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Polish Gender in foreign word borrowings


osiol 55 | 3921  
4 Nov 2007 /  #1
What are the rules for Polish borrowings from other languages with regards to grammatical gender?

I'm borrowing these quotes from another thread:

Peseta - would this be treated as a feminine noun in Polish?

Yes

Céntimo - No. That would be masculine. In Polish it would assume the form centym. Hence "dwa centymy".

A final -a looks natural for entering Polish as a feminine word.
But don't a few Polish masculine words end with -a?

Do some words maintain their original gender?

"aubergine"... "oberżyna"

I think that is a case of the word following gender closer than pronunciation.

Okay, everyone, get arguing.
plk123 8 | 4134  
4 Nov 2007 /  #2
polish is full of adopted words. a = fem, i/y = masc. almost all of the time.
OP osiol 55 | 3921  
4 Nov 2007 /  #3
Many neuter noun borrowings?
z_darius 14 | 3960  
4 Nov 2007 /  #4
not sure about the count, but there is a fair number of those.
Some neuter nouns have been borrowed and their gender was preserved, others were polonized into masculine.

opus is an interesting borrowing. It should be masculine in Polish, but it actually preserved its neutral gender. Some consider changing that into masculine since it is commonly used among general population as masculine anyway, and justyfying that also by the fact that the word entered Polish often as a part of a phrase, for instance opus spicatum - a brick pattern (wzor) called "w jodełkę". In this case opus no longer coincides with Polish neautral "dzielo" but rather with Polish masculine "wzor".

A final -a looks natural for entering Polish as a feminine word.
But don't a few Polish masculine words end with -a?

you are correct, some examples:
mężczyzna
idiota
tata
hulaka
astronauta
Michal - | 1865  
5 Nov 2007 /  #5
I know that -um endings are Latin and do not change in the singular such as museum. To museum and do tego museum but there is a plural musea.

What are the rules for Polish borrowings from other languages with regards to grammatical gender?

Why not invest in a really good language course and learn yourself all the rules as you go along? There are some really good books with accompanying cassettes on the market at the moment as you would have a well planned course of study all laid out for you as you go. You are never going to learn a language well from doing 'piece meal' work here and there. On this forum, twenty people will give you twenty totally different and differing bits of advice on the same topic.
OP osiol 55 | 3921  
5 Nov 2007 /  #6
You are never going to learn a language well from doing 'piece meal' work here and there

This question is out of an interest in linguistics generally. Any Polish I learn on the way is a bonus.
I'm not keen on many of the language books, particularly those published after 1970.
cubic 2 | 63  
5 Nov 2007 /  #7
I'm not keen on many of the language books, particularly those published after 1970.

Why don't you like those published after 1970? What's different about them?
OP osiol 55 | 3921  
5 Nov 2007 /  #8
The modern one I have, and another one or two I have seen, completely neglect to systematically teach grammar.
The old book I have from the 1960s does teach grammatical stuff - one thing per chapter.
It doesn't make it boring or tedious. It means that after chapter one you can say a variety of things about any neuter noun.

Chapter two goes into asking a variety of different questions.
In the modern book, these concepts are difficult to find and spread out through various chapters (which are too lonf to take in in a single session).

It's just my preference.
starchild 2 | 120  
5 Nov 2007 /  #9
The old book I have from the 1960s

Do you mind me asking the title of this book?

The books I have are all over the place and are only good for copying phrases from. I'm still totally clueless on the grammar side of things. In fact, I'm even more confused than when I started!
OP osiol 55 | 3921  
5 Nov 2007 /  #10
Do you mind me asking the title of this book?

You may ask, and I shall answer.

Teach Yourself Books: POLISH

by M. Corbridge-Patkaniowska
published by The English Universities Press Ltd.
First printed 1948
Revised 1960
Revised & enlarged 1964
It is from before the invention of the ISBN, so there is no easy to use number to look it up.
Price: ten shillings & sixpence
starchild 2 | 120  
5 Nov 2007 /  #11
Price: ten shillings & sixpence

Perfect... I don't like to go beyond eleven shillings when i am in the local book emporium.

Thank you donkey.

PS... I still want a copy of your list of polish letters!

Oh and I just googled it and Amazon sell it, starting price $1.65!
cubic 2 | 63  
5 Nov 2007 /  #12
The modern one I have, and another one or two I have seen, completely neglect to systematically teach grammar.

Aha. I would prefer a more formal approach, too.
OP osiol 55 | 3921  
5 Nov 2007 /  #13
I still want a copy of your list of polish letters!

This?
ąćęłńóśżź

Or this?
Moi drudzy,
Jak się masz?
Osioł
starchild 2 | 120  
5 Nov 2007 /  #14
For when I can be bothered to, I have a Polish characters file in Word.
I copied all the funny letters in alphabetical order, saved it, and now I can copy and paste to my heart's content.

This one! I have to search around the forum looking for the different characters :-)
OP osiol 55 | 3921  
5 Nov 2007 /  #15
This has just given me a marvellous idea.
sledz 23 | 2248  
5 Nov 2007 /  #16
This one! I have to search around the forum looking for the different characters :-)

You can install the polish programmer in MS Word so when you want to use them
all you have to do is type them in.
starchild 2 | 120  
5 Nov 2007 /  #17
This has just given me a marvellous idea

A secret idea or one you would like to share?? :-)

sledz

Thanks sledz, I'll try and work out how to do that.
OP osiol 55 | 3921  
5 Nov 2007 /  #18
A secret idea or one you would like to share?? :-)

I tried to start a new thread, but it doesn't seem to have worked.
I'll try once more.
sledz 23 | 2248  
5 Nov 2007 /  #19
Thanks sledz, I'll try and work out how to do that.

This is simpler than working with Word.

Assuming you work with Windows XP:
1. Control Panel
2. date, Time, language and Regional..
3. add other languages
4. details
5. key settings - choose Polish (Programmers)
6. add - it should put the icon in your task bar
7. click Language bar next to key settings to see if the adding of the icon to the task bar is checked.

It should work. Then type as usual. When you come to a letter that you want it to have a little "thingy" press Alt & Ctr at the same time and voila: śćżź

Make sure that the language bar icon in the task bar is checked for polish"programmers'.
It defaults to English
starchild 2 | 120  
5 Nov 2007 /  #20
I can change the language in the language bar to Polish and it says when in a Word doc that its set to Polish language but if I do this bit

you want it to have a little "thingy" press Alt & Ctr at the same time and voila: śćżź

nothing happens. I don't get any letter at all, let alone one with a little "thingy" :-(

I'm probably doing something really simple wrong!
OP osiol 55 | 3921  
5 Nov 2007 /  #21
edit: I tried, but it didn't work.


  • Insert > Symbol
sledz 23 | 2248  
5 Nov 2007 /  #22
ok try it this way from Admin:

It's actually quite simple. If you have MS Word follow these steps:

1. From the menu select: Insert, then Symbol...
2. In the Font tab select: (Normal text...)
3. You will find all Polish letters there.
4. Select/highlight one of the letters and press on the "Shortcut Key..." button.
5. Choose a new shortcut key (for example for the letter ó press: Ctrl+Alt+o).
6. Follow steps 4-5 until you assigned all Polish letters.

Cheers,

Admin
starchild 2 | 120  
5 Nov 2007 /  #23
Yeah, finally! That worked!

Thanks for your help :-)
sledz 23 | 2248  
5 Nov 2007 /  #24
Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!!!!

It took me a couple of tries also:)
rainbow - | 10  
6 Nov 2007 /  #25
if I do this bit
Quoting: sledz
you want it to have a little "thingy" press Alt & Ctr at the same time and voila: śćżź
nothing happens. I don't get any letter at all, let alone one with a little "thingy" :-(

I think it is because you don't press just Alt & Ctr, you press Alt + the letter you want to "modify" (Alt + Ctrl + the letter if you want to make a capital one), like:

ą -> Alt + a
ę -> Alt + e
ć -> Alt + c (Ć -> Alt + Ctrl + c)
ń -> Alt + n
ś -> Alt + s (Ś -> Alt + Ctrl + s)
ź -> Alt + x (- -> Alt + Ctrl + z)
ż -> Alt + z (Ż -> Alt + Ctrl + z)

But of course, first you need to add Polish keyboard in the regional and language options, like sledz explained, and then you need to make sure to select Polish from the language bar.
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
6 Nov 2007 /  #26
I think it is because you don't press just Alt & Ctr, you press Alt + the letter you want to "modify" (Alt + Ctrl + the letter if you want to make a capital one), like:

no, I can't agree
you're mixed things up.
Polish keyboards (i.e. made for Polish market) have the right Alt key that works how you described, but it's only the right Alt, if you want to use the left Alt you need to press also Ctrl to obtain a Polish font. I tend to believe that keyboards produced for the UK market don't have this feature on the right Alt key - so you always need to press Ctrl at the same time. For making "big" letters you need to press Shift key.

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