1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Czech
  4. >
  5. "You are saying the word wron…

"You are saying the word wrong."

Translation:Říkáš to slovo špatně.

August 28, 2018



Why cant you say "Říkáš špatně to slovo"? They both mean the same thing. I guess the czech incubator doesn't account for the flexibility of the language itself?


It is not very natural. The Czech word order is flexible but not arbitrary.


I had the sense that Říkáš špatně would indicate that 'you said it wrong', as I was worried that 'slovo špatně' would indicate the wrong word. But after seeing the ideal translation above, I am guessing the order to avoid is 'špatně slovo'?


wrong word - špatné slovo

špatně is an adverb


Got it! Thanks!


Something I don't quite understand is that "the" should be kind of not needed in Czech unless we want to stress it (at least this was my understanding). In this case I write "Říkáš slovo špatně" and DL corrects me saying the right answer is "Říkáš to slovo špatně". Is it wrong because it is meant that it was that specific word that was wrongly said? Thus, the "the" is needed in Czech. Or is there a rule I missed that indicates when to use the "the" in Czech?


That is not really correct. Czech requires a demonstrative (and a Czech demonstrative is not the same as an English definite article) when it is not clear which specific entity it is. If we have only one dog, we can say "Pes je doma." and we know we mean "the dog", the only dog around. But there are many words, it is unlikely "slovo" would be understood as "the word" unless perhaps used in some religious meaning.

Be aware that various languages differ in this point and Czech uses the demonstratives much mar than, e.g., Russian.


Thanks a lot for the quick answer and insight!


Is it possible to distinguish between a word which is wrong (e.g. an incorrect translation) and a word that is bad (not used in polite company)?


The Czech sentence here has nothing to do with the latter. Firstly, špatně is an adverb and modifies the verb. Secondly, what is a "bad word"would most likely be "sprosté slovo", not "špatné slovo", in Czech.

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