2.2 Derivational morphology
Derivational morphology in Czech is accomplished by means of prefixation and suffixation of
roots. Nouns, adjectives, and verbs share an often overlapping set of prefixes, though each class
of words has its own characteristic suffixes. For these main inflectional classes of words,
prefixes largely serve to augment or supplement the meaning of the lexical item, and any suffix
is additionally an identifier of what part of speech the item belongs to. Compounding and
univerbization are also observed, mainly in the derivation of nouns. Interrogative pronouns and
adverbs share a special set of prefixes and suffixes. It should be noted that derivation is of
course a much less regular, predictable, and specifiable phenomenon than inflection. Derivation,
unlike inflection, is not simply a matter of combining elements according to fixed and
predictable patterns; it is subject to various conventionalizations, complexities, and gaps. The
component roots do not always exist as independent words, and the meanings of derived words
can often not be directly predicted from the meanings of the components. The following sections
make often tenuous assumptions about the provenience of words (derivation cannot always be
definitively resolved), and provide overly simplified and vague glosses for the elements of
derived words.
43
2.2.1 Derivational morphology of nouns, adjectives, and verbs
2.2.1.1 Prefixes for nouns, adjectives, and verbs
The following table lists the native Czech prefixes.
Prefix Noun Adjective Verb
bez(e)- without bezvědomí
unconsciousness
bezohledný
inconsiderate
do-, dů- (in)to,
finish, add

doslov epilog,
důvod reason
dojít go to, dodělat
finish, dodat add
mezi- inter- mezipatro
mezzanine
mezinárnodní
international
na-, ná- on, fill,
quantity

nábřeží waterfront nahořklý rather
bitter

najít find (come
on)
, nalepit glue
on
, naplnit fill,
napéci bake a
quantity of

nad(e)- above nadvláda
supremacy
nadpřirozený
supernatural
nadzvednout lift up
ne- not nepohoda
discomfort
nespolečenský
antisocial
nedbat neglect
o-, ob(e)- around,
subject to (factitive),
become, copy

opar haze; sore,
obnitka end-stitch
obtloustlý obese obejít go around,
obvázat tie up,
oloupat peel,
obnosit wear out,
onemocnět get
sick
, opsat copy
od(e)- from, back,
cancel, remove

odznak badge odvěký
longstanding
odejít go away,
odpovědět answer,
odmrazit defrost,
odzbrojit disarm
pa- (pejorative) pachut aftertaste padělat counterfeit
po- along, after,
cover, for a while,
start off, become

pobřeží coast poválečný postwar

pokrýt cover,
popovídat si talk a
while
, poblednout
get pale, pojít die
(of animals) (=start
off to another land)

pod(e)- below,
under-

podzemí
underground
podprůměrný
below average
podcenit
underestimate
polo- half-, semi-,
hemi-

polokruh
semicircle,
polokoule
hemisphere
poloprázdný halfempty

pra- prior, original prababička greatgrandmother
,
pravlast original
homeland

prahloupý asinine
44
Prefix Noun Adjective Verb
pro-, prů- through,
loss

pronárod breed,
průzkum survey
prorezavělý rusted
through

projít go through,
prosekat cut
through
, prohrát
lose
proti- against, anti- protilátka antidote protismyslný
paradoxical
pře- over, trans-,
interrupt, superior,
miss, re-

přesila superior
force

překrásný very
beautiful

přejít traverse,
přerušit interrupt,
přemoci overcome,
přehlédnout miss,
předělat redo
před(e)- before,
pre-

předměstí suburb předválečný
prewar
předejít anticipate,
precede
,
předběhnout
outrun
přes- across,
excess

přesčas overtime přespočetný excess
při-, pří- at, add, a
bit

přízemí ground
floor

přitvrdlý rather
hard

přijít come, arrive,
přidat add, přitopit
heat a bit
roz(e)- apart, dis-,
annul, excite, get
started

rozcestí crossroads rozmilý amiable rozejít se separate,
rozzlobit enrage,
rozjet set in motion
s(e)- together;
down

sloh style svrchní upper sejít se meet; sejít
go down
sou- with, con- souhláska
consonant
současný
contemporary
soustředit se
concentrate
u-, ú- at, from, fix,
complete, make
successfully
(factitive)

údolí valley úplný complete ujít escape, utéci
run away, upevnit
fasten, umučit
torture to death,
urychlit accelerate
v(e)- in vejít enter, vložit
insert
vy-, vý- out/up,
succeed, use up

východ exit; east vychudlýĘscant vyjít exit, go up,
vyhrát win, vypít
drink up
vz(e)- up vzestup ascent vzejít go up,
vzlétnout fly up
z(e)- exhaust, make
(factitive), become

zmatek confusion zbledlý turned pale zbít beat up,
zpomalit slow
down
, zkamenět
turn to stone
45
za-, zá- beyond, to,
cover, fix, away,
begin, for a while

zahraničí foreign
lands
; záhuba
destruction
záslužný deserving zajít go beyond,
drop in
, zamilovat
se fall in love,
zahojit heal up,
zapamatovat fix in
memory
, zahnat
drive away,
zazvonit begin to
ring
, zatančit si do
some dancing

Czech has borrowed a number of foreign prefixes, primarily from Latin. This table presents the
prefixes that are most common and/or used productively, though in many cases these prefixes
are simply part of a borrowed word rather than actually being a part of productive Czech
derivation:
Prefix Noun Adjective Verb
a-, an- a-, non-,
without

asymetrie
asymmetry,
analfabet illiterate
person

apolitický apolitical
anti- anti- antitalent person
with hopeless lack
of talent

antisemitský anti-
Semitic

arci- arch- arcinepřítel archenemy

auto- auto-, self- autoportrét self
portrait

autokritický selfcritical
,
autobiografický
autobiographical
de-, dez-, dis- de-,
di-, dis-, un-

decentralizace
decentralization,
deziluze
disillusionment,
disharmonie lack of
harmony

degenerační
degenerative
demaskovat
unmask, dekódovat
decode
ex- ex-, former exministr former
minister

hyper- hyper-,
ultra-

hyperkriticismus
hypercriticism
hypermoderní
ultramodern
i-, im- i-, im-, un- imobilizace
immobilization
ireální unreal imobilizovat
immobilize
infra- infra- infračervený
infrared
kontra- counter- kontrašpionáž
counterintelligence

kontrarevoluční
counterrevolutionary

kontrasignovat
countersign
46
Prefix Noun Adjective Verb
kvazi- quasi- kvazivědecký quasiscientific

makro- macro- makromolekula
macromolecule
makroekonomický
macroeconomic
maxi- maxi- maxikabát long
coat

mikro- micro- mikrovlna
microwave
mikroekonomický
microeconomic
mini- mini- minisukně
miniskirt
post- post- postmodernismus
postmodernism
postkomunistický
postcommunist
pro- pro-, vice prorektor vice
rector

proněmecký pro-
German

pseudo- pseudo- pseudoumění
pseudo-art
pseudogotický
pseudo-Gothic
re- re- rekvalifikace
requalification
rekonstruovat
reconstruct, rebuild
super- super- supervelmoc superpower

tele- tele- telekomunikace
telecommunication
termo- thermo- termoplast
thermoplastic
termonukleární
thermonuclear
trans- trans- transatlantický
trans-Atlantic
transformovat
transform
ultra- ultra ultrazvuk
ultrasound
ultrafialový
ultraviolet
2.2.1.2 Derivation of nouns
Derivation of nouns from nouns, adjectives, and verbs
Most derived nouns are formed from other nouns or adjectives or verbs, as demonstrated in the
following table, which lists suffix-ending combinations for deriving nouns of each gender,
along with broad categories of meaning (bearer indicates that the noun refers to a person or
thing that bears a given characteristic). As the examples illustrate, some derivations involve
mutations or truncations of consonants or variations in vowel length, as well as vowel-zero
alternations. Some suffixes and endings consist of a zero (i.e. , they contain no phonemes); zero
suffixes and endings are represented by 0.
47
Suffixes and Endings for Masculine Nouns
Suffix + Ending Associated with
Nouns
Associated with
Adjectives
Associated with
Verbs
-0+0 action dopad [dopadat
strike ground]
impact, vjezd
[vjíždět drive in]
driveway, návrh
[navrhnout
propose]
proposal
-0+a person mizera [mizerný
wretched]wretch
popleta [poplést
confuse] muddler
-áč+0, -ač+0 place,
bearer, agent,
means

květináč [květ
flower]flower
pot

břicháč [břichatý
pot-bellied] potbellied
person

prodavač [prodávat
sell] salesman,
vypínač [vypínat
turn off] offswitch

-ák+0 agent, group
member, male,
bearer, means

voják [voj war]
warrior, žabák
[žába frog] male
frog

chudák [chudý
poor] poor thing
žebrák [žebrat
beg] beggar,
padák [padat fall]
parachute
-(č)an+0, -(i)án+0
inhabitant, bearer,
agent

Evropan [Evropa
Europe]
European,
Angličan [Anglie
England]
Englishman
dlouhán [dlouhý
long] long legged
person
, hrubián
[hrubý coarse]
uncouth person
trhan [trhat tear]
ragamuffin
-ař+0, -(k)ář+0,
-ionář+0 agent,
group member,
place

zubař [zub tooth]
dentist, rybář
[ryba fish]
fisherman,
revolucionář
[revoluce
revolution]
revolutionary,
odbíjenkář [odbíjená
volleyball]
volleyball player,
snář [sen dream]
dream-diary
pekař [péci bake]
baker, čtenář [císt
read] reader
-as+0 bearer klidas [klid calm]
calm person
krutas [krutý
cruel] cruel
person

-c+e agent vůdce [vodit lead]
leader
48
Suffixes and Endings for Masculine Nouns
Suffix + Ending Associated with
Nouns
Associated with
Adjectives
Associated with
Verbs
-č+í agent rozhodčí
[rozhodovat
decide] referee
-ec+0,
-(ob)(in)ec+0,
-ovec+0 agent,
inhabitant, group
member, place,
object, bearer

bohoslovec
[bohosloví
theology]
theologian,
Makedonec
[Makedonie
Macedonia]
Macedonian,
hitlerovec [Hitler]
follower of Hitler,
chudobinec
[chudoba poverty]
poor house, dílec
[díl part] section
blbec [blbý
foolish] fool,
kravinec [kraví
cows] cow
manure

herec [hrát play]
actor, sportovec
[sportovat do
sports
] athlete
-ek+0 , -ásek+0
bearer, result
svátek [svatý holy]
holiday, bělásek
[bílý white] white
cabbage, white
butterfly

výrobek [vyrobit
produce] product
-(n)éř+0 agent bankéř [banka
bank] banker,
žoldnéř [žold
soldiers pay]
mercenary
-(ov)(n)ík+0 agent,
group member,
place, bearer, means

kouzelník [kouzlo
magic] magician,
plukovník [pluk
regiment]
colonel, straník
[strana party]
party member,
rybník [ryba fish]
(fish)pond
parník [parní
steam]
steamboat, mladík
[mladý young]
young person,
čajovník [čajový
tea] tea bush
úderník [udeřit
strike]
shockworker,
budík [budit wake]
alarm clock
-ín+0 place, group
member

kravín [kráva cow]
cowbarn, čeledín
[čeleddomestic
helpers
] farmhand
-íř+0 agent hrnčíř [hrnec pot]
potter
-i(s)t+a agent,
group member

klavírista [klavír
piano] pianist,
rasista [rasa race]
49
Suffixes and Endings for Masculine Nouns
Suffix + Ending Associated with
Nouns
Associated with
Adjectives
Associated with
Verbs
racist, husita [Hus]
Hussite
-k+a agent mluvka [mluvit
talk] blabberer
-l+0 agent hrabal [hrabat
rake] greedy
person

-och+0 bearer lenoch [lenivý lazy]
lazybones
-ot+0 action dupot [dupat
stamp] stamping
-(l)oun+0, -ouš+0,
-out+0 bearer,
agent

hezoun [hezký
handsome]
handsome fellow,
chytrouš [chytrý
smart] smart-alec
bručoun [bručet
grumble]
grumbler, křikloun
[křičet scream]
screamer, žrout
[žrát devour]
glutton
-t+0 action dřevoryt [rýt
carve]
woodcarving
-(i)tel+0 agent cestovatel [cestovat
travel] traveler,
majitel [mít have]
owner
Suffixes and Endings for Neuter Nouns
Suffix + Ending Associated with
Nouns
Associated with
Adjectives
Associated with
Verbs
-0+ě, -č+e young
creature, bearer

slůně [slon
elephant] baby
elephant

mládě [mladý
young] baby
padavče [padat
fall] faller, fallen
fruit

-0+o abstraction zlo [zlý evil] evil
-átk+o bearer neviňátko [nevinný
innocent] innocent
babe

-0+í, -ov+í
collective,
abstraction

listí [list leaf]
leaves, křoví [keř
bush] bushes
zdraví [zdravý
healthy] health
-(ov)isk+o place středisko [střed
center] center,
letovisko [léto
summer] summer
resort

hledisko [hledat
look] point of
view

50
Suffixes and Endings for Neuter Nouns
Suffix + Ending Associated with
Nouns
Associated with
Adjectives
Associated with
Verbs
-išt+ě, -ovišt+ě,
-lišt+ě place,
handle

řečiště [řeka river]
river bed,
pískoviště [písek
sand] sand box,
hrabiště [hrábě
rake] rake-handle
hřiště [hrát play]
playing field,
parkoviště [parkovat
park] parking lot,
koupaliště [koupat
se swim]
swimming pool
-iv+o material učivo [učit se
study] study
materials
, palivo
[pálit burn] fuel
-(d)l+o agent,
place, means

mýdlo [mýt wash]
soap, divadlo
[dívat se look]
theater, strašidlo
[strašit scare]
ghost, zlobidlo
[zlobit be naughty]
naughty person,
sedlo [sedět sit]
saddle
-(ov)n+é money kapesné [kapsa
pocket] pocketmoney
, školné
[škola school]
tuition, poštovné
[pošta mail]
postage
vstupné [vstoupit
enter] entrance
fee
, jízdné [jezdit
ride] fare
-(č)n+o abstraction tragično [tragický
tragic] the tragic,
jsoucno [jsoucí
existing]
existence, essence
-stv+í, -ctv+í
abstraction
členství [člen
member]
membership,
otroctví [otrok
slave] slavery,
češství [Űech
Czech]
Czechness, letectví
[letec pilot]
aeronautics
těhotenství [těhotný
pregnant]
pregnancy
51
Suffixes and Endings for Neuter Nouns
Suffix + Ending Associated with
Nouns
Associated with
Adjectives
Associated with
Verbs
-tk+o means sluchátko
[poslouchat listen]
telephone receiver,
vodítko [vodit lead]
leash
-(ov)(s)tv+o
collective, groups
of people,
abstraction

žactvo [žák pupil]
school children,
obyvatelstvo
[obyvatel
inhabitant]
population,
Ýidovstvo [Ýid
Jew] Jewry,
svinstvo [svině
swine] filthiness,
letectvo [letec pilot]
air force, členstvo
[člen member]
membership
(people)

Suffixes and Endings for Feminine Nouns
Suffix + Ending Associated with
Nouns
Associated with
Adjectives
Associated with
Verbs
-0+0 abstraction,
action, place

zeleň [zelený
green] green
color
, šíř(e) [široký
wide] width
řeč [říci say]
speech, výdrž
[vydržet endure]
endurance, pomoc
[pomoci help]
help, pec [péci
bake] furnace
-0+a action výroba [vyrobit
produce]
production, útěcha
[utěšit comfort]
comfort
-0+á action odbíjená [odbíjet
strike off]
volleyball,
dovolená [dovolit
allow] vacation;
formed via
participles
52
Suffixes and Endings for Feminine Nouns
Suffix + Ending Associated with
Nouns
Associated with
Adjectives
Associated with
Verbs
-(o)b+a, -(i)tb+a
abstraction, action
chudoba [chudý
poor] poverty
léčba [léčit treat]
treatment, modlitba
[modlit se pray]
prayer
-0+ě abstraction,
action

výše [vysoký high]
height
koupě [koupit buy]
purchase, schůze
[scházet se meet]
meeting
-en+a agent pradlena [prádlo
laundry]
laundress
-(e)(n)ic+e place,
female, object,
bearer, action

vinice [víno
grapes] vineyard,
lednice [led ice]
refrigerator,
hudebnice [hudebník
musician] female
musician
, hadice
[had snake] hose
levice [levý left]
left hand,
šachovnice [šachový
chess]
chessboard
strkanice [strkat
jostle] jostling,
chumelenice
[chumelit snow
heavily
] blizzard
-(ov)in+a, -štin+a
place, unit,
language, collective,
material, abstraction,
result

březina [bříza
birch] birch
grove
, bažina
[bahno mud]
marsh, křovina
[křoví bushes]
shrubbery,
švejkovina [Üvejk]
Üvejk-like
behavior
,
oblomovština
[Oblomov]
Oblomov-like
behavior

čeština [český
Czech] Czech
language
,
medvědina [medvědí
bears] bearskin,
bílkovina [bílkový
protein] protein,
trhavina [trhavý
explosive]
explosive, nížina
[nízký low]
lowlands, blbovina
[blbý foolish]
nonsense
vidina [vidět see]
vision, piliny (pl.)
[pilovat file]
sawdust
53
Suffixes and Endings for Feminine Nouns
Suffix + Ending Associated with
Nouns
Associated with
Adjectives
Associated with
Verbs
-(ěn)k+a, -(en)k+a,
-nk+a, -vk+a, -
čk+a, -ink+a, -
ovk+a place,
female, unit, object,
bearer, abstraction,
means, result,
action

cukřenka [cukr
sugar] sugar
bowl
, prodavačka
[prodavač
salesman]
saleswoman,
Ýidovka [Ýid Jew]
Jewish woman,
jízdenka [jízda
ride]
transportation
ticket

sodovka [sodový
soda] soda water,
voňavka [voňavý
aromatic]
perfume,
plavovláska
[plavovlasý
blonde] blonde,
šířka [široký wide]
width
pračka [prát
launder] washing
machine
, sponka
[spojit join]
barrette, odměrka
[odměřit measure]
measuring cup,
sbírka [sbírat
collect]
collection, výjimka
[vyjímat take out]
exception,
ukolébavka
[ukolébat sing to
sleep
] lullaby,
zabijačka [zabíjet
slaughter] pig
slaughtering
,
potvrzenka [potvrdit
confirm] receipt
-(ov)n+a, -árn+a,
-írn+a, -teln+a
place, female,
agent

tělocvična [tělocvik
exercise]
gymnasium,
knihovna [kniha
book] library,
konírna [kůň
horse] stable,
kněžna [kníže
prince] princess,
královna [král
king] queen,
drbna [drby
gossip] gossiper,
čistírna [čistit
clean] dry
cleaning shop
,
spořitelna [spořit
save] savings
bank
, plovárna
[plovat (plavat)
swim] swimming
pool

-oň+0, -eň+0 fruit
or nut tree

jabloň [jablko
apple] apple tree,
hrušeň [hruška
pear] pear tree
-(n)ost+0
abstraction
blbost [blbý
foolish]
foolishness,
kritičnost [kritický
critical] critical
attitude

-ot+a abstraction teplota [teplý
warm]
temperature
54
Suffixes and Endings for Feminine Nouns
Suffix + Ending Associated with
Nouns
Associated with
Adjectives
Associated with
Verbs
-ov+á female, wife
or female member of
family

švagrová [švagr
brother-in-law]
sister-in-law
(brother-in-law
s
wife), Dostálová
[Dostál Mr.
Dostál
] Ms.
Dostál

-t/-t+0 action nenávist [nenávidět
hate] hatred,
výdut [vydout
swell] bulge,
dilation

-tv+a action bitva [bít beat]
battle
-ul+e, -ušk+a
bearer
bledule [bledý
pale] snowdrop,
světluška [světlý
light] firefly
-(k)yn+ě female bohyně [bůh god]
goddess, přítelkyně
[přítel friend]
female friend
Derivation of nouns from adverbs, prepositional phrases, and numerals
Some nouns are derived from adverbs, prepositional phrases, and numerals; in all cases this
involves suffix-ending combinations that are also used for derivation from nouns, adjectives,
and verbs.
The formant -/e/k+0 creates nouns from adverbs and prepositional phrases: dnešek [dnes
today] today, pohlavek [po hlavě along head] slap. -ník+0 forms nouns from
prepositional phrases, such as nátělník [na tělo for the body] undershirt, and also produces
names for coins from numerals, such as pětník [pět five] five-crown piece. Masculine nouns
in -ák+0 are formed from ordinal numerals, yielding čtvrták [čtvrtý fourth] fourth-grader;
quarter-liter; quarter (coin)
.
Feminine nouns with -(n)k+a are formed from prepositional phrases, giving příručka [při
ruce at hand] handbook and podprsenka [pod prsy under breasts] brassiere, and
providing names for numbered items such as buses, highways and money, as in sedmička
[sedm seven] the number seven (a bus, a highway, etc.), patnáctka [patnáct fifteen] the
number fifteen
, and stovka [sto hundred] the number one hundred; one hundred crown note.
-(n)ic+e likewise forms nouns from prepositional phrases, naušnice [na uších on ears]
earring, and from numerals, in this case creating names for groups according to the number of
members they contain: dvojice [dvě two] pair, pětice [pět five] quintet. Fractions are
formed with -in+a, šestina [šest six] sixth, and plurals with this suffix are used to indicate
anniversaries: padesátiny [padesát fifty] fiftieth anniversary/birthday.
Neuter nouns expressing locations, times and abstractions are very copiously formed from
prepositional phrases using -0+í, producing words like zákulisí [za kulisami behind the
55
wings
] backstage, předjaří [před jarem before spring] early spring and bezvětří [bez větru
without wind] windlessness, zátiší [za tichem while quiet] still life. Names for multiple
offspring are formed from numerals with -č+e: dvojče [dvě two] twin, šesterče [šest six]
sextuplet.
Derivation of nouns via compounding
Pairs of stems (or roots) can be strung together to form nouns designating agents, means,
places, actions, bearers of characteristics, and abstractions. Compounds can be formed either by
simply adding two stems or by linking them with the connecting vowel -o-. The resulting
compounds often belong to the realm of specialized terminology. Here are some examples.
No connecting vowel: kovkop [kov + kopat metal + dig] metal miner, strašpytel [strašit
+ pytel scare + bag] scaredy-cat, okamžik [oka + mžik blink of eye] instant (probably
inspried as a loan translation of German Augenblick), čtvrthodina [čvrt + hodina quarter +
hour
] quarter of an hour.
Connecting vowel -o-: zvěrolékař [zvěř + lékař animals + doctor] veterinarian,
horolezec [hora + lezec mountain + climber] mountain climber, zákonodárce [zákon + dárce
law + giver] legislator, severovýchod [sever + východ north + east] northeast,
novomanžel [nový + manžel new + spouse] newlywed, kulomet [kul(ička) + met bullet +
throw
] machine gun.
A number of components occur in compounds with particular frequency. These formations
often involve bare roots (as in plynoměr gas meter) rather than actual words. Here are some
examples of these components and the words they form. Note that vowels e and i can also serve
as connecting vowels, as in velezrada treason and vlastivěda social studies.
sam- self: samohláska [sam + hláska self + sound] vowel, samopal [sam + pal self
+ fire
] automatic submachine gun.
sebe- self: sebevražda [sebe + vražda self + murder] suicide, sebeobrana [sebe +
obrana self + defense] self defense.
vše- all, omni: všežravec [vše + žravec all + eater] omnivore, vševěd [vše + věd all +
knower
] omniscient person.
vel(e)- big: velezrada [vele + zrada big + betrayal] treason, velryba [vel + ryba big +
fish
] whale.
-letí number of years: století [sto + letí hundred + years] century, tisíciletí [tisíc + letí
thousand + years] millenium.
-měr measure vodoměr [voda + měr water + measure] water meter, plynoměr [plyn +
měr gas + measure] gas meter.
-met thrower: světlomet [světlo + met light + thrower] searchlight, kulomet [kul(ička) +
met bullet + thrower] machine gun.
-pis write: zeměpis [země + pis land + write] geography, životopis [život + pis life +
write
] biography.
-sloví word: bájesloví [báj + sloví myth + words] mythology, bohosloví [bůh + sloví
god + words] theology.
-tisk print: barvotisk [barva + tisk color + print] color printing, knihtisk [kniha + tisk
book + print] typography.
-var cooking place: pivovar [pivo + var beer + boiler] brewery, cukrovar [cukr + var
sugar + boiler] sugar refinery.
-věda science: jazykověda [jazyk + věda language + science] linguistics, vlastivěda
[vlast + věda homeland + science] social studies.
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Derivation of diminutive and augmentative nouns
The phoneme k plays a prominent role in the derivation of diminutives, and is frequently used in
combination with č or n to create suffix-ending sequences for each of the three genders.
Diminutives will often have lengthened or shortened stem vowels and Type 2 consonant
alternations, but in general they are subject to complex phonological rules that cannot be reliably
predicted. Diminutives often double as terms of endearment or emotional involvement, although
they can occasionally be used pejoratively. Their affective meaning is in most cases more
significant than any indication of relative size. In some instances the meaning of the diminutive
has been emancipated from the meaning of the noun from which it is derived, for example
kolíček clothespin is technically a diminutive of kůl stake, but for all practical purposes
kolíček is now a separate lexical item.
Suffix Masculine Neuter Feminine
-(V)k- -ek+0, -ík+0:
potůček [potok
stream] little
stream
, domek
[dům house] little
house
, vozík [vůz
vehicle] cart,
hadřík [hadr rag]
little rag
extension -oušek:
dědoušek [děd
forefather] little
grandfather

-k+o:
bříško [břicho
belly] little belly,
mlíčko [mléko
milk] little milk
extension -átko:
zvířátko [zvíře
animal] little
animal

-k+a:
myška [myš
mouse] little
mouse
, knížka
[kniha book]
little book, žabka
[žába frog] little
frog

extension -uška:
dceruška [dcera
daughter] little
daughter

-Vč(e)knote:
this suffix has
a stronger
diminutive force
than -(V)k-
-eček+0, -íček+0,
-áček+0:
domeček [dům
house] little
house
, bratříček
[bratr brother]
little brother,
synáček [syn son]
little son
-ečk+o, -íčk+o:
městečko [město
city] little city,
autíčko [auto car]
little car
-ečk+a, -ičk+a:
knížečka [kniha
book] little book,
rybička [ryba fish]
little fish
-Vn(e)k- -ánek+0, -ínek+0:
nosánek [nos
nose] little nose,
tatínek [táta dad]
daddy
-ink+a:
tyčinka [tyč pole]
stick
Augmentatives are less common than diminutives and are usually associated with pejorative
connotations. -isko can be used to form augmentatives from nouns of all three genders: psisko
[pes dog] big dog, ušisko [ucho ear] big ear, babisko [baba old woman (pejorative)]
big old woman. -ák forms augmentatives from masculine nouns: chlapák [chlap fellow] big
fellow
. -izna/-ajzna forms augmentatives from feminine nouns: babizna [baba old woman]
big old woman, tlamajzna [tlama mouth (of animals)] big maw.
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2.2.1.3 Derivation of adjectives
Like nouns, adjectives can be derived from nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and prepositional
phrases. There are four multipurpose suffixes (plus their extensions) that derive adjectives from
a variety of sources and for a variety of uses; these suffixes will be presented in the table.
Suffixes used for only one type of derivation will be handled separately; this includes suffixes
that create possessive adjectives, as well as suffixes and prefix-suffix combinations that derive
adjectives from adjectives. Relational adjectives relate an item to another item or substance,
denoting that the item they modify is connected with or made from the item the adjective is
derived from. Qualitative adjectives describe a quality of the item they modify. Relational
adjectives are formed much more productively than qualitative adjectives.
Suffix
+
Ending
Relational
Adjectives
Associated with
Nouns
Qualitative
Adjectives
Associated with
Nouns
Adjectives
Associated with
Verbs
Adjectives from
Other Sources
-n+ý,
-ěn+ý,
-čn+ý,
-cn+ý
ovocný [ovoce
fruit] fruit,
dřevěný [dřevo
wood] wooden
klidný [klid calm]
calm
vychloubačný
[vychloubat se
boast]
boastful, kajícný
[kát se repent]
repentant
přílišný [příliš
excessively]
excessive,
mezibuněčný
[mezi buňkami
between cells]
intercellular
-n+í,
-ovn+í
místní [místo
place] local,
hudební [hudba
music] musical
hlavní [hlava
head] main
zvláštní [zvlášt
particularly]
peculiar,
protivládní [proti
vládě against
government
]
antigovernmental
,
mezibankovní
[mezi bankami
between banks]
interbank
-ov+ý čokoládový
[čokoláda
chocolate]
chocolate
růžový [růže
rose] pink
opravdový
[opravdu
really] real,
nadzvukový [nad
zvukem above
sound
]
supersonic
-sk+ý,
-
ovsk+ý
, -k+ý,
městský [město
city] municipal,
vesnický [vesnice
village] village
kafkovský [Kafka]
Kafkaesque
loňský [loni last
year
] last
year
s,
meziměstský
[mezi městy
between cities]
intercity
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The remaining suffixes that are used to create adjectives have a much more specific function, for
example:
Qualitative adjectives can also be formed using -at+ý, -nat+ý, -it+ý, -ovit+ý, -ovan+ý, -
iv+ý: chlupatý [chlup hair] hairy, skalnatý [skála rock] rocky, písčitý [písek sand]
sandy, kopcovitý [kopec hill] hilly, pruhovaný [pruh stripe] striped, plesnivý [plíseň
mould] mouldy.
Adjectives from verbs can be formed using -l+ý, -il+ý, -av+ý, -lav+ý, -iv+ý, -liv+ý, -at+ý,
-ut+ý, -utn+ý, -teln+ý, -iteln+ý: shnilý [shnít rot] rotten, změkčilý [změknout soften]
softened, váhavý [váhat hesitate] hesitant, pichlavý [píchat prick] prickly, sedavý [sedět
sit] sedentary, dychtivý [dychtit crave] eager, škodlivý [škodit harm] harmful, stojatý
[stát stand] standing, tekutý [téci flow] liquid, mohutný [moci able] powerful,
srovnatelný [srovnat compare] comparable, viditelný [vidět see] visible.
Foreign borrowings can be integrated into Czech adjectival morphology using -n+í, -
(i)ck+ý, or -ov+ý: extrémní extreme, toxický toxic, golfový golf.
Derivation of diminutive, augmentative, and attenuative adjectives
When adjectives are derived from adjectives, the result is always an adjective with a
diminutive, augmentative, or attenuative meaning. There are nearly a dozen diminutive suffixes;
here are some examples formed from the adjectives malý small and slabý weak: maličký,
malinký, maličičký, malilinký, malininký, malinkatý very small; slaboučký, slabounký,
slaboulinký, slabouninký very weak. Augmentative adjectives are relatively infrequent, except
velikánský/velikanánský [veliký big] really big/really, really big. The meaning of an adjective
can be attenuated by adding -avý or using any of the following prefix-suffix combinations
naĐĘĐlý, při- -lý, za- -lý: zelenavý [zelený green] greenish, natvrdlý [tvrdý hard] a bit hard,
přiblblý [blbý stupid] rather stupid, zažloutlý [žlutý yellow] somewhat yellowed.
Derivation of possessive adjectives
Possessive adjectives can be formed from persons names and kinship terms using -ův for
male possessors and -in for female possessors (the later causes Type 2 consonant alternations):
Martinův Martins, bratrův [bratr brother] brothers, Alenin Alenas, matčin [matka
mother] mothers. Possessives can be formed from the names of animals using -í and its
variants -cí and -čí: kraví [kráva cow] cows, býčí [býk bull] bulls, telecí [tele calf]
calfs, prasečí [prase pig] pigs.
Derivation of compound adjectives
There are two common means of forming compound adjectives, either using the linking
vowel -o-, jihoevropský [jih south+ evropskýĘEuropean] south European, or using the
genitive form of a noun compounded with an adjective, pozoruhodný [pozoru attention+
hodný worthy] worthy of attention.
2.2.1.4 Derivation of adverbs and pronouns
Adverbs can be derived from bare uses of the instrumental case, omylem [= error] by
mistake
, as well as from prepositional phrases, dopředu [do to + předu front] to the front
and the suffix -mo, kradmo [krást steal] stealthily. There are a number of components that
variously attenuate or modify the meanings of interrogatives, both adverbs and pronouns. These
forms are illustrated with examples using the adverb kam where (direction) and the pronoun
kdo who (other interrogatives that can use some or all of these components are co what, čí
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whose, jak how, jaký what kind of, kde where, kdy when, kolik how much/many,
který which, kudy by what path, and odkud from where):
jin- else: jinam headed somewhere else
kde- every/all possible: kdekdo everyone possible
-koli any-, -ever, quite a few: kamkoli headed anywhere at all, headed toward quite a few
places
, kdokoli anyone at all, many a person
lec-, leda- all manner of (sometimes pejorative): leckam , ledakam headed just anywhere,
leckdo, ledakdo any old person, leccos a thing or two
málo- hardly any-: málokam headed hardly anyhwere at all, headed toward only a few
places
, málokdo hardly anyone at all
ně- some, any (especially in interrogatives): někam headed somewhere, někdo someone
ni- no, not any: nikam headed nowhere, nikdo nobody
-si some- or other (uncertainty, usually used in past tense): kamsi headed somewhere or
other
, kdosi someone or other
všeli- all sorts of, any old: všelikam headed toward all sorts of places, všelikdo all sorts of
people

2.2.1.5 Derivation of verbs
Verbs engage in a variety of morphological processes, some of which (prefixation, imperfective
derivation, formation of frequentatives, discussed in 2.1.5.4 -2.2.1.1) can be considered at least
partially inflectional (though it can be argued that all these processes are derivational as well).
Other morphological adjustments are unambiguously derivational, among them the formation of
reflexives, factitive verbs, becoming verbs, diminutives, and the integration of foreign verbs
and neologisms into the Czech verbal system.
Verbs derived with the reflexives se and si
The reflexive pronouns se and si appear with many verbs, and can serve one or more of the
following functions: they can derive a reflexive verb from a transitive verb; derive a reciprocal
verb from a transitive verb; derive an intransitive, passive, or impersonal verb from a transitive
verb; or serve as an essential component of a verb that exists only in the accompaniment of se or
si.
When forming reflexive verbs, se (the accusative reflexive) indicates that the verbal action is
performed on the self (=subject), whereas si (the dative reflexive) indicates that the verbal action
is performed for the self (=subject):
Without se/si With se/si
česat někoho comb someones hair česat se comb ones own hair
koupit něco buy something koupit si něco buy something for oneself
Reciprocal actions can also be signalled by se and si; the reciprocal meaning is valid only
when the subject is plural:
Without se/si With se/si
znát někoho know someone znát se know each other
milovat někoho love someone milovat se love each other
důvěřovat někomu trust someone důvěřovat si trust each other
tykat někomu say ty to someone tykat si say ty to each other (be on a firstname
basis with someone)

60
Se can be used to create a variety of intransitive, passive, and impersonal verbs. The impersonal
verbs are integral to impersonal constructions and are used only in 3sg neuter forms. Overall, se
has a general intransitivizing function that it does not share with si.
Without se With se
nacházet find nacházet se be located Kde se nachází
letiště? Where is the airport located?
vyřešit solve vyřešit se be solved, cf. To se vyřeší A
solution will be found

dělat do dělat se be done, cf. Jak se to dělá? How
is that done?

chtít want chtít se feel like To se mi nechce I dont
feel like doing that
pracovat work pracovat se work (as experience) Tady se
mi pracuje dobře I can work well here
jíst eat jíst se eat (as experience) Jí se tam dobře
Thats a good place to eat
Finally, there are a number of verbs that simply require se or si. Many of these verbs have uses
or meanings that overlap with one or more of the three categories above:
Some Verbs That Require se Some Verbs That Require si
smát se laugh sednout si sit down
bát se be afraid lehnout si lie down
dívat se look odpočinout si rest
ptát se ask zvyknout si get used to
setkat se meet vážit si appreciate, respect
všímat si notice
The pronouns se and si also combine with prefixes to create derived verbs, often with nuances
of doing things on a large or excessive scale, or to satisfaction. Here are a few examples:
naplakat se [plakat cry] do a lot of crying, začíst se [číst read] get all involved in reading,
upít se [pít drink] drink oneself to ruin, vytancovat se [tancovat dance] get ones fill of
dancing, zazpívat si [zpívat sing] enjoy some singing, pospat si [spát sleep] get a good
sleep
.
Factitives in -it
Factitives are transitive verbs formed from adjectives that denote make X Y(adj). These verbs
are often formed with -it, sometimes in combination with prefixes: chladit [chladný cool]
make cool, ostřit [ostrý sharp] sharpen, zjednodušit [jednoduchý simple] simplify,
obnažit [nahý naked] expose. Factitives can also be transitive verbs formed from nouns
denoting subject X to Y (noun): hnojit [hnůj fertilizer] fertilize, solit [sůl salt] salt,
usmrtit [smrt death] kill.
Becoming and being verbs in -at, -it, -ět, -nout
Verbs with the meaning of becoming and being are formed primarily from adjectives and
denote taking on a characteristic. With adjectival roots describing colors and the formant -at, the
61
reflexive se can be optionally added to suggest appearance or looking like a given color: teplat
[teplý warm] get warm, červenat (se) [červený red] turn red (appear red). Nouns (usually
denoting professions) can serve as source material for verbs in -it meaning be an X: pytlačit
[pytlák poacher] be a poacher, do some poaching, zedničit [zedník mason] be a mason, do
some masonry
. The formant -ět is more versatile, creating verbs meaning become, sometimes
in combination with prefixes (tmavět [tmavý dark] get dark, oněmět [němý deaf] go deaf),
and also providing verbs for making sounds (kňučet [kňu whining noise] whine, bzučet [bz
buzz] buzz). Finally, -nout produces imperfective verbs from many adjectives, such as:
blbnout [blbý stupid] be/act stupid, mládnout [mladý young] grow younger, měknout
[měkký soft] soften up.
Diminutive verbs
Diminutive verbs are used almost exclusively in speaking with or about children and end in
Đinkat. The most common are spinkat [spát sleep] sleep and blinkat [blít vomit] spit up.
Foreign borrowings and neologisms with -ovat
Most new verbs entering the lexicon, whether from foreign languages or from neologisms
based on native morphology, do so by adding -ovat: fotografovat photograph, inspirovat
inspire, číslovat [číslo number] number.