Return PolishForums LIVE
  PolishForums Archive :
Archives - 2005-2009 / Language  % width 23

Use of prefixes in f.s tense/rules for forming them?


Czarne Oczy 14 | 64  
29 Apr 2008 /  #1
Hello again pl forum. I'm a little confused about the rules for forming the f.s tense. I know you can [to a certain extent] add "będę" before the infinitive of some verbs to form the future, but there are others; ex: powiem, posłuchaj, przetanczyć. Can somebody please give me a general rule for deciding which prefix to use? Is it based on which one just simply...sounds correct? I'm guessing the perf/imperf is going to be thrown into this fun little mix too haha. Thanks in advance for the help, I've learned so much from this forum:).

Kelsey R.
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
29 Apr 2008 /  #2
Can somebody please give me a general rule for deciding which prefix to use?

I'm not sure any general rules in that regard exists, unless I don't understand what you're asking for.

for instance, the words you are asking about:

powiem - here po- is not a prefix, but a part of the word
posłuchaj - po- changes the meaning of the word, other prefixes for sluchać may be wy-, za- u- prze-, w-, do- etc. Some of these create a distinct meaning, although within the same semantic field.

przetanczyć - prze- changes the meaning. other prefixes may be za-, wy- od- etc.
benszymanski 8 | 465  
30 Apr 2008 /  #3
f.s tense.

Are you asking about the future simple here? Because there is no future simple in Polish. Polish verbs are simpler in that they don't have all the different forms like we do in English (e.g. I will say, I will have said, I will be saying etc..)

You either have future perfective or future imperfective. To answer your question then, it doesn't come down to which prefix to add, it comes down to using either the perfective or imperfective in the correct form.

E.g. - 1st person singular future of "to speak"

using the imperfective (mówić) is "będę mówił"
using the perfective (powiedzić) is simply "powiem"

I think the confusion about adding prefixes comes down to the fact that often (but not always and certainly not regularly) the perfective partner looks like the imperfective verb with a prefix
Marek 4 | 867  
1 May 2008 /  #4
A given prefix, e.g. 'po', 'z'. 'za' etc. can signal a change to the perfective from imperfective form, such as 'POdziękować' from 'dziękować' and so forth.

'Podziękuję za miły wieczór!' = I wish to/would like to thank you for a lovely evening. (I'm thanking you right now.)

'Dziękuję za pomóc!' = Thank you for your help! (I thank you generally)
strzyga 2 | 993  
2 May 2008 /  #5
Today, 09:35 #5

'Podziękuję za miły wieczór!' = I wish to/would like to thank you for a lovely evening. (I'm thanking you right now.)

actually, no.

'Podziękuję za miły wieczór!' - I'm going to / I will thank (someone) for a lovely evening - this sentence expresses merely an intention to thank sb and not the act of thanking. This is future tense all right.

"Dziękuję za miły wieczór" is the correct form of actually thanking somebody. Same as "dziękuję za pomoc" (not "pomóc").

HTH :)
Marek 4 | 867  
2 May 2008 /  #6
I should have added in my post that prefixed forms sometimes give a future meaning, just as you corrected in my sentence! "Piszę list do Polski." = I'm writing...

vs. "Napiszę list do Polski." = I will write a letter to Poland. etc..

Appreciate your kind amendments!! -:)
strzyga 2 | 993  
2 May 2008 /  #7
right :) although, alas, there's no cut and dried rule about it. sometimes it's the prefix, sometimes the ending: wyrzucam - present, wyrzucę - future; but again, tańczę is present... hmmm... when I think about it, I really admire you guys :)

I've never taught Polish to foreigners and, frankly, didn't realize that our future tense is so complicated! lol
benszymanski 8 | 465  
3 May 2008 /  #8
there's no cut and dried rule about it

yes, which is pretty much what I said earlier - there is no real rule and sometimes the future looks like the present with a prefix, but not always....
Marek 4 | 867  
3 May 2008 /  #9
Strzyga,

As far as tenses go, Polish is a lot more intuitive than, for example, English. I still though am occisionally confused with the precise difference between "Będę spać." vs. "Będę spał." I was told by my former Polish teacher years ago, that the former is more colloquial and the latter more classic, i.e. standard!

She was however an older woman at the time and may not have kept up with the nuances in development of the language. -:)
strzyga 2 | 993  
3 May 2008 /  #10
As far as tenses go, Polish is a lot more intuitive than, for example, English.

it might be intuitive but it certainly isn't logical... and as a foreign language learner, I'd rather go for logic :)
Actually, for the Polish learners future tense in English is about the easiest part of the tense package, quite a picnic compared to past and present.

I still though am occisionally confused with the precise difference between "Będę spać." vs. "Będę spał." I was told by my former Polish teacher years ago, that the former is more colloquial and the latter more classic, i.e. standard!

She was however an older woman at the time and may not have kept up with the nuances in development of the language. -:)

she was right, no difference really, "będę spał" is a little bit more literary and "będę spać" more colloquial, but it doesn't really matter which one you use.
Marek 4 | 867  
4 May 2008 /  #11
'Logic' is something other then 'precision'. German, for example, is considered to be a very precise language, yet hardly logical, what with it's myriad case endings for articles as well as nouns (occasionally) and particularly adjectives.

English therefore, Germanically derived, is hardly any more logical than Polish. Compare the differences:

Będę pisał. = Ich werde schreiben, I will write (or: I will be writing)
Napisałem(-łam) = Ich werde geschrieben haben/Ich habe geschrieben/Ich schrieb, I will have written (or: I have written, I wrote)

Is Polish though any more or less precise than German and English?

I really meant 'Będę pisał' or 'Napiszę' = Future imperfective vs. perfective
strzyga 2 | 993  
5 May 2008 /  #12
I really meant 'Będę pisał' or 'Napiszę' = Future imperfective vs. perfective

I thought so :)

Logic' is something other then 'precision'. German, for example, is considered to be a very precise language, yet hardly logical, what with it's myriad case endings for articles as well as nouns (occasionally) and particularly adjectives.

There's logic of a language (semantics) and logic of it's grammar, and these can be two different things. Polish grammar is not logical - you have a proof of it in the posts above. I'd say English grammar is much more logical. As for German, I'm really not in the position to judge its logic, as my friendship with that tongue ended when the adjectives came up and I was supposed to decline a combination of an article plus an adjective plus a noun in three different gender patterns... I chickened out :)

But, theoretizing a bit, logic is not dependent on the degree of complication; German grammar, with all its case engings, might still be logical, who knows? I don't.

Precision is yet another matter and it depends on what you mean by the word. There exist languages in which you can count only to five and then it's "many many many"... a German definitely wouldn't call such a language precise, would they? :) But, all the same, for the native speakers of this language the "many many many" might be a very precise information. In turn, German would not be precise enough for the Eskimos who have something like thirty words for various kinds of snow. The question is, on which level of reality you want to be precise.

Working as a translator, I have to every day cope with situations when precision in one language doesn't find any equivalent in the other, and it always works both ways, En-Pl as well as Pl-En. There's really no saying which of the two is more precise, they are both precise, each in its own way. Sometimes it's the matter of choosing the right word, sometimes the word order, intonation, little things. Anyway, any language conveys equally precise messages, they're just different messages and different kinds of precision... well, i's getting late and I'm close to quoting Wittgenstein now, so I'd better stop here :)
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
5 May 2008 /  #13
I should have added in my post that prefixed forms sometimes give a future meaning, just as you corrected in my sentence! "Piszę list do Polski." = I'm writing...
vs. "Napiszę list do Polski." = I will write a letter to Poland. etc..

Careful there.. After all you can say "napisałem"

Eskimos who have something like thirty words for various kinds of snow. The question is, on which level of reality you want to be precise.

That's a myth stemming from misunderstanding of the Inuit the grammars (not Eskimo, which mean a meat eater and is offensive). They do not have 30 words for the word "snow" but they have many more lexemes derived from that word. In general English has just about as many words for "snow" as the Inuit languages.
Marek 4 | 867  
6 May 2008 /  #14
Strzyga,

Silly me, I ought to have guessed that we share the same profession, since your English appears truthfully speaking, excellent!! As fellow translators, you and I might post endlessly on this endlessly fascinating topic, both of personal as well professional interest to me, at least.

Indeed, Wittgenstein had many theories on the use of language. However, as a trained linguist, the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis concerning the acquisition of language instinctually vs. instiutionally, remains a serious bone of contention among language learners!

As regards German, you remind me of Mark Twain when he once noted in his essay 'The Awful German Language' (Straszny Język Niemiecki), that he would rather decline two drinks than one German adjective.

Well, perhaps then better off remaining 'virtual strangers'.
Cheers!
OP Czarne Oczy 14 | 64  
6 May 2008 /  #15
I'm leaving on June 29th, I have to learn almost 3/4 of the language by then! aghhh! Ale dziękuje za pomoc wszyscy:) (somebody correct that<-----:)
benszymanski 8 | 465  
6 May 2008 /  #16
30 words for the word "snow"

On a similar note, I find it strange that Polish doesn't seem to have a word for "sleet". I only ever hear on TV deszcz z śniegiem or śnieg z deszczem....
Marek 4 | 867  
6 May 2008 /  #17
Furthermore, Polish has no separate verb for 'to snow' or 'to rain' (much less 'to sleet'): pada śnieg (not "śniegować"), pada deszcz (and not "deszczować", for instance) etc.

Whereas English uses the dummy subject "It's pouring.."/"It was pouring", Polish prefers the more literal DESZCZ LEJE....., resp. DESZCZ LA£
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
6 May 2008 /  #18
pada śnieg (not "śniegować"), pada deszcz (and not "deszczować", for instance) etc.

But there is a word "śnieżyć" which refers only to falling snow.
"Padać" is contextual, so if someone says "pada" it is usually clear what is falling from the sky.

Whereas English uses the dummy subject "It's pouring.."/"It was pouring", Polish prefers the more literal DESZCZ LEJE....., resp. DESZCZ LA£

Polish "leje" (without deszcz) means "it's raining". Hence "ulewa" - a downpour.
Marek 4 | 867  
6 May 2008 /  #19
Dariusz,

Good point. I simply meant that English on occasion appears to use more words in basic constructions which are rendered superfluous in Polish!

'Świcieć' means 'to become daybreak', if I'm not mistaken about the spelling of the verb! English has 'to dawn', but here the meaning is completely different from 'świcieć'! In English 'to dawn' means instead 'to become clear to someone', e.g. 'It finally dawned on me that he was lying.'

In this way, as in many others, Polish more resembles German among the non-Slavic languages, than English:

'świcieć = daemmern ('Es daemmert')
'mglić = nebelig werden ('Es nebelt')
etc...

I am mistaken on several points. 'Świcieć' means 'to shine', 'świciać' means 'to become daybreak'. Secondly, 'mglić' isn't Polish! In German too, 'nebeln' should read 'VERnebeln' = to become foggy
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
7 May 2008 /  #20
'Świcieć' means 'to become daybreak', if I'm not mistaken about the spelling of the verb! English has 'to dawn', but here the meaning is completely different from 'świcieć'! In English 'to dawn' means instead 'to become clear to someone', e.g. 'It finally dawned on me that he was lying.'

świtać - 'to become daybreak' hence "świt" - dawn.
świtać and zaświtać can also mean "to become clear to someone", or to "come up with an idea". I'm not positive if it's a rule but I think "świtać" in the latter meanings calls for a compulsory collocation with "w glowie" (in one's head).

Example:
Walśnie zaświtało mi w głowie, że nie piłem dziś kawy.
Marek 4 | 867  
7 May 2008 /  #21
Apologies, Darius! Occasionally I post without consulting my pocket 'Poprawna Polszczyzna', which normally is on me at all times. I've had it for about as long as I can remember and has served me well (...up till now..-:) LOL)

Translation of your sentence: "I suddenly realized, that I didn't have a cup of coffee today."

In German, "Es ist mir ploetzlich eingefallen, dass ich heute keinen Kaffee getrunken habe.

Odd that Polish has no word for "sleet"?

German doesn't either! They call it simply "der Schneeregen", literally "snow rain", not all too disimilar to Polish.

Darius,

Occasionally, i confuse 'skończyć się' and 'zakończyć'. I realize I shouldn't, but, as I often find myself still unintentionally translating in my head from German, I want to make sure I'm on the right track.

Zakończyłem moje studie na uniwersytecie. = I completed my college studies.
Skończyłem się! = I'm done/Finished! (i.e. with an activity, such as with a computer station when surrendering my place to another person.)

Much appreciate it!
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
8 May 2008 /  #22
Ukończyłem (or Skończyłem) [without moje] studia na uniwersytecie [or, adjective "uniwersyteckie" instead of "na uniwersytecie"]. = I completed my college studies.

Skończyłem [without się] ! = I'm done/Finished! (i.e. with an activity, such as with a computer station when surrendering my place to another person.)
Marek 4 | 867  
9 May 2008 /  #23
Interesting, Krzysztof!

Enjoyed the re-learning of that which I should have long since remembered and which I ought to have been able to apply automatically. -:)-:)!! LOL

My sources are rather vague! When would I in fact use 'zakończyć', if 'ukończyć' is so close in aspectual meaning/usage?

I'm at a loss here, I must confess.

Archives - 2005-2009 / Language / Use of prefixes in f.s tense/rules for forming them?Archived