I'm not sure that phrase is the correct grammatical construct, but I can't think what it should be!)


I could be wrong, but I think you may have answered your own question there! :-}

My thought: "Mluvil" doesn't count, because it's sort of a stealth clause (a verb describing action that can stand apart from the rest of the sentence); "a" doesn't count, well, because it's "a"; so "díval" becomes the first word, and "se" politely situates itself in the coveted second position. (That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!)


Yes. Only why a "stealth" clause? It's a tiny clause, with a hidden subject and no object, but a complete cluase nonetheless :) All a clause needs to be a clause is a conjugated verb (i.e. infinitives don't suffice).


Why "stealth" clause? Two reasons: (1) Most of us Regular People, if we think of clauses at all, usually think of them as something containing more than one word and something separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma (even though, as you point out, all a clause needs is a conjugated verb); and (2) because I like how it sounds and the image it conveys. :-)


What you call a "phrase" is a clause. Any non-infinitive verb forms a clause. Clauses are then connected by conjunctions to form sentences (simple sentences are made up by a single clause).

Here we have two clauses: "Mluvil." and "Díval se na psa."

"a" is one of the few conjunctions in Czech that doesn't trigger a comma (the others are "i" and "ani", sometimes "nebo" and a few uncommon ones) -- because there is not special relation between the clauses merged by these conjunctions, they are basically just independent statements put into one sentence, there is no contradiction, purpose, cause, reason, consquence etc. expressed by other (more sofisticated) conjunctions. On that note, "nebo" is preceded by a comma if it expresses a relation of mutual exclusivity.

Therefore, "díval" is the first position within the clause.


Thank you Agnus, and thank you Bass!

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