6.6 – Review of reflexive se and si

6.6 – Review of reflexive se and si

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6.6 – Review of reflexive se and si
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6.6 – Review of reflexive se and si

In this lesson we’re going to review reflexive pronouns se and si. Let’s start out by reviewing their meanings:

Both se and si mean ‘-self’ in Czech, as in ‘myself’, ‘yourself’, ‘himself’, etc.



se is the object of the verb in the sentence. It’s easiest to see this meaning with a few other verbs (we haven’t learned these yet, but they are useful for illustration), such as vidět ‘to see’ or holit ‘shave’:

vidím se (v zrcadle) — ‘I see myself (in the mirror).’

holíš se? — ‘Are you shaving (yourself)?’

The verb učit se means to learn and is actually comprised of the verb učit – ‘to teach’ and reflexive se. In other words, ‘to learn/study’ is actually ‘to teach yourself’..

The verb jmenovat means ‘to name, or call’ and from this we get jmenovat se ‘to call oneself’. Jmenuju se is really ‘I call myself…’, i.e. ‘My name is…’. Here, se functions as the direct object of these verbs (i.e. accusative case).

The verb mít se, lit. ‘to have oneself’, is best understood idiomatically as part of the question jak se máš? ‘how are you doing?’ and the corresponding answer mám se dobře, špatně ‘I’m doing well/badly.’ We will continue to learn verbs where the presence of se is best memorized, with verbs such as snažit se ‘to try’ or bát se ‘to be afraid’.

On the other hand, si  means ‘to or for oneself (myself, yourself, etc.)’. Take a look at the following examples:

Vařím si čaj.

I’m making myself tea (lit. cooking for myself).

Dělám si salát.

I’m making (for) myself a salad.

We’ve also encountered the verb hrát with sports and instruments. However, it’s possible just to play (with friends, with a dog), and in this meaning it’s more commonly hrát si (to play for enjoyment, for oneself).

Děti si hrály venku.

The children were playing outside.

Ráda si hraju se psem.

I like to play with the dog.

The verb we saw a lot of in unit 3 was dát si ‘to have (to eat)’ and we used it a lot in ordering food. It is literally from the verb dát ‘to give’, so you are giving to yourself:

Dám si guláš a pivo.

I’ll have goulash and a beer.

Dal jsem si jogurt a jahody.

I had yogurt and strawberries.

You can also find si with the verb myslet ‘to think’. Myslet si literally means ‘to think to oneself’, and more generally means to think or have an opinion about something.

        Myslím si, že to je dobrý film.

        I think (my opinion is), that that’s a good movie.