1.6 – The Vocative case

1.6 – The Vocative Case

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1.6 – The Vocative Case
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1.6 – The Vocative Case

The vocative in Czech is the form of a person’s name that is used when you call out to them. Typical situations in which you would use the vocative include trying to get someone’s attention, saying hi, or calling on someone.

We will go through both men’s and women’s names. Note that men’s and women’s names largely follow the rules given in 1.3 – Grammar explanation – noun gender.

Names ending in -a

We will start by learning the vocative of names ending in -a. These are typically women’s names, though there are a few men’s names (such as Jirka, which is short for Jiří, or Honza, which is short for Jan – see 1.2 – Names and Familiar Names) as well. Names ending in –a have the vocative ending –o.

Women’s Names ending in –a

Men’s Names ending in –a

Klára → Kláro

Tereza → Terezo

Lenka → Lenko

Jirka → Jirko

Honza → Honzo

Names ending in -e

Names ending in –e are exclusively women’s names. These names stay the same in the vocative.

Women’s Names ending in –e

Lucie → Lucie (no change)

Marie → Marie (no change)

Names ending in a consonant

Names ending in a consonant are almost exclusively men’s names. The vocative for these names depends on which consonant the name ends in.

  • those ending in k, g, h, ch → add -u
  • those ending in š, ž, ř, c, j → add -i
  • all other names → add -e

Additionally, names that end in -ek, -ec, and sometimes -el lose the –e-. This –e– is called fleeting –e-.[1] Instances of fleeting -e- are underlined, i.e. František → Františku.

ends in k, g, h, ch (add -u)

ends in š, ž, ř, c, j (add -i)

all others (add -e)

Bedřich → Bedřichu

František → Františku

Aleš → Aleši

Matěj →  Matěji

Milan → Milane

Pavel → Pavle

pan, paní, Last Names and Adjectives

The vocative of pan is pane, while the vocative of paní is paní (i.e. no change). When calling on someone using pan or paní  last name, it is usually sufficient to keep the last name in the nominative form, i.e. not change it into the vocative.[2] 

Irregular Forms

Finally, the name Petr is irregular in the vocative:

Petr Petře

Images used in this document come from these sources.

[1] Note, the vowel -e- also disappeared with last names.

[2] However, in much more formal registers of Czech, the last name should also be put into the vocative form, e.g. Dobrý den, pane Nováku or Dobrý den, pane Foukale. Adjectives do not have a vocative form, so they will never change regardless of style/register.