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  5. My motivation is about to dis…


My motivation is about to disappear … Help!


this is basically a cry for help. :’D

I did some research today about the declination of nouns in Czech. This is SO much, and right now I wonder how anybody ever managed to learn to speak fluent Czech as a foreign language. Or at least I am sure that I will never manage to get all of that in my head.

I guess I just need some fellow learners who can tell me how they approached these masses of word endings and that it actually isn’t impossible. Because I don’t wanna give up this language. I really wanna master it some day! But right now I’m kinda hopeless. ^^'

(Btw, if you’re German and looking for a Czech club: 9K32RQ)

May 22, 2018


[deactivated user]

    Love this video and love Steve Kaufman.


    Hi Guiliano,

    I don't know if this will help (and if it doesn't, just think of it as someone else who wants to learn Czech and is having some similar difficulties simply wants to talk to you) but what I do is I slowly grind it in to my body. I'm an English speaker so gender and case are entirely new and strange!

    I know just a tiny little bit of German. You probably do der Apfel --> den Apfel intuitively? You probably do Vogel --> Vogeln while Haus --> Häuser without thinking? If you multiply it out I think you can construct a German declension table of the article of 4x4 size? Can you off the top of your head fill out the 16 parts of the table very quickly? Probably not, yet you manage to speak perfect German!

    Now the Czech declension table is surely worse! 7 cases, right? But then just like in German where the plural endings change in multiple patterns, the endings of nouns with the same genders also change in multiple patterns, so you have many tables! I think learning the tables by heart which I'm bet the native Czechs don't learn is probably helpless. (Well, maybe some people can, I certainly can't.) I give up learning the table, just like I did when I did German. But I think it's good to have a table next to you, so it's there for you to look at, but keep feeling which ending you want to use, hoping that you won't always have to look at it.

    I don't know how quickly you go through the Duolingo tree, but my strategy is to slowly grind it in. First you start with the gender, unlike German or French you're not required to do der/die/das or le/la but then you can be familiar with it, here you learn ten/ta/to. Then you start learning that in accusative these go to toho/ten/tu/to. The neuter remains the same just like in German. Then slowly learn the endings. It's a bit annoying because there are more, but slowly feel it. The noun kluk --> kluka and the same goes for the name František --> Františka, the noun žena --> ženu just like Kateřina --> Kateřin*u.

    ten psa --> ty psy, ta mašina --> ty mašiny, etc.

    Feel them.

    I also think it's quite nice that the sound of some endings are very similar like ta kočka --> tu kočku, or a little less like to prase --> ta prasata.

    I've just got to possessive pronouns and man there are 3 tables! many of whose entries are double!! Then I ask myself how I can learn this table... I don't think I can. But thinking about it, I haven't really learned the tables before, yet I manage to get many many questions right (still with many mistakes but I can tell I'm getting better everyday!) But I genuinely don't think you have to learn the table, just try to remember the gender and feel their sounds or their endings. It's not easy, you maybe have discussed with your friend which gender is of some noun, maybe?

    I know this makes learning very slow. I don't remember when I started, now I'm at level 13 and I've finished the possessive pronoun section only a few days ago. But this way you don't feel pressured to remember all the tables you can construct for the Czech declension?

    It might be hopeless for someone to learn by heart all these tables, I for one am one of them. But we can surely slowly learn it right? After all barely any one who is Czech does not speak Czech. If they can learn it, why not us! You can manage all those many languages in your list already! How many people can actually do it? (Well maybe a lot of people who are crazy about languages here on Duolingo can, but what's the fraction of this people to the world population!)

    Give it time and I'm sure you can learn it! maybe even all those declension tables!

    Good luck. And while I don't think people respond much when you ask questions in the discussion forum of each question, I can tell you that the notes people wrote here are like the best! You barely have to do research elsewhere to have enough knowledge to do exercises in each section. Perhaps you got nervous because you've seen all those endless tables of endings? (Just like how I once was scared (and maybe still am) by those 4x4 German declension tables!

    Good luck and all the best for your Czech language learning route! It's know to be one of the harder ones which is why I'm trying too! But your courage and effort will surely pay off! Give yourself time, repeat the questions, and learn slowly, don't rush!

    Es tut mir leid, ich kann nicht wirklich Deutsch sprechen und ich kann auch nicht bei deinem Klub mitmachen, aber viel Glück und viel Spaß! Gib niemals auf!



    yes, the tables are a double-edged sword. many users want them, some are intimidated by them, and some would like them to be simpler. we can improve how the difficulty level is staged along the tree in the next version. for example, segregate A1 content at the top, provide appropriately simpler tables there, and later return to the material at A2 and beyond.

    also, simple exercises could be added for new nouns with ten/ta/to or hard adjectives to make the genders of new nouns more obvious.

    we are overdue for graduation out of beta, so the work on the new version will be ramping up. feedback from frustrated users is something we pay attention to, even if sometimes silently.


    Thank you so much for this answer! It honestly made me more hopeful again! :D

    It was all the Czech declension tables who made me feel hopeless, yes. I actually printed them all out on a double page. Not to learn them by heart (I never even considered trying it since I knew that wouldn’t help me actually speaking the language), but so I have it if I need to look at it, like the advice you gave me. :)

    I think, too, that I – we – just have to be patient and that I simply have to work myself through the tree. I can’t expect yet to even have the slightest feeling for the language already. But I think (I hope!) that I will get this feeling naturally after some time.

    Thank you again, I really appreciated your help! And btw, your German was basically perfect! ^^


    I'm glad all that was actually of some use! =)

    Don't scare ourselves things that are yet to come, eh? The tables are huge! But like the world map, I'm sure you know more than a few places on it, right? That's even bigger than the declension table yet we use it and we aren't afraid of it because we look at tiny spots at a time and slowly expand our knowledge of it.

    And there are a lot of people to help us here too!

    I just recalled that it was you who asked about the gender of a Czech word the other day too, right? I think I didn't have anything to contribute so I didn't say. But that list really helps. And while they don't use definite article to go with a noun like in German, you can certainly develop some sense and feel it from how those words are used together with the adjectives. For example, in German, it's rote Lampe or weißes Licht, so you easily recall it's die Lampe und das Licht. Here in Czech you have, ta žena, velká žena; ten kluk --> ti kluci, velké město --> velká města, etc. And -a is feminine singular, -i - masculin plural, -o neuter singular for a noun, -e neuter singular for an adjective, which is changed to -a for neuter plural! And so on.

    But let me stop before it becomes boring for you to read me. For now, chin up, and let's move through the Czech tree together!

    P.S. Thanks for the kind words regarding my German but I can only speak very simple sentences. The other day I had an opportunity to say a simple sentence like, "werde ich dich morgen sehen?" yet it took me 3 tries before I got it out correctly. T.T Perhaps I'll do the German Duolingo tree at some point.

    [deactivated user]

      I came to Duolingo to brush up on French so it was a breeze for me. Duolingo purposefully designs its courses to be an introduction. I am taking Czech as well. I would be more than happy if at the end of the course I could speak basic Tarzan Czech. My husband and I dream of visiting Prague. There are plenty of apps to learn Czech. Learning a language takes patience, devotion and sometimes a lifetime.


      Well, Portuguese is my mother tongue and I've been learning Polish for at least 3 or 4 years – not the same language, but the case system is similar. My only advice to you is... Go ahead and make the most of what you learn. Don't be so afraid of name declensions now because the only thing that this behaviour will do to you is getting you disappointed. Sure, you have to learn the correct forms, I don't dispute it. But just don't make this the most important question for now. When your brain is used to what you learn things will start to make more sense spontaneously.

      [deactivated user]

        Agreed. I am learning languages to enjoy them. When the time comes to need to know the declensions, etc, it will happen naturally. I believe intuitively that the people of these languages created declensions for a good purpose, to better understand themselves and give meaning to their language. So I will accept them as a gift and treasure them when the time comes.


        If you are learning Czech for travel purposes, don't worry too much.

        I had the same feeling with Russian after one year of evening courses. Then I spent one week in St Petersburg and tried speaking... Of course, I coudn't have one sentence right.

        So what I did was to concentrate only on a specific point of grammar, like having only the accusative right. Didn't care for the rest like perfective and imperfective form of the verbs, and used the nominative form of nouns and adjectives everywhere. Sounds awful but did the job to be understood... which was very useful since many russians don't speak english... and they did appreciate my efforts

        Only after a (long) while, I decided to also put the right form of the pronouns.

        So, if you need a motivation : One point at a time; don't try to be perfect. Be proud of what you accomplish because not many people can't even reach that step.

        [deactivated user]

          Thank you, my main reason to study and learn some Czech is to have fun and enjoy each unique word while I listen to great Czech opera and music. :) If I ever become fluent, that's a bonus.


          I wonder what proportion of the Czech course users you may represent. Whatever that may be, it may be worth a skill devoted just to that in the new version of our tree.

          Any works in particular you wish you could have the vocabulary for? :-) I suspect that CEFR did not reflect those needs in their lowest levels, so the skill may be forced towards the bottom of the tree. Depending on your speed, it may be waiting for you there one day.

          [deactivated user]

            Thanks for your reply. My music director at church is Czech, in his 70s and one of the kindest, smartest people I have ever met. I decided to learn Czech and explore Czech music to thank him for teaching me piano and some voice techniques. I am delighted that Czech is a bit similar to Ukrainian my father's ancestry. I like the sound of Czech in talking and singing. The letters and sound combinations are neat. I know almost nothing of Slavic opera other than Wozzek (?language) Boris Gudonov (Russian) and a couple Czech operas, I will find their titles later this week..

            I learn languages intuitively. When I started Italian on Duolingo 5 months ago the pronunciation was relatively easy from years of opera listening.

            Thanks for your offer of help with the vocabulary. I will make a list. Heský vikend :)


            On a different note, does any of you listen to some easy pop music? Perhaps you could give me a few suggestions to start with?

            Nikki, I know pop music is very different from opera and there are reasons why people might not want to appreciate it but it's easy enough for me. In any case just wonder if you or anyone might have a suggesion.

            [deactivated user]

              Ahoj, I listen to almost any kind of music, even heavy metal if it's good. I listen to German rock and pop music. Do you have radio apps that are international?

              [deactivated user]


                I see! It's just that most of my friends who like either opera or instrumental music tend not to like pop. Good to know there are others.

                No I don't usually use radio apps but I was going to look up whatever you suggest on YouTube so thanks for making it even easier, charts are a good idea. I remember looking up German pop songs for a while and then fell in love with Auf dem Weg which got me going for a while! I hope I can find something like that in Czech too.


                There is so much music that is really hard to suggest anything.And at my 35 I seem to be to old to today's pop-music. And also I usually care a lot about lyrics.

                But this one is really good https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpJV6ZCo84c (the lyrics too).

                But I am more into rock, be it older arty classic rock https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOVKHc057ck

                or extremely simple punk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bs-xoD_MqRU


                I didn't read all the comments, but most of them, so sorry if this is repeat. When I started taking lessons a few years ago, my teacher made me memorize all the forms. However, on my first trip here for 90 days, I quickly realized for most basic conversations (1 or maybe 2 sentences back and forth), I only needed to know 1st and 4th singular. I think the reason for this is you are mostly using simple sentences SVO. (I have x. I want y.) From there, I learned 7th (which is quite easy) and 3rd. I still struggle with 2nd and 6th. Basically, don't try and learn them all, your basic conversations won't need them. And if they do, just make something up that sounds right; most Czech speakers will understand. From there, slowly memorize plural as you need them.


                With all the changes in Duolingo lately; where can we find the useful Czech lessons in Grammar now?


                When you click on a Skill, it shows you the level you're on, how many exercises you need to complete to get to the next level, etc. When the grammar section is available for a Skill, you'll see a little light bulb beside the Start or Practice button. If there's no light bulb, the grammar hasn't been completed yet.

                [deactivated user]

                  Thank you


                  Dobrý den! I felt the same way after first finding out about how many cases and genders there are in Czech. I only had experience with Spanish and English so I didn't even really know what a case was before then. This article really calmed me down and laid out a method that seemed like it would work. The author applied this method to Russian, but I have been using it in my Czech studies pretty successfully. https://www.fluentin3months.com/russian-cases/ If you don't like this method, you could always google something like, "how to learn cases." That is how I found this article.

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