"Kdo to má chápat?"

Translation:Who is supposed to understand this?

August 20, 2018

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DL often strictly differs between "(tam)to" = the/that and "toto" = this. Why this exception.


I am not convinced by this explanation. I choose "this" because it was the only possibility in the app. Would "that" also be acceptable? The sentence is not in a context, so ... how does the sentence call for whatever?


And yes, Randonneur3, this is really subtle. I saw it only after I made my remark ;-)


Which explanation?


This is a programme. It gives you the the correct possible words randomly. But they are always there. If you will repeat this exercise more times, it is very likely that you will get this question with the word "that" as a solution to form the correct answer/sentence.


how does the sentence call for whatever?

Well, it is really mostly the feel for our native language. You can't use "toto" here in a good way (although you coul use tohle).


I believe that when “to” is used as a demonstrative pronoun it can be THIS or THAT. But when “to” is used as a demonstrative adjective, then it can only be THAT. Who is this/that? = Kdo je to? This child is tall.= Toto dítě je vysoké. That child is tall.=To dítě je vysoké. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.


"Kdo to má chápat? what about Who can understand that? This is what I would say to mean the same thing.


No, the kdo má really means "who is supposed".

" Who can understand that?" would just be "Kdo tomu rozumí." or literally "Kdo tomu dokáže rozumět?".


rozumi ?not chapat?


Kdo to chápe? Kdo to dokáže pochopit? if you want...


Yes. The context, of course is most probably - A mother who got a remark from her child "I do not understand", hence "who is supposed to understand this" comes after.


This is , perhaps, the first sentence that I have seen in this exercise where "supposed to" is used where I would use it myself. Other tines I feel it is being used to illustrate a distinction which does nor really exist in English


You didn't mention the distinction you suppose we are trying to illustrate. If you mean the distinction between "have to" and "be supposed to" than I am afraid I cannot agree that it would not exist.

But more importantly, what we are trying to illustrate is the difference in Czech. If the difference in English is smaller, so be it. In Czech the difference between and musí is big.


Thank you for your very prompt reply. Your second paragraph makes exactly the point that I was trying to make. Of course the fact that the basic meaning of 'mít' is 'to have' adds to the confusion.


Yes, this coincidence is what has caused me to struggle with the meaning of mít + infinitive coming naturally. In my mind, all infinitives have the word "to" in front of them. Být = to be, Jít = to eat. So if i see "mám být," I instinctively translate this as mám ("I have") + být ("to be") = "I have to be" when it really should be "I am supposed to be." It will take some deprogramming for this to come more naturally.


Yes. The problem (source of confusion) is what meaning Czech and English decided to assign to this "have + verb". Without it, it's clear:

  • He must work. -- Musí pracovat.
  • He has an apple. -- jablko.

But then -- what do you "have" if you "have a verb"?

English started using "He has to work" first as a weakened version of "he must work" (it might have started with just "He has work to do", where he still "has" a noun), and gradually "must" has become so undesireably strong that "have to" is the default. Especially since "must" lost its future and past tenses and "have to" has had to step in to fill that gap.

In Czech, "muset" is a fully functional verb. It is not perceived as too strong (as opposed to "You must...!") and it works in all tenses. We never needed to have an extra "must", so the "mít + verb" developed to have a different function, albeit also related to duty. So, "má pracovat" can be short for:

Má doporučení / žádost / příkaz / úmysl / plán, aby pracoval. -- He has a recommendation / a request / an intention / a plan to work. Someone asked him to work, told him to work, someone wants him to work, it is asked of him, it's in his schedule... in other words: He is supposed to work.

It's closer to "should" than to "must":

When asking someone "Mám si to koupit?" -- it's probably odd to translate it as "Am I supposed to buy it?". It's just asking for the opinion of the other person, so the closest meaning is: "Do you think I should buy it?"

When asking someone "Mám přijít k tobě?" -- the closest might be: "Do you want me to come over?" (which would otherwise be two clauses: "Chceš, abych přišel k tobě?" making the "Mám příjít k tobě?" version more economic and easy to say)

It's good to remember that the conditional mood of "mít + verb" actually gets us "should". E.g.:

  • Mám víc jíst. -- I'm supposed to eat more (someone wants me to eat more, my doctor perhaps, or someone told me to eat more, I may not agree)
  • Měl bych víc jíst. -- I should eat more (it's my opinion, it's what I believe)
  • Musím víc jíst. -- I must eat more, I have to eat more (it's a certainty)

The line between "mám" and "měl bych" (its conditional) may be thin just like between "I am supposed to" and "I should".


Ah, thank you!! Your replies are always so thorough and helpful, they're much appreciated!


Totally agree with Squeeeem (counts the e's to make sure I got it right). Always such thorough and clear answers!


I don't know if it helps, but I've been kind of thinking of it like, "You have (the suggestion) to be." It is in your hands, your possession.

e.g., "Máš jít domů" = "You have [the action of going] home, you own it, it is your choice what to do with it now. You can go home or not."

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