Czech by Numbers - Eleven

17-06-2006

Welcome to Czech by Numbers, Radio Prague's own Czech learning programme. Today we will be looking at the number 11 -jedenáct.

Klapzubova jedenáctkaKlapzubova jedenáctka The figure of 11 is called jedenáctka. Apart from signifying anything from a number 11 tram to room number 11 in a hotel, the word is often used to describe a football team with its eleven players. There is even a book by the 20th-century Czech sports writer and novelist Eduard Bass called "Klapzubova jedenáctka" or "Klapzuba's Eleven" which is a fiction about a father who had eleven sons and trained them to be a champion football team.

Last week we spoke about two different types of beer, one called desítka - a ten-degree brew - and the other dvanáctka - a twelve-degree brew, which differ in alcohol content. Well, some breweries have started producing something in between, an eleven-degree beer, called jedenáctka.

A similar word is jedenácterák and it means an eleven-pointer, a stag with eleven-pointed antlers.

In the 1950s, the term jedenáctiletka, translated as 11-year-school, was used to describe a type of school which combined elementary and secondary school in one and lasted for 11 years.

Since 2001, the number 11 has often been used in connection with the September 11th attacks on the United States. The collocation 11. září, (jedenácté září) or the eleventh of September has become a fixed expression in Czech just like in other languages.

There is an English idiom which uses the number 11 - "at the eleventh hour". The Czech equivalent uses a different number, though. Czechs say za pět minut dvanáct or za minutu dvanáct, that is at five to twelve or one minute to twelve.

And that's all for today, we'll be back next week with a look at the number 12 in Czech. Till then, good bye, na shledanou.

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