I’m back from Prague, and recovering from the trip. I talked about the Czech language after my 2007 visit, and mentioned the case endings. This trip’s given me something else to say about that.
After the IETF meeting, during the vacation part of my stay, I moved to a hotel called The Golden Tree. In Czech,
golden tree is zlatý strom, and there were a few things around that said that. But that’s the nominative case. Hotel names are frequently (usually, it seems) rendered as U [something], where the word u is like the french chez, meaning
at the place of. That throws it into the genitive case, so the proper name of the hotel is U Zlatého Stromu.
Czech has three genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter) and seven cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative, locative, and instrumental), so the combinations of endings as nouns are declined and adjectives are changed to match can be dizzying.
Unlike German (but like other Slavic languages, such as Russian), Czech declines proper nouns, including people’s names. And they decline everyone’s names, not just Czech ones, or ones that look like they might be Czech.
It was amusing to see the names declined. The most interesting was Sir Paul’s. He was Paul McCartney when it was nominative, of course. But when a display talks about
The Solo Career of Paul McCartney, it becomes
Sólová dráha Paula McCarneyho.
Paula McCartneyho ?