Czech by Numbers - Ten


Welcome to Czech by Numbers, Radio Prague's own language course in which we look at Czech numbers and their use in everyday speech. Today we will explore the number ten - deset.

The sound of the word is quite different from the English but again very similar to other Slavonic languages.

The figure of ten is desítka, a word which in Czech is most often associated with ten-degree beer, usually one of the two varieties produced by a particular brewery. A desítka has a lower alcohol content than a dvanáctka, a twelve-degree brew.

Another word derived from the Czech word for number ten - deset - is desatero. With a small "d" it simply means a group of ten objects. With a capital d it means the Ten Commandments or Desatero božích přikázání in full.

On the other hand, desaterák is a ten-pointer, a stag with ten-pointed antlers.

Desetikoruna is a ten-crown piece but don't get confused by the slang expression for it - pětka - a fiver. The illogical name is a result of historic development of the Czech currency.

One tenth is desetina. It sounds very similar to the adjective desetinná - which means decimal, as in the decimal point - which, to make it more complicated, is actually a comma in Czech. So, once again, the decimal point in Czech is desetinná čárka.

Staying with maths, the decimal system in which most of us count in our everyday life is called desítková soustava.

And in sport desetiboj is the decathlon.

This is all for lesson number ten - desátá lekce, literally the tenth lesson. We'll be back next time with more Czech numbers. Till then good-bye, na shledanou.