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Re: [Czechlist] clánek

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  • James Kirchner
    Well, tongue twisters and other tricky things will drive people crazy in any language. However, just normal, ordinary things in Czech drive anglophone learners
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 3, 2007
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      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."

      Jamie

      On Oct 3, 2007, at 4:09 AM, Jaroslav Suchánek wrote:

      > Neco k poctení:
      > http://neviditelnypes.lidovky.cz/jazyk-hratky-aneb-cestina-je-
      > vrozena-vada-f1c-/p_kultura.asp?c=A071002_005857_p_kultura_wag
      > JS
      >
      >
      >
      > Translators' tricks of the trade:
      > http://czeng.wetpaint.com/
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
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