Sometimes czech language really bewilders me with many different words but have the same meaning and do not know if they can be interchangable or not. Like in this example, as I know "pokud" also means "if" so i wonder whether it can replace"když"
I think it is almost the same difference as the difference between when and if.
Would a sentence like "Když nevím, ptám." be possible?
When I first saw "ptám se" I translated it as "I ask myself", although it made no sense. But why is the reflexive "se" needed in this example?
No. The se does not mean asking yourself. It is just a part of the reflexive verb.
I take it that se can
be put in front of ptam as well as after it?
It can, but the second position rule must be observed.
Is the first clause considered as the first position, so se should go before ptam to occupy the second position? Or do you not count a clause as an element, unlike in German or Dutch?
No, the first clause is a separate entity.
Ok thanks, I got it now. It looks like it's just another Czech-Croatian false friend getting in my way. :)
By the way, "I ask myself" would be "Ptám se sebe." (I believe it's "pitam sebe" in Croatian.)
The great question here is whether one can know by solely looking at the sentence , if 'Kdyz' means when(when I don't know, I ask) or 'if' (this answer)
It can be either in this sentence, it happens to mean the same thing, whether it's "if" or "when" here.