Many of my fellow students were befuddled (zawily) in Polish class about when the "a" or "u" was required for the genitive case with both masculine animate/inanimate nouns, examples: "....dobrego kursu" vs. ".......malego computera", "......pracowitego ojca" etc.
Our teacher explained that, as a native speaker, it was best to forget about rules and just to learn the endings one word at a time. I've tried to develop my own mnemonic or memory aids to assist in learning them effecitively, such as, soft vs. hard stems, much as
traditional grammars insist.
I teach German, and when students ask about case endings, I'm always tempted not to burden them with rules. Sometimes though, they're needed!
Sorry if this post seems a trifle arcane :)
Your welcome! (I think :) )
Wasn't aware I was really explaining anything, rather,
I was posing a problem and looking to others in the fomums
perhaps Ivonka, for further guidance.
Oh, there's plenty of "grammar weirdness" to go around in Polish, at least for the unanointed!
I studied the language for four years during my school time and still make mistakes in case endings (less so in apsect correlation , however, I must say :) ), evident from several of my posts, I'm embarrassed to admit.
In Poland though, Poles are fairly tolerant of such errors (as are the Germans), compared, for example, with the Hungarians, even the Icelanders, who often take almost malicious pleasure in snickering over some foreigner's faults in grammar.