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I can't find any Czech dictionaries that report the gender of nouns (masculine, feminine, or neuter). Without this knowledge it is impossible to master perfect Czech. So why aren't these ever included?

(sorry if I post this question here but there is no Czech Stack Exchange group so I assume this group also covers all those languages that don't have their own group).

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  • The Czech/English, English/Czech Concise Dictionary by Nina Trnka includes gender. I haven't been able to look at the English-Czech & Czech-English Dictionary by Josef Fronek, but doesn't it also have noun gender information? Given that for most nouns gender is predictable, perhaps it only indicates gender where it isn't predictable? Jun 20, 2015 at 13:11
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    There you go! bara.ujc.cas.cz/psjc/search.php
    – Alex B.
    Jun 20, 2015 at 17:32
  • If the gender of Czech nouns were really predictable as you say, than could you please point out where one can find a computer algorithm to do this, or at least guess correctly at least 95 percent of all cases?
    – user100380
    Jun 20, 2015 at 21:51
  • If the algorithm is allowed to have many rules and examples and templates, you may surely get to much higher reliability than 95%. ;-) Dec 6, 2015 at 9:56

5 Answers 5

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The best learner dictionary by far is the one by Josef Fronek. It not only has the gender but also references all the declension models making it easy to find and generate any forms for both nouns and verbs. It is the most uptodate and modern bilingual dictionary.

Of the pocket dictionaries, as far as I know, only Nina Trnka's dictionary has gender information but it is quite old and has many other imperfections.

Of the online dictionaries, DICT.cc is one of the few that references gender.

As to the why, it is very easy. Most Czech-English dictionaries are made for native speakers of Czech who do not need the gender information. Therefore it is not included. In fact, they would probably find it a bit puzzling.

And since most dictionaries are not made from scratch but rather by building on previous efforts, if the templates do not include gender information, their successors won't either.

If you look at the three dictionaries above, they were made with non-native learners of Czech in mind (if not as primary audience - except perhaps Trnka). The Lonely Planet Phrasebook which is aimed at non-native speakers contains gender information but it's not really a dictionary - although it could be used that way with the index.

Unfortunately, there is no reliable way to predict gender from the form of the noun. Here are some of the key rules:

There are some which are almost exception proof:

  • Nouns ending in b, g, k, h, ch, d, r, p, n, m, l are always masculine

  • Nouns ending in a are almost always feminine (with a few exceptions that are masculine)

  • Nouns ending in o are always neuter

  • Nouns ending in í are almost always neuter (with a few feminines)

These will at least help you exclude a gender:

  • Nouns ending in e are either feminine or neuter (never masculine)

  • Nouns ending in a consonant are never neuter.

The largest Czech monolingual dictionaries do report gender but they are a bit unwieldy for the learner. Some of them are now available to search online. The best for look up of gender is here with the added advantage of being able to look up any form of the word and seeing all the other possible forms. There are no English equivalents in this dictionary.

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  • Great answer. Just what I was looking for. I wish I had enough points to accept and upvote your answer.
    – user100380
    Jun 21, 2015 at 10:35
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    Nouns ending in í are almost always neuter (with a few feminines) - ehm, what about e.g. krejčí, kočí, strojvedoucí, dozorčí? They can be both feminine and masculine. Aug 4, 2016 at 14:30
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    @JozefChocholacek my Czech is fairly rusty by now, but at least strojvedoucí looks like a participle to me. My guess is that the words you listed are participles or adjectives which can be used nominally in Czech. Jul 17, 2017 at 14:49
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    @Wilson Nope, these are no participles, these are profession names (krejčí = taylor, kočí = coach driver, strojvedoucí = train driver). One could say these are substantivised adjectives, but the substantivisation has happened a long time ago. Jul 17, 2017 at 15:24
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    there is a whole class of masculine nouns in -ce (soudce, průvodce, etc.) Aug 25, 2017 at 3:53
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dict.com, probably one of the largest english-czech dictionary freely available online, reports gender of nouns.

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http://encs.dict.cc/?s=word does. I can't give you an answer on why other's don't.

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The Czech and English Wiktionary also report the gender of nouns.

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The premise of the question is wrong. Czech dictionaries do often list the noun gender.

The biggest (and sort of "official") dictionaries of the standard modern Czech language are:

Internet Language Reference Book - https://prirucka.ujc.cas.cz/en With declension tables and also incorporating the SSČ, ACSC and SSJČ dictionaries. Available in an English and Czech version.

a relatively old

PSJČ - Příruční slovník jazyka českého - http://bara.ujc.cas.cz/psjc/

and more recent, but still not new,

SSJČ - Slovník spisovného jazyka českého - http://bara.ujc.cas.cz/ssjc/

all available online at the website of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. They all do list noun genders. Some with abbreviations m., f., n., some with Czech abbreviations m., ž., s.

The much older 19th century Jungmann's Czech-German dictionary Slowník česko-nĕmecký does list the gender as well using m., f., n. (available at Google books or archive.org).

Even older dictionaries from the previous centuries (e.g., Rosa: Thesaurus linguae Bohemicae), do also often contain the gender information.

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