Gaelic will test u. Please write me the phonetic version of slainte mhaithe, or ceud mille failte
Hi a Sheanuis, fear le Gaeilge atá ionat? An-deas Gael eile a aimsiú ar an fhoram seo.
[In case the moderators are concerned, this simply means, "are you an Irish speaker?" and "It's very nice to find another Gael on this forum".]
Anyway, Gaelic/Celtic languages (Irish, Scots-Gaelic, Welsh, Breton and a few others) have retained a reasonably complex case structure, while the Romance languages have generally dispensed with such.
I'll use my own language, Irish, to illustrate that Polish has no monopoly on a case/gender system.
There are now only two genders, m/f, but the neuter is still to be found in, eg, placenames. As the language shifted, most neuter nouns became masculine.
The case structure has been heavily simplified over the years. Nominative and accusative have - broadly speaking - become one. The dative requires initial (but occasionally tertiary) mutation.
Where most learners struggle is in the genitive case. We can take two words and combine them. Hope you don't mind, Seanus, but I'll use your forum name as an example. Take "madadh" (dog) and "Seanus". In the genitive, this becomes "madadh Sheanuis" (Seanus' dog), demanding both initial and tertiary mutation.
This - for learners - can become really complicated when you want to say something like "the postman's dog's kennel". Even fluent native speakers have difficulty with that one and there is an increasing tendency among young speakers to deploy prepositions to overcome the more complex aspects of the genitive.
We still have a locative case, although it's (sadly) rarely used today and only in terms of placenames.
The vocative case remains in Irish, but the increasing use of English-based names means that it is often bypassed because the result can sound strange.
It's fine with a Celtic-based name like "Seanus" (Seanus, I assume your name is a síneadh fada-less diminutive version of Seán?). In that case, we have "Seán" in the nominative, but "a Sheáin" in the vocative.
To an Irish speaker, this sounds totally normal. But if we take a name like "Beverly", the "B" at the start changes to "Bh", turning it into a "v" sound instead of "b". (This is the "voiced" -v- "unvoiced" aspect that is a building block of language.) Because we're used to the name in English as a rule, it sounds a bit silly in Irish and most people would avoid the initial mutation.
There is no instrumental in Irish. Instead, we use the copula, a complicated "defective" verb which equates to the X = Y format but goes far beyond that. There are other ways of saying the same thing, requiring prepositions. "Múinteoir atá ionam", for example, literally means "It is a teacher that is in me", or "Tá mé i mo mhúinteoir", which means "I am in my teacher". All of these translate to "I am a teacher".
I grew up with Irish, so it isn't a "complicated" language for me, but I understand why those who did not find it difficult. The sounds are different, the morphology is different and the structures are different.
a difficult language, but that's because I'm approaching it
as a learner. If I'd been born in Poland instead of Ireland I wouldn't be thinking it's difficult.
Apologies for what has turned out to be post way longer than I planned, but I hope it helps to explain that cases, genders and so on are not something exclusive to Polish.
However, Polish does take things a stage further in that there are more cases, more genders and a predilection for mutating even words that end in a vowel.
But do let us not forget that, while English is simple in terms of the noun, it makes up for this simplicity in other ways. With no accents on vowels, the phonetics must be a nightmare for learners.
And then what about the verb?