Verbs of Motion

I think out current translations of verbs of motion are not very helpful to learners.

Picking on 'jezdit' as an example

We have 'jezdit = to drive'

But even in the first example for this we then have

jezdit na kole - to ride a bike

i.e. jezdit translates to 'ride' not 'to drive' in this case

In fact in the majority of cases jezdit does not translate to 'to drive'

Note that even when we are talking about cars 'to drive' is talking about the driver not a passenger.

For 'to drive' in this sense we have 'řídit'.

If we say 'Pojedeš tam autobusem? ' it does not mean are you going to drive the bus there.

You could make the argument that this means 'will you be driven by bus there' - but I think we are on thin ice.

I would argue that it means 'will you go there by bus'

I would prefer something like "jezdit = to go by transport (indet)"

Or "jezdit = to go by vehicle, ride (indet)" if the idea of a bike as transport is a bit thin

To work with verbs of motion learners need to understand the Determinate/Indeterminate distinction.

More here


Posted by predrup 5/20/12 , last update 6/4/12 (4 years ago)
  • good suggestion, thanks peter, i've changed this main entry to reflect this.

    Ideally I'm hoping the memrise team will soon let us choose which of the listed meanings of a word gets chosen as the main entry in a particular list...

    Posted by mangodurian 5/20/12 (4 years ago)
  • actually, i am wondering if it is really necessary to add determinate/indeterminate, seeings that we already list prefective/imperfective and for verbs of motion it seems that all indeterminates are also imperfectives (aren't they?).. I would think the indet is really not necessary.. what do you think?

    Posted by mangodurian 5/20/12 (4 years ago)
  • Unfortunately nothing in Czech seems to be that easy.

    The basic verbs of motion in Czech are all imperfective. Distinction needs to be made between determinate/indeterminate and if the motion is on foot or by transport.

    So for ‘to go’ we have

    Jít to go on foot (determinate) Chodit to go on foot (indeterminate) Jet to go by transport (determinate) Jezdit to go by transport (indeterminate)

    As all of the above are imperfective the perfective/imperfective doesn’t help us distinguish between them. Note however that the determinate forms (e.g. jít and jet) basically refer to single acts.

    Imperfective verbs can be divided into three subcategories: 1. Durative - Indicating an action that occupies a contiguous period of time. 2. Iterative - Indicating an action repeated at regular intervals, or occurring generally, habitually. 3. Frequentative - Indicating an action repeated at irregular intervals.

    Examples: 1. Jdu do školy nejkratší cestou. I'm going to school the shortest way. 2. Každý den chodím do školy. I go to school every day. 3. Čas od času chodívam do hospody. I go to the bar from time to time.

    More examples:

    Impf. Durative | Impf. Iterative | Impf. Frequentative | Perfective

    jít | chodit | chodívat | zajít jet | jezdit | jezdívat | zajet nést | nosit | nosívat | zanést běžet | běhat | běhávat | vyběhnout letět | létat | létávat | zaletět

    More on aspect here


    Posted by predrup 5/21/12 (4 years ago)
  • shoot, I see your point.. for a beginner like myself, it seems all so daunting, but I can see your point that determinate/indeterminate needs to be included.. Do you think it would perhaps be better to include that in the part of speech, rather than the actual translation.. so instead of just imperfective verb, we put impf. iterative verb, etc etc.. ?

    Posted by mangodurian 5/21/12 (4 years ago)
  • (putting it as the PoS will mean that it's viewable no matter which of the meanings is listed as the main definition)

    Posted by mangodurian 5/21/12 (4 years ago)
  • That makes sense

    Posted by predrup 5/21/12 (4 years ago)
  • For clarity can we add if a verb of motion is determinate or indeterminate?

    At the moment we have: to come (on foot) -> přicházet to come to (on foot) -> přijít

    They should both be “to come (on foot)” but přicházet -> imperfective indeterminate verb přijít -> perfective determinate verb

    This is an interesting point. The basic forms of verbs of motion are all imperfective (so we can’t distinguish between them by verb aspect):

    Determinate / Indeterminate / Meaning jít / chodit / to go by foot jet / jezdit / to go by vehicle, ride letět / létat (lítat) / to fly běžet / běhat / to run nést / nosit / to carry by foot vést / vodit / to lead or take on foot vézt / vozit / to carry or transport by vehicle

    But when a prefix is added to a determinate verb, the verb becomes perfective. And a prefix added to an indeterminate verb results in an imperfective verb.

    So in you can distinguish between prefixed verbs of motions just by perfective / imperfective although the determinate / indeterminate classification adds clarity:


    Prefixed perfective / Prefixed imperfective / Meaning přijít / přicházet / to arrive by foot přijet / přijíždět / to arrive by vehicle přiletět / přilétat / to arrive by flying přiběhnout / přibíhat / to arrive by running přinést / přínášet / to bring by carrying on foot přivést / přivádět / to bring by leading on foot přivézt / přivážet / to bring by transporting

    An alternative to using the determinate / indeterminate classification would be to add a note after the word e.g. přicházet -> to come (on foot) in progress, incomplete or regularly done přijít -> to come (on foot) completed, takes place just once

    But that seems long winded.


    Posted by predrup 6/4/12 (4 years ago)
  • hi peter, yes, i fully agree about listing determinate/indeterminate within the PoS.. I have done this for a few verbs already, but not all. Please feel free to change the PoS for other such entries too.

    there's also the iterative part of speech.. do you think that should be listed too?

    Posted by mangodurian 6/4/12 (4 years ago)
  • Hi Mango, do you mean as in:

    “particular“ “usual“(iterative verbs) JÍT CHODIT JET JEZDIT

    This is covered by determinate/indeterminate.

    Posted by predrup 6/4/12 (4 years ago)

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