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"A" and "I" usage in Polish language


Semsem 16 | 26
26 Sep 2010 #1
Both in Polish mean "and", but when is one used in favor of the other? Or are they completely interchangeable?
nott 3 | 594
26 Sep 2010 #2
Not at all.

Poles are dumb, and Brits are smart;
Polacy są tępi, a Brytole cwani.

Poles are dumb, and Brits are dumb.
Polacy są tępi, i Brytole są tępi.


You use 'a' when you might use 'but' instead of 'and' without much changing the sense. You can't use 'i' then.
plk123 8 | 4,150
26 Sep 2010 #3
You use 'a' when you might use 'but'

that's right

thus

Poles are dumb, BUT Brits are smart;
Polacy są tępi, a Brytole cwani.

cwani/y isn't smart though. it means sly, shifty or cunning.
poglisz
26 Sep 2010 #4
Chaps, no need to call anyone smart or dumb ;-)
plk123 8 | 4,150
26 Sep 2010 #5
poglisz

it's just an example..
cinek 2 | 345
28 Sep 2010 #6
when is one used in favor of the other?

It's easy. 'I' connects similarities while 'a' connects differences.
E.g.

Jabłko jest czerwone i wiśnia jest czerwona (both are red - similar)
Jabłko jest czerwona a śliwka jest niebieska (one is red, the other is blue - different)

There was a thread on this already.

Cinek
Ksysia 25 | 430
28 Sep 2010 #7
I wonder what you make of this:

Człowiek na księżycu a sprawa polska
Man on the moon and the Polish Cause
alexw68
28 Sep 2010 #8
The meaning's in the words that aren't here - a trick you can pull off in languages with overt morphology, but just doesn't work in English.

Among other candidates, one interpretation of the above might be

[They've already put a] man on the moon, but the Polish Question [remains {unresolved}].

Ksysia - like the quote. Where's it from?
z_darius 14 | 3,968
28 Sep 2010 #9
The general rule is that both "i" and "a" in Polish connect two clauses that can function independently. Hence they are paratactic coordinators or conjunctions. These can be divided further into connecting or contrasting. Unfortunately, in Polish "a" can be either, while "i" in addition to connecting can also be resultive.

The meaning's in the words that aren't here - a trick you can pull off in languages with overt morphology, but just doesn't work in English.

Except that "Man on the moon and the Polish Cause" is perfectly well formed and understood English sentence. It is also as close a translation of the Polish version as it gets.

[They've already put a] man on the moon, but the Polish Question [remains {unresolved}].

Not at all. All those optional phrases are bogus. The sentence in Polish does not state that they did put a man on the moon, or that the Polish question (whatever it is) is resolved or not.
alexw68
28 Sep 2010 #10
Except that "Man on the moon and the Polish Cause" is perfectly well formed and understood English sentence

No it is not. No verb, see?

No sense either.
z_darius 14 | 3,968
28 Sep 2010 #11
No it is not. No verb, see?

And who says a phrase needs a verb? Or that two phrases need a verb?
Btw. there is no verb in either version, see?

No sense either.

Makes perfect sense and that's exactly the structure native speakers of English would, and do, use.
alexw68
28 Sep 2010 #12
Sentence != phrase. Try and be consistent at least.

And as an English native speaker, I raise you...
z_darius 14 | 3,968
28 Sep 2010 #13
Sentence != phrase. Try and be consistent at least.

my error in the post before doesn't change the fact that the translation is correct.

And as an English native speaker, I raise you...

Haha! I hope you don't work as a teacher of English in Poland.
See here:

Russia and the Polish question[/url], 1907--1917: Nationality and diplomacy
by Mankoff, Jeffrey Aaron, PhD, YALE UNIVERSITY, 2006
gradworks.umi.com/32/43/3243667.html

W. Averell Harriman and the Polish Question[/url], December 1943-August 1944. , William Larsh
eep.sagepub.com/content/7/3/513.full.pdf+html

EARL RUSSELL'S BLAWGOWRIE SPEECH AND THE POLISH QUESTIO[/url]N. New York Times
query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40E13F73D5A1B7493C5AB178BD95F478684F9

That ought to be enough.
alexw68
28 Sep 2010 #14
Yawn. Whatever. No, not an English teacher in Poland. We'll just quietly ignore the PhD in Cognitive Linguistics, eh?
z_darius 14 | 3,968
28 Sep 2010 #15
Not bad for a guy who can't understand rather simple phrases in English.
Ksysia 25 | 430
28 Sep 2010 #16
alexw68

Ksysia - like the quote. Where's it from?

it's been there since the 19th, and is generally used to mock the political barratry we are forever prone to.

pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C5%82o%C5%84_a_sprawa_Polski - Słoń a sprawa polska

RPG a sprawa Polska - a seminar invariably held in each of the RPG conventions. Followed by panel discussion 'Superiority of Fantasy over the SF, or otherwise'.

forum.gram.pl/forum_post.asp?tid=58281&pid=29 - Naprawa gwarancyjna a sprawa polska
alexw68
28 Sep 2010 #17
Thanks. Thought there was more to this than met the eye.

z_dariusz - observe. You are not a Jedi yet. Meaning is conferred on these verbless phrases only through context. In the case of the titles you quote, that context is the text of the paper they head. Chomsky-style 'lazy empiricism' can prove well-formedness but it misses entirely the meaning invested into a semantically incomplete phrase by the beholder.
nott 3 | 594
29 Sep 2010 #18
Wow, Alex, and I remember you once saying that you can learn something from me too :) I am bigger by a span now, thank you :)

Allergy Caution: does not contain traces of sarcasm.
alexw68
4 Oct 2010 #19
Yea, right :)

Sorry, people, got a bit up myself back there. Let this be a lesson in why NOT to post on forums when jetlagged :(
mafketis 24 | 8,889
4 Oct 2010 #20
Getting back on topic, I've found the following is a useful heuristic:

i = and (also)

a = and (on the other hand)

when in doubt see which of the above would not change the meaning and use it.
suasica
20 Jan 2017 #21
Haha, and what if the phrases you wish to connect this way are themselves each composed of two things connected by "and"?
It becomes a complete mess.
The freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services in road transport and the Macron Law and MiLoG law.
I guess it could help to replace the main "and" with "in the context of". What do you think?
mafketis 24 | 8,889
20 Jan 2017 #22
The freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services in road transport and the Macron Law and MiLoG law.

That's not a sentence. the first and third ands are definitely i, the second... depends on how the sentence continues.


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