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Use of "and" in Polish...

6 Aug 2007 /  #1
Hi there, I have a quick question. I am trying to learn Polish at the moment but something which is confusing me is that "z", "i" and "a" all seem to mean "AND". What is the correct way to say "and" and how is it pronouced in Polish? also, what does "w"mean? thank you in advance....
glowa 1 | 291  
6 Aug 2007 /  #2
they translate both to 'and' (i and a) but 'a' doesn't have to

'a' can translate to 'but'
like let's say: 'on jest wysoki a ona niska', you can say 'he's tall and she's short' or 'he's tall but he's short'

'i' always translates to 'and' and you pronounce like 'ee' in 'beef'

'z' means 'from' or 'of' - like something made of something (a bench made of wood - ławka z drewna), i think it can also mean 'off' like in falling off something

'w' means 'in'

does that clarify anything?
OP jamesofdeath  
6 Aug 2007 /  #3
yeh thats excellent. So does it matter if I use "a" or "i" or does it depend on the situation?
glowa 1 | 291  
6 Aug 2007 /  #4
what was here before was a bit rubbish, here, this is correct.

if you translate something TO English you can translate them both (in most situations) to 'and'.

if you want an 'and' that joins two parts of a sentence:
'he walks and she runs' you need 'a' (on chodzi, a ona biega)

if you're listing adjectives:
'she's tall and pretty' you will use 'i'
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
6 Aug 2007 /  #5
you just have to understand the meaning of "and" in English, analyze it a little deeper, because it can join things, like coma ("Peter, Paul and Mary") then you use "i" in Polish ("Peter, Paul i Mary" or "Piotr, Paweł i Maria"), or it can mean rather an opposition, like "but" - in some examples of glowa, 'he's tall and she's short', 'he walks and she runs', where in Polish "a" has to be used.

Now prepositions, that's a much more complicated subject, if you learned other foreign languages, you know you can't translate them literally, there are too many differences, besides modern English doesn't have cases (except for the pronouns, I - me, he - him, etc.), so it makes it even more complicated :(

you just have to learn the usage in practice.

"w" basically means "in, but we use it also for "at school/work" ("w szkole/pracy") or when you don't use anything ("this year" = "w tym roku")

to what glowa said, I may add that "z" also usually means "with" (in the sense of "(together) with sth/sbd" for example "cabbage with mushrooms" = "kapusta z grzybami")

pronounciation of "i", "a", "z", "w" is "normal" :)
just "ee", "ah", "z", "v" (NOT "zed"/"zi" like in ZZTop and "vi" like in TV)
Michal - | 1,865  
7 Aug 2007 /  #6
It is the same in Russian. 'I' means 'and' and 'a' means 'and' but in a sort of 'but on the other hand' sort of a situation. Jutro ja pojade ku Warszawie a moj kolega zosaje w domu. Wczoraj ja kupilem chleb i maslo.
dannyboy 18 | 248  
14 Aug 2007 /  #7

Just to summarise, as one English speaker to another, I feel it would be easier to explain it in the following terms.

A is used when making a comparison or a comparitive/contrasting statement

I is used whenever a conjunction is required (but not necessarily making a direct contrast or comparison).

Following this logic, you should understand that 'a' can take on a variety of meanings in Polish denoted by the context.
For example, it can be interpreted as 'but', 'while'.
These are also conjuctive in their base form, just the structure is different.

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