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Polish was chosen the HARDEST LANGUAGE in the world to learn... :D

24 Apr 2010 #811
I DO trust you, Seanus and, as someone just initmated before; A lotta stuff ya just gotta take on faith!!!

....last time I checked, Fukiyama san lives IN Japan (.....unless he happens to live ON Okinawa,,,but then, is he technically Japanese???)

Seanus 15 | 19,706
24 Apr 2010 #812
Some language points are like mathematics to me. Sometimes it just is any given way.
24 Apr 2010 #813
So true, my friend, so true:-)

Thank Heaven, numbers are the only 'real' universal language, and not words (..otherwise we're sunk)!!

America has Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minnesota -The Twin Cities.

Minneapolis IS a lovely city. (not: are)

The Twin Cities ARE (not: is) one of the nicest and friendliest cities in the US.

Curious. By the way, Richard Lederer just came out with a wonderful new book "Crazy, Fractured English", exactly about his kind of thing.

erm! the thread is about Polish Language.

Merely drawing a parallel, that's all.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,210
24 Apr 2010 #814
All my points go to you, Lyzko! Imagine that your theory as to why the names of certain countries come with 'na' instead of with 'w' was exactly what I had thought while turning off my computer after having read the post of Seanus. I do agree with you on that: some countries, probably not "countries" at all at that time, were merely seen as "territories" or vast fields or "lands" by the ancient users of Polish, while others were seen more as organized "units" with defined borders, so the users were employing "w" in their cases.

Language evidence that would corroborate this theory is that we say: na polu, na obszarze, na równinie. But we may also say: na polach, na obszarach, na równinach, which may perhaps justify why some of the names of countries or lands come in plural - na Węgrzech, na £użycach, na Morawach.

The geographical names of "areas" requiring 'na' apply only (or mostly) to the neighbouring areas: na £użycach, na Morawach, na Węgrzech, na Słowacji, na Rusi, na Litwie, na £otwie. What strengthens this theory further is a fact that all Polish provinces were accordingly seen as neighbouring lands by the tribe of Polans who, before unifying all these lands into one Poland, viewed themselves as living within an area, that is 'w Polsce', while viewing other cousin tribes as living in areas beyond their own land, so living 'na Pomorzu, na Kujawach, na Mazowszu, na Śląsku'.

'Na' with island states is obvious because we first mean 'na wyspie/na wyspach' by saying that; Japan with 'w' (as well as Ireland for that matter) is also obvious as we first of all see it as a country, then as an island or a set of islands.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
24 Apr 2010 #815
Well, for a start, Latvia isn't a neighbouring country of Poland's so directly. If you use the Baltic aspect then Estonia should be 'na' too but it is 'w'. I correct myself above, it's na Litwie and na £otwie, I've even said so many times.
24 Apr 2010 #816
Thanks again for the vote of confidence there, Ziemowit!

My surmise too was based upon years of careful study of atlasses for the languages I'd studied, including Polish, German and a few others. I concluded that EVERY culture is a tad bit nationalistic and furthermore tends to view neighboring regions as somehow strange, inferior or simply different from their own.

Silly example, but f.ex. the French call 'syphillus' the 'English disease', the English return the volley by calling it the 'French disease', 'China' in Chinese translates to 'center of the world', in Japanese, the 'Sea of China' is called the 'Sea of Japan' etc...

Start to make sense, ShortHairThug?

Lateral question (very much!!) about the Polish language lol

Does the city of 'Rzeszów' follow the declension pattern of 'Kraków'??

"Jeżdźę do RzeszOWA." Is this right?
SouthMancPolak - | 104
24 Apr 2010 #817
Is this right?

It is ;)

p.s. If anyone REALLY thinks that Polish is the hardest language in the world, then you clearly haven't tried Cantonese yet. You can trust me on this ;)
24 Apr 2010 #818

Well, all I can say regarding Cantonese (not knowing any Chinese, actually) is that I've been told by native Chinese speakers that it's more phonologically complex than Mandarin, but structurally less complex than Western languages, i.e. Slavic languages.

Don't know what your experience has been with Cantonese, but I'll regrettably have to withold judgement until I've more knowledge of the latter.

Appreciate the thought however:-)
SouthMancPolak - | 104
24 Apr 2010 #819
I found Mandarin a little easier, but I really want to learn Cantonese because I love Hong Kong, lol.
ShortHairThug - | 1,103
25 Apr 2010 #820
Start to make sense, ShortHairThug?

I’m not disputing the fact that the entomology could have evolved in the manner you have describe, what I’m saying is that if indeed that’s the case the original meaning is not what it is today and no one will ever make this assumption. However there are still some anomalies to be explained to put this theory of yours on a solid footing. Surely if the term “na” originaly referred to the neighboring lands only, one would have to make the assumption that it would equally apply to the lands east of us as well as in the west and there lies the dilemma. When we speak of the German lands we say “w” ie. (w Saksonii, w Brandenburgii, w Turingii, w Bawarii etc.) Those are all lands describing historical regions and as such same principal should govern all, be it eastern lands or western lands. It’s an interesting theory which btw I’m not buying at all, I’m afraid an explanation is much more simple than that, we simply use the term that comes more naturally to us hence so many discrepancies.

Edit: Even if you make the distinction that the lands west of us are Germanic and the other are Slavic, how do you explain Hungary and Baltic lands?
jonni 16 | 2,485
25 Apr 2010 #821
I’m not disputing the fact that the entomology

Entomology? Study of insects?
ShortHairThug - | 1,103
25 Apr 2010 #822
Thanks for correction noted hopefully I won't make the same mistake again.
jonni 16 | 2,485
25 Apr 2010 #823
Apparently it's one of the most common. That and apiary/aviary.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
25 Apr 2010 #824
Ah, the birds and the bees ;) Oh, the bees and the birds in this case ;)

So, jonni, any Polish language teasers?
b_o_h_e_m_a - | 3
25 Apr 2010 #825
Fajnie było czytać tę stronę i dowiadywać się jak postrzegany jest mój język z perspektywy innego narodu. Nigdy w ten sposób o tym nie myślałam.

It was interesting to read how my native language is perceived by all of you. I never thought about it in this perspective.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
25 Apr 2010 #826
Any other tests for us, bohema?
26 Apr 2010 #827
What pertains to the Baltic states and Hungary I honestly am at present unable to explain, ShortHair Thug. An excellent question:-)

Witaj do nas, Bohemo! Tak, język polski z wględu obcego często ma zjawienie najtrudniejszego języka świata, n. pr. liczby zbiorowe, aspekty czasowników, końcy siedmiu przypadków itd...., ale po mimo to moim zdaniu jest równoczesnie najpiękniejszy wśród wszystkich języków słowiańskich.

In the event you're not convinced, just read Tuwim or Iwaszkiewicz aloud sometime. You'll start crying, I guarantee it.
b_o_h_e_m_a - | 3
26 Apr 2010 #828
Dzięki za przyjęcie Lyzko:) Może zainteresuje Cię życiorys J. Tuwima. A jak napiszę po polsku to ktoś zrozumie?? :D:D
Powiem Wam szczerze, że z mojej perspektywy j. polski wydaje się być łatwy, odpowiednie końcówki wyrazów przychodzą naturalnie, bez zastanowienia. Jeśli prawdą jest, że polskiego jest się najtrudniej nauczyć, to teraz będę "miała z górki" (watch out it's an idiom), bo nauka innych języków może być tylko prostsza:)

How about this? Just try to read it:)
p.s. it should be "nauczyć się" as for it is a "czasownik zwrotny" and "się" should be always right after the verb, but it sounds more naturally this way.
z_darius 14 | 3,968
26 Apr 2010 #829
is that certain countries were and are, rightfully or wrongfully, considered mere territories by the the Poles, therefore not nations

How did you come about that theory?

This is exactly the theory prevalent among Polish linguists.
Lyzko is right when he writes that some areas were considered mere territories by the the Poles.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,210
26 Apr 2010 #830
As with all theories, it's good to have those who disagree with them (that's how our knowledge progresses, doesn't it?). Still, this case seems pretty obvious: 'na' is employed with the names of territories (not countries or states) in more or less vicinity of the Polans or the Vistulans, hence more or less familar to those tribes than other more distant areas. I myself may add some more convincing exceptions to this theory than those given in this thread. The first exception would be the territory of our direct neighbour "Prusy" for which we employ 'w' instead of 'na', so it is 'w Prusach'. But then, I wouldn't be surprised if the Polish of the Middle Ages were using 'na Prusach'. There is no written evidence for that as it's too an early period for the written Polish, however. Then the Prussians of the Middle Ages (Prusowie) and their language had disappeared and new inhabitants of these lands took over their name, but in Polish the name of the new inhabitants was slightly changed to distinguish them from the original ones (now they are 'Prusacy'). No doubt that the preposition that goes with the name of that territory, now a state rather than a territory, may have changed into 'w Prusach' (formerly in the old form 'w Prusiech').

In fact, only four examples escape the theory: w Niemczech, w Czechach (both should have 'na'), on the other hand: na Węgrzech, na £otwie (both should have 'w'). In my view, the main reason is that at the time when these usages came into existence, Germany was a well established country, while Hungary may have not been such one (sorry, I'm not a specialist in medieval history). Also, but it's a secondary reason, in the Middle Ages Germany was separated from the Polans by the territories of cousin Polabian Slavs, like £użyce, so the 'w' preposition could have been employed with 'Germany' just as it was with 'France' or with 'Denmark'. As to the Czechs, the tribe of Polans received Christianity and some forms of modern church (at that time the same as state) organization from their hands, so the preposition might have changed as in the case of the Prussians in addition to the fact that the Polans were separated from the Czechs by the tribes of Silesia.

As to the case of 'na £otwie', it might have followed the example of 'na Litwie', due to the similarity of sound in these two names. A good contemporary examplification of using 'na' with the names of territories inside Poland is using forms like 'na Lubelszczyźnie', 'na Opolszczyźnie', 'na Sandomierszczyznie', denoting areas of regional size around their main towns. These are understood as areas without any clear boundaries, though some of them may form official provinces these days, borders of which may be subject to change now and again.
ShortHairThug - | 1,103
26 Apr 2010 #831
Besides the regions of Germany previously mentioned although interesting observation made by Ziemowit and noted that there was a separation by £użyce. We also have less obvious regions in Poland where “w” applies, perhaps not in the same category as “na Sandomierszczyznie” for example but in name as old as Poland itself where “na” should be used yet we use “w” ie; mieszkam w Bieszczadach, w Tatrach, w Dolinie Dunajca etc. We also have an example of a country that is not in immediate vicinity of Poland nor an island yet we use the term “na” instead of “w” ie. “na Wybrzeżu Kości Słoniowej” originally a territory described by the sailors of old but it could have never been thought of as our land or even Slavic, yet there it is or from historical perspective besides Prussia already mentioned by Ziemowit “w Mołdawi instead of na Mołdawi” in terms of Moldavia, though it was a vassal to the Polish crown at one time.

There are simply way too many exceptions for me to except this theory. I’m neither a Linguist nor any kind of authority on this subject. Z_darius you are right and I’m aware of this fact, the question had been asked by Polish linguists, I’m just surprised Lyzko raised this issue and my question to Lyzko still stands. I would like to hear how he heard about it or is it something he came up on his own simply by studying the language? Professor Miodek was asked this very same question on a public forum and he couldn’t find a logical explanation as to why that is. Not that I would take his word as gospel on the subject matter necessarily but he does have an interesting way of explaining Polish language usage. I myself never give it that much thought, I’m simply presenting an opposing point of view with few examples thrown in for good measure (born skeptic if you like), hence my presentation might seem chaotic at times. Lyzko If you do by any chance find any material in support of this theory even if it pertains to some other language share it with us, I’ll be more than happy to read it.

My opinion still stands, it all seems to be a 50/50 proposition of what sounds right rather than based on an assumption of how we view any given region or a nation simply by what preposition we use. There’s a book on the history and formation of Polish language if you’re interested in the subject matter or just to refresh your Polish language skills “Zarys dziejów języka polskiego” by Bogdan Walczak, primarily aimed at High School level students as a supplement to their study but it also gives the reader historical reference to the Polish language. I’m afraid there’s nothing in there dealing with this particular puzzle nor have I ever came across of such material but if you have something, I’m game, I’ll read it.
26 Apr 2010 #832
Both Ziemowit and ShortHairThug raise equally valid points, and indeed ShortHair, it could easily go '50/50', as you say.

No, Bohemo! Dziękuję za objaśienia o dostępstwie słów 'nauczyć się'. Niektóry zdań polskich w moich wiadomościach jest błąd, już wiem, ale apropos pan Tuwim lubię poesie od 1920ych lat.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,210
27 Apr 2010 #833
mieszkam w Bieszczadach, w Tatrach, w Dolinie Dunajca etc

It is because it should always be 'w' when used with the names of mountains; 'w' will always be used with the noun 'dolina'; it is 'w górach', 'w dolinie', you will never say: 'na Bieszczadach, na Tatrach, na Andach, na Pirenejach, na Himalajach'.

w Mołdawi instead of na Mołdawi

For the medival tribes of Polans or Vistulans 'Mołdawia" was as far as Bulgaria or France or Bavaria, so they would have never treated it in the terms of 'a well known area in the vicinity', they would have applied 'w' naturally, even if the name was known or popular with them which I doubt.

na Wybrzeżu Kości Słoniowej” originally a territory described by the sailors of old

It is becasue it should be 'na' with 'wybrzeże', regardless if it's a region near a sea-line (na Lazurowym Wybrzeżu) or a country or anything else. The thing is somewhat similar to the phenomenon in German where you say das Maedchen and not die Maedchen, although the person is a girl, but the -chen ending matters more than the sex of the person. However, although the term 'w Wybrzeżu Kości Słoniowej' sounds a little awkward, it is used these days along with the term 'na Wybrzeżu Kości Słoniowej', possibly to underline that we talk of it in terms of a state.
ShortHairThug - | 1,103
27 Apr 2010 #834
As I understand it, this theory is not about proper grammar but rather if the (grammar) preposition we use to describe any region reflects the way we view that region (possession vs. independence), therefore the examples I used be it “w Bieszczadach” or “na Wybrzeżu Kości Słoniowej” are perfectly legit for me to use since clearly they do not indicate what the theory implies, as far as the grammar is concerned it’s a separate debate.

For the medival tribes of Polans or Vistulans 'Mołdawia" was as far as Bulgaria or France or Bavaria,

I understand that but we’re not just talking about this specific time frame in history where this concept would have formed and would have been set in stone so to speak, it would have perhaps originated at that time or perhaps even earlier but it would have evolved over a much longer period of time and it would still be evolving today. In my view any given region would have to be either very, very close to those tribes, long enough under our control as we think of ourselves as a nation or in our possession for us to be viewed as ours and clearly when we look at the history of the territories thus far mentioned that’s not always the case. After all we do have the Zaporoże or (Dzikie Pola) region which is farther away from the lands of ancient Polans and Vistulans then Moldavia is yet we use the term “na” and would have been used as prime example by the supporters of this theory. It was roughly at the same time in history when we governed both or at least collected taxes from both.
16 Jul 2010 #835
figured i'd revive the ole' "hardest language" thread with this:

"Ślub wzięli dziesięć lat temu w kościele katolickim, w obecności (4) świadków."

correct conjugation of "4" in this case?
enkidu 7 | 623
16 Jul 2010 #836
correct conjugation of "4" in this case?

16 Jul 2010 #837
"czterech", actually, unless all of the witnesses were of mixed gender, then yes, "czworga" the collective numeral would be used-:))

I still maintain that Navajo's got Polish and others beat by a country mile in terms of 'difficulty' LOL
jablko - | 106
16 Jul 2010 #838
Congratulations to everyone that managed to learn polish, even at basic level. You people must be gifted or simply exceptionally smart :)
16 Jul 2010 #839
Likewise to all you Poles out there who managed to learn to distinguish 'threw' (rzucał) from 'through' (przez) and 'in the office' (w biurze) from 'in office' (być urzędnikem) etc....

jablko - | 106
16 Jul 2010 #840
distinguish 'threw' (rzucał) from 'through' (przez)

Haha I admit I have no idea whats the difference in pronouncing these words. But usually I have no problem guessing from context which word was used :)

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