Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Prague, language thoughts

Some attempts at creating useful phrases:

Muzete mi pomoci? Could you help me?

Prosím, kde můjv mozek? Excuse me, where is my brain?

Nabízíme Vám můjv hloupost. I offer you my stupidity.

(We won't get into "vlajici sukne", especially for Gerald's sake.)

Dobry jakýkoliv,
I've been trying to learn some very basic turistický Czestina/česky, but the going isn't easy.
For example, you'd think that saying the word for "ticket" wouldn't be all that hard, and would be a useful word for dealing with transport, museums, et. cetera. Ah -- but what kind of ticket?

When I fly into Praha, it'll be with a "letanka" or air ticket. But to use the tramway, autobus, or metro I'll need to purchase a pass or "jízdenka" (ticket, passage, travel permit). But that won't get me into a museum or theater. No, for those I'll need something like a "vstupenka" (entrance ticket) or lístek (ticket, coupon), not to be confused with the jídelní lístek (menu) in the restaurace (restaurant).

More slovniki vzrušující zábava :

ticket - jízdenka (ticket, travel permit, passage; jizdenka na vlak railway ticket)
ticket - letenka (plane ticket, air ticket, flight ticket)
ticket - lístek (scrip, ticket, coupon, card, leaflet)
ticket - vstupenka (entrance card, entrance ticket, admission card; vstupne – door-money, entrance fee, entrance, gate)
ticket - lístkový (ticket, card; listky – tickets, seats)
ticket - cedulka (tag, sticker, sign, ticket, slip)
ticket - oznámení (na cedulce) (ticket, bill, notice, announcmeent)
ticket - cedule (notice, poster, slip, ticket)
ticket - cenovka (tag, price tag, ticket)
ticket - opatřit si lístek (ticket)
ticket - přivěsit lístek (ticket, tag-card)
ticket - stvrzenka (ústřižek) (voucher, receipt, certificate, chit (clipping, coupon))
ticket - vydávat lístky (ticket, seat-issue)
ticket - kandidátka (volební, USA) (political ticket, slate)
ticket - označit (lístkem) (brand, sign, indication)
ticket - program strany (USA) (ticket, political platform)
ticket - los (papírový) (paper ballot)

So there's a huge mass of vocabulary. But wait -- there's more -- because Czech nouns and words in general are highly inflected, the endings keep changing, so one has to try to learn to recoznize many different forms of the word. As a poor dumb cizinka, my mind is adequately boggled.

A trivia question about names -- I understand that "-ova" is the feminine name particle that in some senses means roughly "daughter of" but which also is the name-ending a Czech woman traditionally takes upon her wedding. Hence Carol Anne would be "Byrnesova" if she were a Czech chick. I understand, if I read correctly, that in the vocative case a name ending in "a" changes its ending to "o". So, if this is more or less right, would I greet Marianna, "Ahoj, Marianno!" It sounds strange to my ear but maybe it is something I just need to get used to.

Here's something I found on the Internet at the "Local Lingo" site that gives just a tiny bit of some flavor of Czech grammar:

Czech has 7 grammatical cases:
1. nominative
2. genitive
3. dative
4. accusative
5. vocative
6. locative
7. instrumental

The case expresses the "attitude" of the speaker towards the subject he or she is talking about. Cases are often expressed by using a preposition - e.g. the genitive is often used with the preposition "z/ze" (from), the dative can be used with "k/ke" (to/towards), "do" (to/into), etc. No preposition is used with the nominative and vocative....

Examples (using the word "hrad" - "castle"):

Nominative: "hrad" Hrad je starý. - The castle is old.
Genitive: "hradu" Z hradu vycházejí lidé. - People are coming out of the castle.
Dative: "hradu" Cesta vede ke hradu. - The road leads to the castle.
Accusative: "hrad" Vidím hrad. - I see a castle.
Vocative: "hrade" The vocative is used only for calling/addressing someone or something.
Locative: "hradu" Mluvím o hradu. - I am talking about a castle.
Instrumental: "hradem" Za hradem je les. - There is a forest behind the castle.


At 2:51 PM, August 01, 2005, Anonymous Quentin Wilson said...

In your spare time, it would be nice to extend this glossary into the Turkish language. German would be nice, too. Spanish really should be at the top of the list. Pragmatic futurists will of course insist on Chinese.

At 1:36 PM, August 02, 2005, Blogger Pat said...

Probably not, but if you want to volunteer to translate the website into several languages, maybe you'd enjoy that!

Spanish is already done -- so many cruisers go to Mexico that there are sailing/medical/travel dictionaries that people can buy. "Es peligroso! Hay un gran barco a su derecho, un banco de piedras malas al izqierda, y la playa arena in frente, y no tengo dinero para el capitan del puerto. Aieey, Chihuahua!)

German probably likewise; you could also go to Xochi's used bookstore in Truth or Consequences and buy some nice sailing books published in German. Spanish and German I can speak a bit of, but so what; other people do it lots better.

Some folks actually charter out of Turkey because it's cheaper than the western Med., so by now there might even be something for sailors in Turkish -- though the Turks likely are perfectly happy to speak some words in whatever major language from which they're getting money.

Chinese is beyond me.

But somehow, with a Czech chick in our family and likely future visits by our family to the Czech Republic, I may be the one best qualified person on the planet to be a liaison between the Czech and New Mexican sailing communities. And, my website might even be the best place on the internet to translate English and Czech sailing terms. For what it's worth.


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