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Polish case question (Mężczyzna jest zimno? or Dziewczyna jest zimno?)


ryanb 24 | 23
14 Apr 2012 #1
I'm using Rosetta Stone and there are two examples I don't understand:

Mężczyźnie jest zimno.
Dziewczynce jest zimno.

Why not Mężczyzna jest zimno? or Dziewczyna jest zimno? What case are they using here, and why not use the nominative if the noun is the subject of the sentence?
noreenb 7 | 557
14 Apr 2012 #2
Because this is the basic difference between English and P.olish.
We transform nouns. I guess ot has long, historical tradition.
Komu jest zimno? Dziewczynce. (Who feels cold? - A girl)

M. kto? co? dziewczynka who? what? a girl
D. kogo? czego ? dziewczynki whose? what? whose skirt is this? it's girl's skirt. girl's
C. komu? czemu? dziewczynce who? what? for example I look at: a girl
B. kogo? co? dziewczynkę who, what I like? a girl
N. z dziewczynką with whom? with what? do you go to the church? with a girl
Msc. o dziewczynce about who, about what I think? About a girl
W. o! dziewczynka oh! a girl

These are Polish variants/forms/inflections of a word "dziewczynka"
You, English have just a girl or girls we have: dziewczynce, dziewczynki, z dziewczynkami (with girls) dziewczynek and plenty others possible endings.

This is basic diffculty about learning Polish. We change endings of words depending on context, tense, gender etc. (Zmieniamy końcówki zależnie od czasu, rodzaju, przypadka gramatycznego, stopnia przmiotnika, kontekstu lol) - Always in a nutshell .

The easiest to remember are :D, N. Msc (Dopełniacz, Narzędnik, Miejscownik.
dopełniacz (D) whose - like English 's cat's tail - ogon kota
narzędnik (N) with whom, with who with what: with Nancy - z Nancy
miejscownik (MSC): about Kasia: I'm talking about Kasia -Mówie o Kasi:
Pretty easy when you hear these forms everywhere. Learning is the easiest by listening, so listen as much as possible.
Lyzko
14 Apr 2012 #3
Trickiest for most foreigners, I've found, is when to use the Instrumental case!

When I started out a bazillion years back learning Polish, I CONSTANTLY would say/write, for ex. "Kto jest Gerda?" - Gerda jest Niemka, rather than correctly (yet for me the time, still illogically) "Kim jest Gerda? - Gerda jest Niemką. etc... Eventually, RyanB, as Noreenb says, you'll slowly get the hang of it.....but it takes lots of time, time, and more time, plus monastic focus and dedication. More than any other language I've studied, it can truly be said of Polish, if you don't use it, you'll lose it (...and begin to abuse it):-)
Nightglade 7 | 97
14 Apr 2012 #4
I'm not an expert in Polish and my Polish is frankly atrocious. But, I have always read that with simple constructions (which the op's example is), we should use the nominative case, right?

"To jest samochód"
"Ten samochód jest biały".

So why not "Mężczyzna jest zimno" as he says? Which case is it and why is that case the appropriate one for this simple construction? Is it really instrumental Lyzko? Because with most lone adjectives we also use nominative form right? e.g.. "Ola jest piękna" 'Ola is beautiful' not "Ola jest piekną". We would use instrumental with the verb być, if for example it was something like "Ola jest dziewczyną". 'Ola is a girl'
Lyzko
14 Apr 2012 #5
Nightglade, you raise a useful point! Polish differentiates inflectionally between attributive vs. predicate adjectives as regards Nominative or Instrumental.

Ola jest piękna (NOT: "piękną"!!!), here "piękna" is a predicate agreeing in gender with "Ola". This sentence is clearly Nominative.

Ola jest piękną dziewczyną. Here, the sentence uses "piękna" as an attribute, and therefore will follow the Instrumental Case
noreenb 7 | 557
14 Apr 2012 #6
What an intelligent question. S**** I am Polish and , what's more, I was studying Polish language and literature (Polish philology),
but I don't know.
:)
Lyzko
14 Apr 2012 #7
See that? Sometimes a foreigner can stump even an educated native speaker:-)
LOL
Nightglade 7 | 97
14 Apr 2012 #8
I occasionally get questions from my students that leave me dumbfounded, it happens :) Lyzko, I completely understand that point. It makes sense, though a more simple explanation would just be if there is the verb "być" and we define the original subject, that additional noun and it's accompanying adjectives must be instrumental too, right?

"On jest Mężczyźna" - He is a man (Not common presumably, but in case of questionable gender and for the sake of an example)

"Ten mężczyźna jest nauczyciel" - This man is a teacher
"Ten mężczyżna jest dobrym nauczycielem" - This man is a good teacher

At least I presume that's correct? Still doesn't answer the original OP's question though I think :) Maybe the OP's statement is an answer to a question, not just a statement about a man.
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
14 Apr 2012 #9
I'm never very good at explaining grammar (in English or Polish), so this is one for the teachers, but...

Mężczyźnie jest zimno.

is plural ("(the) men are cold")

whereas

So why not "Mężczyzna jest zimno" as he says?

is singular/present tense.

this is like saying "the man it's cold", but you need to say "the man is cold" - "mężczyźna jest zimny"

"Ola jest piękna" 'Ola is beautiful' not "Ola jest piekną".

"Ola jest piękną" on its own would mean "Ola is a beautiful", which is incorrect; this requires you to explain what a beautiful (object) an Ola is, i.e., Ola jest piękną kobietą (Ola is a beautiful woman).
Lyzko
14 Apr 2012 #10
Righteeo, NorthManc!!

Nightglade, correct would be "On jest mężczyzną." (Instr.) BUT "On mężczyzna." (Nom. without "być"!)

"Jacek ist dobrYM mężczyzną/ kolegą." etc.. according to this special noun class which are masculine, yet take feminine endings:-)
Nightglade 7 | 97
14 Apr 2012 #11
is plural ("(the) men are cold")

Wouldn't that be "Mężczyźni są zimne" ?

this is like saying "the man it's cold", but you need to say "the man is cold" - "mężczyźna jest zimny"

Ok so that's an issue with the gender of the adj, not the case isn't it? So is zimny the masculine form of 'zimno'? Because zimne is neuter, so I would have thought zimno would be masculine.

'Chłopak jest zimno'
'Piwo jest zimne'
'Tamta kobieta jest zimna'

"Ola jest piękną" on its own would mean "Ola is a beautiful", which is incorrect; this requires you to explain what a beautiful (object) an Ola is, i.e., Ola jest piękną kobietą (Ola is a beautiful woman).

Yes I know this. This is why I gave the example to illustrate my point, but you're explanation is a little better. Sadly still doesn't answer OP's post.

Nightglade, correct would be "On jest mężczyzną." (Instr.) BUT "On mężczyzna." (Nom. without "być"!)

Ah yes, of course! I used a pronoun and a noun not an adjective. My mistake :( But the second and third part about 'teacher' and 'good teacher' is correct?

PS: I kind of hijacked the OP's post here, sorry!

PPS: And I was just linking a little more about your explanation NorthMancPolak. That's actually very helpful in understanding the case system a little more when you put it into the perspective of English
noreenb 7 | 557
14 Apr 2012 #12
To refresh my diplomma: lol
"Simple structure" is a key word in here. Simple is not always so simple as you use to think. Who feels cold? is in Polish: Komu jest zimno? Dziewczynie jest zimno. To make the sentence correct you have to use celownik (C). Musisz użyc: kogo czego? (dopełniacz D) celownika. (celownik: C) żeby zdanie było poprawne.

Polish grammar Polish peope and you will be hungry anymore . lol
Lyzko
14 Apr 2012 #13
True, though sometimes Polish cases DON'T necessarily correspond to English usage! Relying therefore too much on 'equivalent' structures can often be severely missleading.
Zazulka 3 | 129
14 Apr 2012 #14
To jest samochód"
"Ten samochód jest biały".

So why not "Mężczyzna jest zimno" as he says?

Mężczyzna jest zimny - A man is cold (this means that when you touch him, his skin feels cold... not necessarily he feels cold himself. It could also mean that he is dead, this is why mężczyzna jest zimny. This sentence doesn't say anything about the temperature mężczyzna feels himself, only how he feels to others.

Zimny is an adjective in this sentence

Mężczyznie jest zimno - A man is cold. Thsi sentence says that mężczyzna feels a low temperature of his body. Zimno is an adverb in this sentence

Mężczyznie jest zimno, ale mężczyzna jest cieply. The man is cold but he feels warm (to the touch)
noreenb 7 | 557
14 Apr 2012 #15
Of course they don't. Polish gramar is the least logical thing which exists in languages. Maybe except Chines drawnings and English mixed conditionals (in a company with Future Perfect continuous and a passive voice).
Nightglade 7 | 97
14 Apr 2012 #16
To refresh my diplomma: lol
"Simple structure" is a key word in here. Simple is not always so simple as you use to think. Who feels cold? is in Polish: Komu jest zimno? Dziewczynie jest zimno. To make the sentence correct you have to use celownik (C). Musisz użyc: kogo czego (dopełniacz D) celownika. (celownik: C).
Polish grammar Polish peope and you will be hungry anymore . lol

:) That makes a bit more sense. But then it means that we don't have the full context of the original sentence, because the statement "Dziewczynie jest zimno" is then in response to a question or general concept, and not simply "That girl is cold", am I understanding that correctly? "Kocie jest zimno" And does that only apply to animate nouns, or do you have to use instrumental for inanimate objects too?
noreenb 7 | 557
14 Apr 2012 #17
I know thing, my late dinner is going away.
I don't recommend to go to deeply into such cases because it's a waste of time.
Lyzko
14 Apr 2012 #18
Again, Zazułko, like other languages: (Ger.) Er IST kalt. = He's dead./He's a unik. vs. IHM ist kalt. = He's (feeling) cold/chilly. etc..

Never a waste of time, if the result is good Polish!!
Nightglade 7 | 97
14 Apr 2012 #19
Mężczyznie jest zimno - A man is cold. Thsi sentence says that mężczyzna feels a low temperature of his body. Zimno is an adverb in this sentence

Avast! It makes sense! You crazy Polish people and using adverbial forms with only an implied verb! I will go sit in a corner and cry now, thank you :)
Zazulka 3 | 129
14 Apr 2012 #20
"Kocie jest zimno"

Kotu jest zimno
noreenb 7 | 557
14 Apr 2012 #21
Just to make Lyzko and Nightglade and others, especially ryanb happy and hungry for Polish grammar:

"Kategoria rodzaju.
Przegląd tej grupy zaczynamy od kategorii rodzaju, ponieważ w języku polskim decyduje ona o podziale na deklinacje. Jak wiadomo, gramatyki wyróżniają jako główne klasy deklinacyjne rzeczowniki rodzaju "męskiego" i "żeńskiego" i "nijakiego", a dopiero w ich obrębie dokonują bardziej szczegółowych podziałów na wzorce i odmiany..

Na pozór banalne pytanie, ile jest rodzajów w języku polskim, powinniśmy odpowiedzieć również pytaniem: po czym rozpoznajemy rodzaj?
Jeśli po końcówce ( a taka odpowiedź się nasuwa, to jak opisać rodzaj takich rzeczowników, jak gość i kość, muzum i album, poeta i kobieta albo urodziny, pomyje, usta."

From: Alicja Nagórko, Zarys gramatyki polskiej, page 93
Just to encourage to study Polish grammar.
Rather boredom and the most hated by all 78 students on Polish philology on my university subject: morphology -odmiana. gosh!
Good times of my studying in front of my mind now, thank you for that.
Nightglade 7 | 97
14 Apr 2012 #22
Unfortunately I only understand a few words from that :) As I mentioned, my Polish is atrocious! I have not studied it for around a year. That's not saying much when my previous "studying" was about a week spent reading "Colloquial polish: a complete beginners guide" doing the first two chapters, and the first two chapters of the University of Pittsburgh course. Since then, the small things I've learned have been a result of absorbing things from my life here in Poland.
Lyzko
14 Apr 2012 #23
Ślicznie dziękuję za polskie tłumaczenie. To duża pomoc dla nas!
Nightglade 7 | 97
14 Apr 2012 #24
Ah well I understood that apart from Ślicznie :)

Anyway, thank you everybody for all your help. Sorry for hijacking the thread, and OP - I hope you're question was answered in our flood :)
noreenb 7 | 557
14 Apr 2012 #25
Mama jest zimno you can't say it because it means that your mother is cold.
So, you should change something to make the sentence understandable for your listener.
Who feels cold, not who is cold.
So, mamie jest zimno.
Or: dziewczynce jest zimno. The girl is simply not the cold.
:)
Hurrey, I found the best answer.
Zazulka 3 | 129
14 Apr 2012 #26
a few more examples:

Mężczyzna jest dziwny - a man is weird
Mężczyznie jest dziwno - a man feels weird (has a weird feeling)

Kobieta jest nudna - a woman is boring
Kobiecie jest nudno - a woman is bored

and just to confuse you ;)
Dziecko jest smutne - a child is sad (how others see this child)
Dziecku jest smutno - a child is sad (how the child feels)
Nightglade 7 | 97
14 Apr 2012 #27
Mama jest zimno you can't say it because it means that your mother is cold.
So, you should change something to make the sentence understandable for your listener.

Oh no! I thought I could get back to cleaning but then you brought me back. There is no ambiguity in just saying "Moja mama jest zimno" surely? I suppose this is simply a different between our languages that cannot be explained very well because our language shapes our thought patterns too. In English there would be no ambiguity like this because of articles.

Zazulka, those examples are fantastic! Even though rather odd, it just entirely omits the needed verb and alters the noun to compensate.
noreenb 7 | 557
14 Apr 2012 #28
Do I like case questions or not? Do I like Polish grammar or not?. Do I become a troll or not? Did I studied Polish or not? Do I like discussions or not.

No, I don't. or: So, so.
Do I like dinners?
Yes, I do
Lyzko
14 Apr 2012 #29
"Did I studY Polish..?" NIE zapomnij bezokoliczniku po "do"!!
:-)
English in no picnic either, NorreenBLOL

Nightglade, English though is tough in numerous other ways! Though we may not have the morphological complexities of Polish or German, our spelling ("tough" not "tuff" etc..) is a mess and our usage is so porously permissive as to border on the illogically sloppy, making spoken English soooo hard for foreigners to follow:-)
Nightglade 7 | 97
14 Apr 2012 #30
English in no picnic either

Is, unless you don't like English at your picnics! :) Sorry, now I'm just being pedantic!

And yes! English pronunciation is a total mess, often times you simply have to learn word-by-word rather than following some strict guidelines.


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