Word of the Day

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Similarities between Czech, Latin and Greek adjective-noun agreement

Standard Czech insists that demonstrative adjectives and adjectives end in a when a neuter plural noun also ends in a (ta bílá letadla – those white airplanes) even though most people most of the times say ty bílé/bílý letadla. No other Slavic language I’m acquainted with has this feature. I wonder whether this agreement was ever widespread in the Czech Republic and whether it isn’t inspired by Greek (tà kalà biblía – the good books) and/or by Latin (brachia longa – long arms). Biblía and brachia are neuter plural nouns. Their singular forms are biblíon and brachium. As can be seen, the adjectives that go with them also end in a.

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