Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs all over the world. Czech is quite similar to and mutually intelligible with Slovak and, to a lesser degree, to Polish or Sorbian in eastern Germany.
Czech verbs express three absolute tenses - past, present and future. Relativity can be expressed by the aspect, sentence constructions and participles.
Like in other Slavic languages, Czech verbs are distinguished by aspect, they are either perfective or imperfective. Perfective verbs indicate the finality of the process. Therefore, they cannot express the present tense.
Perfective verbs are usually formed adding prefixes to imperfective verbs:
- psát (imperf.) - to write, to be writing -> napsat (perf.) - to write down
Some perfective verbs are not formally related to imperfective ones:
- brát (imperf.) - to take, to be taking -> vzít (perf.) - to take
The present tense can be expressed in imperfective verbs only.