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  5. "Naši lidé potřebují vodu."

"Naši lidé potřebují vodu."

Translation:Our people need water.

December 5, 2017



Collective nouns, though singular, take a plural adjective?


"Lidé" is plural: http://prirucka.ujc.cas.cz/en/?slovo=lid%C3%A9

"People" is considered singular in English?


Czech doesn't even have collective nouns, does it? The word "people" is not singular, and though the dictionary calls it a "plural noun" even for "Human beings in general or considered collectively" they've wrong. It isn't plural either, nothing in general or considered collectively is plural; that's absurd. Collective is distinct from just singular or just plural. Mass nouns are the ones that are singular. Still it's effectively plural in ". . .people need water." If it were singular it'd be "Our people needs water." This sounds a bit absurd nowadays when, outside of certain politics. law, and such, one people includes all people, but consider if it were another collective noun: "Our team needs water." "Our team need water." Both are fine, though "our team" comes out as not collective but singular: "náš tým" -- I suppose that would mean it would be strange to say that it needs water in the first place, and it wouldn't agree with anything plural . . .


Of course Czech has collectives. Many of them. Lidstvo, panstvo, nádobí, zrní, listí, cukroví.

You can even create you own, the -oví suffix is perfectly productive, even if old and bookish. You can create e.g. šperkoví for šperky. The dictionary does not know it, but I found it used in a book.

Collective nouns use strictly singular verbs in many languages and certainly in Czech but the subject-verb agreement needs to be considered in all languages separately. The metonymic shift is a peculiarity of (mostly British) English.


No. It's not. British do the sometimes with sports teams I guess. Super annoying and tacky to me, they will say stuff like 'liverpool is doing a great job(falling over and pretending to be hurt)'.


why potřebují and not potřebujou, or are they interchangeable?


Potřebují are more formal, preferred in written Czech, potřebujou more colloquial and used more in spoken language.

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