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Getting the wrong ending of a word - do Polish still understand?


vndunne 43 | 279
7 Apr 2010 #1
Hi. Been meaning to ask this for a while. Checked the threads and could not find an answer.
Question is: when a non-polish person, speaking polish, gets the wrong ending to a noun, can a polish person still understand it. I know it is best to have the correct ending but just in the early days of learning the language, does it matter?

I know the ending of Verbs is very important as you can end up saying something about someone totally different. But my question is in relation to nouns.

Thanks,
Vincent
1jola 14 | 1,879
7 Apr 2010 #2
You have to try it out to see the reaction. Not all Polish people are used to foreigners speaking Polish, especially older folks. A friend of mine, Hi Alice, told me that when she was learning Polish and used it at a market, very often a person could not grasp her simple query: Dwa jabłko. The plural and singular thrown in confused the seller.

Generally yes, to answer your question in the thread title.

Your efforts will be appreciated but don't wait for praise.
AdamKadmon
7 Apr 2010 #3
In Polish, as in any other synthetic languages, word endings work as flags indicating relations between words. In our tongue the word order is more loose then in English and you can shift words within a sentence more freely. In English, which is an analytic language, strict word order, that is Subject, Verb, Object serves the same purpose as endings in Polish. Without endings you will be understandable, just as would be those speaking English and putting words in whatever order they like.

Sorry for the mistake:

more loose than in English
convex 20 | 3,978
7 Apr 2010 #4
Thank you for that, it was nearly unreadable.
z_darius 14 | 3,969
7 Apr 2010 #5
Following AdamKadmon's, if you want to simulate what a Pole would would understand if the endings are wrong, produce a sentence in English in which the language's fundamentals are mixed up. That ought to give you an approximation of how a botched sentence would sound to a Pole:

"a do ending getting of polish stil the understand wrong word"
Ziemowit 12 | 3,565
7 Apr 2010 #6
Out of pure curosity. I wonder what the reaction of the seller could be, if Alice asked him this question using the dual number which became extinct in the second half of the 18th century: Poproszę dwie jabłce.
Pibwl - | 50
7 Apr 2010 #7
When you don't know a proper form, it's safest to use infinitives ("ja chcieć" etc ;-)

In Polish books it's usually used to express a language of African natives in colonial times... I've always wondered, how was it in original English.
Polish Tutor - | 80
8 Apr 2010 #8
A very practical problem is not if people understand you when you mix Polish endings but if you can understand Polish people when they use endings properly. If you are able to understand what Polish people say it means that you know endings quite good. Then do not worry a mistake or two in one sentence is no problem. But if want to learn Polish ignoring endings – Good luck my friend! (-:

Each mistake brings you closer to the border of being-not-to-understand. If you cross the border people will not understand you. But where the border of understanding is I have no idea.

Last but not least I can tell you two things:
1.The less mistakes the better understanding (what a discovery!)
2.Wihout making mistakes you will never improve your Polish. (cheap psychological trick)
But it really works.
Be brave my friend and laugh at Polish people who are rude and pretend that they do not understand you as well as at foreigners who say that Polish is not to learn (-:
OP vndunne 43 | 279
8 Apr 2010 #9
thanks for all that. Intention is to learn all the correct endings over time but just in the early days to get out there and start talking polish, i was hoping to get away with a few wrong endings...:-)
Polish Tutor - | 80
8 Apr 2010 #10
I would suggest to be focused on singular only. Statistic says that 80% forms of spoken Polish are singular. If you manage to use singular start to use plural.

And Thirst of all do not be afraid. Just test Polish people how much they can hold out. And belive me they can very much (-: Polish is like a machine. One day you will notice that it just works in your brain.
Lyzko
10 Apr 2010 #11
When I was in Poland last (albeit only for a short time), my method for conversing with strangers, since my German travelling companion understood zero Polish as well as little English, was simply to start speaking and wait for the appropriate respone. Unlike in Spain, I was not only understood by everyone, I basically understood most everything back.

My technique with slightly more educated, cultured "yuppity" younger Poles, was to pretend I couldn't make out what they were saying if they tried speaking English with me. This got them so flustered, they automatically slipped back into Polish and I picked up by osmosis, practically like a native speaker.

It's true though about many older Polish people, as with Hungarians and certain other language speakers who scarcely expect a foreigner to know their language. Many claim NOTto understand foreigners speaking Polish, even if this might well be a psychological trick in reverse.
pawian 161 | 9,971
30 Sep 2019 #12
Question is: when a non-polish person, speaking polish, gets the wrong ending to a noun, can a polish person still understand it.

Yes, why not? If you say Chrząszcza brzmi w trzcina w Szczebrzeszyna, Poles will still understand it.
Lyzko 23 | 6,625
1 Oct 2019 #13
vndunne,

Poles know their language is quite challenging for non-Slavic foreigners, particularly Anglophone visitors or tourists. They will usually try at least to understand you, case ending mistakes and all, so don't despair if many might have a slightly puzzled look on their faces when speaking to them:-)

I found the Poles whom I met helpful. The same unfortunately I didn't find among the Hungarians!
Rich Mazur 4 | 3,416
1 Oct 2019 #14
@pawian
If you say Chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie w Szczebrzeszynie, Poles will still understand it even better.
Lyzko 23 | 6,625
1 Oct 2019 #15
I learned "W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie".

Anyway, most native speakers of any language scarcely expect non-natives to know as well as correctly spell AND pronounce a typically hard tongue twister!
pawian 161 | 9,971
1 Oct 2019 #16
Poles will still understand it even better.

It is pretty obvious you don`t know these Polish words of wisdom: Better is the enemy of good. :):)

I learned "W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie".

Yes, but check out what one pister said:

Yes, but

In our tongue the word order is more loose then in English and you can shift words within a sentence more freely.

Lyzko 23 | 6,625
2 Oct 2019 #17
"The perfect is the enemy of the good enough" is the actual quote, paw.

Anyhow, am about to order "Fleksja Polska" by Jan Tokarski. You never stop learning!
:-)
Lenka 3 | 1,441
2 Oct 2019 #18
"The perfect is the enemy of the good enough" is the actual quote, paw

Actually no. Not the Polish version
Rich Mazur 4 | 3,416
2 Oct 2019 #19
"The perfect is the enemy of the good enough" is the actual quote, paw.

Perfect is the enemy of common sense. A quote from Rich.
Lyzko 23 | 6,625
2 Oct 2019 #20
The English version might then necessarily be different, Lenka.

In English we say, for example, "Hope springs eternal", whereas in another language, for instance, in German, the identical quoted saying translates
literally as "Hope is always the last to die".

Not exactly the same, is it!
pawian 161 | 9,971
2 Oct 2019 #21
"The perfect is the enemy of the good enough" is the actual quote, paw.

Maybe in English. I quoted the Polish saying, I said it clearly.. :) I think it is closer to life.

Anyhow, am about to order "Fleksja Polska" by Jan Tokarski. You never stop learning!

Are you talking to me? You talking to me? F...k!
Lenka 3 | 1,441
2 Oct 2019 #22
The English version might then necessarily be different, Lenka

Seems like it but here it was about Polish version so Pawian gave the right one.
Lyzko 23 | 6,625
3 Oct 2019 #23
@Relax paw, old man! "You" in English refers to the generic/collective "one", One never stops learning. = Man lernt nie aus.

Point well taken, Lenka.
pawian 161 | 9,971
3 Oct 2019 #24
Relax paw, old man!

Of course I was relaxed. I cracked a joke - that was a quote from a Polish comedy which exploited the Taxi Driver film motif. hahaha

youtu.be/jhhpoHd0M7Q
Lyzko 23 | 6,625
3 Oct 2019 #25
Herein the gentle pitfalls of knowing a foreign language, in your case English, without fully knowing the culture and when certain joking is appropriate or when it's not.

Humor is almost always that which gets lost in translation:-)


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