Czech by Numbers - Twenty

..dvacka, dvaciáš..

Hello and welcome to Czech by Numbers, Radio Prague's own Czech language programme in which we look at the use of numbers in everyday language. Today we have reached number 20.

The Czech word dvacet - twenty comes from "dva deset" which literally means "two ten" but over the centuries it became corrupted to dvacet.

Numbers between twenty and thirty are formed just like in English: by simply adding numbers from one to nine. So twenty-one will be dvacet jedna and, analogically, twenty-five is dvacet pět. Under the influence of German, Czech can also form these numbers the other way round, for example jednadvacet - twenty-one, pětadvacet - twenty-five or devětadvacet - twenty-nine. These can be heard more often in colloquial speech.

The ordinal number is dvacátý - the twentieth. The neuter gender is dvacáté as in dvacáté století, the twentieth century. The 21st century is jedenadvacáté století, a more common version than dvacáté první století. (Remember what we said earlier about numbers between 20 and 30.)

A twenty crown piece is dvacetikoruna also known as dvacka or even dvaciáš. The figure of twenty is dvacítka which can also refer to a tram number 20 or a woman in her twenties - but some might feel that the word has slightly sexist connotations. A twenty-something-year old man would be dvacátník - which is a perfectly neutral word. One's twentieth birthday is called dvacetiny. So we can say Petr slaví dvacetiny - Petr is celebrating his twentieth birthday.

The saying dát si dvacet means to take a nap. It is called that because a short afternoon nap can last about twenty minutes.

Another saying, jeden za osmnáct, druhý bez dvou za dvacet is usually applied to misbehaving children. The literal translation is "one for eighteen and the other for twenty minus two" - that is both are just as bad.

Here we've come to the end of this lesson number twenty but we will be back with more Czech numbers next time. Till then na shledanou.