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Polite forms in Polish vs English


mafketis 20 | 7,252
14 Apr 2009  #31
I have the opposite problem since the formal/informal distinction is basically alien to me, I have a habit of retreating to Pan/Pani (because I sometimes forget which I use with a particular person). It's especially embarrassing when a person addresses me (and my American brain understands without noticing whether they used 'ty' or 'pan')

Also, occasionally I have the problem of genuinely not knowing which to use (Polish speakers tell me they have the same problem some times). The wealth of impersonal constructions in Polish are a real godsend then.
WwwAgent
4 Aug 2009  #32
Hello/Czesc Everybody,
what a fantastic conversation is going on here!

Guys - we must all realise that the differences are there and thats an undeniable fact, okay? :) A different animal is where they came from...

I loved your comment, Gospodarz: "Nasty with a smile. A Brit specialty"! At least a Polish man will tell you straight "bugger off" and will not beat around the bush, PRETENDING THEYRE TRYING TO BE POLITE! Stuff that kind of politeness - to me this doesnt even deserve to be called "politeness".

Anyway, hear this one out:
You were to visit your friend, so there you are standing in front of his/her front door, you ring the bell - no answer. You knock on the door - theres no reply. Of course, he/she must be in the back garden, not hearing you. Again. What do u do next then?

You knock on your friend's next door neighbour to find out. Maybe they know something.
An Englishman opens up.
After exchanging <obligatory> "How are you, youre alright." you start your investigation, hoping for cooperation and understanding.
"I dont think he's home." - he replies.
Now - what did the guy actually say?
Did I ask him for his opinion? No! I wanted him to do me a favour and do all the necessary checks for me, not giving me his opinion!

Now, PLEASE, tell me anybody - why is "I dont think hes home" a standard form of saying
"I know hes not home".
Actually, is it?

Regards,
Jacek
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
4 Aug 2009  #33
I haven't read all the replies here.

But if you find the informal infinitive too unpolite you can use Proszę + infinitive of the verb.

Ex:
Proszę wejść!
Proszę czekać na mnie!

If you would address the person Pan/Pani, you would probably use this form of infinitive expressions.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,509
5 Aug 2009  #34
I haven't read all the replies here.

Neither have I, but it is obvious that different forms of politness are present in the Polish language. One of the most common is using the conditional mode:

Czy mógłby Pan zamknąć drzwi?
Czy mógłby Pan na mnie chwilę poczekać? [formally a question, but truly a kind request]

In my view, the difference in using formal politness shows itself on the level of close relantionship. The Polish tend to use less polite forms (but it doesn't mean they are rude, intonation is something that counts!), while the British tend to stick to their formal language politness here as well.
Lyzko
5 Aug 2009  #35
....Niech mógłby pan (Pan) zamknąć drzwi? = (roughly) Would the gentleman be so kind as to close the door?

Third person references in direct utterances in English sound awfully high flown and bombastic, not to mention, even a little efeminate-:)

Actually, I meant the above sentence as a super-polite command, rather than a question-:)
M.
gumishu 11 | 5,012
5 Aug 2009  #36
Niech mógłby pan (Pan) zamknąć drzwi? = (roughly) Would the gentleman be so kind as to close the door?

niech mógłby is not real Polish Marku

Czy mógłby Pan... is ok

Niech Pan zamknie to okno - is much less polite

There are also ways in Polish for a sort of mock politeness:

Czy raczyłby Pan zamknąć to okno? - this was perhaps very polite in the ages past (but also indicated somewhat lower position of the person who asked) - now it is considered overly polite and thus used to mean something a bit different (for example that someone is doing something not appriopriate and it is expected of him/her to stop it/conform)

the topic can be continued - by ich habe keine Lust mehr ;)
Lyzko
5 Aug 2009  #37
"........Ich habe keine Lust mehr;)"

.......keine Bange, kein Problemchen du! Wenn aber doch, dann melde dich ruhig wieder-:)

I didn't realize that the latter was 'less polite'. Good to know, gumishu.

The question for me then remains; which is 'more' polite "Niech Pan(i) siada!", "Proszę Pan(i) usiąć!" or "Czymógłby (mogłaby) Pan(i) usiąć?"??
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
5 Aug 2009  #38
keine Lust

All posts in this thread that relate to Rammstein will be deleted :)

Mod humour.

Please keep the German to a minimum. Thanx.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,509
5 Aug 2009  #39
It really depends on the intonation of the speaker! The first two are roughly the same. The last one is the most polite of the three.

[Don't you think that moderators are not that good at German as they are at Swedish?]
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
5 Aug 2009  #40
[Don't you think that moderators are not that good at German as they are at Swedish?]

A polite form in Polish and Swedish... hej
gumishu 11 | 5,012
5 Aug 2009  #41
Niech pan siada. is not very polite

Proszę usiąść (never Proszę Pan(i) usiąść) is polite enough

Czy mógłby Pan usiąść is very polite

things are changed by intonation especially when accompanied with a grimace - even the most polite can be turned around this way - by I guess this is no novelty for you - such manouvers aren't that common in Polish though

Proszę usiąść sounds more polite than Proszę siadać (as addressed to a single person)
Lyzko
5 Aug 2009  #42
I really appreciate the assistance, gumishu and others!!!

-:))
gumishu 11 | 5,012
5 Aug 2009  #43
All posts in this thread that relate to Rammstein will be deleted :)

Mod humour.

Please keep the German to a minimum. Thanx.

nice to see the mods have a sense of humor ;)
agas
4 May 2010  #44
im sorry but it is not true at all. Niech PAn siada, spoken with polite, encouraging tone is absolutely THE most polite/acceptable today!!!

polish teacher of english
dujmdfvzujr
25 Jan 2011  #45
"cuppa"
strzyga 2 | 993
26 Jan 2011  #46
Niech PAn siada, spoken with polite, encouraging tone is absolutely THE most polite/acceptable today!!!

sorry, no.
sentences beginning with "niech" are always less (even much less) polite than proszę+Infinitive.
z_darius 14 | 3,969
26 Jan 2011  #47
really?
how about:

niech cie usciskam? :)

I think too much stress in this thread is put on the vocabulary alone.
What about the intonation?

I agree with agas. Niech pan siada can be very polite while Proszę usiąść could be rude, or even threatening.
mafketis 20 | 7,252
26 Jan 2011  #48
I was once told that Proszę + infinitive can sound kind of condescending as if you're talking to a child. Although that was with someone you're 'na ty' with.

What I would probably say would be: Proszę, niech Pan siada!

How's that?
strzyga 2 | 993
26 Jan 2011  #49
niech cie usciskam? :)

ok xyou've got a point :)
(proszę uściskać :D )

What about the intonation?I agree with agas. Niech pan siada can be very polite while Proszę usiąść could be rude, or even threatening.

But how about these two sentences spoken with the same intonation?
Niech pan siada will definitely sound less polite then.


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