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Quick question on Polish language fundamental


OMorgan 1 | 4
19 Dec 2012 #1
Hi guys,

Firstly, thanks for all the info to date, I have been reading threads lots in the last few months and many useful facts have been learned! I'm sure I will bother you all more with silly questions but later but something came up in my study tonight that I thought I'd like to get a speakers advice on.

I'm teaching myself Polish, and its slow going but I am making progress!

Basically, I'm currently trying to get a handle on endings for plurals and nom/gen cases at the moment so I can recognise them in dialogs and start to piece together a bit of understanding on structuring my own sentences properly.

My question is really a simple one, I was thinking about 'Przyczytałem książki' and 'Czytałem książkek', 'I read a book' (once, done ;) ) and 'I read books' (in the past in general) if I am correct. I was wondering if genetive is the right case to use here. If not, and it's nominative, then how is the differentiation made between 'książki' as nom plural and 'książki' as singular in the genetive?

This language is confusing me in a lot of ways, but the way some singular nouns look identical to plurals in a different case I'm finding really confusing! Is it just a case of once you are comfortable with the cases its easy to understand each other as the case is so clear from the context?
Zibi - | 336
19 Dec 2012 #2
Pretty much it is so. But as I am a native speaker I should defer you to someone who has learned polish from scratch, they sometimes visit here and have a unique understanding of the process of acquiring the skill.
TommyG 1 | 361
19 Dec 2012 #3
I'm finding really confusing! Is it just a case of once you are comfortable with the cases its easy to understand each other as the case is so clear from the context?

You are worrying too much! If you want to answer (maybe in response to the question: "Who taught you Polish?" (and you want to say that you just read a few books), and you don't know the correct case and you say something like: "Czytałem ksiąźki" everybody will understand you....

Build up your vocabulary and with practice you will naturally guess the correct endings... it just takes time.
Even after many months of study you will sometimes incorrectly change the '-a' ending of a female noun to 'ą' instead of 'ę'... (don't ask me if that's the genitive case or not)...

Even if you say "buty"or "butych" in stead of "butów" people will understand you... ;)
Ziemowit 13 | 4,318
19 Dec 2012 #4
My question is really a simple one, I was thinking about 'Przyczytałem książki' and 'Czytałem książkek', 'I read a book' (once, done ;) ) and 'I read books' (in the past in general) if I am correct.

The verb "czytać" requires the accusative case and not the genetive case as a direct object, so the correct phrases will be:
Czytałem książkę [singular];
Czytałem ksiażki [plural].

Some other verbs, like the verb "używać", will need the genetive case in the direct object position, for example:
Używałem książki jako podpórki [singular];
Używałem książek jako podpórki [plural].
OP OMorgan 1 | 4
19 Dec 2012 #5
Thanks very much for the help!

That clears up a lot, TommyG yes you are probably right, I do have a tendency to wan't to learn all the rules first then start to put them into practice but I know all too well thats not really the quickest way to learn a language!

And thanks Ziemowit and Zibi, long way to go but it starting to make a bit of sense!
Zibi - | 336
19 Dec 2012 #6
long way to go

Come back for consultations! It's all free on PF! :)
TommyG 1 | 361
19 Dec 2012 #7
TommyG yes you are probably right

Thanks, lol:) It's just my amateur opinion. However... I've just opened a bank account and the lady didn't speak a word of English. So, I had to speak Polish...

But we understood each other perfectly well... even with my atrocious grammar :) Happy days:)
kcharlie 2 | 165
23 Dec 2012 #8
Przeczytałem książki (I read the books)
Czytałem książki (I was reading the books/I used to read the books)

In general, the fact that some case endings are identical is not a problem, because the alternative cases wouldn't make sense.

In "przeczytałem książki", the verb already specifies the subject ("ja"), so the nominative case wouldn't make sense. It would be like saying "I the books read" in English. The genitive case wouldn't make sense either, because that would be like saying "I read belonging to the books" in English. The only case that makes sense is the one that specifies the direct object - the accusative.

Genitive marks the owner of an object "To papierosy PAW£A" (Those are Paweł's cigarettes)
Nominative marks the subject of a sentence "MĘŻCZYZNA je" (The MAN is eating)
Dative marks the indirect object of a sentence "PSU dałem kość" (I gave the bone TO THE DOG)
Instrumental marks the instrument of a sentence "D£UGOPISEM napisałem list" (I wrote the letter WITH A PEN)
Accusative marks the direct object of a sentence "POD£OGĘ umyłem" (I have washed THE FLOOR)
Locative is a prepositional case, used to describe the location of an object. "Na STOLE" (On THE TABLE)
Vocative is used to address something directly "Chodź, PIESKU" (Come, LITTLE DOG)
pam
26 Dec 2012 #9
Thanks for posting this, very clear and helpful! :):)

Instrumental marks the instrument of a sentence "D£UGOPISEM napisałem list" (I wrote the letter WITH A PEN)

I understand this, but the instrumental is also used after the verb Być, e.g Jestem Angielką, ona jest Aktorką.
Are there any more rules for using the Instrumental case as i'm slightly confused now?
gumishu 11 | 5,989
26 Dec 2012 #10
times of the year and of the day are often marked with instrumental:

wieczorem - in the evening
zimą - in winter
późną nocą - late in the night

some prepositions require instrumental - nad/pod stołem (over/under the table), nad ranem -at dawn, nad/pod Warszawą (over/ by Warsaw) (static situation - with no movement involved) - compare nad/pod stół - dynamic situation - movement involved
kcharlie 2 | 165
26 Dec 2012 #11
Are there any more rules for using the Instrumental case as i'm slightly confused now?

Seriously, don't worry too much about it.

The main uses are: 1) instrument, 2) być, 3) prepositions

You'll often find the instrumental replaces a word in English, typically "with" or "by," but with "być", it usually replaces the indefinite article. And as gumishu said, it can replace other words, such as "wieczorem" = "in the evening."

Instead of thinking of it as a big, scary, Slavic case, think of it as shorthand, and something that makes your life easier, because you can use fewer words, don't have to remember so many prepositions, and you don't have to worry about word order ;)

"Jestem AKTORKĄ" = "I am AN ACTRESS"

Why instrumental and not nominative? Well, Polish loves having a flexible word order, and case marking means you can switch things around for emphasis and still be completely correct. "Aktorką jestem" is 100% natural and correct Polish too.

"Interesuję się FILMEM" = "I am interested IN FILM" (literally "I am interested with/by film")
"FILMEM się interesuję" = "I am interested IN FILM"

As for prepositions, "z" doesn't mean much until you combine it with either the instrumental or genitive case.

z czymś = together with something
z czegoś = out of something

z serem (inst) = together with cheese
kanapka z serem = sandwich with cheese = cheese sandwich

z sera (gen) = out of cheese
sos z sera pleśniowego = sauce made out of blue cheese = blue cheese sauce
pam
27 Dec 2012 #12
"Interesuję się FILMEM" = "I am interested IN FILM" (literally "I am interested with/by film")
"FILMEM się interesuję" = "I am interested IN FILM"

I know this is correct, and Interesować się governs the instrumental case.
Reading through your definitions and examples of the cases, i thought i understood each example perfectly.
Here is my problem. If i didn't know better, i would presume that the sentence takes the accusative, Interesuję się Film.
The accusative marks direct object of a sentence, e.g Lubię Sok, Mam Nową Studentkę ( I like juice, I have a new student )
Juice and student are the direct objects in the sentence. Film, to me, is also the direct object, and although i know it's Instrumental case, how am i supposed to differentiate in other examples like this?

Seriously, don't worry too much about it.

I try not to! But if i get the cases wrong, i'm never going to learn!
BTW, your cases descriptions are the best i've seen so far! You may well regret answering my questions lol!
Thanks for help, and to you too Gumishu.
kcharlie 2 | 165
27 Dec 2012 #13
Here is my problem. If i didn't know better, i would presume that the sentence takes the accusative, Interesuję się Film.
The accusative marks direct object of a sentence, e.g Lubię Sok, Mam Nową Studentkę ( I like juice, I have a new student )

Very perceptive.

But in "interesuję się", the direct object is the reflexive pronoun, "się" or "oneself". If you are super-literal in translating "interesuję się," you'd say "I interest myself".

So "interesuję się filmem" is literally like saying "I interest myself with film." That's why film is in the instrumental and not accusative case.

In English you can say, "I occupy myself with reading books," which in Polish could be translated as "Zajmuję się czytaniem książek."

Whereas English uses two different constructions, Polish uses the exact same construction for both being interested in something and occupying oneself with something.

So "I occupy myself with reading books," would be "Zajmuję się czytaniem książek"
and "I am interested in reading books," would be "Interesuję się czytaniem książek"

Polish is actually easier if you think about it that way :)

You may well regret answering my questions lol!

Ask away!

Oh, and one more thing, so you're not confused:

"czytaniem" is in the instrumental case and "książek" is in the genitive case.

"czytaniem książek" super-literally means "with the reading of books."

Now, if you translate the previous examples super-literally into English, you'll see that they still make sense, even though that's not how an English speaker might phrase things.

If you look at it this way and notice that there's actually method in the madness and that Polish really isn't so otherworldly, hopefully that will help make it seem a little less scary :)

And I'll happily help demystify verbs for you (they're not as scary as in the grammar books) and answer any other questions you may have, so feel free to ask.
pam
27 Dec 2012 #14
I'm reasonably ok with verbs tbh, apart from deciding whether i should use perfective/imperfective forms of them, and some prepositions.
It's just everything else i get wrong!
Don't worry, i will be asking loads of questions now you have made that very kind offer :):):):):)
kcharlie 2 | 165
27 Dec 2012 #15
I'm reasonably ok with verbs tbh, apart from deciding whether i should use perfective/imperfective forms of them, and some prepositions.

Perhaps some of the difficulty may be because dictionaries lie!

Every dictionary I've seen says that "robić" means "to do," with maybe some superscript saying that it's imperfective. Now, that probably isn't very helpful to you, since English doesn't have aspect, and arbitrarily memorising the aspect of a verb must be tedious. How are you supposed to understand that word, then?

Well, what it actually means is "to be doing." That's what the word "feels like" to a Polish speaker, and "to be doing" is a very literal translation that carries the "feel" of the word over into English.

The word for "to do" is "zrobić."

That's the gist of the difference between perfective and imperfective aspects and the correspondence with English tenses is, in most situations, quite close. Every grammatical description of the Slavic aspect system I've seen has been waaaay overtechnical, and what it really boils down to is just this rather bland distinction, with the imperfective aspect denoting a continuing action.

That's why "robili" means "they were doing" and "zrobili" means "they have done." Similarly, "będą robili" means "they will be doing" and "zrobią" means "they will do."

Now, lest you be confused by a Polish person saying, "nie chcę jeść," which would literally mean "I don't want to be eating," that's simply because that's generally the way people say they don't want to do something; they say that they don't want "to be doing" it.

Now, of course there are some situations when it's not entirely clear why you should use one aspect over the other, especially when deciding which infinitive form to use, but hopefully it won't bet as bad as Polish people struggling to use definite/indefinite articles (sometimes I'm really stumped when asked to explain why you should use "the" instead of "a" here, but no article at all there).
pam
28 Dec 2012 #16
Hmm......hadn't thought too much about articles before, because on the face of it, they're the least relevant part of grammar when learning English. It's our non phonetic alphabet that Poles ( or any other nationality ) struggle with. As one of my friends always says " English alphabet is big liar". I usually respond with asking her how she would feel if she had to learn 7 different ways of pronouncing and spelling nouns........

I suppose with using "the" and " a", one is more specific than the other. I am going to THE party/shop/doctors indicates a particular one, or knowledge of one, rather than a random one which would be assumed if you substituted "a" for "the".

That's why "robili" means "they were doing" and "zrobili" means "they have done." Similarly, "będą robili" means "they will be doing" and "zrobią" means "they will do."

Your first example i understand. 2nd one is a bit harder for me. Let's take Kupować/ kupić. By analogy, będę kupowała means " I will be buying", and kupię

means " I will buy ".
If i have understood this correctly, i would use my 1st example if i was buying something tomorrow, as long as i had the money to do so. In other words, my buying something tomorrow is dependent on something else. 2nd example i would use if i was definitely buying something tomorrow.

This is probably about as clear as mud, and probably wrong ( I usually am )!
zetigrek
28 Dec 2012 #17
Unfortunately you are. The difference is just the same as in English I will be buying and I will buy. In the first case you accent the action, in second the intention (of buying something). I will use a different way of expressing the act of buying something, to make the distinction more clear: robić zakupy/zrobić zakupy (doing the shopping/do the shopping).

(1) Jutro zrobię zakupy na niedzielę. Tomarrow I will do the shoping for Sunday. (you stress the intention, you need to do the shopping because in Sundays shops are closed)

(2) Jutro będę robiła zakupy na niedzielę, więc nie będzie mnie do południa. Tomarrow I will be doing the shopping for Sunday so I won't be (at home) untill the afternoon. (you stress the action: you won't be at home because you'll be engaged in doing something else)

That's the basic difference.

It's our non phonetic alphabet that Poles ( or any other nationality ) struggle with

Not really because we have to learn each word anyhow. If you mean pronunciation, then true, most Poles have great problem to speak English fluently and not mispronounce words. I always wondered if listening to a Pole speaking is tiresome for a native speaker?
kcharlie 2 | 165
28 Dec 2012 #18
Your first example i understand. 2nd one is a bit harder for me. Let's take Kupować/ kupić. By analogy, będę kupowała means " I will be buying", and "kupię" means " I will buy ".

Exactly. That's exactly what it means. You understood fine.

If i have understood this correctly, i would use my 1st example if i was buying something tomorrow, as long as i had the money to do so. In other words, my buying something tomorrow is dependent on something else. 2nd example i would use if i was definitely buying something tomorrow.
This is probably about as clear as mud, and probably wrong ( I usually am )!

No need to overthink it. It's actually much simpler than that, because the same rules as in English apply. "będę kupowała" is almost exactly equivalent to "I will be buying" and "kupię" is almost exactly equivalent to "I will buy."

To reiterate, whenever in English you would say you "will be buying" something, you say "będę kupowała" and if you need to say you "will buy" something, you say "kupię." That's all there is to it. Don't worry about the specific rules of when you would use "I will be buying" and "I will buy" because they're the same as in English, so you already know them.

"Jutro pójdę do sklepu i kupię mleko"
"Tomorrow, I will go to the shop and buy some milk"

"Idą święta, więc będę kupowała dużo jedzenia"
"The (Christmas) holidays are coming, so I will be buying lots of food"

The usage is pretty much identical to English.

As for the definiteness of your intention, English expresses this with the "going to" form, as in "I am going to buy a hammer tomorrow." This is exactly the same as saying "I will buy a hammer tomorrow," except it gives a subtle indication of a more definite intention in your mind. Polish doesn't make the distinction. Both examples would translate into "jutro kupię młotek." This is another difficult part of English that Polish speakers have to tackle in order to sound natural, and, lucky you, Polish treats both forms exactly the same.

Polish tenses are actually very nice and easy, so there really is no need at all to worry about them.

To make things really, really simple, here's how English tenses map (neatly and nicely) onto Polish ones:

Kupić
To buy

Kupować
To be buying

Kupuję
I buy
I am buying
I have been buying

Kupiłam
I bought
I have bought
I had bought

Kupowałam
I was buying
I used to buy
I had been buying

Kupię
I will buy
I am going to buy

Będę kupowała
I will be buying
I am going to be buying

Kupiłabym
I would buy

Kupowałabym
I would be buying

Now, I bet you didn't think it was that simple, eh?
pam
29 Dec 2012 #19
To make things really, really simple, here's how English tenses map (neatly and nicely) onto Polish ones:

Thanks for that, it does look quite simple now.......but believe me i will probably still get it wrong!

"Jutro pójdę do sklepu i kupię mleko"
"Tomorrow, I will go to the shop and buy some milk"

"Idą święta, więc będę kupowała dużo jedzenia"
"The (Christmas) holidays are coming, so I will be buying lots of food"

Understand these examples perfectly, but it all goes out the window when i open my mouth!
Here is today's fail with Perfective/Imperfective. I went to my friend's house this afternoon, and we were eating the cakes we made for Wigilia and over Xmas. I had eaten 4 pieces of cake and was full up. She offered me another piece, and i said " Jestem pelna, bo już jadłam cztery kawałki ciasta".

It should have been zjadłam. Actually am not even sure if rest of sentence is correct!

If you mean pronunciation, then true, most Poles have great problem to speak English fluently and not mispronounce words.

Most of my friends simply can't get their heads around how to pronounce certain letters, e.g the letter "a". Because Polish alphabet is phonetic, the "a" always sounds like the "a" in apple. Then they discover the "a" is also pronounced differently, as in the month April. This is what i mean. It's a bit of a guessing game as to how words are pronounced if you're not a native speaker.

I don't find listening to Poles tiresome at all. Learning a new language is difficult, and i admire anyone that's prepared to try.

Plus it also gives me insight into how their language works. Every time they make mistakes, i know they're trying to translate Polish into English, so i'm learning loads!

(1) Jutro zrobię zakupy na niedzielę. Tomorrow I will do the shoping for Sunday. (you stress the intention, you need to do the shopping because in Sundays shops are closed)
(2) Jutro będę robiła zakupy na niedzielę, więc nie będzie mnie do południa. Tomarrow I will be doing the shopping for Sunday so I won't be (at home) untill the afternoon. (you stress the action: you won't be at home because you'll be engaged in doing something else)

These are nice examples too! Thanks for trying to help me:):)
kcharlie 2 | 165
29 Dec 2012 #20
" Jestem pelna, bo już jadłam cztery kawałki ciasta".

"I'm full because I have already eaten four pieces of cake."

Actually, that's really good. You could have said "zjadłam" ("I have eaten"), and most people would probably say it that way, but in this example "jadłam" actually isn't wrong.

If you're not sure, it's good to err on the side of the imperfective, because as opposed to the perfective, it has no emphasis on the completeness of an action, and can sometimes be interpreted both ways.

It seems that where English insists on a particular tense, Polish can be quite forgiving. "Jadłeś śniadanie?" and "Zjadłeś śniadanie?" are both correct and could both be understood as "Have you had breakfast?"

"Jadłeś śniadanie?" can also mean "Were you eating breakfast?" which is what you'd expect. And "Zjadłeś śniadanie?" could be understood to mean "Have you finished eating breakfast?".

Now we're getting into the realm of nuance and poetry :)

But, this isn't intended to confuse you. My point, and you've probably already figured it out, is that Polish tenses can be quite airy and vague and dependent on context. Now, that's great for you because even if you think you've made a mistake, there's a good chance that it's correct Polish anyway, with maybe a slightly different nuance or emphasis. And that's probably another reason why English tenses are hell for Polish speakers! There's not much room for error when it comes to producing natural-sounding English.

"Jestem pełna" is an anglicism, but it's meaning is clear, and I must have accidentally said "jestem pełny" hundreds of times. Don't worry too much about anglicisms. People seem to enjoy them. Just take note if they correct you. And I don't worry too much if I slip up, so you shouldn't either :)

Oh, and the way a native Pole might have phrased it is, "Już się najadłam, bo zjadłam cztery kawałki ciasta."

("I have already had my fill, because I have eaten four pieces of cake.")
pam
29 Dec 2012 #21
And I don't worry too much if I slip up, so you shouldn't either :)

Yes, but your Polish is good presuming you're not a native speaker!

And that's probably another reason why English tenses are hell for Polish speakers! There's not much room for error when it comes to producing natural-sounding English.

True. " I been " seems to be standard for Poles, rather than " I went "
I can't talk though, because i have a problem with " went" in Polish. Confuses the hell out of me. I usually circumnavigate it by saying something like " Byłam w Polskim Sklepie" instead!

It seems that where English insists on a particular tense, Polish can be quite forgiving. "Jadłeś śniadanie?" and "Zjadłeś śniadanie?" are both correct and could both be understood as "Have you had breakfast?"

"Jadłeś śniadanie?" can also mean "Were you eating breakfast?" which is what you'd expect. And "Zjadłeś śniadanie?" could be understood to mean "Have you finished eating breakfast?".

I would interpret both as" Have you eaten breakfast?", but you're right, Polish is a bit more interchangeable than English.
I think i have a lot to learn!
It will only take me the rest of my life.......
kcharlie 2 | 165
30 Dec 2012 #22
Yes, but your Polish is good presuming you're not a native speaker!

Not a native speaker, but I had a head start. Both my parents are bilingual and very good English speakers, and they didn't really try to teach me Polish and spoke a mix of English and Polish to me, so the semi-Polish language I acquired as a child was a sort of weird but interesting, bastardised Polish/English patois with 4 cases instead of 7 and mostly English vocabulary, unintelligible both to native Poles and to English speakers. And I would code-switch between that weird language and English.

When I came to Poland for the first time, I was in for a shock, since I could only understand fragments of what people were saying, so I started learning, and if I'm lucky, I can sometimes pass for a native speaker now. I have to say, though, the most rewarding experience I've had from learning Polish was not in Poland, but in Russia, talking with an oriental-looking man on the trans-Siberian somewhere around Irkutsk, when it dawned on me that Russian is just Polish with a weird alphabet and a funny accent, and that I can feel quite at home in the biggest country in the world, lol.

I would interpret both as" Have you eaten breakfast?"

Of course, that's exactly right. Potatoes, pot-ah-toes :)
pam
30 Dec 2012 #23
Not a native speaker, but I had a head start.

Guessed you might have, or that you'd spent considerable time living in Poland.
Your written English is too good to be a non-native speaker.
This is not meant to be insulting to Poles, as many on here have a very good grasp of English, and understand it better than i will ever understand Polish.

Pawian for example, writes extremely well, but it's WHAT he says sometimes that gives away the fact that English is not his first language.

.

Russian is just Polish with a weird alphabet and a funny accent, and that I can feel quite at home in the biggest country in the world, lol.

I have a Russian lodger. I can't believe how similar the languages are!
She co-owns an Eastern European foodshop here, so many of her customers are Poles. Irina doesn't speak Polish, but understands enough to know what they're asking for. When i;ve spoken to her, we've compared Polish and Russian words.....they really are incredibly similar.

Incidentally, i asked a few friends about Perfective/Imperfective verbs, using Kupować/kupić as an example.
Not one of them could give me an explanation as to the difference. One of them even told me that you use Kupię instead of Będę Kupowała because it makes the sentence shorter! This is why for some things, i can't rely on getting correct information from my friends.

Can you tell me if Poles ever really use "I went" in sentences. I still don't know how to say e.g I went to the Polish shop. I tried using Poszłam, but friends said it's not correct, so i am stuck using Byłam, although for what i want to say sometimes, i know it's not correct.

Thanks!
gumishu 11 | 5,989
30 Dec 2012 #24
I tried using Poszłam, but friends said it's not correct,

maybe they mean that you need to say 'Pojechałam' instead of 'Poszłam' - you sure know what 'Pojechać' means
pam
30 Dec 2012 #25
I do know what Pojechać means, but if i use Pojechałam, it would mean i went somewhere by car/train, not on foot?
Why would i not use szłam?
Thanks Gumishu.
Zibi - | 336
30 Dec 2012 #26
Szłam do sklepu, gdy zaczął padać deszcz. - I was going (walking) to the store, when it started raining.
Poszłam do sklepu. - I went to the store (note, without other qualifiers this sentence may not be informative enough, eg. we can't know if you came back from the store)

Byłam w sklepie. - literally: I was at the store. However it actually implies the following: I went to the store and came back. (I am no longer there)
pam
30 Dec 2012 #27
Poszłam do sklepu. - I went to the store (note, without other qualifiers this sentence may not be informative enough, eg. we can't know if you came back from the store)

Hmm...this is exactly what i said and i was told it was wrong, so ever since i've been using Byłam. This has caused problems at times because obviously i want to say e.g ' I went to the shop, not that i was actually in the shop'

Thanks Zibi.
kcharlie 2 | 165
30 Dec 2012 #28
Poszłam do sklepu. - I went to the store (note, without other qualifiers this sentence may not be informative enough, eg. we can't know if you came back from the store)

That's interesting, because English makes a distinction here. "I went to the store" means you went there and came back, and "I have gone to the store" means that's where you've gone and you're still there. "Poszłam" can be interpreted both ways in Polish.

pam, I really can't see why anyone would say you were wrong for using "poszłam," because it should be clear from context which meaning you intend. "Byłam w sklepie," I guess, is a periphrastic way of getting the there-and-back meaning unambiguously, but it's just another way of getting the same meaning across. In English you could say "I've been to the store" to pretty much the same effect. Which form you use is really up to personal preference.

Maybe your friend corrected you in a very specific context, or maybe they have a very strong personal preference for a particular form to the point where alternatives sound unnatural to them. Without further context, I can't even suggest that your friend might be a grammar nazi, since "poszłam do sklepu" is perfectly-formed, grammatically correct Polish. The only situation I can imagine where you might be wrong for using "poszłam" is, as gumishu suggested, if you drove to the store, since "poszłam" has an implicit meaning of "I went by foot".

Regardless, "poszłam do sklepu" can express both "I went to the store" and "I have gone to the store," and it implies neither that you're still at the store nor that you're no longer there. It is not necessary to add anything else, because it just says that at some point you went to the store, and whether you're still there or not is left up to context. By all means, you can avoid using "poszłam" to keep your friend happy, but I don't think you need to extrapolate your friend's suggestions into an all-encompassing grammatical rule.

This is why for some things, i can't rely on getting correct information from my friends.

I think this might be the case here as well, although I can't say with certainty without the specific context in which you were corrected.

When i;ve spoken to her, we've compared Polish and Russian words.....they really are incredibly similar.

I stumbled on a subtitled Polish translation of a Russian pop song a few days ago,
youtube.com/watch?v=jnCZ0lqBoAM

and, tbh, the words are so similar in the two languages, that I can't see the point of translating it. A glossary of maybe a sum total of five or so words that were significantly different would have sufficed. That said, language more advanced than that used in a commercial pop song can be significantly different, but still not drastically so. The languages definitely seem far more similar than English is to its closest relatives, Flemish, Dutch and Afrikaans.
pam
30 Dec 2012 #29
I can't even suggest that your friend might be a grammar nazi, since "poszłam do sklepu" is perfectly-formed, grammatically correct Polish.

She isn't at all, but maybe she misunderstood what i tried to say. I have noticed that in English conversations, she never uses the word 'went'.

It's always ' I been to/was in e.g shop. I'm not sure she totally understands what ' went' actually means, so probably there is confusion on both sides!

Next time i see her i'll try again and see what she says.

the words are so similar in the two languages, that I can't see the point of translating it.

Aren't they just! That's amazing! Will have to show Irina sometime. Bet she knows the song as well.
Don't think i'll take up Russian in a hurry though, alphabet looks a bit too daunting for me.
Zibi - | 336
31 Dec 2012 #30
Will have to show Irina sometime.

Who is Irina, dear Pam?


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