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So many different ways of saying things ..hoch..kluk..chlapec

Hey :) does anyone else find czech difficult, I think i'm doing relatively well but I have to finish all the levels in one section to be fully confident before going onto next.

As I'm going on to different levels I'm noticing there are more and more ways of saying things. Is there only in certain situations/conversations where you should choose one i.e. devce, divka a holka.

Thanks :)

June 23, 2018



Everything depends on context. You as a foreigner will be forgiven for not speaking perfect Czech, don't worry :-)

But you are of course right. There are so many ways how to say anything in Czech. There are even many possible word orders as you may know now...

Děvče/dívka/holka...okay. I am saying "holka" (plural is "holky") in most cases. It is common word for me. But I may say "děvče" (interestingly, "děvče" is neuter gender, but "holka" and "dívka" are both female) to some of my friends in a teasing way (for instance "Ty seš/jsi hodné děvče" = "You are a good (meaning well-behaved in this case) girl") Difficult to explain. "Děvče" is more..I don't know...ancient to me. That is how I use my language. I am really sarcastic person. I sometimes choose unusual words or correct Czech to tease someone.

What does it mean "correct Czech"? Well, I live near Prague and we are using colloquial endings in our adjectives. For male gender -ej ("mladej" instead of "mladý" which is correct form and "mladý" = "young") or -ý for neuter ("hloupý" instead of "hloupé" for neuter gender, "hloupé" = stupid). By the way, -ý is the correct form for male gender, but colloquial for neuter. Correct form for neuter is -é. Luckily, there is no colloquial form for female gender, it is always -á.

I could say in a ironic way "Ty jsi milý chlapec" = "You are a nice boy" to some of my friends when he is not nice at all. Like, when he just put a salt to my beer (yep, that happened) :-) Normally, I would probably say "Ty seš hodnej kluk" (colloquial ending -ej, see?) to a 6 years old. "Chlapec" (and "hoch" as well) sounds more ancient (well, not really that ancient) to me than "kluk" which I use commonly.

Hope it helped a bit. Czech tongue is a complicated one, but always remember: You are a foreigner, we do not expect a perfect Czech from you.

To be honest, I am amazed anyone is learning my language at all. Hats off to you and forgive my imperfect English. Still improving :-)


ahoy! :) Your English is very good, you wrote that with such depth and clear explanation :) I definitely think I will get the hang of it slowly, I wish the app had Czech and had a thing where you can talk to it and it records your pronunciation because I'm better at writing than pronouncing the words in czech. like ty and ti ..I find very hard to hear differences in how you say them.


Yeah; those differences are quite nonexistent when speaking - this one's only about learning grammar.


hey that's what duolingo is for, to learn a new language or improve on one. I have friends near Prague and I plan on moving to Czech Republic in a year, I am super excited to learn this awesome language and to see everything that there is to see in Czech Republic.


Thank you for these encouraging words! :)


Not that I will use it because I will stick to 'mladý, but do the colloquial adjective endings stop at the nominative ie you there isn't a parallel conjugation beginning with 'mladej', is there?


There is. It mostly consists of regular sound changes + some simplifications and borrowing old dual endings for some plural forms.


For anyone interested, here's a comparison of the masculine animate hard adjective declination in standard Czech and common Czech:

Singular Standard Common Plural Standard Common
NOM mladý mladej NOM mladí mladý
GEN mladého mladýho GEN mladých mladejch
DAT mladému mladýmu DAT mladým mladejm
ACC mladého mladýho ACC mladé mladý
LOC mladém mladym LOC mladých mladejch
INS mladým mladym INS mladými mladejma


  • Vocative forms are exactly the same as nominative forms.
  • Unfortunately, the table doesn't quite fit in the comment.
  • Beginners should only look at this for fun; this information is meant for advanced students who already know the standards endings well enough not to be overwhelmed.


Are you saying that all these word endings are just for one word? That's crazy.


They are, but I would strongly suggest ignoring the non-standard ones at your stage of learning and only concentrating on the cases that were used in the lessons you went through.


Is this common Czech being taught anywhere?


The very last skill in this course gives a glimpse of common Czech.

But in general, it's recommended to learn the standard language, and once you know it at a reasonable level, it will be easy for you to spot the differences and, if you want, learn common Czech very quickly through exposure in Prague, or anywhere in Bohemia, or in movies etc.


This is something that can't be described easily. There are too many fine points. The words are often used ironically or sarcastically. They are used to denote actual little boys, large boys but also adults. That is also true for English "boy".

You can check the quantity of their usage in contemporary written and spoken Czech. But the main point is that they are used in various contexts by different kinds of people to denote different kinds of people. The usage will vary between different cases, especially the nominative and the vocative.

You can check these links (Psaný jazyk = written language, Mluvený jazyk = spoken language)

nominative sing.: http://syd.korpus.cz/5RGuM0qQ.syn vocative sing. : http://syd.korpus.cz/KCC4swzS.syn plural: http://syd.korpus.cz/Qy8niXJg.syn

These are for kluk, chlapec and hoch. You can switch to dívka, děvče and holka yourself.

I you switch Synchronní to Diachronní in those links, you will see the evolution of the frequencies in history.


to me you can't go wrong with 'holka' and 'kluk' in everyday speech (bad in my case!) with Czechs. When I used to walk my dog in Prague I got asked on a daily basis 'Je to holka nebo kluk?!'. Occasionally I would hear 'samec' for male (dog) and sometimes 'fešák' meaning 'handsome dog'. His ears still perk up with pride when I say that to him.....I'm sure he's bilingual :))


Don´t worry. You can use kluk (and holka) only. Of course, it is good to know what chlapec/hoch (děvče, dívka) means.


I have friends in Czech Republic and they help me out with stuff like that. I typically use holka (holky if plural) I don't actually know if there are certain situations for using dívka or děvče, but I will ask Lucie and Jakub (my friends in Czech Republic) this question and see what they say (you may already have an answer already but I have wondered this as well but just forgot to ask them)


Have the same question. Is there any "standard" Czech language, like the "BBC English"? Is there any difference in this "Standard Czech" in using "kluk" vs "hoch" vs "chlapec"? Say, in the "standard" Russian there IS a difference, you would call a male child "malčik", but from around 15-16 until around 20 it would be "junoša" (the same origin as Czech "noch"), and one wouldn't use "pareň" in the "Standard" language as it is an informal (though perfectly neutral) word.

The same is for "holka" vs "děvče" vs "dívka". Intuitively I wouldn't use "děvče" for a teenager (someone older than 12), but I am unsure am I right? And what about "holka"?

(I've used the Czech alphabet for Russian words instead of the Russian Cyrillic for readers' convenience)


There is what is called "spisovná čeština" ("Czech of Literature"). That is what is codified (both vocabulary and grammer rules) by Ústav pro jazyk český (Czech Language Institute, part of the Czech Academy of Sciences) and it is what is taught in schools and what is more or less expected in "official" use of the language, including the media like TV or newspaper (at least from the professional interviewers, journalists etc.), official communication with/between state institutions, company press releases, and generally in any written communication.

Then there is something called "obecná čeština" ("Common Czech") aka "nespisovná čeština". It is something what's more commonly used in every day situations. That is, at least in Bohemia.

In contrast, in some areas, especially in Moravia or (Czech part of) Silesia, people usually use the "spisovná čeština" even in less official situations like when shopping. (And if they do not, they rather use local dialects which can differ little bit from a village to another village, but when talking to a foreigner or even a person from Bohemia they often automatically switch to "spisovná čeština").

(There are/were many local dialects in Bohemia as well, but they have disappeared quite a lot, their influence is nowadays generally much smaller, and were mostly replaced by the "obecná čeština".)

What makes Czech little bit specific even in comparison to other Slavic languages is likely the bigger gap between the "spisovná čeština" and "obecná čeština" than what most languages exhibit, because there were few centuries when Czech language more or less disappeared from the high class level of the society (nobility, church, academic circles) and was replaced mainly by German due the history of Austro-Hungarian Empire. So when the "spisovná čeština" was codified during 19th century as the initial part of the Czech National Movement, it was based a lot on the language of Bible Kralická (direct translation of Bible to Czech; 1st published in 16th century).

For the language development and its codification it played a role comparable maybe to the work of Shakespeare and its influence on English, but with the few-centuries-long delay between publishing of the work and the language codification... Therefore a lot of new words was also created and added to the vocabulary to e.g. cover scientific terminology and newly observed natural phenomenons. Some people even go that far as saying that "spisovná čeština" is a partially artificial language because of that.

In the mean time the Common Czech was still in use and developed among craftsmen, farmers, servants and all lower parts of the society and in rural areas. But it incrementally absorbed a lot of (often changed/simplified/adapted) vocabulary from German (and often different one in different geographic areas) and in many ways almost reached the level of a pidgin language.

Throughout the 20th century (and especially in the few most recent decades), the two Czech languages have slowly come back closer to each other and the process still seems to continue. That's why there are sometimes so many synonyms (but which still may bear some connotations of being "nicer" or "high-literature-worth" (chlapec, hoch, jinoch) versus "less official" words (kluk), even though when they all may be included in the official/codified vocabulary.

Still, many linguists and teachers say that "spisovná čeština" is the 1st "foreign" language most Czech children have to learn when they start attending an elementary school because they usually know only the "obecná čeština".


I think that agewise, they all three are corresponding to "malčik". Although I have heard chlapec said to little children and young men alike (in movies), I think, depending on context, you can do the same with "malčik" (just like with "boy" in English). For "junoša", there is "mladík" or "mládenec" in Czech.


You will often hear the word kluk used to refer to young men much older than 15/16. Even much above 30. It depends on the context and it is mostly informal. I will not hesitate to call a group of my friends "kluci". In the same way a group of adult women can still (informally) be "holky".

You can also hear people call adult sportsmen "hoši". And adult sportswomen "holky".

In Moravia they go as far as calling adult people "děcka". "Děcka, pojďme na pivo.". And they can be 60 years old.

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