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Indirect/direct speech in English and Polish.

plg 17 | 263
26 Jun 2011 #1
Indirect speech and direct speech in English and Polish.

According to my verb book.

This sentence : powiedział, ze nie mówi po polsku - would translate into > He said ": he didn't speak English.

Now "nie mowi" is still in the present tense and the English :" didn;t speak" is in the past tense.

Why? Someone said that it has to do with direct speech and indirect speech.

But im none the wiser.

Anyone elaborate a little more?

Bartolome 2 | 1,085
26 Jun 2011 #2
Well, uncle google says that direct speech is quoting what someone said with quotation marks. Indirect - just 'reporting' without them.
Direct speech in Polish is similar to English: Powiedział: 'Nie mówię po polsku' / He said: 'I don't speak Polish'.
Indirect speech in Polish retains the tense of the original expression:
(direct with past tense) Powiedział: 'Nie mówiłem po polsku' (c.f. He said 'I didn't speak Polish'.).
(indirect with the same past tense) Powiedział, że nie mówił po polsku. (c.f. [I guess in Englis it would be:] He said he hadn't spoken Polish)

Guess is as simple as that. Ju just have to remember that this grammar construction is different in Polis and English (easier said, than done).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is how I see it.
strzyga 2 | 993
26 Jun 2011 #3
Indirect speech is relating sb's words. Direct speech is quoting them.

In English:
He said: 'I don't speak Polish.' - direct speech
He said he didn't speak Polish. - indirect speech

- don't changes to didn't - "he said" is in the past tense, so the content of what he said cannot be expressed in the present tense. You need to pull it back, so to say, and keep the whole sentence in the past.

In Polish you don't do it - you don't change the tense of the quoted words.
On powiedział: "Nie mówię po polsku".
On powiedział, że nie mówi po polsku.

- no change of tense.

Another example:
He said: 'I will do it'.
He said he would do it.

On powiedział: "Ja to zrobię."
On powiedział, że to zrobi.
pawian 176 | 14,299
20 Aug 2020 #4
Indirect speech in Polish retains the tense of the original expression:

That`s the biggest problem for most of my students. They forget about that change in English coz they still think in Polish.

Paweł powiedział Andrzejowi: "Już Cię nie kocham." Paul told Andrew: "I don`t love you anymore."

Paweł powiedział Andrzejowi że już go nie kocha. Paul told Andrew he doesn`t love him anymore. That`s what my careless students say.

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