061 Člověk and you

„The second person denoting the general human agent, though represented in both languages, appears to be far more characteristic of English than of Czech.“ „Although Czech has structural requisites which make parallelism between you and 2nd person possible, in fact many of the uses of you correspond to člověk and/or the reflexive forms. Thus in […]

060 Impose classic word order where possible

As a good rule of thumb, check to see if it is possible to apply classic English subject-predicate-adverbial word order (i.e. when you do not need to highlight any of the elements by putting them at the beginning or the end). By DAPI staining of the deletants used in our study we have proved a difference […]

059 Semantic range

Interesting insights from A Functional Analysis of Present Day English on a General Linguistic Basis by Vilém Mathesius and Josef Vachek: English words as naming units usually have a wider range and  thus a more general and less definite content than Czech words, and are therefore  better suited to denote figurative meanings. This difference is […]

058 Functional sentence perspective

A brief summary of conclusions and insights from several works on functional sentence perspective (FSP): Word order in Czech is usually decided by the interplay of these FSP factors: primarily linear modification, followed by context and then semantic structure. In English the governing factor is primarily context, followed by semantic structure and then linear modification. There is a striking […]

057 An amazing hundred odd things you can do with English articles

When students complain to me that they will never get their heads around all the twists and turns of English articles I normally agree, while reassuring them that basic textbook rules cover ninety-something percent of cases, so they shouldn’t really worry their heads too much over the odd anomaly. But just how many exceptions are […]

056 Nominal English versus verbal Czech

The nominal tendency in English sentence complexing opposed to the verbal tendency in Czech is the most frequently and widely discussed topic in all contrastive English-Czech linguistic studies (see Dušková), most of them referring to Vachek’s (Selected writings in English and general linguistics) findings about the relatively vague semantic nature of many English verbs, functioning […]

055 Alternative perspectivization

The strong inclination in Czech to compensate for English condensers by clauses (both dependent and main) (see 054) sometimes results in the overall restructuring of the original sentence pattern, changing for example the directionality of the processes or events expressed in the source text (cf. the different perspectivization [of the next example] and the consequent […]

054 Condensation

Condensation (particularly in literary and formal style) “One of the global differences in the English-Czech interface is the tendency to shape the sentence complex in English as a compact whole, in which the core (nucleus) is surrounded by various more or less condensed structures (satellites); and the tendency in Czech to shape the sentence complex […]

053 Progressive forms of stative verbs

The progressive form of an English stative (or state) verb (wanting, loving, hoping etc) can convey tentativeness/politeness or growing dynamism. The use of the progressive form with these verbs is often not reflected at all in the Czech translations. Most typically, a basic Czech dictionary equivalent is used. I believe she was wanting us all […]

052 Have: various uses

Some notes on the various meanings of the have + infinitive/ing structure Causative meaning                                                   She had us working day after day They had me repeat the message Existential meaning Also used […]