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Use of A/An/The ...... Articles


learning 16 | 72
24 Mar 2008 #1
Since Polish has no definite or indefinite articles, how would you differentiate if both are said in a sentence?

Example: "He is not 'a' man but 'the' man"
plk123 8 | 4,150
24 Mar 2008 #2
it's a foreign concept in PL language. read - non existant. you just have to use the proper words to get the proper meaing across.
OP learning 16 | 72
24 Mar 2008 #3
Hmm... What if you are talking about like a person..

If there are many people named the same name, let's say Joe... but there is one really famous person called Joe. How would you say, that is not just a Joe but 'the Joe'?

More specific example:
Like if someone said, "Hey that looks like Elvis."
and his friend said back to him, "That is not just any Elvis, but THE Elvis."
(Elvis is dead BTW... just trying to make an example and sorry for the very American theme)
SouthOfDaThames - | 87
24 Mar 2008 #4
it's a foreign concept in PL language. read - non existant. you just have to use the proper words to get the proper meaing across.

as above; you would probably have to say something like "nie jest tylko panem, ale Wielkim Panem", I expect, to emphasise the importance of "the" in "the man".
OP learning 16 | 72
24 Mar 2008 #5
I understood all the other words... but what is 'Wielkim'?
plk123 8 | 4,150
24 Mar 2008 #6
large, huge
SouthOfDaThames - | 87
24 Mar 2008 #7
Like if someone said, "Hey that looks like Elvis."
and his friend said back to him, "That is not just any Elvis, but THE Elvis."

you could refer to the "ordinary" Elvis as zwykły, and "The" Elvis as wyjątkowy, originalny, or unikalny.
OP learning 16 | 72
24 Mar 2008 #8
Hm.. I'm not sure if that is the correct meaning of what I was trying to say.

I'm trying to bring out the superiority/exception/uniqueness of one thing compared to many of the same other things.

Edit: ok the above post might've answered some of it. I was trying to see if there was a way to say it without using any specific adjectives
SouthOfDaThames - | 87
24 Mar 2008 #9
large, huge

yeah, like here in south London, we would say "that man's big, u get me?"... because they are THE man. ;)

it doesn't mean he's 6'10". :)
OP learning 16 | 72
24 Mar 2008 #10
yeah, like here in south London, we would say "that man's big, u get me?"... because they are THE man. ;)

Ok that is definitely not what I meant. Lol
gosiaczek 1 | 85
24 Mar 2008 #11
"That is not just any Elvis, but THE Elvis."

To nie JAKIś Elvis, ale TEN Elvis.
SouthOfDaThames - | 87
24 Mar 2008 #12
I was trying to see if there was a way to say it without using any specific adjectives

but that brings you back to the first reply... we just don't speak like that in Polish :)
OP learning 16 | 72
24 Mar 2008 #13
To nie JAKIś Elvis, ale TEN Elvis.

What does that mean in literal terms?

learning wrote:
I was trying to see if there was a way to say it without using any specific adjectives

but that brings you back to the first reply... we just don't speak like that in Polish :)

When I meant specific, I meant some kind of a word that defines something among the same group as different or special..
SouthOfDaThames - | 87
24 Mar 2008 #14
When I meant specific, I meant some kind of a word that defines something among the same group as different or special..

but this can't always be done when translating between languages, like e.g. trying to translate phrases like nigdy nie ma into English; it doesn't quite work, grammatically, if you try and translate it exactly, you have to use different words to get your point across. though oddly enough, you can do it in London inner-city slang, e.g. I'm never on no long ting (I'm never doing/having anything dull, lol) but not in correct English as far as I can see, haha.
plk123 8 | 4,150
24 Mar 2008 #15
jakis = some

ten = the one or this/that
Davey 13 | 388
24 Mar 2008 #16
To nie JAKIś Elvis, ale TEN Elvis.

This is not any Elvis, but THE Elvis

In Polish, sometimes for 'the', the Polish word for 'this' is used instead(ta/ten/to) but if not, sometimes there is no difference between 'a' or 'the'
OP learning 16 | 72
24 Mar 2008 #17
Is this absence of a/the only in Polish or in other Slavic languages as well? I wonder how a/the couldn't be used!?

**in culture shock** not really..
Davey 13 | 388
24 Mar 2008 #18
I don't think any Slavic languages use a/the. I guess it all the depends on the context of what is said.
plk123 8 | 4,150
24 Mar 2008 #19
Is this absence of a/the only in Polish or in other Slavic languages as well? I wonder how a/the couldn't be used!?

yeah, no such concept in Polish as well as other non latin based languages. it's almost completely unnecessary most Poles/Slaves would tell you. english is actually rather too wordy, in general. we don't use as many but boy do we love our runs of consonants. :D
Michal - | 1,865
25 Mar 2008 #20
There is the Polish word jakiś that is used for this purpose in both spoken and written Polish.
gosiaczek 1 | 85
25 Mar 2008 #21
I wonder how a/the couldn't be used!?

believe me, Poles wonder how a/the can be used:)
Michal - | 1,865
25 Mar 2008 #22
Yes, it is a big head ache for any nationality that is not used to these words.
vlk - | 19
14 May 2008 #23
You can use pronouns when needed. Ten, ta, to, ci, te.
Marek 4 | 867
14 May 2008 #24
But where Polish, like other Slavic languages, has neither a definite nor indefinite article even roughly equivalent to 'a'/'an'/'the' in English, Polish does have 'to', 'ta' (feminine) and 'ten' (masculine) translating to 'this' or sometimes 'that'. Example: 'Kto jest TEN pan?' =Who is this gentleman? or 'TO było przyjemny pobyt!' = This has been a lovely stay! etc.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
24 Dec 2008 #25
I feel this to be a major factor in the feeling of English.

The ideas are pretty simple tho hard cases can be found.
mafketis 21 | 7,387
24 Dec 2008 #26
"He is not 'a' man but 'the' man"

maybe

"To nie jakiś tam gość, tylko (prawdziwy) gość!" ???

To be fair that's not an example of real article usage in English, but an idiom facilitated by articles.

The short answer is that definiteness is just not an important category in Polish (like countability) any more than animacy or aspect are categories in English.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
24 Dec 2008 #27
I'd love to teach another, other, the other, others and the others to Polish people. I did it well enough at my school but the time limits imposed were unrealistic.
Bondi 4 | 142
25 Dec 2008 #28
Is this absence of a/the only in Polish or in other Slavic languages as well? I wonder how a/the couldn't be used!?

Bwaah... Then how the English manage with practically no conjugation/inflection at all? Take the accusative, which is the most necessary grammatical case after nominative: dziewczyna - dziewczynę. They both had to be translated to English as "girl".

You just can't compare languages on a basis like that...

(Btw., it is spelled absence.)
pomorzanin
31 Dec 2008 #29
I still learn english (so sorry for my not perfect english) and I can't understand what a/an/the means. In polish language this stuff not exist, because we don't need it. When we want to say about something unique we don't use any special word to describe it. For example:

Widziałem wieżę Eiffel'a. (I saw the Eiffel tower),

because is only one that famous Eiffel tower, however maybe exist replica of this tower in some city - in this case we can say:

Widziałem wieżę Eiffel'a w Paryżu. (I saw the Eiffel tower in Paris)

Only one Eiffel tower is located in Paris, so everything is clear.

In polish language you can say it without using a/an/the, but when you want you can translate it: the = ten, ta, to

Widziałem tą wieżę Eiffel'a. (I saw the Eiffel tower).
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387
31 Dec 2008 #30
can't understand what a/an/the means.

I have a cat = I have one cat.

I have an orange = I have one orange.

The cat (that I'm talking about) is black.

A/an = one

The = the obvious one / the one we all know / the one I'm talking about

edit: the above is to help you understand. It does get more complex.


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