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Questions about Jej vs. Swoje, ą and ę, and Latin similarities


fancyghost 1 | 7
15 Jul 2012 #1
Hello. This is my first post here, I've browsed it a little for a few weeks but I don't really know the culture around here, please tell me if I say or do something frowned upon.

A little backstory so I don't feel rude and the last bit of my post will make sense: I'm a fourth-generation Pole living in America. I've always been interested in learning Polish but because of school and the language-learning requirements, I had to take Latin all four years in high school, and never had the time in my schedule to learn Polish. I was given a copy of Rosetta Stone for graduation, and here I am.

First, don't understand the difference between jej and swoje. I know that you'd say "kobieta i jej pies", and "oni czytają swoje gazety", and that makes it seem like one is singular and the other is plural, but then I'm hit with "ona je swoje jabłko" and "on czyta jego książkę", the first having a picture of one girl eating an apple, the second of a man reading another man's book. When do you use jej/jego and when do you use swoje?

Secondly, I've got a little phrasebook with things that you would say every day. In the letters and pronunciation section, it says that ą and ę sound like "on" and "en". From just listening to a few people speaking Polish, it sounds to me like that's only sometimes the case, like with pięc, but other times it sounds like there's no N at the end, like in piszą. It's difficult for me to say exactly what I mean, if this isn't clear please tell me and I'll rephrase it.

Lastly, after four years of Latin, I picked up quickly on how the last few letters of a word sometimes change how it's used grammatically, and adjectives take the form of the word they're describing. I'm used to the nominative, vocative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative, and locative cases, and three main declensions. How similar is Polish to Latin in this respect, and are there any quick reference charts I could use to help memorize the endings?
catsoldier 62 | 595
15 Jul 2012 #2
ą and ę sound like "on" and "en"

That isn't correct, if you always pronounce the ę and ą as above you are being hyper correct in your speaking which is incorrect, you don't use the en sound at the end for dziękuję. Also ę has a slightly different sound sometimes for example when used in zęby etc.

Sorry but I cannot help you with your other questions. Best of luck.
OP fancyghost 1 | 7
15 Jul 2012 #3
That's what I thought, thank you. To me it sounds like the majority of the time they make more of an 'ao' and 'eo' sound, sort of like they're rolling into an N but stop at the last second. It helps just knowing that they won't always make an N sound.
Vincent 9 | 929 Moderator
15 Jul 2012 #4
Have a look here for an explanation about swoje.
Swojego
OP fancyghost 1 | 7
15 Jul 2012 #5
I wish I'd seen that thread earlier, it's helpful but not quite what I need. Are swoje and jej sometimes interchangeable? Like in that first example, 'kobieta i jej pies,' would it be proper to say 'kobieta i swoje pies'? From what I can tell, jej/jego mean her/his and swoje is just taking that a step further, as 'his/her own'.
Vincent 9 | 929 Moderator
15 Jul 2012 #6
Are swoje and jej sometimes interchangeable?

jej can be substituted by swoj 'ones own' when the possessor, expressed in the nominative case, is the subject, in order to differentiate between items that are possessed by someone else and one's own items in sentences with an unclear context.

Ewa kocha swoje dziecko - Ewa loves her (own) child

Ewa kocha jej dziecko - Ewa loves her child (someone else's)
OP fancyghost 1 | 7
15 Jul 2012 #7
Ewa kocha swoje dziecko - Ewa loves her (own) child

You could also say "Ewa kocha jej dziecko", right? That makes sense, then, thank you very much.
pam
16 Jul 2012 #8
"Ewa kocha jej dziecko", right? That makes sense, then, thank you very much

My grammar is pretty appalling,but it doesn't make sense to me if i have understood Vincents post correctly.Then again i always end up looking at grammar questions too late at night.

I still think it means Ewa loves somebody elses ( her ) child. Anyone care to tell me if i'm right or wrong?
OP fancyghost 1 | 7
16 Jul 2012 #9
it means Ewa loves somebody elses ( her ) child

Argh, I thought jej and jego could be used for one person alone and for one person out of many. Are they only for indirectly showing ownership?

Sorry if I can't get across exactly what I mean. I don't know the technical phrases for what I'm trying to say, and I don't know how or if some of the grammar conventions I'm used to would apply to Polish.
Vincent 9 | 929 Moderator
16 Jul 2012 #10
I still think it means Ewa loves somebody elses ( her ) child. Anyone care to tell me if i'm right or wrong?

Ewa loves somebody elses (her) child.

The reflexive possessive pronoun swój means 'my own', 'your own' (singular and plural) 'his own', 'our own' 'their own'
pam
16 Jul 2012 #11
Maybe i have misunderstood Fancyghosts post #7.
HOw i interpreted his answer, is that he thinks he can substitute Ewa loves somebody elses ( her ) child, for Ewa loves her own child.
Substituting Jej for Swoj effectively.
Vincent 9 | 929 Moderator
16 Jul 2012 #12
Yes I think he did too. As I posted, jej can be substituted by swoj 'ones own' when the possessor, expressed in the nominative case, is the subject, in order to differentiate between items that are possessed by someone else and one's own items in sentences with an unclear context.

If the context is clear then you could just use jej.
cinek 2 | 345
16 Jul 2012 #13
If the context is clear then you could just use jej.

Yes, but no native speaker would do.
We ALWAYS use 'swój' to express the subject's possession.

Cinek
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
16 Jul 2012 #14
Taking my photo as an example...

Kasia lubi swoją gitarę. Jej gitara jest czerwona ;)
pam
16 Jul 2012 #15
Kasia lubi swoją gitarę. Jej gitara jest czerwona ;)

Nice example, makes it crystal clear! Fancyghost should easily be able to understand this!
Lyzko
16 Jul 2012 #16
At a cash machine in Greenpoint, the Polish version reads.... "Proszę wszkaz SWÓJ język....." = Kindly/Please indicate your language....
This is generic, formal Polish when addressing anonymous patrons, guests or users in a neutrally polite fashion.
OP fancyghost 1 | 7
16 Jul 2012 #17
That makes it very clear. Last question I have, I don't know if any of you know Latin or are familiar enough with the terms for everything in Polish, but how is the language structured? There's got to be an easy way to learn how to conjugate words properly based on their endings, right? Here's how I learned Latin, the first three declensions and the five main cases for singular use:

Latin small chart

Obviously the full thing is way bigger, but does Polish work in a similar way? Are there any charts like this out there that I could use to learn the endings?
Lyzko
16 Jul 2012 #18
Fancy Ghost, essentially Polish along with all other Indo-European tongues, stems structurally from Latin which had five (5) cases: Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative and Ablative (Polish "Instrumental", case of means or instrument/narzędnik). The morphology of Polish shares similarties with non-Indo-European languages too, but Polish has taken its cases, alphabet and considerable vocabulary from Latinate stock, moreso than many other Slavic languages.:-)))

I take it this is only a partial answer to your query, yes?
szarlotka 8 | 2,208
16 Jul 2012 #19
Latin which had five (5) cases: Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative and Ablative

the five main cases

Fancyghost 1 - Lyzko 0 ....

Never forget the useless Vocative...

O table - what use was that. Did Romans wander round talking to inanimate objects?
Lyzko
16 Jul 2012 #20
The Latin Vocative, so far as I recall, was an 'oblique' case (unlike in Polish), merely evident by the context, e.g. "Ave, Maria", "Ade, Caesar" etc...
OP fancyghost 1 | 7
16 Jul 2012 #21
I take it this is only a partial answer to your query, yes?

Yes, but it helps to know I can sort things out in a similar way. After googling for a chart, I could only find one, and it only covers tense, not nouns:

/Conjugation-Polish_Verbs.png

I wouldn't ask any of you to write out a big chart just for me, but if you did, that would be pretty sweet. And if anyone wants help on their Latin or to see my super-useful megachart on conjugating everything, just ask and I'll make one.

Never forget the useless Vocative...

I always just lumped vocative and locative with nominative and ablative, we never used either enough to justify learning them thoroughly. Same as the fourth and fifth declension, the teacher only mentioned them once because out of all 4 years we only ever learned a single 4th declension word and never had to use it.
Lyzko
16 Jul 2012 #22
There are approx. six (6) such independent verb 'classes' in Polish:

"ać" = czekać....
"ić" = mówić....
"ść" = iść....
"ć" = rzeć.....
"zc" = znalezc....
"c" = plec....

Some grammarians count even more:-)

Technically, the Vocative is the 7th case in Polish, not the sixth. While there's a certain degree of seeming repetitiveness in the endings, the Vocative is fairly predictable!
OP fancyghost 1 | 7
16 Jul 2012 #23
czekać, mówić, iść, rzeć, znalezc, plec

Are those the equivalents of nominative, genetive, dative, accusative, ablative, and vocative? Are they in the same order that Latin usually follows? I'm sorry if I sound like I expect you to answer all of my questions, if you don't know that's alright, but being able to apply all the Latin I've learned to Polish will give me a huge advantage.
Lyzko
16 Jul 2012 #24
No, FancyGhost, the above are the infinitive forms of the six or so Polish verb classes, that's all.
^^
Vincent 9 | 929 Moderator
17 Jul 2012 #25
Vincent:
If the context is clear then you could just use jej.

Yes, but no native speaker would do.
We ALWAYS use 'swój' to express the subject's possession.

Thank you for your feedback, much appreciated. I have since looked into this again and this is what I've read in a comprehensive grammar book.

quote

When the context is clear, possessives are usually omitted in Polish. Jadę do babci. 'I am going (to see) my grandma'. It is understood here that I am going to see my (own) grandma. Otherwise, a possessive pronoun would be used to clarify: Jadę do jego babci. ' I am going (to see) his grandma.

credit to Iwona Sadowska, teaches Polish, and Russian language, literature, and film studies at Georgetown University, USA.
cinek 2 | 345
18 Jul 2012 #26
When the context is clear, possessives are usually omitted in Polish

Yes, I didn't say the opposite. I just said that out of:

Jadę do mojej babci
and
Jadę do swojej babci

natives would choose the latter.
And of course, if context is clear enough, natives would just say "Jadę do babci"

Cinek
gumishu 12 | 6,007
18 Jul 2012 #27
Yes, I didn't say the opposite. I just said that out of:

Jadę do mojej babci
and
Jadę do swojej babci

natives would choose the latter.

and I would choose the former heh ;)
both are perfectly fine though in this sentence

going back to the original sentences Kobieta i jej pies. vs Oni czytają swoje gazety. - it's just the way it is in Polish -

Kobieta and pies are not connected by some action, they are separate subjects (Kobieta i jej pies spacerują sobie - both kobieta and jej pies are subjects here)

situation becomes different when one is subject one is object of a sentence like in Oni czytają swoje gazety. Oni is a subject and gazety are an object of the sentence and thus they are swoje -

Kobieta spaceruje ze swoim psem. - here kobieta is subject pies is objectified (sort of)

Kobieta spaceruje z jej psem - means A woman walks another woman's dog, a woman who is shown with a finger for example or who is mentioned earlier in the context


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