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A little Polish grammar. Masculine, animate objects.

bluesfan - | 85
4 Nov 2013 #31
The most in-depth contemporary "brick-and-mortar" Polish grammar I've ever seen in English remains "Polish: A Comprehensive Grammar" - 2012 by Iwona Sadowska, both in paper as well as hardback

Does it look something like this:

Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
4 Nov 2013 #32
No, but being that the language in question is Polish, it darn well shouldLOL
bluesfan - | 85
4 Nov 2013 #33
Well there is an idiots version ofc:

Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
4 Nov 2013 #34
Pani Sadowska's somewhere in between:-)
mochadot18 15 | 241
11 Feb 2014 #35
ok so..
Czy mowi pani po polsku
Czy mowi pani po polsku
But why Czy mowisz po polsku???
Why do you add the sz???

You don't add any sz for jake sie masz informal
Vincent 9 | 818 Moderator
11 Feb 2014 #36
But why Czy mowisz po polsku???

Because it's the second person singular (Informal), the other two are 3rd person singular (formal)

You don't add any sz for jake sie masz informal

But the sz is added in jak się masz second person (informal).
mochadot18 15 | 241
11 Feb 2014 #37
Haha its been a long day lol didn't even notice the sz in masz lol so yu ad the sz to informal?

Also what exactly does po mean???? It seems to be used quie often but I've learned it to mean after. But it is used in things like cyz mowisz po polsku and po staremu which both mean totally different things.
cinek 2 | 345
11 Feb 2014 #38
It also means 'in some/someone's way' e.g.:
po staremu = in the ways it was before (earlier, in older times - stary = old)
po polsku = in "polish language ways"
po mojemu = in my ways, in the ways I see/do it
po bożemu = in the right (God's) way
po prawdzie (arch.) = saying the truth

It can be also used in more creative ways e.g.:

po szkolnemu = in the way one learned it in the school, using standard school rules
po cinkowemu = in the ways Cinek always does it ;-)

Vincent 9 | 818 Moderator
11 Feb 2014 #39
so yu ad the sz to informal?

In this instant yes, but there is more to it. Verbs are words that express action, and the endings of the verb varies according to who is doing the action. The infinitive form of the verb mówić (to speak) is the one you'll find in a dictionary. Mówić belongs to a certain group of verbs (there are 3 other main groups) and the endings will change for each person(s) as follows:

mówię - I speak
mówisz - you speak
on/ona/ono mówi - he/she/ it speaks


mówimy - we speak
mówicie - you speak
oni/one mówią - they speak ( men only or at least one woman in the group/ women only and everything else.

You can use mówisz with friends and family, people your own age and children, but with someone older it's best to use the polite form pan/panie with the 3rd person form of the verb mówi. I don't want to dishearten you but, the above examples are the present tense of the verb Mówić, and there will also be changes for the future, past, conditional and imperative tenses too.

Also what exactly does po mean???? It seems to be used quie often but I've learned it to mean after.

'po' is used in the location and accusative cases as well, depending on whether it's location or motion. If you want to inform someone, that you can speak one of the following languages, polski, angielski, hiszpański francuski (Polish, English, Spanish and French) you replace the ending -ki with -ku and place the preposition 'po' in front, mówię po polsku, mówię po angielsku, mówię po hiszańsku and mówię po francusku. Names of languages are spelt with small letters.
mochadot18 15 | 241
13 Mar 2014 #40
How come when you say cold night it is zimna noc?? since noc doesnt end in an A why is zimna in the fem form? How come it isnt zimny noc??
Lenka 3 | 2,205
13 Mar 2014 #41
Because noc is feminine.
Ta noc
tej nocy
and so. It's an exception.
krecik89 3 | 60
13 Mar 2014 #42
We're taught these are exceptions but in fact there are rules or patterns based on the sounds of the words.

Feminine Gender and Declension
3 types
a. hard stems with Nsg.(nominative singular) in -a, as kobieta woman, noga leg.
b. functionally soft stems with Nsg. in -a or -(yn)i as ulica street, ziemia earth, gospodyni landlady.
c. functionally soft stems with Nsg. in -Ø, as kość bone, twarz face, noc - night.
Functionally soft stems include stems in potentially soft labials like krew krwi blood
The surface stem of nouns with Nsg. in -Ø is usually the same as the Nsg.: twarz face, stem twarz-, noc night, stem noc-. Since the NAsg. ending is -Ø, the NAsg. may contain a mobile vowel; a hardened labial consonant; the result of an o: ó or ę: ą shift; or some combination of these: krew blood, Gsg. krwi, stem krØw′-; sól salt, Gsg.(genitive singular) soli, stem sol-; głąb depth, Gsg. głębi, stem głęb′-; wesz louse, Gsg. wszy, stem wØsz-. The surface stem of nouns in -(yn)i ends in -yń-:

gospodyni, stem gospodyń-.

noc night (c-stem)
Sg. Pl. Sg. Pl.
N noc noce
G nocy nocy
D nocy nocom
A noc noce
I nocą nocami
L nocy nocach
V nocy noce
Lenka 3 | 2,205
13 Mar 2014 #43
Still they don't belong to the general rule. On deeper linguistic level- sure, you can research that but for basic or intermediate level- my explanation is enough I think.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
14 Mar 2014 #45
Equally tricky again can be those bleedin' diacritical marks as well as those 'fleeting' vowels, e.g Nom sing. "pączek" vs. Nom. plural "pączki" rather than (logicalLOL) "pączEki" etc... Why the f****k does the "e" disappear, for instance? And then there's "odpowiedź" vs. "odpowiedzi", "łabędź" vs. "łabędzi" seemingly ad infinitum.....
lunacy - | 73
14 Mar 2014 #46
Well, if it helps, you can't forget that there's always a difference between male and female nouns.
odpowiedź (f.) -> odpowiedzi
zapowiedź (f.) -> zapowiedzi
łabędź (m.) -> łabędzie
śledź (m.) -> śledzie

The pączek case is a relatively easy rule, considering that (traditionally) -ek ending was added to create diminutive forms:)
-ek ALWAYS becomes -ki in plural forms, that's just the rule (at least i cannot think of any particular exceptions at the moment).
(pąk ->) pączek -> pączki
(znak ->) znaczek -> znaczki
(robak ->) robaczek -> robaczki
(szlak ->) szlaczek -> szlaczki
Some of the diminutive words from above gained a new meaning over time, like "pączek" isn't a small bloom bud only, but the sweet treat everyone knows:) (they were traditionally filled with rosebud jam in the past)
nietoperek25 - | 6
14 Mar 2014 #47
I just had to commet that! I am a native speaker, I make almost no mistakes, which is a score in Polish. But I know nothing of that by mind, I know it all somehow... I read all these rules in english, feel wery confused just by reading!!

To all of you who bravely go through this bloody grammar as your second (third, etc.) language - fingers crossed, and you are heroes in my eyes -:) Big respect.
mochadot18 15 | 241
14 Mar 2014 #48
It's an exception.

I hate exceptions LOL

We're taught these are exceptions but in fact there are rules or patterns based on the sounds of the words.

Lol thank you but yes to advanced for me yet lol i'll stick to the exception rule for now until I get a better grasp

But thank you both :)
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
15 Mar 2014 #49
Polish often has as many 'exceptions to the rule' as it has examples of it:-) Tough sometimes to remember what the rule is, much less how an exception deviates from the original! Little is hard and fast in Polish grammar. We just saw above that noun singular endings in"-dź" will vary in their plural formation depending upon whether the noun is masculine (łabędź - łabędziE = swan - swans) or feminine (odpowiedź - odpowiedzi = answer - answers) etc..

There's usually no way of telling for absolutely sure until the individual noun has been learned! The learner must be guided by example.
mochadot18 15 | 241
17 Mar 2014 #50
Is there a rule about making words plural that I can use?? I notice that there are many different ways to make words plural any where from (imię to Imiona, kuchnia to Kuchnie, matka to Matki, Klasa to Klasy, ojciec to ojcowie, pies to psy, student to Studenci, koń to konie) So how do I know when to add an a or ie or y or just an i or sy or even a ci?? Is there some rule that would make it easier to remember how to change these words? Or do I just need to memorize them all?

Thank you
krecik89 3 | 60
17 Mar 2014 #51
Pretty hard to give you a rule as will vary depending on the case system used. This is where it all gets tricky.
If you want to know the plural in the nominative -
If you want 2 basic rules for the nominative that will mean you make a lot of errors but probably you can get away with it -

For living things
- i - for hard consonant ending words
- y for other

For non-living
- e

Beyond this you've got to look at the link I gave you as there are MANY different forms beyond these two. The last couple of letters change sometimes, -owie for title, jobs, family members etc. Polish is a language of many rules. I won't use the word exceptions as that suggests there are main rules..., which I don't think there are.
mochadot18 15 | 241
17 Mar 2014 #52
If you want 2 basic rules for the nominative that will mean you make a lot of errors but probably you can get away with it -

NOOO really lol damn I was hoping for a nice rule, guess i'll just have to work on memorizing them all. Rather learn the right way with no mistakes than form bad habits
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
17 Mar 2014 #53
Yep. Wiki does it again:-) Not a bad overview at that.
mochadot18 15 | 241
21 Mar 2014 #54
Could someone explain the cases for me? I've been reading up on them and I think I understand the nominative and dative. I havnt started yet on the accusative, instrumental, locative and vocative cases
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
21 Mar 2014 #55
Each of the seven cases correspond roughly to Nominative (naming case - what things are), Genitive (VERY USED case in Polish, showing possession), Dative (indirect object), Accusative (direct object) and I'll stop right there! The problem here is that in learning any case=driven language, what requires a case, say in Polish or German etc.., might seem totally "illogical" to a non-native learner.

More to follow!

Case usage (not to mention the case endings themselves!) unfortunately has to simply be absorbed through applied, contextual practice. There are rules, of course, yet learning to THINK in Polish becomes the challenge:-)
krecik89 3 | 60
21 Mar 2014 #56
Very basic rules plus examples in English - just expanding on Wlodzimierz's comments. You can check out the Polish equivalents for homework. :-)

Nominative (mianownik) - base form - usually the subject of the sentence is in this case.
Genitive (dopełniacz) - show's possession, or number - English that would correspond to Genitive - John's book, Sun's rays, 5 cars, few beers.

Dative (celownik) - indirect object - we have a remnant of this in the use of whom / him - I gave the book to him. (him would be the dative). Question - To whom did you give the book? - whom is the question form

Accusative (biernik) - direct object. Whom / him also equivalent in English. Whom did you see? I saw him
Instrumental (narzędnik) - with something - I write with a pen. I go by tram. / with a pen and by tram would use the instrumental case

Locative (miejscownik) - most common at / in . I am at the pub. I am in the house - at the pub and in the house uses Locative.

Vocative (wołacz) - commonly used when you're summoning someone. Agnieszka come here. - Agnieszka would be in the vocative.
lunacy - | 73
21 Mar 2014 #57
A little thing for the very beginners:

Some time ago I stumbled across a nice video about (I'd say) the very basic concept of declension from an 'English' perspective - it's very short and recorded in relation to Czech language but on that level (it's only about the concept of declension really) the word 'Czech' in the video could be actually replaced by 'Polish':

Sharing, because recently it has helped a friend of mine to understand how awesome declension is:P

The point is: in Polish language (or Czech and many others) the order of words in a sentence isn't as important as in English.

The author of the video shows a simple example:
Dog bites man.
Man bites dog.

Everything's clear in the two sentences above - we know who does the biting and who is being bitten, because it's stressed out by the position in the sentence.

In Polish we don't have to care so much about the position (or raising the tone of voice to emhasize something) in the sentence.

We use declension to show the relations between subjects and objects.
The examples from above would be adequately:
Pies gryzie człowieka.
Człowiek gryzie psa.

The subject doing the action (biting) is in Nominative case - so 'normal' (pies, człowiek). But the object that's being bitten has to be declined to show the subject's 'relation' to it. In this example it's biernik - Accusative (whom does he/she bite? psa, człowieka). Position in a sentence isn't as important, because we have all the informations gathered within the grammar.

The first sentence:
Pies gryzie człowieka.
could be also written for example in those ways:
Pies człowieka gryzie.
Człowieka gryzie pies.
Gryzie pies człowieka.

and it still means exactly the same - dog bites man - because the declined object (człowieka) always shows which one is bitten.

It takes a long time in the beginning to learn how to 'unwrap' the sentences in your mind, find the relations between nouns (who is doing the action, who is being affected by the action, what is being possessed, and so on). Krecik wrote a very good list of the basic rules:)
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
25 Mar 2014 #58
This recalls the old joke: "Dog bites man." - not news. "Man bites dog!" - Now THAT'S news!

Where case determines meaning, rather than either tone of voice or word order, this could easily sow confusion for those not yet familiar with case driven languages like Polish:-)

On the other hand, certain placement of words in a sentence probably sound more usual, i.e. natural, than others!
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
27 Mar 2014 #59
The point is: in Polish language (or Czech and many others) the order of words in a sentence isn't as important as in English.

The Slavonic Languages EDITED BY Bernard Comrie and Greville G. Corbett
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
27 Mar 2014 #60
Excellent (ri-)post(e), AdamKadmon:-)

In fact I know the Comrie text quite well. How closely the above mirrors German, a case-driven language like Polish and Russian, yet UNLIKE English in this regard!

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