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Double negative in Polish language


osiol 55 | 3,921  
22 Aug 2007 /  #1
Nic nie powiedziałem.
I didn't say nothing.

I think that's right. My only problem with it is the double negative. 'I didn't say nothing' is bad English.
In the Polish phrase, can the 'nic' negate the 'nie', thus returning the meaning into the realms of the positive
- ie. I didn't say nothing [therefore I said something]

If the double negative can be taken either way, according to speaker and context as it is in English, is there anything I ought to know about it, or should I go and get a life?
Magdalena 3 | 1,835  
22 Aug 2007 /  #2
The double negative is normal in Polish, in other Slavonic languages as well, for that matter.

Nic nie powiedziałem = I said nothing.

Powiedziałem nic = nonsense, not even bad grammar. If you said that, people would probably assume you actually said "Powiedziałem 'nic'" i.e., "I said 'nothing'", like a quote, you know.

It's actually quite simple, you just need to remember that in case of negations, Polish is quite the opposite of English ;-)
Marek 4 | 867  
22 Aug 2007 /  #3
Osiól,
Also possible is "Nigdy nie widzialem.."= I've never seen/I never saw. (literally: "Never not seen..")

Powodzenia!
Marek
glowa 1 | 291  
22 Aug 2007 /  #4
My only problem with it is the double negative. 'I didn't say nothing' is bad English.

this isn't a good argument. Polish and English come from completely different language families, so a construction correct in one that doesn't make any sense in the other is a pretty normal situation.
Michal - | 1,865  
22 Aug 2007 /  #5
Double negatives are in fact quite common in many languages. In Russian ja nichevo nie skazal-I did not say anything. In Afrikaans nie rook nie, do not smoke-literally no smoke no! In Russian it can be avoided by putting the 'nothing' in to the dative case as for example mnie niechevo skazat
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,504  
22 Aug 2007 /  #6
Double negatives are in fact quite common in many languages

i aint got no idea
Michal - | 1,865  
22 Aug 2007 /  #7
This is why I have explained the whole thing as best I can.
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,504  
22 Aug 2007 /  #8
or in spanish no tengo ni puta idea
Michal - | 1,865  
22 Aug 2007 /  #9
I do not know Spanish unfortunatelly.
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,504  
22 Aug 2007 /  #10
roughly translates as 'i aint got no fekin idea'
OP osiol 55 | 3,921  
22 Aug 2007 /  #11
I almost wish I hadn't said no nothing.

Thanks everyone.
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
22 Aug 2007 /  #12
je ne regrette rien (I don't regret anything) - French
non ho mai visto questo film (I've never seen this movie) - Italian
no dijo nada (he said nothing) - Spanish

same applies for Slavic languages, so it's not a Polish invention :)
kochanie 3 | 58  
23 Aug 2007 /  #13
so if you want to use negative you always (or usually) have to include "nie" just as you'd always include "ne" in French? ie ne rien, ne jamais, ne pas etc
porta 18 | 297  
23 Aug 2007 /  #14
Nie ma na sobie niczego. Not wearing nothing?
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
23 Aug 2007 /  #15
Nie ma na sobie niczego

= "Hun/Han har ingenting på seg"
porta 18 | 297  
23 Aug 2007 /  #16
Czy pan mowi po Norwegski?
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
23 Aug 2007 /  #17
so if you want to use negative you always (or usually) have to include "nie" just as you'd always include "ne" in French? ie ne rien, ne jamais, ne pas etc

the rule is that the words that carry the negative meaning in themselves, like "nigdy" (never), "nic" (nothing), "nikt" (nobody) don't change the necessity for the use of the proper grammatical negation with "nie"

we have actually 3 different situation in the 3 main linguistic groups in Europe

Germanic languages - single negation
Romance languages - single negation with the specific sentence order (the nagative part before the verb)
- double negation (with the regular sentence order)
Polish (probably other Slavic languages too)
- double negation always
Bednar87 1 | 3  
23 Aug 2007 /  #18
Nie ma na sobie niczego. Not wearing nothing?

Nie ma na sobie niczego = S/He is not wearing anything.

Czy pan mowi po Norwegski?

..po norwesku

Do you speak Norwegian ?= (czy) Mówisz po norwesku? or (Czy) Znasz Norweski ?

Q: Mówisz po norwesku ?
A: Tak, mówię po norwesku =Yes, I do speak Norwegian.

Q: Znasz Norweski ?
A: Tak or Znam

Znam + your favorite language is more common that Mówię po + your favorite language

P.s :I'm new here. Hello everyone ! ;-)
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
23 Aug 2007 /  #19
Czy pan mowi po Norwegski?

Czy pan mówi po norwesku?
men man behøver ikke å være så formal her:
Czy mówisz po norwesku?

Nei, jeg har glemt nesten alt, men jeg kjente norsk for femten år siden, når jeg studerte

oh, it's really like Bednar87 wrote it's better to say "czy znasz [zna pan] norweski?"
porta 18 | 297  
23 Aug 2007 /  #20
Czy pan mówi po norwesku?
men man behøver ikke å være så formal her:
Czy mówisz po norwesku?

Nei, jeg har glemt nesten alt, men jeg kjente norsk for ten år siden, når jeg studerte

Ok, tusen takk :)

Det som er vanskelig med alle polskkursene her er at man lærer kun den formelle stilen.
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
23 Aug 2007 /  #21
learning the formal language has its advantages - you are usually more polite when talking to people and using Pan/Pani requires 3rd person verb, which is probably the most often used form in the written language (not only in Polish)

besides, it's common to use those Pan/Pani when talking to a stranger, unless he/she is a young person
porta 18 | 297  
23 Aug 2007 /  #22
I see your point, but i would have liked that the coarse would show both forms, formal and informal.

What and where did you study?
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
23 Aug 2007 /  #23
informal form is simply 2nd person verb, so you just have to learn the conjugation of the verbs :)
singular
1st znam
2nd znasz
3rd zna
formal - czy Pan zna?
informal - czy znasz? easy as a pie
I actually studied the so-called "Norwegian philology" (at Poznań University), but after 3 years I decided I'm not interested anymore so I quit and chose Italian
porta 18 | 297  
23 Aug 2007 /  #24
That acctually helpt explain a lot ,thanks! I dont want to get stuck talking formal all evening with my friends :)
Norwegian Philology? No wonder you got tired of that :)

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