- Well, tongue twisters and other tricky things will drive people crazy
in any language.
However, just normal, ordinary things in Czech drive anglophone
learners crazy, and it often follows a pattern.
When they learn the accusative case, they start out intuitively
feeling that nouns before the verb are always in the nominative, and
nouns after the verb are always accusative. This is more or less the
distribution of "who" and "whom" in English. The misconception can
result in weird sentences like, "Sesit ma Janu," but the same person
will say, "Jana ma sesit." The former sentence is reminiscent of
English sentences uttered by Czechs, such as, "This picture painted
my grandfather!" or, "This piece of cake isn't going to eat anybody!"
Once the Americans are using the accusative reasonably well, you can
teach them the locative singular, which seems to cause no problems.
The instrumental singular also is no problem.
However, for some reason, when the dative is introduced, the
American's subconscious decides that all noun phrases must always and
everywhere receive case marking. Once this problem starts, the
subject of a sentence is usually marked for dative, and if you tell
them it's wrong, they mark it for genitive. Even a simple sentence
that they could form before, like, "Muj bratr ma vlastni auto," turns
into, "Memu bratrovi ma vlastniho auta," or if you're REALLY lucky,
"Memu bratrovi ma vlastniho auteho." Even if the person knows
better, his brain does this anyway, because it's apparently a natural
part of the process of learning a heavily inflected system of cases
and conjugations. All you can do is correct, and hope the person
comes out of it sooner rather than later.
My favorite was when a woman was given the sentence, "Pes lezi na
slunci," and told to change it so that it meant, "I lie in the sun."
This was easy. She just added an M. "Pesm lezi na slunci."
On Oct 3, 2007, at 4:09 AM, Jaroslav Suchánek wrote:
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