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How do little children know that they should say "mamo" rather than "mama"?


Derevon 12 | 172  
12 Oct 2009 /  #1
I'm a bit curious about this. Children normally learn by imitating, but since mothers hardly
address themselves as "mamo", how then is it that children learn to use this vocative form?
mafketis 21 | 7,391  
12 Oct 2009 /  #2
The idea is regularization, they hear how someone named Anna becomes Anno and Danka becomes Danko when people speak to them and regularize that to mama - mamo.

But in modern Poland, they largely don't, as the vocative (except for a few nouns and diminutive forms of personal names) is not so widely used.
OP Derevon 12 | 172  
12 Oct 2009 /  #3
Interesting. Little children really have a good subconscious sense of grammar.
viollaan  
12 Oct 2009 /  #4
Yes, they have. And... No, this isn't right! In modern Poland vocative is important element of good manners. For Example, in Polish schools teachers always use the vocative. This isn't necessary, but... good, if you use it, when you talk with Polish. But... sometimes you MUST use vocative, for example - you musn't say "Dzień dobry, profesor" because it is offensive. You must use the form "profesorze" So If you don't speak Polish Language really very well, you should use it.

And sorry for mistakes, English isn't my national language, but I live in Poland. (: So I hope you understand
marion 1 | 16  
13 Oct 2009 /  #5
Why is the form "Dzień dobry profesor" offensive?
It's interesting, could you explain?
mafketis 21 | 7,391  
13 Oct 2009 /  #6
Why is "Excuse me, sir" or "Excuse me, ma'am" polite and "Excuse me, Mr." or "Excuse me, lady" not?

Job titles are generally a case where the vocative is still preferred (even more than names, where friends and family members often use the nominative instead).

It might have something to do with formality and/or signallying your recognition of them as a person (in a way that 'profesor' doesn't).
OP Derevon 12 | 172  
13 Oct 2009 /  #7
I never quite understood what's with all the excessive politeness expressions in Polish (and many other languages as well for that matter). If somebody would say "herr professor" in Sweden it would be pure mockery, nothing else. ;)
viollaan  
13 Oct 2009 /  #8
This is hard to explain, but I hope you'll understand... If you say "dzień dobry, profesor" it sound as slang. Little... disrespect. But If you don't want use vocative in this sentence, you must add "Pan/Pani" - Then it will be colloquial Polish. "Dzień dobry, panie profesor" in written language is mistake, but in speech Polish use it. And yes, in Poland courtesy phrases is very, very important and they have a looooot of it. "Dzień dobry, będą państwo tak uprzejmi poinformować mnie...", "Bardzo przepraszam, czy wie Pani może, gdzie jest...", "Pani Profesor, proszę na to spojrzeć..." , " Dziękuję Panu bardzo, to naprawdę miłe z pana strony..." etc, etc...
OP Derevon 12 | 172  
13 Oct 2009 /  #9
I can't but help to think that Polish sounds very "obsequious" in this respect. What's really shocking to me, though, is when I hear somebody in his/her twenties call another person around the same age pani/pana. It sounds so completely unnatural in my ears. Could any young person really feel offended by being called "ty"?
mafketis 21 | 7,391  
13 Oct 2009 /  #10
Obsequious is in the eye and ear of the observer.

Look at it this way. Swedish people I've known tend to be pretty relaxed about a lot of things, but they like their space and don't like being physically close to random people and like lots of space between themselves and the people they're talking too.

One of the things that polite expressions do for Polish people is create a kind of distance. Calling sometime 'ty' when it's not appropriate is like someone coming up and talking to you a few centimeters away from your face. All the pan's and pani's keep the discussion at a safer distance.

People in their 20's calling each other pan/pani - in terms of language, the 20's are an awkward age in Poland when the choice of using polite or formal address forms is the most difficult. In the teens, it's easy you call anyone obviously older than you 'pan/pani' and your age and younger 'ty' and by the 30's the default forms are pan/pani unless you're emotionally close to them. My younger colleagues in their 20's admit to often being unsure about which to use - some people decide to err on the side of caution.
shewolf 5 | 1,077  
13 Oct 2009 /  #11
I've heard that the word "mamo" is used in some parts of Poland but not in others.
viollaan  
13 Oct 2009 /  #12
Hm. I think Poland is little... old-fashioned country. You can say "you", only when this person please you about this. This is called bruderszaft (maybe) "Can you call me by name?" And you can say "you..." to teens, but if he/she is 17-19 years old, you should use "Pani/Pan", If you don't know his/her. And Students in school, University etc, teachers, can resigns of "pan/pani" in a talks between them.

Well, This is a very complicated and results from the culture of the country...
Leopejo 4 | 120  
13 Oct 2009 /  #13
Hm. I think Poland is little... old-fashioned country

Luckily.
OsiedleRuda  
13 Oct 2009 /  #14
Exactly.

Not like in the UK, where some 12 year old can come up to me and go "oi bruv" and if I reply "I ain't your bruv", they reply "don't disrespect me cos I'll stab u up u wasteman".

If that's "modern" manners, then f*** modern manners, and bring back some old-fashioned politeness!

I've heard that the word "mamo" is used in some parts of Poland but not in others.

Quite possibly; most of my family is from central Poland but no-one ever says this in my family, whereas all of my ex-girlfriend's family (from north-west) seemed to. Like here in the UK, how some people say mother, mum, or even (up north) mam.

But I'm not from Poland so I can't really say for sure.
viollaan  
13 Oct 2009 /  #15
This is their... everyday life. For example, teen NEVER doesn't say to mother's friends "you", in shop, in school, on the street... Everyone young Polish uses forms "Pan/Pani" to elder, and vice versa...

Do you mean diminutives? Here is a lot of this. Mother is - Mama, mamusia, Mamuś, Mamcia, Mamunia... Little childrens often use similar words.
lesser 4 | 1,311  
13 Oct 2009 /  #16
This is their... everyday life. For example, teen NEVER doesn't say to mother's friends "you", in shop, in school, on the street... Everyone young Polish uses forms "Pan/Pani" to elder, and vice versa...

This is also part of so called "rites of passage". Many wise people claim, when rites of passage vanishing, that culture is on the edge of destruction. Europe is dying, any correlation? I'm afraid this is part of a problem.

Children in Poland are also more and more arrogant and adults more and more ignore it. Children should be immediately lectured when they violate widely recognized cultural norms. While adults should be lectured when fail to lecture children who deserve to be lectured.
violl  
14 Oct 2009 /  #17
I didn't notice something this... In my opinion, Now in Poland lives better. standard of living rises because they are open to the world... This isn't bad results, because in real life, Poland is very shy and humble country. Today the average Polish family earns more. But, I don't know... I noticed something strange: When world has a problems (crisis, terrorism, epidemic) Poland is... neutral. They aren't interested, aren't fear this. I don't know what I should think... Maybe courage, maybe ignorance.
cjj - | 281  
14 Oct 2009 /  #18
it's not the mamo that gets me, it's referring to grandparents in 3rd p.singular that I find bizarre. "would granny like a biscuit?" when referring directly to said granny is a step too complicated for me
space_rebel 2 | 17  
14 Oct 2009 /  #19
Children in Poland are also more and more arrogant and adults more and more ignore it. Children should be immediately lectured when they violate widely recognized cultural norms. While adults should be lectured when fail to lecture children who deserve to be lectured.

OMG WTF Polish culture down the drain !! :o

;-)
Krystal 6 | 95  
14 Oct 2009 /  #20
Mamo sound like Spanish to me.
Where did they learn it? It isn't proper manners for children to speak different grammars.

Or words.
OsiedleRuda  
14 Oct 2009 /  #21
it's not the mamo that gets me, it's referring to grandparents in 3rd p.singular that I find bizarre. "would granny like a biscuit?" when referring directly to said granny is a step too complicated for me

It's not at all bizarre or too complicated if you've grown up with it, it's natural, and I wish it was more like this in English tbh ;)
Bondi 4 | 142  
26 Oct 2009 /  #22
I can't but help to think that Polish sounds very "obsequious" in this respect. What's really shocking to me, though, is when I hear somebody in his/her twenties call another person around the same age pani/pana. It sounds so completely unnatural in my ears. Could any young person really feel offended by being called "ty"?

It's hard to get used to it that I can't just walk into a shop in Poland and say "cześć" by default... In Hungary, when I go to a shop and see a salesman/-woman close to my age (in his teens or twenties, or even thirties), we can address each other and have a conversation in the "ty" form. Depends on the situation and the shop, of course, but people (both men and women) up to a thirty-something age are easily offended by the formal address in everyday speech in my country. (I.e. they say "I'm not so old to call me a "pan/pani".) The only exception to this are "obvious" formal places like banks and bureaus.

it's not the mamo that gets me, it's referring to grandparents in 3rd p.singular that I find bizarre. "would granny like a biscuit?" when referring directly to said granny is a step too complicated for me

It is because you can't call your grandparents "pan/pani", as that would be way too formal. But you still don't want to address them in the "ty" form, if you want to show respect. So it's somewhere in-between these two.
Gaa 2 | 155  
26 Oct 2009 /  #23
What's really shocking to me, though, is when I hear somebody in his/her twenties call another person around the same age pani/pana.

i agree about this and i hate it about Polish language. that we have so many unnecessary formal expressions.
i'm 20+ and often hesitate whether i should say Pani to a girl in a shop who is even younger than me.and i usually say it... unless the person talks to me "na ty".

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