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  5. "Od kolika hodin?"

"Od kolika hodin?"

Translation:From what time?

January 31, 2018



So, we know kolik as 'how much, how many', an adverb. So far as we have seen in this course, adverbs don't decline, and from consultation with dictionaries and wiktionaries, kolika is a medical condition (colic in English).

So what is happening here? Is this a special form of kolik only used in this expression? Or only used in the genitive?

Just trying to understand here...


It is not an adverb. Or is it? Different dictionaries are telling different things. Some say it is an number or pronoun.

But all say it does decline. It is the same in all cases except the instrumental in which it is "kolika". It also has this form after prepositions in all cases except accusstive.

https://cs.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/kolik and also the SSČ, SSJČ and PSJČ dictionaries.


Hi Vladimir,

Thanks so much for the response! I think one of the difficulties I face is that English-Czech and Czech English dictionaries are not nearly so helpful or accurate as Czech dictionaries. Unfortunately, as a learner of Czech not yet fluent, I tend to be a little lost in Czech dictionaries. I've found wiktionary helpful, and I often find that when the English wiktionary lacks information about a particular word, the Czech wiktionary has it.

However, sometimes I forget to go straight to the Czech wiktionary! I suppose it ought to be the first place I go when something doesn't make sense.

Thanks for the clarification!


Here is another handy source, if you're not already using it (this is the "kolik" page): https://cs.wiktionary.org/wiki/kolik. I find it very helpful for declensions and conjugations.


The English wiktionary incorrectly claims that "kolik" is an adverb (thus no declination), the Czech wiktionary claims it's a numeral, but the official Czech dictionaries classify it as "zájmenná číslovka", i.e. "pronominal numeral" - like a hybrid category between pronouns and numerals.

Either way, the form "kolik" is nominative and accusative, the form "kolika" is all other cases. The preposition "od" takes the genitive case, hence "od kolika".


So does this mean "At what time?", "From what time?" sounds a little odd to me as an English sentence? If it indeed translates to "At what time?" I assume the mistake is due to "od" translating roughly to "from" in Czech?


It indeed means "from what time." It references the starting point of a a period of time. As an example: Someone says to you, "I will be there from three o'clock till four o'clock." But you didn't quite catch the starting time, so you ask, "From what time?"


A good example is asking when a store opens. If you ask a store assistant, you might ask "What time do you open?" in English, but in Czech it's more natural to say "What time are you open from?" -- thus: "Od kolika máte otevřeno?" (literally "What time do you have open from," but that's not natural English)

"What time does that film start?" can be expressed in a similar manner: "V kolik začíná ten film?" but also more simply "Od kolika je ten film?" (literally What time is the film from?)

So: "v kolik" = "(at) what time"

"od kolika" = "from what time"

"do kolika" = "until what time"

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