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"What does this word mean?"

Translation:Co znamená toto slovo?

June 3, 2018

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Soolrak

Does 'znamená' follow the Nomintative case? Because if it followed the Accusative case would be tohoto, right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/endless_sleeper

Tohoto is genitive.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Janmunroe

In reading this sentence "What is the meaning OF this word?" I thought it might be in the genitive case. The correct answer is accusative so I guess the big take away is the "of" in the genitive needs to show possession. NO comment necessary unless I've got this just plain wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AgnusOinas

Comment necessary :D

In "co znamená to slovo", slovo is actually in the nominative ("co" is in accusative, but I don't think it's too important to know that). Anyway, "slovo" is the subject here.

You can, of course, take the sentence "What is the meaning OF this word?" and translate THAT literally into Czech. You'll get a rather clumsy "Jaký je význam tohoto slova?" where "tohoto slova" is in the genitive, just like you suspected. But it's clumsy, and Czechs would say: "Jaký význam má toto slovo?" instead, where "slovo" is the subject once again (nominative) and "jaký význam" is in the accusative (object of "mít").

Is that clearer?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Janmunroe

As clear as Czech is at the moment to a muddled old mind, yes. Dekuji! Sometimes with the fluid "word order" it can get a bit confusing with what's what. Frankly, I wasn't even thinking nominative in this case but accusative or genitive. But of course, it SHOULD be nominative. My foreign language experiences with French and Spanish (and for that matter English-my native tongue) have been learning them through speaking so you learn the grammar intuitively. This is the first time I've actually broken a language down into grammar, cases, etc. It's a very different process.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AgnusOinas

Yes, Czech is hard to learn "by ear" without paying attention to grammar. It's still possible but it takes a LOT of exposure and willingness to make a lot of mistakes in speech and writing for years before it all settles in the brain and a system forms on its own. Understanding grammar speeds up the process significantly, because you learn the system (the little boxes) at the same time as you fill those boxes with words and sentences.

What led you astray here was trying to interpret "What does this word mean?" and "What is the meaning of this word?" in the same way when they are very different constructions.

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