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Cases, Genders, Nominative, Instrumental...WHY?


ArcticPaul 38 | 233  
10 May 2008 /  #1
]I have been so preoccupied learning what, where and when variations of grammar are necessary that I have never askied WHY the language evolved into such a complex one.

Jednego małego kurczaka.

Why are Jeden, mały and kurczak so drastically altered?
Polson 5 | 1,770  
10 May 2008 /  #2
Hehe, i know ;)
Actually many other languages used to have all those grammar variations, many of them simplified their languages... Old English had these kind of variations, German still have them, Icelandic is one of the most difficult grammars cause the language has almost not evolved since the first people came to the land.
Jova - | 172  
10 May 2008 /  #3
I have never askied WHY the language evolved into such a complex one.

It's actually the other way round (at least that's what I've been taught).
Polish is so complex because it's way behind most of modern European languages in terms of evolution, which naturally leads to simplifying the rules, losing case endings etc. etc.

Polson

Our mutual mindreading is not a scam it seems... !!! :P
Polson 5 | 1,770  
10 May 2008 /  #4
Polish is so complex because it's way behind most of modern European languages in terms of evolution, which naturally leads to simplifying the rules, losing case endings etc.

I created a simplified Polish (for fun, yeah...), with no grammar variations, no genres, so very simplified ;) I called it Noopolsk, say [nołpolsk], it means "new Polish" ;)

Our mutual mindreading is not a scam it seems... !!!

You've just realized it ? :)
Jova - | 172  
10 May 2008 /  #5
created a simplified Polish (for fun, yeah...), with no grammar variations, no genres, so very simplified ;)

Examples please.

You've just realized it ? :)

Seems I have.
Polson 5 | 1,770  
10 May 2008 /  #6
Examples please

Ok :

"Ja nei mogg spast"
"Ja eist jak en mal kmor gobend av tvai okerna" (this is from a poetry called "Nebben Map" i started to write)

Do you understand something ?... ;)
Jova - | 172  
10 May 2008 /  #7
"Ja nei mogg spast"

I can't sleep.

"Ja eist jak en mal kmor gobend av tvai okerna"

???

this is from a poetry called "Nebben Map" i started to write

I bet it's all about me :P
Polson 5 | 1,770  
10 May 2008 /  #8
I can't sleep

Good ! ^^ Both "Ja nei mogg" and "Ja mogg nei" are okay... :P

???

I bet it's all about me

That's funny, you don't understand it, but you know that it's about you...And you may be right, LoL, this is the translation :

I am like a little cloud lost in your eyes... ;P
And "Nebben Map" is the "Map of the Sky". Nebb = niebo, Nebben = the sky.
Kamil_pl  
10 May 2008 /  #9
Polish is so complex because it's way behind most of modern European languages in terms of evolution

My english teacher said the opposite. That english is archaic. Polish has more complicated grammar, so it's more developed.
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
10 May 2008 /  #10
My english teacher said the opposite. That english is archaic.

Modern English archaic?

Read Beowulf in Old English and see if you understand anything? The language changed a lot. It used to have case and other inflections, just like Polish. Although less of them.
Jova - | 172  
10 May 2008 /  #11
Read Beowulf in Old English and see if you understand anything?

Yeah! Good luck with this one! :D

HWÆT, WE GAR-DEna in geardagum,
þeodcyninga þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon!
oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,
monegum mægþum meodosetla ofteah,
egsode eorlas, syððanærest wearð
feasceaft funden; he þæs frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum weorðmyndum þah,
oð þæt him æghwylc ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade hyran scolde,
gomban gyldan; þæt wæs god cyning!
Ðæm eafera wæs æfter cenned
geong in geardum, þone God sende
folce to frofre; fyrenðearfe ongeat,
þe hie ær drugon aldorlease
lange hwile; him þæs Liffrea,
wuldres Wealdend woroldare forgeaf,
Beowulf wæs breme --- blæd wide sprang---
Scyldes eafera Scedelandum in.
Swa sceal geong guma gode gewyrcean,
fromum feohgiftumon fæder bearme
Polson 5 | 1,770  
10 May 2008 /  #12
I like Old English, i don't know how to pronounce it, i don't understand it, but i like the way it's written :)
Jova - | 172  
10 May 2008 /  #13
Consider yourself lucky. I had a course in Old English at university - 9 months long!!! :P It was a nightmare! Suffice to say I don't remember ANYTHING! ;)
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
10 May 2008 /  #14
Gaelic will test u. Please write me the phonetic version of slainte mhaithe, or ceud mille failte
osiol 55 | 3,922  
10 May 2008 /  #15
Polish does look like it has too many cases. Why things fall into one case and not another doesn't, to me, always make very much sense, but that is how it evolved. Never mind - we just have to live with it. But English...

Gender:
"She's quite a fast car."
"The Dog - he just ran out into the road."

Tense:
There's too much to say about English tenses, so I won't.

Who / Whom
Irregular verbs - thought / think, eat / ate / eaten, etc.
Irregualr nouns - foot / feet. How tall are you? Five foot eight!

I like Old English, i don't know how to pronounce it

It's pretty much pronounced as it is spelt.
The ae-type letter is like a short modern English 'a'.
The ð is like the th in that.
The þ is like the th in thin.
The c on its own is always a k sound.
Jova - | 172  
10 May 2008 /  #16
*handing the thread over to the experts...*
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
10 May 2008 /  #17
Why are Jeden, mały and kurczak so drastically altered?

Believe me, the declension isn't the worst thing that can happen to one little chicken, it grows and become someone's food. Now that I call altered :)
OP ArcticPaul 38 | 233  
11 May 2008 /  #18
Do you mean a linguistic change or are we straying on to vegetarian issues?

As z_darius's 'youtube' clip it sounds very Scandinavian with bits of Dutch IMHO.

Back to the subject.......
Why is 'Jeden mały kurczak' considered ACCUSATIVE?
What rules govern the inclusion of words/phrases into the ACCUSATIVE GROUP?
benszymanski 8 | 465  
11 May 2008 /  #19
Why is 'Jeden mały kurczak' considered ACCUSATIVE?
What rules govern the inclusion of words/phrases into the ACCUSATIVE GROUP

It isn't, it's nominative. The accusative is like the nominative for non-animates. For animates (such as a chicken) it looks like the genitive - i.e. jednego małego kurczaka.

Generally the accusative is used following prepositions that require the accusative or in sentences where there is a direct object.

For example:
The chicken is small - chicken is the subject -> Nominative
I like chicken - I am the subject, the chicken is the direct object -> Accusative

Strangely (for me at least), Polish uses the genetive when you negate a sentence that had an object in the accusative - e.g.

I don't like chicken - chicken changes to genitive.

Hope that helps and I haven't just created more confusion...
OP ArcticPaul 38 | 233  
11 May 2008 /  #20
Today, 03:41 Report #20

ArcticPaul:
Why is 'Jeden mały kurczak' considered ACCUSATIVE?
What rules govern the inclusion of words/phrases into the ACCUSATIVE GROUP

It isn't, it's nominative

Let me rephrase.............

Why is it correct to change the nominative 'Jeden mały kurczak' into the accusative 'Jednego małego kurczaka'.
I know 'kurczak' is masc so we opt for 'mały/mała/małe' (The masc form of the adjective that correctly fits the masc noun of 'kurczak')

I'm just getting used to genders and case endings, nominative and instrumental THEN this pops up.........
.........but, unlike nominative and instrumental, I'm unsure of the reason or puepose?

Your explanation (above) went some way towards helping me understand.
benszymanski 8 | 465  
11 May 2008 /  #21
Not sure I catch what you are getting at, so I will try and cover too much rather than not enough:

In English we rely on word order to determine meaning:

Ben hits Paul

is totally different to:

Paul hits Ben

or we rely on helper words (prepositions) such as "for" or "to":

e.g. Ben gave the book to Paul

In Polish, as you know, the cases tell us who is doing what:

Paweł bije Bena

is still the same as:

Bena bije Paweł

despite the different word order because Ben is in the accusative case in both sentences (because of the "-a" ending).

In the sentence:

Ben gives the book to Paul

the subject is Ben (so Ben is nominative), the direct object is the book (so the book takes the accusative) and Paul is the indirect object or receiving object (so Paul takes the dative).

Thus in Polish:

Ben daje książkę Pawłowi

Here książka takes the fem. acc. ending -ę and Paweł takes the masc. dat. ending -owi

Hope that helps.
vlk - | 19  
14 May 2008 /  #22
No answer to this, Polish uses cases just like Czech and most of Slavic languages. Bad luck for you Britons and others... :-(
OP ArcticPaul 38 | 233  
16 May 2008 /  #23
Here książka takes the fem. acc. ending -ę and Paweł takes the masc. dat. ending -owi

Hope that helps.

Yes. It helps alot. I know understand the overall concept.
I'm still a little unsure of what will constitute the direct object in other sentences but feel practise and experience will soon make this a thing of the past.

I'm going to try and understand the grammar of some English sentences in this respect, as well as continue my Polish studies.
parrish 1 | 12  
19 May 2008 /  #24
to learn simple genders, look at lesson 2 [languagelearninglab]
Cardno85 31 | 976  
11 Jul 2008 /  #25
Gaelic will test u. Please write me the phonetic version of slainte mhaithe, or ceud mille failte

The second phonetically would be caad meel falthay.

The first word of the first phrase is pronounced Slanj.

I used to do it a bit in primary school but was never into languages when i was younger.

But yeah, it's a dead hard language, just so ancient and untampered with, they have no new words so say the english for things like internet and stuff. Quite fascinating all the same. It's the cases and genders and sheer complexity that attracted me to polish.
Switezianka - | 463  
11 Jul 2008 /  #26
Why?
Becuase we had no Norman invasion!
craic_monster 1 | 44  
28 Jul 2008 /  #27
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.

Polish is 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?
szkotja2007 27 | 1,498  
28 Jul 2008 /  #28
I just got this text - what does it say ?
Cò an caora sin còmhla riut a chunnaic mi an-raoir?

Saor Alba !
craic_monster 1 | 44  
28 Jul 2008 /  #29
That's Scots-Gaelic.

It means - roughly - Who was that sheep I saw you with last night?

Free Scotland!

Whoever it was, their Scots-Gaelic grammar is pretty good, but the message was a wee bit rude!

Text back with Buckfast forever!
szkotja2007 27 | 1,498  
28 Jul 2008 /  #30
Ha Ha - very good. Gaelic gu leor !

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