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  5. What is the deal with cases???


What is the deal with cases???

So, I'm learning Czech, right? Czech has like fifty million cases along with feminine, neutral, masculine inanimate and animate.

First of all, is there a way of knowing whether its f, n, or m (such as in French, where -e ending is usually feminine)? Second, I'm terrible with cases to begin with, and I heard there are 3 cases more than in German (which I am fluent in, not on Duolingo though), so how is it possible to remember what case it is, and which form of every word to use?

I would really appreciate some help here, especially since all of this is extremely confusing and hard to remember (for me at least).

January 29, 2018



I remember writing about the gender clues in the Tips & Notes of the three skills in the second row of the tree. Perhaps you should start there. Do not expect to be able to always tell the gender by looking at the word, though. The cases complicate it even more, of course, because what help is it to know that the -e ending is usually feminine in the singular nominative when you do not know what number and case muže is. (It certainly looks almost like růže and even může.)

Highly inflected languages like Czech are a bit like Catch 22. There are 7 cases, 6 of which are being taught here at Duolingo, and there are too many rules and so many exceptions that not even the natives are always sure what the right ending is. (Talking about you, locative.)

If you are doing this for fun and have no real need for Czech, I suggest picking something easier, as it will be more consistent with enjoyment. If you are stuck with Czech, you may want to get some resources I recommended in my 96.5% update here, take it slow, and read the Tips & Notes.


Which case isn't taught?


All 7 cases are taught, though we do not focus much on the vocative case.


Case refers to a form a noun takes to indicate a relationship between the noun and a verb, preposition or another noun.

My understanding of the uses of cases comes from Polish rather than Czech but thinking in general Slavic terms

nominative, accusative, dative and genitive are similar to German (though the nouns change form rather than just the articles).

for the other cases

instrumental - by means of a noun, or relative location (in front of, in back of, over, under the noun)

locative - just a form that appears after some prepositions

vocative - hey noun! (used when direction addressing someone, so if you want to get Karol's attention you say Karle!


Here's a list of cases not found in German: (nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative should be familiar) Locative: Location (i.e. in/on); often used with prepositions. (Note: accusative case is also used for some prepositions, and so is instrumental.) Vocative: Direct address/calling out to someone/something ("John!") (Note: not used in Slovak.) Instrumental: What is used to complete an action ("I ate with a fork"); used in prepositions. Ty češtinu budeš milovat!


In the last sentence, you have very unnatural/poetic word order. The stress would be a bit ambiguous, because we don't know whether you're emphasizing the "češtinu" or "budeš milovat". A better sentence would be: " Ty budeš milovat češtinu." or "Češtinu budeš milovat." (note: the subject is omitted here because it'd sound unnatural).


I would love it if the course ACTUALLY gave you notes for everything after numbers 2 or 3. I would LOVE to know the exact rules for the locative case.


And after all this time, I can tell you I would still love to have able and willing help to make it all happen.

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