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What is your biggest problem with Polish language?


Ziemowit 13 | 4,235
6 Feb 2020 #91
pałac

Wart Pac pałaca, a pałac Paca.
pawian 177 | 14,569
6 Feb 2020 #92
I have a good one - very similar sounds.
czy- or
trzy - three

Rozpijem dwie czy trzy flaszki?
Lyzko 29 | 7,235
6 Feb 2020 #93
I'm not offended, pawian. Why ever would you think that?
Torq
6 Feb 2020 #94
I have a good one - very similar sounds.

ciecia - janitor (acc.)
ciecia - three o'clock

Pyta cieć ciecia:
- Która godzina?
- Ciecia.

*I'll get my coat*
pawian 177 | 14,569
6 Feb 2020 #95
I still have a better one:

czule - tenderly, warmly.
ciule - azzholes
Witam Was ciule/czule!
I welcome you warmly/azzholes!

ciecia - three o'clock

Should be trzecia. hahaha
Paulwiz 1 | 72
6 Feb 2020 #96
Along the lines of this thread ...
Many languages have genders (I think that's what they call them in German) for nouns. I suppose no one would seriously claim that a pencil is a male or that a newspaper is female, etc. But a fair amount of linguistic effort is expended to make sure the adjectives and articles match the gender of the noun.

English does not do that. "My car", "my pencil" "my newspaper", it's all the same with no consideration as to what property (gender) the noun has. It's all "my", and of course same for articles like "the" and "a". (I know Polish just skips the articles unless they are required.)

If languages evolve, one would assume that aspects of a language without much benefit would tend to disappear. It would be like when you look at the skeleton of a whale and can see vestigial legs. When prehistoric whales moved into the ocean there was no need for legs and they may have had a disadvantage so they eventually disappeared.

So my (long-winded) question is:
What advantage is there to having genders for nouns? Not having such a thing in my native tongue, I can't see what I am missing. It just seems like a needless complexity to me. But since so many languages have them maybe I am missing something.
RubasznyRumcajs 5 | 487
6 Feb 2020 #97
English does have some genders (although it's almost gone). "Ship" is referred as 'she' for example.

And it's useful if you wish to classify and distinguish objects (real or not). Animacy/unanimacy serves similar role. Most indo-european languages does have genders.
Paulwiz 1 | 72
7 Feb 2020 #98
Well it's a bit different still. I can have a "pretty boat" and a "pretty car" and a "pretty daughter" and a "pretty house" and the word "pretty" doesn't change even though the boat and the daughter are the only ones you'd call "she". Some languages change the adjective to match the noun but English doesn't. Guess maybe I'll never know. Kind of like why do we drive on the parkway and park on the driveway. A great mystery.
mafketis 24 | 9,132
7 Feb 2020 #99
What advantage is there to having genders for nouns?

There are a lot of nouns in any language and it's hard to keep track of them all so most languages find ways to lump them into groups...

Grammatical gender is just one way of doing that, of dividing the large group of nouns into smaller categories (and activity the human brain seems to need).

Technically it's not about gender at all but was originally about phonetic form of the word (with gender being used as a mnemonic).

English has lost the original form of gender but has sort of regained a gender-like distinction between count and non-count nouns. Like any gender system it's party semantically motivated and partly lexical (that is, arbitrary) this is especially clear with 'furniture' which might more logically be thought of as a plural but firmly in the non-count category.

compare

paper, a paper

tv, a tv

coffee, a coffe

some words that are usually or often plural in other european languages are non-count in English (information, advice etc)

textbooks are mostly not very good at explaining the very important distinction between count and non-count nouns in English and even very advanced learners tend to revert to forms like "I gave her some advices" or "I need furnitures for my new flat"....
Lyzko 29 | 7,235
7 Feb 2020 #100
@Paulwiz,
Do you mean perchance "Geschlechtsartikel" for the English "gender articles"? While the absence of such might appear to simplify matters for a foreign learner aka a monolingual Anglophone trying to pick up an inflected language in adulthood, actually, gender is merely classification which selects from various categories and catalogues the world in terms of either biological vs. grammatical gender! English too had such markers, abandoned though with the onset of Middle English, thereafter all but disappearing.

Maybe because I grew up with German, learning Polish much later while almost thirty, the gender of a noun never seemed to cause me much concern. Once again, in terms of the biggest challenge of learning Polish, was for a long while deciding whether or not a verb was imperfective or perfective.

All else just fell into place.
Paulwiz 1 | 72
7 Feb 2020 #101
Yes, that sounds like the right idea. I find myself wondering why there is a need for categories of nouns and the consequent need to adjust the supporting adjectives and articles to match the noun. I never considered that old English may have used that same principle.

But I should know better than to ask "why". I helped an illiterate adult learn to read many years ago. He knew all the rules for spelling and pronunciation quite well. He would struggle with a word and when I would tell him what it was he would just shake his head and tell me which rule was being broken. I frequently felt like I needed to apologize for the English language.

I'm sure even I can learn the correct way to use adjectives and articles for the various categories of nouns. I just see myself getting it incorrect for a long time. I just need more practice.
mafketis 24 | 9,132
7 Feb 2020 #102
find myself wondering why there is a need for categories of nouns

Possibly related to memory, having a label (even if you're not consciously aware of it) to hang on something makes it more memorable.

Structurally language is all about cross-cutting categorization and so tagging things in various ways makes it easier to keep track of them.

This is especially true in more complex utterances. I sometimes translate academic Polish into English and it's the complex types of structures that come up in those texts that the endings of Polish earn their keep. The longer a sentence goes on in English the bigger the danger it will turn into a confusing mess, sentences can go on and on and on in Polish and still be very clear...
Paulwiz 1 | 72
7 Feb 2020 #103
@mafketis - that is the best explanation I have heard. Thank you. Long sentences can create quite a challenge to make them unambiguous. If I try to just use pronouns and articles without using the noun it can be particularly difficult. And putting the noun into the long sentences multiple times can make it sound odd. But having categories of nouns and having the articles and pronouns match the category of the noun would help to reduce ambiguity.

Thank you for that explanation.
Lyzko 29 | 7,235
7 Feb 2020 #104
Case-driven languages such as German and Polish can indeed make their intentions clear through inflection.
Sometimes though, a foreigner must think a bit before deciding on what a Polish sentence could mean, if only through word order, for example "Wielkim krajem sa Niemcy" (Germany's a big country) vs. "Niemcy sa wielkim krajem".

In English as well as German, there is no equivocation of meaning despite the variety grammatically possible given the Polish word order in both sentence. A 'literal' translation would sound strange indeed, cf. "A big country is Germany". rather than the more natural "Germany is a big country". No German either would say or write "Ein grosses Land ist Deutschland" without receiving some odd glances:-)
LostSoul 3 | 84
1 Feb 2021 #105
I have a lot of problems with singing in Polish, because of the abundance of consonants and the second-last syllable accent.
In rock music it is particularly problematic for me. A lot of Polish rock bands prefer singing in English and it also bothers me a lot, because I wished there was more of Polish-language music, but when I listen to my own native language, I don't find it much surprising. As I stated many times before, Polish used to sound better during the pre-war time (look it up: Eugeniusz Bodo).
Novichok 1 | 1,951
1 Feb 2021 #106
A lot of Polish rock bands prefer singing in English

Actually, in American - the superior version of English. Quoting from english.newsnationtv.com:

While there can be various reasons that accents 'disappear' in song, the most obvious reason has to do with phonetics, the pace at which they sing and speak, and the air pressure from one's vocal cords. The reason behind this automatic flip to 'American' accent and not some other accent, it's simply because the generic 'American' accent is fairly neutral.

Even American women sound better than a typical British guy.
jon357 67 | 16,836
1 Feb 2021 #107
singing in Polish, because of the abundance of consonants and the second-last syllable accent

That's one reason why, sadly, Moniuszko's operas are less well-known than they might be.
mafketis 24 | 9,132
1 Feb 2021 #108
penultimate stress? Primary penultimate stress doesn't seem to have hurt Italian when it comes to opera....

and for being weird and consonant heavy - Czech operas are very popular in the international repertoire (especially the Bartered Bride, Jenufa and above all Rusalka but also others like the Macropolous Case or (my favorite) Katya Kabanova)

Many classical singers love singing in Russian (despite all the crazy consonant clusters).

Moniuszko's operas are mostly less well-known because the style is from a time and musical period (middle 19th century) that audiences are at present less interested in exploring beyond the war-horses that dominate the repertoire.

In terms of pop Polish audiences are too attuned to US-UK music and not enough.... anywhere else. It's a big musical world out there but Polish musicians are weirdly obsessed with playing the game by other cultures' rules...
LostSoul 3 | 84
1 Feb 2021 #109
@mafketis
I think Polish language also tends to sound aggressive, because of lots of swear words in Polish. We have to admit, Polish people are creative in this, but it is not nice for my ear. It's weird that swear words in English sound much softer for me.

I read that some people were stating that Polish is like German among Slavic languages, is this true for some people?
Anyway, a lot of foreigners tend to recognize us from the K-word. And they also say that we are not the most cultured people, that kinda hurts me to hear that.

Also, I'm gonna tell y'all that it's unfortunate that Polish language doesn't have too many diphthongs that would allow me to sing better (no, I don't count nasal diphthongs like ą, ę).
jon357 67 | 16,836
1 Feb 2021 #110
Primary penultimate stress doesn't seem to have hurt Italian when it comes to opera

The consonantal clusters however do.

Russian opera has a similar problem, though fortunately less so, being a better language to sing in. Czech is the same; better to sing in, and of course Janacek's melodic structure is very different.

the style is from a time and musical period (middle 19th century) that audiences are at present less interested in exploring

It's a hugely popular period with much of the repertoire from then and of course significant revivals of lesser known works. Even Marschner, despite the orchestra size, something which isn't an issue with Moniuszko.
mafketis 24 | 9,132
1 Feb 2021 #111
lots of swear words in Polish.

That's a real problem in Halka, I agree, just look at Jontek's aria

Szumią kurwwa jodły na gór szczycie,
Szumią sobie kurvva w dal!
I młodemu kurwwa smutne życie,
Gdy ma kurvva w sercu żal...

Polish language doesn't have too many diphthongs that would allow me to sing better

Trying to make Polish sound more like English doesn't equal 'better'....

Learn Italian (best language for sining on earth) and get back to us...

youtube.com/watch?v=tPv9ZPXmFWU

(okay, fai has a diphthong but none of those sustained notes do....
jon357 67 | 16,836
1 Feb 2021 #112
Halka,

Another one to never make it to the repertoire outside Poland...
mafketis 24 | 9,132
1 Feb 2021 #113
Post Bel Canto pre Verismo - the war horses (Verdi, Wagner, Gounod, Massenet et al) are established and that period has never been that extensively explored beyond them after WWII (the single exception might be the revival of Mefistofele by Boito) that whole period has never been 'rediscovered like Bel Canto in the 1950s-60s or Handel and Vivaldi beginning in the 1990s... I keep waiting for an extensive rediscovery of verismo but Puccini takes up all that space....

extra treat: Friday's I'm in Love in Russian (my favorite song by the Cure but this version is fun too)

youtube.com/watch?v=YjQSoTbEhBM

There was a version in British Sign Language on youtube years ago but it seems to have disappeared....
LostSoul 3 | 84
1 Feb 2021 #114
Trying to make Polish sound more like English doesn't equal 'better'.

But it could sound like this, though.

youtu.be/2xlKRtF9FkE

The consonantal clusters however do.

There is an another factor for the fact some musicians find it uneasy to sing in Polish. Small amount of masculine rhymes. There was a time, when feminine rhymes were considered A MUST, when singing in Polish.

Source: fp.amu.edu.pl/frivolous-rhyme/ and the knowledge from Polish lessons at school.
mafketis 24 | 9,132
1 Feb 2021 #115
But it could sound like this, though.

One issue... I think a lot of Polish singers over emphasize consonants (and sit on them too long) consonants interrupt the air flow and sound and need to be pronounced as lightly and quickly as possible (Bodo is doing that).

Also the Polish general affection for rough scratchy voices means too many singers aren't trying to produce clean sound.... (again Bodo's sound is very projected and clean).

I really like Edyta Bartosiewicz but her diction is a bit hit and miss... (better than most but still a bit hit and miss).

youtube.com/watch?v=g6YkpNV_anY
LostSoul 3 | 84
1 Feb 2021 #116
The dark "Ł" sound isn't much common, nowadays. Many people in Poland think you have the Ukrainian accent, when you use it on a daily basis.

The dark "Ł" sound used to be an obligatory trademark of any person, who could use Polish properly.
Besides, nobody seems to care about the proper diction, nowadays. Mostly actors do that, but it's not like it used to be.

I think a lot of Polish singers over emphasize consonants

Also the Polish general affection for rough scratchy voices means too many singers aren't trying to produce clean sound

This! Thank you for an answer I wanted to get. I had that in my mind.
jon357 67 | 16,836
1 Feb 2021 #117
the single exception might be the revival

There are frequent and sustained revivals.

I keep waiting for an extensive rediscovery of verismo

I would never want to see that any more than has already been. Provincial opera in the UK and to an extent France loves the veristi with a passion In Poland? It all depends of course on a. how tragic the dramatic heroine can be and b. whether or not Ewa Michnik's been anywhere near it. People like the limited repertuar here and of course in Warsaw, it depends what they're doing with Cardiff/Brussels for the obvious reason.

Opera Restored, however, works. Or did, since I don't think they're active now and must all be getting on a bit. Now if that were done in Poland. The clearly enunciated sounds of Polish would work so well with that.

This is wandering off topic though...
mafketis 24 | 9,132
1 Feb 2021 #118
The dark "Ł" sound used to be an obligatory trademark of any person, who could use Polish properly.

Not since the 1960s.... the modern pronunciation is probably better for singing (less obstruction)

Another reason that overemphasizing consonants doesn't help singing in Polish is that there are very many more unvoiced consonants/clusters (p vs b, t vs d, s vs z etc) than average and voiceless consonants obstruct sound more than voiced ones do (compare the sequences akasa and agaza which is easier to sing).

But rather than just complain look for models of vocal projection...

Also try to do singing translations - take a song in English and try to produce a translation that can be sung in Polish. It would do your awareness a great deal...
jon357 67 | 16,836
1 Feb 2021 #119
The dark "Ł" sound isn't much common, nowadays

There are still older people of a certain social class who use that sound.

Vanishing now though.

nobody seems to care about the proper diction,

What is "the proper diction"? Proper for whom?
LostSoul 3 | 84
1 Feb 2021 #120
the modern pronunciation is probably better for singing (less obstruction)

Yeah, I have to admit, I even feel awkward, when trying to speak with "dark Ł" on daily basis. Dunno, probably because some might perceive me as someone somewhere from the East.

But rather than just complain look for models of vocal projection...

There aren't many singers in Poland I would like, except Paweł Birula from Exodus, Janusz Panasewicz from Lady Pank and maybe Józef Skrzek from SBB etc. That's just my personal taste.

Don't mention Czesław Niemen, because I find his vocals annoying.

In Poland there is not much of diversity in singing, since for example a certain way of singing (e.g. hitting the high notes) is considered "gay" or "queer".

Also the Polish general affection for rough scratchy voices means too many singers aren't trying to produce clean sound

Like you stated.


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