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Why is the Polish language so difficult?


NocyMrok
3 Jun 2015 #181
I do think You're right. I know You are but i'd more likely say "nalał" anyway. I actually can't recall last time i used "ponalewać" and i use Polish a lot. :D

Even in "Could You fill our glasses?" i'd more likely use "Możesz nam nalać?" instead of "Możesz nam ponalewać?". Might be just me.
egbert88
3 Jun 2015 #182
My Polish teachers always say the language is phonetic. But Russian and other Slavic speakers say Polish can be difficult to pronounce and write due to certain combinations of letters. I find it really hard to understand when spoken quickly. The consonant clusters are often mumbled and certain long vowel sounds shortened. Whereas I'm told Russian is much clearer and more consistent.
Polonius3 983 | 12,333
3 Jun 2015 #183
Russian is much clearer

I disagree. Polish, Italian and Spanish have nice, full, clear vowels no matter where they appear in a word. Russian has a sloppy swallow-up of unaccented vowels. In Polish and Russian it's written polityka, but Russian pronounces it palityka. That is not phonrtic. Russian is full of that nondescript shwa (uh sound) we also find in English but not in Polish, Spanish or Italian.
Lyzko 42 | 9,492
3 Jun 2015 #184
NocyMrok,

My native-born Polish teacher (from that-time Lwów) told me that if the letter following, say, a "v-" or "s"-sound, is nearly identical to the sound of the preceding letter, e.g. "wE Wrocławiu", "wE Warszawie", wE Forest Hills", "zE swoim" etc., an e-vowel is obligatory in order to elide the two words!

Or was she incorrect?

Back for a moment to "POmieszkam..". I remember now (but it slipped my mind yesterday when posting!) that I might also have written instead "Będę mieszkał na chwilę we Forest Hills." No?

@Polonius,

For that reason, Russians can mimic an American-style accent, compared with Poles, Spanish-speakers and Italians:-)
kpc21 1 | 753
3 Jun 2015 #185
F and W aren't considered here as identical :) Why? Don't ask me. It's a result of years of developement of the language.

See that we say for example "w firmie", not "we firmie".

But... "we Francji", not "w Francji".

If the word begins with F and then a cosonant, we say "we", if it begins with F and then a vowel, we say "w".

The same: "w Warszawie", not "we Warszawie".

It seems that this rule works only if the second letter of the word is a cosonant. If it's a vowel, we don't add this "e".

Also: "wziąć coś z samochodu", not "ze samochodu".

Another example, in case of which the cosonants aren't so similar, but still there would be a double cosonant if we don't apply this rule:

We say "ode mnie", not "od mnie". But, again... "od domu", not "ode domu".

And also "od drzewa", not "ode drzewa", which is something, that I can't explain. Sorry, I am not a linguist, I am just a language user :)

It's probably just not as difficult to pronounce as three cosonants one after another, including an "mn" combination and that's all. There is no other option than just to catch the "feeling" of the language, which comes with time when you learn it.
NocyMrok
3 Jun 2015 #186
...

"wE Wrocławiu"-correct,
"wE Warszawie"-incorrect,
wE Forest Hills"-again incorrect,
"zE swoim"-correct

kpc21 is probably right about the rule. I instantly "hear" what's correct.

Back for a moment to "POmieszkam..". I remember now (but it slipped my mind yesterday when posting!) that I might also have written instead "Będę mieszkał na chwilę we Forest Hills." No?

Just like i wrote before. "POmieszkam we[should be "w"] Forest Hills. = I will live in Forest Hills (..for a while). As in: "I'll spend some time there and then leave".

And also "od drzewa", not "ode drzewa", which is something, that I can't explain.

Seems like an exception (what? in Polish!? No way!) from the rule You descibed and its form depends on what it sounds like. Ode drzewa, ode domu, ode drzwi sound awkwardly indeed . :)
gumishu 14 | 6,288
3 Jun 2015 #187
jon you might have missed my challenge so I repeat it - please translate this following tiny dialogue into Polish to prove your competence in Polish:

- I will tell mum.
- Don't tell her!
Lyzko 42 | 9,492
3 Jun 2015 #188
Będę mamusiu powiedział.

Nie niej powiedź!
jon357 74 | 22,730
3 Jun 2015 #189
There you go again - perhaps you didn't notice the post addressed to Pol3 about not playing daft games.

Both extremely easy sentences by the way...
kpc21 1 | 753
3 Jun 2015 #190
Będę mamusiu powiedział.

Nie niej powiedź!

In what language is this? :)
NocyMrok
3 Jun 2015 #192
Będę mamusiu powiedział.

Nie niej powiedź!

-Powiem mamie.
-Nie mów jej!

:D
kpc21 1 | 753
3 Jun 2015 #193
That is in broken Polish.

No. This isn't Polish at all, even broken one. These are random Polish words in a random order :) Especially "powiedź" which has nothing in common with the original words in English :) Jeśli już - it should be "powiedz". "Powiedź" is like "powiedź się" - "be successful" (about an activity).

Referring to politics in posts indicates that we are running out of topic and this thread should be closed :)
Lyzko 42 | 9,492
3 Jun 2015 #194
I translated "literally", apologies:-) I sometimes forget "mówić" is in Polish both "to speak" and " to say (to), "powiedzieć", "to tell" cf. Russian, "Mark said..." = Marc govoril vs. Marc zkazal etc...

See my problem?? Thinking German, writing Polish. Usually I have it under control, but my first-language instinct took over for a sec.
Sorry, once again. I endeavor to be much more careful, most of the time:-)
Polonius3 983 | 12,333
3 Jun 2015 #195
OK, I'll do it. I think it was to use the verb ryczeć in the following sentence:
The lion stood on a hill giving off a roar every now and then.
Lew stał na pagórku i porykiwał.
Porykiwać is a beautiful verb not found in any Germanic tongue inclduing English. They have to bring in added adverbs or adjectives to even roughly approximate what a Pole can do with a single word.
jon357 74 | 22,730
3 Jun 2015 #196
And there are thousands of contrary examples (probably more realistic than your lion roaring "from time to time"). Usually a translation from English to Polish ends up far longer than the original.
Polonius3 983 | 12,333
3 Jun 2015 #197
[quote=jon357]a translation from English to Polish[/quote

But you haven't demonstrated a single one, only variations on the how-to-wiggle-out-of-it theme.
I'd wager you never did any translations. If you did, you woudln't be so reluctant to show what
what you can do. Very suspicious for someone trying to pass himself off as a fluent Polish speaker.
Lyzko 42 | 9,492
3 Jun 2015 #198
"Zaraz wracam!" = I'll be right back! (and correct) cf. English: "I am coming right back.", carrying the idea of a FUTURE action!

"Zaraz wrócę!" = I'll be right back! (and incorrect Polish) cf. (ungrammatical as well as illogial EnglishLOL) "I come right back.." [as I do every day].

As someone who realistically has little more than an advanced intermediate level of Polish, I still have to weigh my words before I translate Polish.

Speaking poses less of a challenge:-)
kpc21 1 | 753
3 Jun 2015 #199
- I will tell mum.
- Don't tell her!

If somebody want to translate it literally, word by word, applying basic grammar rules like the imperative or the future tense (but without declination)...

- Ja powiem mama.
- Nie powiedz jej!

A pole would understand this. But not this:

Będę mamusiu powiedział.

Nie niej powiedź!

1. Why mamusiu? Why diminutive? And why the past tense if in the original text there is a future tense? Ok, maybe you wanted to use "będę powiedział", which is a form that is theoretically possible to create :) Of course, if you don't take into account that "będę powiedział" is a strange mixture, verbs like "powiedział", "zrobił" do not make future form in such a way. It works for "mówił", "robił" - for these which indicate a repeated or continuous activity, like continuous tenses in English. And why this "mother" went into the middle? Aha, it was supposed to look like German :) Ich wird der Mutti sagen :)

2. But why here "powiedz" at the end? It's neither English, nor Polish, nor German :)
[EN] Don't tell her!
[PL] Nie mów jej! -> Not speak her. (speak because powiedzieć is here replaced by mówić - the speaker wants the mather not tell this not in a one moment in time, but at all)

[DE] Sag ihr nicht! -> Tell her not.
Nowhere the verb "to tell", "mówić", "powiedzieć" goes to the end :)

"Zaraz wracam!" = I'll be right back! (and correct) cf. English: "I am coming right back.", carrying the idea of a FUTURE action!

"Zaraz wrócę!" = I'll be right back! (and incorrect Polish) cf. (ungrammatical as well as illogial EnglishLOL) "I come right back.." [as I do every day].

As for me, both look well, even if you don't do this ever day.
Polonius3 983 | 12,333
3 Jun 2015 #200
ponalewał sounds uncomfortable -

Only someone lacking what the Germans call Sprachgefühl, an intuitive feeling for the language which is rarely ever acquired by foreigners, could make such a claim. Uncomfortable to a neophyte. One concrete example is the distributive prefix po.

He set up shops in all the major provincial cities. - On pozakładał sklepy we wszystkich większych miastach wojewódzkich. (A foreigner who has learnt schoolbook Polish would say: założył, missing that typically Polish feature.

Although surrounded by fearsome savages, the soldier killed them all off. - Choć otoczyli go groźni tubylcy, żołnierz ich wszystkich pozabijał: (Again the foreigner would say just zabił.)

Drill yourself on these and similar formulations and eventually you'll get the hang of it.
Wulkan - | 3,169
4 Jun 2015 #201
jon have you already mastered Polish?

nope

Bardziej Panie Wulkanie, zastanawiałem się na temacie we wieczór i opowiadałem w rano jak miałem lepiej dostęp do internetu. Nie wyciągnij pochopne wnioski...

You really do seem determined to make people think that Polish is impenetrably hard to learn.

You actually do it much better by demonstrating your Polish.

Why is the Polish language so difficult?

Polish is not an easy language but it's not the hardest. Try learning Korean, Cantonese, Japanese or even Finnish if you want to find out what a really hard language is.
TheOther 6 | 3,683
4 Jun 2015 #202
[DE] Sag ihr nicht! -> Tell her not.

Not quite. In this case, you would either have to use "Sags ihr nicht" (horribly sounding direct translation: tell it her not) or "Erzähl ihr das nicht" (don't tell her that). "Sag ihr nicht" cannot stand alone. You'll have to add/explain what she's not supposed to hear, such as "Sag ihr nicht, dass sie versagt hat." (Don't tell her that she has failed).
Polonius3 983 | 12,333
4 Jun 2015 #203
dass

Is it admissible in normal texts to eschew the eszet (ß)? I know in a pinch it's OK. In a friendly letter or email would you omit it? The Swiss, of course, do. In fact I recall the Hermes and Olympia Swiss German typewriter keyboards contained no ß.
gumishu 14 | 6,288
4 Jun 2015 #204
There you go again - perhaps you didn't notice the post addressed to Pol3 about not playing daft games.

Both extremely easy sentences by the way...

if they were so easy why haven't you translated them???
you failed my test jon

£yżko you have a good memory for languages - you would learn Polish pretty well given sufficient exposure - you already have a good base
Ziemowit 14 | 4,201
4 Jun 2015 #205
"Zaraz wracam!" = I'll be right back! (and correct) cf. English: "I am coming right back.", carrying the idea of a FUTURE action!

"Zaraz wrócę!" = I'll be right back! (and incorrect Polish) cf. (ungrammatical as well as illogial EnglishLOL) "I come right back.." [as I do every day].

This one is interesting. Back in the communist times you would often see the former on the door of a small shop when the shop assistant was leaving the place for some unknown reason (the equivalents of this highly strange message - typical for the Polish People's Republic - were "wyszłam na pocztę" or "wyszłam do banku"). Ewa Bem once sang an amusing song whose first verse played those words: "Wyszłam za mąż, zaraz wracam" (and since in real life she did marry shortly before this song was released, the family of her husband took offence after hearing this song on the radio).



"Ponalewał" rather than "nalał" is likely to be used in the literary works of the past. Henryk Sienkiewicz would certainly feel inclined to use it! Since both mean exactly the same, in the contemporary spoken language you will most often hear the shorter form of the verb.
Polonius3 983 | 12,333
4 Jun 2015 #206
Nie wyciągnij pochopne wnioski...(wrote jon) - 2 basic mistakes which learners find hard to master.
The 2nd one is that negation requires the genitive, hence wniosków.
But a linguistic quirk even more difficult to grasp (esp. since orders are often issued on the spur of the moment without time for consideration) is the fact that the imperfective form of the verb is required for negative imperatives. The 10 Commandments are a good example:

Nie zabijaj (not zabij), nie kradnij, nie cudzołóż, etc. Zamknij bramę, but - nie zamykaj bramy.
So jon should have written: nie wyciągaj. But for a learner that is an honest mistake if he started learning from scratch only a decade ago. Besides, a grammatcial fine point does not impede communicaiton which after all is any language's prime objective.

Actually time alone is not a factor. One has to be lingusitically disposed and receptive, and Anglos with their largely uninflected lingo have trouble acquiring inflected languages. I recall when learning German, my monoglot (English only) classmates were amazed the the simple word "the" goes through three genders and four (actually 8 if the plural is considered) cases.

Secondly, the best learning method is total immersion -- cutting oneself of form one's native tongue and interacting exclsuively with natives. By virtue of teaching English such detachment was not possible in his case. If he had had a Polish-only spouse, that might have made a difference, especially if she was a polonistka.
Lyzko 42 | 9,492
4 Jun 2015 #207
Exactly, TheOther! I made the identical transference error from German into Polish!

"Powiem mamie!" = Ich sag's Mutti!
"Nie mów.." = Sag's ihr nicht! in the sense of "Das sollst du ihr nicht erzaehlen!" = You shouldn't/musn't/ought not to tell her

etc...

I tend to always think in German FIRST:-)
kpc21 1 | 753
4 Jun 2015 #208
I was wondering if I should put something like "das" after "sag". I wouldn't call myself a master of German. Of English too :)

Back in the communist times you would often see the former on the door of a small shop when the shop assistant was leaving the place for some unknown reason

Now too, although not so often.
NocyMrok
4 Jun 2015 #209
This is no language problem. Imho this is simply(?) philosophical and cultural kind of an issue. Poles, from my experience, tend to approach somewhat common, regular life events very seriously and personally. They (We) lack of the distance which is an important ingredient of happiness. Again, it is just my view.
Lyzko 42 | 9,492
4 Jun 2015 #210
@kpc.

TheOther and I maintain correctly that "das" is right in this sentence. "Dass" with a double "s" means "that" as a (subordinating) conjunction, as in

"It is important THAT you do your work!" etc.


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