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 translating from English to Czech, care should be taken not to use the general second person too often under the influence of the original since in longer texts this would create the impression of a mannerism foreign to Czech….“


The general human agent can be conveyed in English by you, they, we, one, people, a man, a fellow etc and the passive voice. Of these the principal devices appear to be you and they [which] are far more frequent than all the others.

The English man-pronoun proper, one, appears to be the least common. It is stylistically marked in that it is more characteristic of scientific writing than of conversation, though even here it can hardly be described as common. Comments in manuals on ‘good English’ sometimes reveal a negative attitude towards it.

Stylistically, one belongs to higher style, whereas člověk is marked as colloquial.

Když má člověk někoho rád….                                                                                                                            When you love somebody….

Když o tom člověk začne přemyšlet.                                                                                                                  When you come to think about it.

To je tak, když se člověk pro ženskou obětuje.                                                                                        That’s what it’s like when you sacrifice yourself for a woman.

Chci se ženit, a člověk nikdy neví, co se může v domácnosti hodit.                                                           I want to get married, and you never know what may come in handy in a household.

Of course, you can be more ambiguous than člověk, so it should sometimes be avoided.

Czech third person plural –> English passive

We can expect some Czech third person plural forms to correspond to the passive in English. In some […] examples the two forms may alternate, but occasionally the passive appears to be more appropriate.

Zavolali mě k operaci                                                                                                                                                     I was called to an operation

Před chvíli mi nabídli nové místo.                                                                                                                           A little while ago I was offered a new job.

Jak to víš? Řekli mi to.                                                                                                                                                  How do you know? I was told.

The third person plural is most likely in the Czech equivalents because of the stylistic incongruity between the literary passive and the colloquial context. […] The English passive [can be] stylistically neutral.

Quotes and examples from Man-Sätze in Czech and English (in Studies in the English Language, Volume 2, p. 41) by Libuše Dušková.

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 in their properties in comparison to the parent strain.                                                                                        Differences in the properties of our deletants relative to the parent strain were demonstrated by DAPI staining.

These results we achieved by using….                                                                                                                    These results were obtained by using…;

In the next set of experiments, the kinetic constants were determined.                                                  The kinetic constants were determined in the next set of experiments.

After application of XY in these mice acute inflammation was observed in the abdominal region.                                                                                                                                                                        Acute inflammation in the abdominal region was observed in these mice after application of XY.

As recipients normal rats, nunu rats or CCIS rats were used.                                                          Normal rats, nunu rats or CCIS rats were used as recipients ….

From K psaní odborných článků v angličtině

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 encountered  especially in translating. A Czech word often has a too narrow, concrete meaning and does not fit in the particular context as well as the corresponding  English word. To illustrate this point let us compare the words prostor and  space. In Czech prostor is nearly always three-dimensional and local (if it is  used in reference to time it requires the adjective casový (prostor) [temporal  space] since this use is an exception), whereas in English, space refers to both place and time. 

Even though English words differ from Czech words in that an English word as a naming unit generally has a wider range and consequently a more general content than its Czech counterpart, English style is required to be  highly accurate, logical and concrete. It is thus often necessary to express  explicitly in English what in Czech is taken for granted; consequently, English  often uses more words where fewer are needed in Czech. For instance, Czech psal mi [he wrote to me] is often expressed in English by he wrote to tell me.

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 difference between the proportion of individual FSP factors observed in Czech on the one hand and in English on the other. While in Czech the governing principle of FSP is linear modification (word order), in English the main load of FSP is carried — due to the relatively fixed word order — by context and the grammatical requirements of English syntax.

A dynamic translation takes this difference into consideration, thus producing a natural looking Czech or English text.

Consider the English and Czech versions of the sentences below; they convey the same message, though they treat it — in terms of word order — differently (the most dynamic elements are underlined)

A passer-by told me about that.

Ŕekl mi o tom nějaký kolemjdoucí.

There was an old picture on the wall.

Na zdi visel nějaký starý obraz.

It was in that restaurant that he announced this.

On to oznámil právě v té restauraci.

What I hate is making such excuses.

Takové vymlouvání skutečně nesnáším.

A Handbook of FSP — Martin Adam


English articles are found to be an important means of marking out FSP components, compensating for the above-mentioned rigidity in the linear arrangement of the English sentence. The indefinite article is often capable of marking a segment as RHEME regardless of its position in the sentence. Similarly, the definite article interrelates closely with THEME. It is an important means of referring to GIVEN elements and its employment in this way has far-reaching consequences both of a syntactic and a semantic nature.

THEMATIC MEANING AND TRANSLATION                                                                                             (Functional Sentence Perspective and its Relevance for Contrastive Language Study)Josef Fronek 


Without the help of FSP, a translator can often be oblivious of [these] five factors, and would in any event only account for them intuitively, rather than as a stage in his or her professional training: these are the factors of (a) emphasis, (b) the sequential progression of the text, (c) cohesion, which links the given (the theme, the topic) with the new (the rheme, the comment), (d) sound effect and (e) the relationship between spoken and written language;

As though in silent reading, the spoken language continuously lurks behind the written languageready to clarify any ‘potentiality’ [i.e. semantic ambiguity], where more than one interpretation of the meaning of a sentence is possible.

FSP becomes particularly important and useful in the analysis and evaluation of serious imaginative literature, where the written language is always potentially both spoken and ‘live’ in the sense of contemporary, whatever the date of its composition.

“[A] false stress or an incorrect sequence, which are both the special domain of FSP, will normally distort the meaning of a translation.”

FSP makes a fundamental distinction between the context-dependent and the context-independent elements of a sentence.

Here it is to the credit of the FSP scholars, and to the benefit of translators, to have shown that words may be context-dependent or context-independent or may have a degree of context-(in)dependence, […] and revert to their basic meaning when they appear out of context, as in: Translate into French: I bet. — Je parie. But: I bet she’ll turn up. — Il est à peu près certain qu’elle arrivera (She’ll almost certainly turn up). Some would here regard Je parie or even more Ich wette (G) as too literal, since they are unlikely to be as frequently used so colloquially as ‘I bet’.

With the help of FSP, the translator is compelled to regard both the original and his version as a spoken as well as a written text.

Language and Function (ed. Josef Hladký)                                                                                   Functional sentence perspective and translation                                                                                     Peter Newmark


Recent research into sentence stress in English has shown that the intonation centre, signalling the rheme proper, often falls on a non-final sentence element.

A written English clause with an ambiguous FSP structure (which is in speech disambiguated by the position of the intonation centre) can be disambiguated by word order in Czech.

Whereas in a Czech scientific text the rheme prevalently occurs in final position […]. an English scientific text shows the rheme in two more positions: preverbal and what may be called verbal.

About 50% of the clauses have the rheme at the end.

The position of the rheme in English and Czech sentences as consituents of a text          Studies in the English language                                                                                                              Libuše Dušková

(Scientific texts were chosen for this study, as they tend to avoid emotive and expressive word order).


Cases where the linear distribution of clause constituents overrides the clues provided by the other factors and becomes the principal FSP indicator are rare and have to be sought among sentence structures deviating from the canonical grammatical word order.

The search for sentences in which word order [= linear modification] alone can be relied on to override all other FSP factors as a theme/rheme indicator has proved to be difficult: they are extremely rare and rather elusive,

The strength of the weak factor is therefore limited; linearity only overrides the other FSP factors in a narrow range of syntactic constructions, which tend to be rare.

[L]inearity can override the other two non-prosodic factors (context and semantics), but it is difficult to imagine it overriding prosody [i.e. intonation, tone, stress etc].

Linearity in functional sentence perspective: the strength of the weak factor             Vladislav Smolka


Some examples from:

Syntax to Text — The Janus Face of Functional Sentence Perspective by Libuše Dušková

At dawn she was awakened by the sound of rain                                                                                           Za svítání ji probudil déšť

Her mouth opened to emit a sound                                                                                                                       Z pootevřených úst jí unikl zvuk

Bernie hadn’t after all owned the little house                                                                                        Domek Berniemu vlastně nepatřil

Gone were the terracotta roofs of the farmhouses they had known, the stone sinks, the primitive wood-burning stoves                                                                                                                    Terakotové střechy jejich bývalých venkovských domů, kamenné výlevky primitivní plotny, kde se topilo dřevem, upadly v zapomění

Morals were pretty strict in those days                                                                                                         Tehdy panovala přísná morálka

The pale lamplight fell on his face and chest                                                                                                      Na jeho čelo a hruď dopadlo bledě světlo lampy

…the minute I see something white in the letter box                                                                               …když se ve schránce něco bělá                                   

She gave the chair a gentle turn                                                                                                                                A mírně pootočila křeslo

He gave me an irritated look                                                                                                                                        Pohlédl na mne dotčeně

To the right of the path a mixture of grass and                                                                                            Napravo od ní se svažoval k hladině

weeds sloped down to the level of the water                                                                                                  břeh zarostlý travou a plevelem

…and dreadful heresies drifted across the poor fellow’s brain                                                                   a jeho mozek počaly pokoušet kacířské myšlenky

A single metaphor can give birth to love                                                                                                            Láska se může narodit z jedné metafory

Examples from Dušková:

With her right hand she pulled his head down and gave him a real kiss                                                  Pravou rukou si přitahla jeho hlavu a polibila ho jaksepatří.

Jaynes cursed and gave his desk a hard kick.                                                                                                Jaynes zaklel a tvrdě nakopl pracovní stůl.

He gave the untidy kitchen a scornful glance.                                                                                            Pohrdavě se rozhlédl po zaneřaděné kuchyňce.

He gave his wife a stern look.                                                                                                                          Přísně se podíval na ženu.

Relevant quotes:

“Owing to the grammatical function of English word order, the English subject mostly occurs in initial position, which is as a rule the position of the theme. In Czech, on the other hand, the initial thematic position is often occupied by other clause elements, adverbials being nearly as frequent as the subject, while the subject fairly often assumes the function of the rheme, and stands at the end.“ But there are many exceptions:

English differs from Czech in being so little susceptible to the requirements of FSP as to frequently disregard them altogether.’ – Vilém Mathesius

‚The most common strategy by far seems to be to abandon the thematic organization of the source text in favour of adhering to whatever word-order principles may be operating in the target language. In other words, most translators prefer to give priority to the syntactic principles of the target language rather than to the communicative structure of the source text. – Mona Baker‘ (In Other Words p. 171)

(FSP = aktuální členění větné )

See also 017 Word-order problems

B. Proudew / Hrdý Budžes by Irena Dousková

Normalization? Collaboration?

The children are watching...

B. Proudew Lucie Lomová-p1b85k8787iefnlj1t6k19l31kj7


Irena Dousková
B. Proudew

Translated by Melvyn Clarke

Foreword by Irena Dousková

Cover art by Lucie Lomová

Cover and book design by Bedřich Vémola

171 pp, paperback

ISBN 978-80-906428-0-5

Publisher: Pálava Publishing

E-mail: orders@palavapublishing.com


Phone: +420 724 118 082



Helena Součková, an eight-year-old schoolgirl in a small provincial town, deals not only with the uniquely dismal side of life in Communist Czechoslovakia, but also with more than a few universal issues, like death, school dinners, guilt, obtuse teachers, betrayal, love, Jewishness, annoying little brothers, almost absent fathers, cruel classmates, bogus adults, eerie daydreams and nightmares that reflect the society around her. A child of her time, Helena nevertheless rises above it all with her special blend of grit, common sense and dark imaginings, which speak to us today with clarity and power. Helena has come to be a well-known archetype that many can identify with.

An extraordinarily successful, frequently reprinted bestseller. Often repeated on Czech television in its stage adaptation, Hrdý Budžes has come to be one of the most famous Czech prose works published since the Velvet Revolution. In the Czech Republic alone more than 65,000 copies have been sold. The book has also been published in translation in Germany, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Belarus, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is now a firm family favourite in the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Central Europe. What has the English-speaking world been missing out on?


Czechlist resources

Online dictionaries:
European Parliament — GlossaryLinks – a one-stop-shop for online glossaries                          Lexincon                                                                                                                                                                              Eurlex
Other resources:

Czechlist archive

 Naše překlady jsou už všude kolem vás


Aby také ne
Agile work

Bezhotovostní převod

Bílý kůň     https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153552399029463/

Black and tans

Bludné kořeny https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153877687374463/

Bodice ripper  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153618283974463/


Bony a klid


Bourárna masa  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153628251299463/

Boží muka                                     https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155556991384463/

Buddy movie https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10156208437369463/

Budovatelský https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153604777184463/

Bunny run

Burčák       https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153614612844463/

Být na koni

Car fleet


Cesty Páně jsou nevyzpytatelné  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155537403899463/

Civilní vozidlo  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155533426704463/

Claim, slogan, tagline https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153639485239463/


Comfortable  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153633149754463/

Commissioner for oaths

Commons, propertization

Commonwealth  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153676213059463/

Compliance  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153598487264463/

Contingent upon

Cookie cutter (function)


Credit-clearing organizations

Cukr káva limonáda čaj rum bum  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155617457724463/

Curate, vicar, rector
Čest práci
Dale, dell


Degustace a ochutnávky

Detašované pracoviště  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153797553929463/

Dětská košilka (christening gown)

Developmental coursework https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153477036909463/

Didaktika  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153492804179463/

Diesel mechanic

Dílčí smlouva

Disclosure log

Diskrétní zóna

Dohoda o započtení


Do světa na zkušenou  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155517533294463/

Došlo k (see, witness)

Družina                   https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155643796729463/

Držet hubu a krok  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153557085029463/

Důlní pole

Dvojí číselná řada

Džíny-plísňáče https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155486076099463/

Economies of scale


Error reconciliation

Estetická výchova

Existenční likvidace  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153538953939463/

Existenční minimum https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155574548824463/

Fail forward

Feel of a word


Firma v. společnost
Chráněná krajinná oblast

Insitní         https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10154029140824463/

Integrovaná střední škola

Intelligence Corps  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153461548004463/

Izolační páska

Jako na dlani   https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155641106709463/

Jevištní tvar


Jsme každý jinde
Koukat někomu na ruce/prsty (pod ruce)
Krafat, kafrat, prokrafat
Kreslit, malovat
Kuchyňský robot
Kultura, za kulturou
Leap of faith

Majetková důvěryhodnost

Majorizace (zákaz)
Master agreement / framework agreement
Meziresortní připomínkové řízení
Montážní hala
Musíte ještě víc zabrat
Na pováženou
Nalej, vylej

New Deal

Nižší a vyšší stipendium  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153554665469463/

Noční bojovka

Noční klid  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153682893814463/

Nouzové dojetí

Ó lavoir     https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153501416939463/

Občanské sdružení / spolek

Obezitologie             https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153469670359463/

Occupational therapist

Odborný garant
Odříkaného chleba největší krajíc
Off the hook
Oil bath filter
One bedroom, one bath – „1+KK“ and „garsonka“

Pavlač – back to back

Pavláčový dům

Pěkný dáreček

Pepito        https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155703623289463/

Poznámkový aparát
Praktické cvičení
Prezenční / absenční vypujčka

Place of jurisdiction

Probation worker, CAB
Převedení, přeložení

Přirozený úbytek zásob

Přispěvková organizace
Řezané pivo

Scénáristické zásahy https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153585845914463/


Schválně  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153800382184463/

Sections, chapters etc

Set decorator
Skirt steak
Skvrnitost, foxing
Slepotisk, umalovat

Sleva na poplatníka

Skeleton crew  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155608999569463/

Sliby chyby






Soudní příkaz



Společensky účelné pracovní místo
Správa logistického zabezpečení Policejního prezidia ČR
Státní a profilová část maturitní zkoušky
Statut vysoké školy

Stavební družstvo

Stavební objekt
Stavební technické osvědčení

Store of value


Středisková sídelní soustava

Stříhový film  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153541243694463/

Studijní pobyt  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155672300619463/

Studijní průměr  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153554665469463/

Sumární   https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153652968169463/

Svahovky  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10154889307284463/

Šéfmontáž  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153537079889463/

Šišky                                        https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153945790114463/?qa_ref=pp

Školní besídka

Špalíry       https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153857625139463/

Španělský ptáček

Štabrdle    https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155649413014463/

Švelkoks, polokoks

Tah na bránu  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153473109179463/

Teen paranormal romance  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153618275334463/

Texture     https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153815191369463/


That’s saying something  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153608156444463/

Thermal oil

Tie-dyed    https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155631769594463/

Tipnout            https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10155626306894463/

To bych tě nesměl znát  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153649051849463/

To je na pováženou https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153468884709463/

Toe kick     https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153622866039463/


Traction    https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153637104559463/

Trade means faster growth

Trainee veterinary nurse

Transparentní účet
Tu máš čerte kropáč
United we stand

Úvazek      https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10152724866119463/

Užitková voda, TUV
V / na Praze 4
Vážený pane doktore
Velké dějiny a malé dějiny
Videotéka, prezenčně přistupný (see also Prezenční / absenční vypujčka)

Víš, co mi můžeš…
Vlk se nažral a koza zůstala celá
Volná tvorba, volná grafika
Volně prodejný
Vydovádět se
Vypointovaný příběh
Výzkumné sondy
We make things happen

Zaleptávané https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153493180789463/ 

Zámecký hejtman (dvorní erár) https://www.facebook.com/groups/188751454462/permalink/10153587227559463/

Zaměstnaný advokát

Zděné obytné sídlo
Zustat v obraze
Zvedlo publikum ze židle
Žákovská knižka
Želvy ninja
Životní pocit
Capitalization in Czech
Capitalization of Czech place names in English
False friends
Flying bells (legend)
Gender-neutral sentence
Glossary of academic terms
Hyperformal, pseudy, bombastic words
It in legal documents for collective entities
Jokes – classic, chicken, elephant, lightbulb etc

Learning Czech – some tips
Modifikační částice
Neřízená kopie
Non-comparative comparative
Noun clusters
Obscure English words
Place names
Portmanteau words in Czech
Přechodníky, transgressives
Run-on sentences, comma splices
Stance adverbials
Surnames and place names
Translating names and using diacritics
Would and used to
Zvířecí statek or Farma zvířat