1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Czech
  4. >
  5. "Pije pivo od svých devíti le…

"Pije pivo od svých devíti let."

Translation:He has been drinking beer since he was nine.

January 30, 2018



Hi guys and gals, I don't think we've encountered this term let yet. I think it's the genitive plural of léto meaning summers, and thus that the Czech idiom for 'years old' is 'summers'. Is anyone able to clarify? Also, why am I the first one to ask about this...?


Yes. This is the firt place this word is taught. There are two expressions for 'years' in czech. ROK and it has plural ROKY and a word that is never really used in singular and plural is LÉTA. It does come from the word léto but I do not think that native speakers really realize it till a foreginer points it out. It cannot be used in singular as it would mean just a summer. I believe that you can come across this in some archaic English as well. In archaic Czech you can sometimes also come across the word ZIMA (winter) being used as an expression of a year. Dožil se ještě mnoha zim. = He lived to see many more winters. But you would not hear that in spoken language.

You can use (in plural) both words = roky and léta as you wish. They are equal. I personally would probably use LET in majority here, it just is easier to pronounce. Flows better. But it might be personnal preference.


A popular Irish ballad (in English) refers to "a youth of eighteen summers"!


svych? why svych?


literally "since his nine years"


I tried: He has been drinking beer since his ninth year, which I thought was closer to the Czech sentence, but it was considered wrong. Why?


That construct is not normally used when speaking about someone's age, but is fine in phrases like, for example "his ninth year at school" or "his ninth year in France."


True, it isn't common to phrase it this way (in English) -- it sounds somewhat rustic perhaps -- but for it not to be accepted seems to be an exception to the rule of preferring the most direct translation.


it is not direct to switch a cardinal to an ordinal when the source language has both available.


It seems to me that switching a cardinal to an ordinal in translation is no more drastic than completely eliminating the word 'years' from the translation; however, I must bow to the judgment of those in charge.

Learn Czech in just 5 minutes a day. For free.