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Feminine Nouns Ending In A Consonant


Vincent 9 | 803   Moderator
9 Dec 2008 /  #1
Feminine nouns ending in a consonant can be tricky for the beginner, because they could easily be mistaken for masculine nouns. It would be of great help to the novice, to have a list of feminine nouns that don't take the usual ending: e.g. -a, -i, or the abstract nouns ending in -ść. Please add to the list if you can think of any more, or come across any.

chorągiew - flag
gałąź - branch
jabłoń - apple tree
łódź - boat
nić - thread
noc - night
pamięć - memory
pieśń - song
podróż - journey
pomoc - help
rzecz - thing
twarz - face
Michal2 - | 78  
10 Dec 2008 /  #2
chorągiew - flag

What about the similar Polish word marchew for a carrot? It is a more daily used word than chorągiew and the declension is similar.
OP Vincent 9 | 803   Moderator
10 Dec 2008 /  #3
marchew

Thanks Michal, is this a feminine noun?
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
10 Dec 2008 /  #4
is this a feminine noun?

Yes.

I think the nouns ending in a soft consonant (like ć, dź) are quite often feminine, maybe even predominantly.

Almost all the nouns ending in -ość (often made from an adjective):
stary - starość,
wielki - wielkość,
długi - długość,
radość (joy) (from old adjective "rad" today rarely used)
are feminine, and it's a big group of words.
With those nouns ending in -ość, but not derived from an adjective, it's not always the rule, for example:
(feminine)
ość (fish bone),
kość (bone),
but masculine: gość (guest)

Other nouns with -ść at the end (besides -ość) are usually feminine too:
wieść - news (today rather in the modern form of wiadomość),
część - part,
cześć - honour,
treść - content (mainly figuratively - of a book, a text, content of a container, recipient = zawartość)
but there are masculine too, for example referring to male persons, like teść (father-in-law).

chęć - will,
rtęć - mercury (metal - quicksilver, not the planet or the Greek god which are called Merkury)
but zięć (son-in-law) is of course masculine.

-dź (spowiedź - confession)
-ń is probably usually masculine (although I'm not sure)
feminine:
sień (part of a house, dunno the English word)
grań (in mountains, dunno the English word)
otchłań (abyss?)

but dzień (day) is masculine (I think dzień - noc simply followed the Latin pattern with the gender: masculin for day and feminine for night, which must have had some religious meaning), also masculine is waleń (a species of whale), kleń (some fish, don't know what it's called in English)

Other
- ż (młodzież - youth, odzież - clothes), I guess -rz ending is typically masculine

(Here I stop this post, because there are simply too many examples, sorry).
OP Vincent 9 | 803   Moderator
11 Dec 2008 /  #5
Thanks Krzysztof this is very helpful information, which I hope will benefit others learning Poilsh as well.
Marek 4 | 867  
11 Dec 2008 /  #6
I find all this especially helpful, since it dispels the illusion that just because a Polish noun ends in an 'a' , e.g. kobietA, rękA, matkA, ziemiA etc.., it is necessarily, i.e. automatically, feminine, or, that ALL feminine nouns in Polish end in 'a', for that matter, in any one single letter! For example, that mixed masculine group, mężczyznA, kolegA, etc...., all declined according to the masculine form.

Cheers!

Another 'exception', or maybe example, of not assuming much of anything in Polish gender might be 'pracodawcA'/'pracobiorcA', resp. 'employer' and 'employee', lit. "work giver" vs. "work taker", both masculine nouns in Polish, although they end in 'a', for various morphological as well as phonological reasons, perhaps having to do with a sort of 'vowel harmony' for 'pracA' > 'pracO' combination, or the like.

The feminine forms for the above would end rather in '-ka', e.g. 'pracodawKA' etc..

Just my usual one-and-a half euros worth--:)!!
OP Vincent 9 | 803   Moderator
12 Dec 2008 /  #7
Good informatiom Marek.

Some professions which historically were only preformed by men and have no feminine form.

inżynier - engineer
architekt - architekt
minister - minister
prezydent - president
Marek 4 | 867  
12 Dec 2008 /  #8
In German though, interestingly, they DO (.. and women traditionally didn't hold any there either--:):

IngenieurIN
ArchitektIN (possible, though not in use however!)
MinisterIN
PraesidentIN
KanzlerIN (witness Mrs. Merkel et al...)

etc.....
Davey 13 | 388  
13 Dec 2008 /  #9
In German though, interestingly, they DO (.. and women traditionally didn't hold any there either--:):

German nouns are a pain in the ass, atleast in Polish you can tell most genders by their endings, but German is a lot of guessing=/
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
13 Dec 2008 /  #10
The feminine forms for the above would end rather in '-ka', e.g. 'pracodawKA' etc..

NO :)
female version of "dawca" is "dawczyni"

for various morphological as well as phonological reasons, perhaps having to do with a sort of 'vowel harmony' for 'pracA' > 'pracO' combination, or the like.

I agree with the assumption about morpho-phonological reasons, but I think this "vowel harmony" part is stretching it a bit too far :)

Some examples of this ending (pairs male - female)
dawca - dawczyni (giver, donor, for example organ donor = dawca narządu)
pracodawca - pracodawczyni (employer, work giver, as Marek already wrote)
sprzedawca - sprzedawczyni (shop assistent)
wydawca - wydawczyni (editor - in publishing books, newspapers, magazines etc., the male noun wydawca can also mean a publishing house; editor in movies = montażysta) - although the female version is not used much ... yet

znalazca - znalazczyni (finder)
wynalazca - wynalazczyni (inventor)
zwycięzca - zwyciężczyni (winner)
(yes, it's correct, the "z" becomes "ż" in this case, or rather it returns to be "ż" like in the source word "zwyciężać")
Marek 4 | 867  
13 Dec 2008 /  #11
I always learn new stuff here. Three cheers, Krzysztof! As always, will try to internalize corrections - - :)-:)!!!!

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