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Is this proper Polish grammar? If it is, can you explain how it is?


catsoldier 62 | 595
29 Nov 2011 #1
Nie powinnam była jeść tego ogórka

This is from another post in rozmowy po polsku
https://polishforums.com/po-polsku/powiedzial-55535/#msg1207019

I think it means:
I shouldn't eat this cucumber.

Where did była come from? Why did she use it? Is it some sort of future tense? I know I am showing my ignorance now but it is better to ask the question.

It must also be an in joke also because I don't undertand why she can't eat the cucumber.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
29 Nov 2011 #2
Nie powinnam była jeść - I shouldn't have eaten.
Nie powinnam była jeść tego ogórka (but I did eat it and now I have food poisoning, or whatever).
a.k.
29 Nov 2011 #3
Nie powinnam jeść - I shouldn't eat
Nie powinnam była jeść - I shouldn't have eaten

Była is what makes this sentence in past.

Nie powinienem tego mówić (ale ci powiem) = now
Nie powinienem był tego mówić (ale to powiedziałem) = past
OP catsoldier 62 | 595
29 Nov 2011 #4
Thanks AK and Magdalena
pam
29 Nov 2011 #5
I shouldn't eat this cucumber.

my polish is rubbish, but i cant understand this. as far as i understand byla means she was (ona byla). she shouldnt have eaten this cucumber? dont quote me on this one!
OP catsoldier 62 | 595
30 Nov 2011 #6
as far as i understand byla means she was (ona byla). she shouldnt have eaten this cucumber? dont quote me on this one!

Quoted!! :-), I don't understand it either. We will probably come across it again later and hopefully understand it better.

There is a reason for using była we just don't know it yet.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
30 Nov 2011 #7
I think it's the special nature of 'should' in Polish. I asked my Polish friend and he thinks it's illogical too. Powinienem means.....?
OP catsoldier 62 | 595
30 Nov 2011 #8
Powinienem iść: I should go.
OP catsoldier 62 | 595
30 Nov 2011 #10
it's simply the past tense form of the verb być (to be):

And what has "to be" got to do with eating some of the cucumbers?

And what has "to be" got to do with eating some of the cucumbers?

I shouldn't get annoyed because this is Polish grammar and everyone is only trying to help. I just don't see how you can use była in a sentance that makes any sense when talking about eating cucumbers.
pam
30 Nov 2011 #11
the verb być

i know it is the past tense. ona byla (she was ). still doesnt make sense to me in relation to the cucumber!! think i need to go to bed...have to be at work tomorrow, far too tired.
a.k.
30 Nov 2011 #12
I just don't see how you can use była in a sentance that makes any sense when talking about eating cucumbers.

It's the same sense like using have in a sentence about eating cucambers:
I should have eaten them

Była it this sentence just plays a role of an indicator of past tense.
pam
30 Nov 2011 #13
And what has "to be" got to do with eating some of the cucumbers?

before i go to bed will try to explain. dont know about cases or much grammar,but i spent alot of time and tears puzzling over byc (to be). it doesnt translate into english. in the present tense byc translates as i am, ja jestem. you are ,ty jestes etc.in past tense byc translates as ja bylam/bylem ( i was). ty bylas/byles. and also,ONA BYLA, she was. dont expect this will help much, and maybe im wrong, but still dont understand what the hell this has to do with a cucumber...
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
30 Nov 2011 #14
I just don't see how you can use była in a sentance that makes any sense when talking about eating cucumbers.

Because the verb być refers to existence, i.e., the situation which exists now (present tense), which existed before the present (past tense) or situations which will exist (future tense).

The existence we are referring to in this example is whether a cucumber is being eaten, was eaten at sometime in the past, or will be eaten (or, indeed, whether or not it should have been eaten!).

Hence if you wanted to say (a silly example, I know ;) ) "It's good to be a cucumber" it would be "jest dobrze być ogórkiem", but this changes to "dobrze było być ogórkiem" (i.e., it was good to exist as a cucumber in the past), or if you are planning to become a cucumber one day, "dobrze będzie być ogórkiem" (i.e., it will be good to exist as a cucumber, in the future).

Beyond that, I think you need a teacher to explain it; I'm definitely not a teacher ;)

Polish grammar often makes things sound complicated, whereas English makes it a bit more logical; but at least Polish doesn't have words with silly pronunciations like "Leicester" or "Cholmondeley" - difficult grammar is the trade-off for easier pronunciation ;)

but still dont understand what the hell this has to do with a cucumber...

Because in the context of the verb być, the situation the cucumber is in (past, present, future) is more important than the cucumber itself ;)
Zazulka 3 | 129
30 Nov 2011 #15
This is czas zaprzeszły (Past Perfect Tense).

Here is a nice and short lesson:
The Past Perfect Tense

Surprised? Yes, dear readers, the Polish language officially has the past perfect tense, although it is mentioned in grammar books only formally. Nowadays it is used more often in speech to add a unique, ironic flavor to what is being said. It ceased to exist in regular use at the beginning of the 20th century; however, its elements still play a vital role in the Polish modal "powinien” ("ought to”). Example: pisałem był (I had been writing), pisałeś był (you had been writing), pisał był (he had been writing). Expressing "ought to” in the past tense: powinienem był/powinieneś był, powinien był. The past perfect is to some extent also reflected in the Polish conditional: the particles -bym; -byśmy, -byś; -byście, and -by are movable and sometimes present difficulties for even Polish experts.

Example:

Jeśli chcielibyście to kupić, to chętnie to sprzedam. = Jeśli byście chcieli to kupić, to chętnie to sprzedam. – both versions mean if you would like to buy it, I will gladly sell it, and are correct, but the position depends on the stylistic needs of the author.

OP catsoldier 62 | 595
30 Nov 2011 #16
Thanks AK and Chodov. Many thanks to Zazulka too, buziaki :-) .
cinek 2 | 345
1 Dec 2011 #17
This is czas zaprzeszły (Past Perfect Tense).

Of course not! It's a regular czas przeszły of the predicative (czasownik niewłaściwy) 'powinna'.

A bit of history:

'Powinna' means just '(she) owing' and the semantics is very similar to English construction 'ought to'.
In the past 'powinna' (or just 'winna') was just an adjective and in present tense it required using 'jest' (is) e.g.:

present: Ona jest powinna zrobić coś dla mnie. (She owes to me to do something)
past: Ona była powinna zrobić to dla mnie. (She owed (ought) to me to do it)

But later the 'jest' in present tense was just skipped what caused that the 'powinna' word took the role of the verb itself and became a predicative (czasownik niewłasciwy).

However, in the past tense 'była' must still be used.
Interestingly, this could be adopted to future tense too in an easy way: e.g. 'Ona powinna będzie ...' but this construction is not used in contemporary Polish.

Also, the past tense (powinna była) is used seldom today in speach, so some youngsters may even don't know that it is correct ;-)

Cinek
a.k.
1 Dec 2011 #18
Of course not! It's a regular czas przeszły of the predicative (czasownik niewłaściwy) 'powinna'.

On wikipedia's entry of czas zaprzeszły "powinien był" is showed as an example of modern use of it.
gumishu 11 | 5,692
1 Dec 2011 #19
And what has "to be" got to do with eating some of the cucumbers?

the thing is 'powinien' is originally an adjective meaning 'obliged' (actually meaning having an obligation)- it's very similar to 'winien' (a form of 'winny' - 'winny' can mean guilty but also is used to denote that someone is owing something to somebody: Jesteś mi winny/winien 20 złoty. You owe me 20 zloty.

-em (-am) added to 'powinien' (powinienem) is a 1st person ending used for conjugation (compare: jestem, byłem, byłam, kupiłem, kupiłam) - in Polish the ending that normally attaches to a verb can actually travel to other parts of speech in a sentece sometime leaving a sentence verb-less: Rad jestem, że przyszedłeś. = Rad żem, że przyszedłeś. I am glad you came ('rad' is quite archaic and mostly a literary word now) Jesteś głodny? = Głodnyś? are you hungry

Powinien to zrobić. is originally a verb-less construction that in English would require a form of 'to be' - one can say Powinien to zrobić. is equall to Powinien jest to zrobić. (though the latter is not a real Polish sentce)

that's why in the past it is Powinien był to zrobić. He should have done it.
OP catsoldier 62 | 595
1 Dec 2011 #20
It is a real shame that one of the students didn't ask her what she said and to explain the grammar of it!!!! Maybe they had learnt their lesson in another class, that it is better not to ask questions about grammar while trying to have fun! :-)

I really appreciate all your comments and help, thanks. Please continue to debate the topic and I will come back to it. I have a lot of grammar to learn before I can understand a fraction of what you are talking about.

Thanks.
a.k.
1 Dec 2011 #21
I have a lot of grammar to learn before I can understand a fraction of what you are talking about.

I think that particular knowledge is useless for you. Just take for granded that whenever there is "should" in the past, one needs to use verb "to be" with it, just like followings:

Ja powinienem był (male)
Ja powinnam była (female)

Ty powinieneś był (male)
Ty powinnaś była (female)

On powinien był
Ona powinna była
Ono powinno było

My powinniśmy byli (male)
My powinnyśmy były (female)

Wy powinniście byli (male)
Wy powinnyście były (female)

Oni powinni byli
One powinny były
OP catsoldier 62 | 595
1 Dec 2011 #22
Just take for granded that whenever there is "should" in the past, one needs to use verb "to be" with it, just like followings:

Thanks AK.
pam
1 Dec 2011 #23
but at least Polish doesn't have words with silly pronunciations like "Leicester" or "Cholmondeley"

you are quite right. polish doesnt have silly pronunciations because the alphabet is phonetic. it just has virtually impossible pronunciation because of all the consonants....lol
strzyga 2 | 993
2 Dec 2011 #24
it just has virtually impossible pronunciation because of all the consonants....lol

I've just run "Grzegorz Brzęczyszczykiewicz, Chrząszczyżewoszyce, powiat £ękołody" and a few suchlikes (Poczmistrz z Tczewa, rotmistrz z Czchowa") through a couple of languages on ivona.com and surprisingly, the Welsh renderings were closest to the Polish pronunciation, followed by Romanian and American Spanish. Shame there's no Gaelic yet, I'd like to check that.

Yet, the other way round doesn't seem to work - Welsh names are pronounced nothing like a Pole would try to pronounce them.
pam
2 Dec 2011 #25
Welsh names are pronounced nothing like a Pole would try to pronounce them.

ok strzga....zemsta teraz, i nie zartuje!!!lol. the longest name of a town in wales ( i can pronounce this perfectly, i nie jestem klamca,google it ) is LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWLLLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH. honestly its not a joke . latwy!!
strzyga 2 | 993
2 Dec 2011 #26
LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWLLLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH.

oh yes, thanks Pam, I knew there was such a name but was too lazy to google search it, and now I can listen to the pronunciation :) quite easy I guess, just a bit longish ;P

seriously, can you remember all the letters in this name? I guess it's possible when you are able to single out the individual words making up the whole, so can you understand Welsh?

I was trying out simpler ones like Llewellyn and even this I can't repeat, there's some strange sound at the beginning, the ll is not l at all. Grzegorz Brzęczyszczykiewicz is much simpler than that.
JonnyM 11 | 2,620
2 Dec 2011 #27
oh yes, thanks Pam, I knew there was such a name but was too lazy to google search it, and now I can listen to the pronunciation :) quite easy I guess, just a bit longish ;P
seriously, can you remember all the letters in this name? I guess it's possible when you are able to single out the individual words making up the whole, so can you understand Welsh?

The name was deliberately made up in the late Nineteenth Century as a tourist attraction. It's meant to be difficult!

Grzegorz Brzęczyszczykiewicz is much simpler than that.

A piece of piss really.
pam
2 Dec 2011 #28
seriously, can you remember all the letters in this name

yes i can,because i have a friend from wales that does actually speak welsh. the welsh language is more commonly spoken in north wales. it is certainly not spoken by all welsh people. the name llewellyn is quite common. i had never actually considered before the similarity between polish and welsh languages. the name llewellyn is not spoken starting with the english letter L. it is too hard for me to explain how it sounds, as i dont speak welsh . closest i can get, and dont quote me on this, is that the double L at the start is pronounced CHL, as in how polatsy pronounce CH. too hard to explain and maybe i am wrong. powylilam sie...need to phone friend and find out..ale to jest nie wazne
strzyga 2 | 993
2 Dec 2011 #29
the double L at the start is pronounced CHL, as in how polatsy pronounce CH

on ivona.com it sounds more like the polish SZ and the CH at the end almost the same as the polish CH. anyway they have some sounds similar to our consonant clusters. the intonation is different though.

Nice sounding language, I like it.
cinek 2 | 345
4 Dec 2011 #30
On wikipedia's entry of czas zaprzeszły "powinien był" is showed as an example of modern use of it.

Don't belive in everything they write on Wiki ;-)
Here's a proper description (Notice: 'W czasie przeszłym (nie zaprzeszłym) odmienne słowo posiłkowe być")
pl.wiktionary.org/wiki/powinien

Cinek


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