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Beginner learner of Polish having trouble with nouns - they change as well as numbers?


livs046
3 Nov 2012 #1
Hi,

I am just starting to learn Polish. I bought Rosetta Stone and my friend speaks to me in polish.

I am confused by the various endings in Polish. Nouns change as well as numbers?

for example,
Why is it trzy rowery but trzej uczniowie?
Cztery dziewczynki but czterej chlopcy?

I don't know when to change the noun endings.
for example:
kobiet, kobiety, kobieta...when do I use them?

Polish is very difficult!

Thank you for your help,

Olivia
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
3 Nov 2012 #2
Rosetta Stone is useless if you want to learn grammar. I suggest you get "Polish in 4 weeks" by Kowalska (level 1). It's cheap. However, 4 weeks is too optimistic.

Nouns, adjectives and many other words change ending depending on the case.

Here is a summary: But it's not enough explanations for a beginner.
en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Polish/Noun_cases

These cases exist in the Polish language:
Nominative
Accusative
Genitive
Dative
Locative
Instrumental
Vocative (not so important)
Nacjonalista 4 | 96
3 Nov 2012 #3
kobiet, kobiety, kobieta...when do I use them?

Kobieta = singular noun (woman)
Another example:
Rower = bicycle

kobiety = plural noun (women)
rowery = bicycles

Hope that helps a bit.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
3 Nov 2012 #4
kobiet, kobiety, kobieta...when do I use them?

This is not necessary to know in detail for a beginner.

Nominative case:
Kobieta (singular)
Kobiety (plural 1-4)
Kobiet (plural 5 and above)

This is not always true for numbers above 10. But for now this simplification is enough.

Examples:
Jedna kobieta = One woman
Cztery kobiety = Four women
Siedem kobiet = Seven women
oron 2 | 5
3 Nov 2012 #5
for example,
Why is it trzy rowery but trzej uczniowie?
Cztery dziewczynki but czterej chlopcy?

The numbers 2 to 4 have different forms depending on the gender of the things they count. These are the nominative forms:

2: dwa = for masculine and neuter inanimate
2: dwie = for feminine animate/inanimate
2: dwaj = for masculine animate
2: dwoje = for mixed gender and neuter animate

3: trzy = for masculine and neuter inanimate + feminine animate/inanimate
3: trzej = for masculine animate
3: troje = for mixed gender and neuter animate

4: cztery = for masculine and neuter inanimate + feminine animate/inanimate
4: czterej = for masculine animate
4: czworo = for mixed gender and neuter animate

The Polish numerical system is really simple and straightforward, as you can see...
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
3 Nov 2012 #6
For a beginner it's not simple. The numerical system in most other European languages are more simple and straightforward. For example; English, German, Scandinavian languages etc. have much easier numerical systems. (The exception is Finnish.)

However, Polish gets much easier when you have learned enough grammar to understand the structuresof the languages. Compared to many other European languages, Polish grammar is quite complicated.
oron 2 | 5
3 Nov 2012 #7
I personally wouldn't say that it's much easier when you've learnt enough grammar to understand the structures of the language, but it certainly makes more sense then at least, and you should ultimately be able to produce the correct forms more naturally. As a beginner though, depending on your previous language learning experience, it can seem slightly crazy.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
3 Nov 2012 #8
How can you learn grammar when using Rosetta Stone?
oron 2 | 5
3 Nov 2012 #9
I have no idea, but nobody said you could. Rosetta Stone is a waste of time and money (if you actually buy it) as far as I'm concerned.
OP livs046
3 Nov 2012 #10
SzwedwPolsce
What are the endings for the different cases?

Why is it different from singular, plural (2-4), and 5+?

[b]I've learned French and Spanish and a little Chinese...and those seem much easier!!!!

Thank you everyone for your help.

Are the verb conjugations easier than the noun?

Like for example in french there are three main types of verbs -er, -ir, and -re. And then there are irregulars.

Are there main types of verbs in Polish?

:D
oron 2 | 5
3 Nov 2012 #11
I would recommend checking out the book that SzwedwPolsce mentioned above and try to learn the grammar in a step-by-step way. It's not really possible to give a brief summary of all the different case endings as Polish is very irregular.

Numbers over 4 in Polish take a singular verb and the genitive case. I don't know how to explain this very well, maybe someone else can...

As for verbs, unfortunately you don't get three main types + irregulars like in French, Spanish, Italian,etc... There are obviously repeating patterns, but I'm not sure how many basic groups you could round this down to (and don't forget there are perfect and imperfect aspects for most verbs). In the past tense there are lots of fiddly little changes too. It would be worth checking out a book like "301 Polish verbs".
natasia 3 | 368
3 Nov 2012 #12
kobiet, kobiety, kobieta...when do I use them?

One of the main structural principles in Polish is the same as in lots of other languages (German, Greek, Latin, Russian, lots more ...). It is really important to grasp, because we hardly play around with nouns in English, but nouns have lots of different forms in Polish and these other languages.

Basically, in English you have:

dog
dog's
dogs

- and those are your three noun forms.

In Polish, for starters you have a different form for each of these contexts (PLEASE NOTE: THE POLISH UNDERNEATH IS A JOKE):

The DOG went for a walk.
Dog poszedl na spacer ...

The bicycle ran over the DOG.
Rower rozjechal Doga ...

The boy stood on the DOG'S tail.
Chlopiec stal na ogonka Doga ...

Tell the DOG all about it.
Powiedz Dogowy o tym wszystkim ...

I am thinking about the DOG.
Mysle, o Doga ...

I am a DOG.
Jestem Dogem.

Hey, DOG!
Hej, Dogu!

... and then the same again for the plural.

You might think this makes life difficult, but actually it defines life and action in a more precise way than English, and as such is rather satisfying, I find.

And yes, words which describe the nouns (adjectives, numbers, etc.) do have to follow suit, as it were.

My advice: grasp the principles, then learn actual words and how they go in small, simple steps.

Good luck ...
OP livs046
5 Nov 2012 #13
That was a very helpful explanation, thanks.

The poor dog!
pip 10 | 1,659
5 Nov 2012 #14
jestem dogiem.

you forgot the i.
boleta
5 Nov 2012 #15
better: Chlopiec stal na ogonie Doga ...

I am thinking about the DOG.
Mysle, o DogU ...

cinek 2 | 345
5 Nov 2012 #16
jestem dogiem.

wyobraź to sobie, sobie....

youtube.com/watch?v=wkMBOAtboN8
Just could'n resist...;-)
Lyzko
5 Nov 2012 #17
Apropos "poor dog", Mark Twain once quipped that he'd rather decline two drinks than one German adjectivelol
harrysmith - | 12
6 Nov 2015 #18
When asking how many things there are, is the genitive case always used?

For example: "Ile jest jabłek?", "To są trzy jabłka" (for three) or "To jest sześć jabłek" (for six)
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
6 Nov 2015 #19
Ile jest jabłek

Są trzy jabłka. Jest pięć jabłek.
harrysmith - | 12
6 Nov 2015 #20
Thanks, I didn't spot that mistake, but the question still remains, is the genitive case always used when asking how many there are?

Ile to jest jabłek (gen.)
bobbystand 3 | 9
6 Nov 2015 #21
Ja się kręce?
It should be: Ja cię kręcę!

Thank you. Literal and figurative tramslation?
Looker - | 1,102
6 Nov 2015 #22
is the genitive case always used when asking how many there are?

Yes - genitive, but it must be more than one and for different numbers the endings also differs:
2-4 jabłka / 33 jabłka - 5 (and more) jabłek, but 23-24/33-34... jabłka - 1 Jabłko - 0 jabłek
2-4 piłki / 5 (and more) piłek, but 23-24/33-34... piłki - 1 piłka - 0 piłek
2-4 oceny / 5 (and more) ocen, but 23-24/33-34... oceny - 1 ocena - 0 ocen
...
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
6 Nov 2015 #23
Literal and figurative tramslation

literally kręcić means to turn or screw but in slang it means to fancy something. Koszykówka mnie nie kręci = Basketball ain't my cuppa tea or Basketball turns me off or I'm not much for basketball.

It can also mean to hobnob, hang out, flirt or be in an ifnromal relationship with someone: Mirek od dawna z nią kręci = Mirek has been hanging out with her for quite some time.

Ja cię kręcę is a slang expression of surórpise reminiscent of Goodness me or Oh my gosh but not quite as strong as holy sh*t or Bl**dy hell!!
Lyzko 32 | 7,918
6 Nov 2015 #24
Often, genitive plural of nouns, e.g. "mieszkań", "pań", and "urodziń" will have the compulsory "soft sign" (mnaki znak, borrowed from RussianLOL), while certain others don't:-)

Among the many wonders and worries of the beautiful Polish grammar!
Ziemowit 13 | 4,534
6 Nov 2015 #25
is the genitive case always used when asking how many there are?

In my view, yes, as the question 'ile jest?' is awaiting the genitive as a compliment naturally.

This example nicely explains the Polish name for the genitive which is 'dopełniacz' originating from the verb 'dopełniać' (to complement something with something). The question "ile jest?" is a sort of abrreviation of "ile tego jest?" (it is 'expected' that there should be something, so you put the noun in the question in genetive (or "complimentive"), so you have 'ile jabłek jest w koszyku?" and the answer is (in nominative):

(W koszyku) (Jest) jedno jabłko;
(W koszyku) (Są) dwa jabłka;
(W koszyku) (Są) trzy jabłka;
(W koszyku) (Są) cztery jabłka;
(W koszyku) (Jest) pięć jabłek;
(W koszyku) (Jest) sześć jabłek;
etc.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
6 Nov 2015 #26
"urodziń"

Should be urodzin. Nom. is urodziny (hard "n").
If it were a soft "n" as in zadanie then it would be zadań.
Lyzko 32 | 7,918
6 Nov 2015 #27
Thanks for the tip:-) You see? Always useful to know the stem!


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