The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / Language  % width posts: 33

When do I use certain characters?


Roadjack 1 | 1
10 Aug 2023 #1
Hello, I've searched everything and everywhere I can think of to find my answer. I'm using Duolingo to learn Polish. Duolingo does not teach you grammar at all, at least not with Polish. So I keep getting things wrong and I don't know how to correct them. I'm not sure when to use ę or y or a or whatever the case may be. For example: kobieta vs kobietę. Or mała vs mały vs małe. Any help or perhaps a link to a lesson would be great. Thanks!
Atch 22 | 4,125
10 Aug 2023 #2
mała vs mały vs małe.

You probably know this already but every noun in Polish has a gender, male, female or neutral. The adjective has to agree with the noun so:

Mała torba (feminine)
Mały kubek (masculine)
Małe krzesło (neutral)

There is also something called noun cases which change the ending of the nouns and their accompanying adjectives depending on the structure of the sentence.

So for example:

Torba - bag, but 'I have a bag' becomes 'Mam torbę' and 'I have a little bag' will be 'Mam małą torebkę'.
Lyzko 45 | 9,420
10 Aug 2023 #3
@Atch,
Not to nitpick, but "bag" in the sense of a "shopping bag", is actually "torebka".
Your example though is obviously correct:-)

Sorry I jumped the gun too soon and couldn't delete this messageLOL
Korvinus 2 | 479
10 Aug 2023 #4
Not to nitpick, but "bag" in the sense of a "shopping bag", is actually "torebka".

Nah, "shopping bag" would be "torba". "Torebka" is used by woman exclusively, it is "handbag" or "purse ".
pawian 223 | 24,390
10 Aug 2023 #5
"torba"

This word also plays a role when you want to call a female names. Torba is a milder version of bytch.
Lyzko 45 | 9,420
10 Aug 2023 #6
Reallty, Korvinus?
When last in Greenpoint, the storekeeper asked me
"Czy potrzebuje pan torebke?"
pawian 223 | 24,390
10 Aug 2023 #7
"Czy potrzebuje pan torebke?"

Were you buying jewellery???
Korvinus 2 | 479
10 Aug 2023 #8
When last in Greenpoint, the storekeeper asked me
"Czy potrzebuje pan torebke?"

Well, if it would be very, very small shopping bag, I guess one could call it torebka.
OP Roadjack 1 | 1
10 Aug 2023 #9
@Atch
You're right, I do understand that there are masculine, feminine and neutral words. How do I know if these words are feminine or masculine and also, how do I know which letter to use?
jon357 74 | 22,054
10 Aug 2023 #10
How do I know if these words are feminine or masculine

Practice and a few signs, like ending with -a or whatever though there can be exceptions.

how do I know which letter to use?

Learn and practice the grammar and don't be afraid to make mistakes.
ForumUser
10 Aug 2023 #11
If singular noun in its non-suffixed form or "dictionary form" ends with "-consonant + a" (excluding Masculine singular nouns ending with "-a", such as "Mężczyzna" = "Man"), then plural non-suffixed form/"dictionary form" (and also plural Accusative form and plural Vocative form) ends with either "-y" or "-i" or "-e" instead of "-a", depending on preceding consonant.

eg "Kobieta" (singular non-suffixed "dictionary form" only) = "Kobiety" (plural non-suffixed/"dictionary form", also plural Accusatively and Vocatively)

Singular Vocatively ends "-consonant + o" instead of "-consonant + a" (including Masculine singular nouns ending "-a"). Vocative is used only for "direct address"-type communications
eg "Hey, woman/women/man!" = "Hej, kobieto/kobiety/mężczyzno!"

If singular noun in its non-suffixed/"dictionary form" ends "-a" (including Masculine singular nouns ending "-a"), then singular Accusative ends "-ę" instead of "-a"...singular Genitive ends either "-i(-i)" or "-y" instead of "-a", and singular Instrumental ends "-ą" instead of "-a"

eg "Kobieta"/"Mężczyzna" = "Kobietę"/"Mężczyznę" (Accusatively) = "Kobiety"/"Mężczyzny" (Genitively)" = "Kobietą"/"Mężczyzną" (Instrumentally)

(Note: Feminine Dative singular is always same form as Feminine Locative singular. Same rule also applies to Masculine singular nouns ending "-a". Locative is only after prepositions, not after infinitives/verbs)

eg "Kobieta" = "Kobiecie (singular Datively and Locatively)"
eg "Mężczyzna" = "Mężczyźnie" (also singular Datively and Locatively)

Plural Dative (all genders) = "-final consonant + om". Plural Instrumental (all genders, some exception apply) = "-final consonant + ami". Plural Locative (all genders, some exceptions) = "-final consonant + ach"

eg "Kobieta" = "Kobietom (plural Dative)" = "Kobietami (plural Instrumental)" = "Kobietach (plural Locative)"
eg "Mężczyzna" = "Mężczyznom (plural Dative)" = "Mężczyznami (plural Instrumental)" = "Mężczyznach (plural Locative)"

If singular noun in its non-suffixed form/"dictionary form" ends "-vowel + singular consonant + a" (excluding Masculine singular nouns ending with "-a"), then plural Genitive is removing the "-a" in last-letter position. Some exceptions apply (exceptions being certain endings "-vowel + 2 consonants + a")

eg "Kobieta" = "Kobiet"

Most prepositions use Genitive ending, prepositions such as "Bez(-e)" = "Without", "Dla" = "For", "Od(-e)" = "From"/"Since", "Z(-e)" = "From"/"Of" etc.

Sometimes preposition "O" uses Accusative, other times Locative, depending on preceding infinitive/verb.
eg "(Za-)Pytać o kobietę/kobiety" = "To ask about woman/women"..."(Po-)Prosić o kobietę/kobiety" = "To ask for woman/women", and "Walczyć o kobietę/kobiety" = "To fight about/for woman/women"

(But "Mówić/Mawiać o kobiecie/kobietach" = "To talk about woman/women")

Whenever direct object of infinitive/verb is affirmatively Accusative, then will be negatively Genitive, regardless of verb tense or nouns' gender/singular/plural.
eg "(Po-)Lubić/(Po-)Kochać kobietę/kobiety" = "To like/love woman/women", but "Nie (po-)lubić/(po-)kochać kobiety/kobiet" = "To not like woman/women"

Whenever direct object of infinitive/verb is affirmatively Genitive/Dative/Instrumental, then will remain in same Genitive/Dative/Instrumental form, regardless of affirmative/negative, and regardless of verb tense or nouns' gender/singular/plural.

eg "(Nie) Potrzebować/Uży(-wa-)ć kobiety/kobiet" = "To (not) need/use woman/women"

eg "(Nie) (Po-)Dziękować/Po(-magać or -móc) kobiecie/kobietom" = "To (not) thank/help woman/women"

eg "(Nie) By(-wa-)ć/Zosta(-wa-)ć kobietą/kobietami" = "To (not) be/become woman/women"
mafketis 37 | 10,897
10 Aug 2023 #12
"Czy potrzebuje pan torebke?"

weird, if talking about a bag to put your purchases in the most common is probably (still?) reklamówka... though where I am 'siatka' is also often used. technically siatka is a net bag I believe (or just a net) but it's often used for shopping bags in general here.
mafketis 37 | 10,897
10 Aug 2023 #13
Duolingo does not teach you grammar

they used to... I just checked and it's just phrases with no context... awful! They might reserve the grammar points for those who pay (dont' pay!)

You need some book with grammar, I found this very useful...

amazon.com/Polish-Teach-Yourself-M-Corbridge-Patkaniowska/dp/0844238163

Make sure the author is Corbridge-Patkaniowska there's a newer version by different authors that's... not good.

This book is dated (old fashioned language at times) but it explains grammar bit by bit in easy to understand terms and never hits you with too much at once.

I found it extremely useful in the beginning.
Alien 20 | 4,979
10 Aug 2023 #14
reklamówka...

There is also a "zrywka" - a plastic bag for fruit torn off the roll and a "worek na zakupy" as a shopping bag.
Lyzko 45 | 9,420
11 Aug 2023 #15
Sorry folks, I meant "torebkI" on account of "potrzebuje"!
No, in fact I was buying a Rzeczpospolita and two Warta Mocna:-)
gumishu 13 | 6,140
15 Aug 2023 #16
There is also something called noun cases which change the ending of the nouns and their accompanying adjectives depending

in other words Duolingo is sh** at teaching people Polish - also: unless a learner of Polish is living or going to live in Poland learning the language is pretty useless
mafketis 37 | 10,897
15 Aug 2023 #17
I meant "torebkI" on account of "potrzebuje"!

Don't beat yourself up... there are a few verbs which supposedly govern the genitive (according to dictionaries) but which in practice are often found with the accusative and potrzebować is one of those (along with używać).
gumishu 13 | 6,140
15 Aug 2023 #18
but which in practice are often found with the accusative and potrzebować is one of those (along with używać).

when I was a kid hardly anybody was saying "potrzebuję torebkę" (instead of "torebki")
pawian 223 | 24,390
15 Aug 2023 #19
"potrzebuję torebkę"

I always said torebkę. Torebki sounds akward.

So, it depends on the region.
gumishu 13 | 6,140
15 Aug 2023 #20
I always said torebkę.

it doesn't make sense from the grammatical point of view (unless you want a new case in declination of Polish nouns : if you say: "potrzebuję torebkę" then according to Polish grammar you should also say "potrzebuję czas" instead of "potrzebuję czasu" - which I doubt you do)
Lenka 5 | 3,475
15 Aug 2023 #21
But 'potrzebuje sukienkę'
pawian 223 | 24,390
15 Aug 2023 #22
it doesn't make sense from the grammatical point of view

It makes perfect sense. Other words sound the same in declination: Potrzebuję kłonnicę/siekierę. Kłonnicy/siekiery would sound strange. Gumi, where did they speak like you are suggesting???

'potrzebuje sukienkę'

And hundreds of others.
gumishu 13 | 6,140
15 Aug 2023 #23
potrzebuje sukienkę

"sukienkę" is the same as "torebkę" - it's accusative - which doesen't make sense since you would probably agree that "czasu" as in "potrzebuję czasu" is not accusative but genetive - which doestn't make sense unless you insist on a new case for Polish nouns that sometimes looks like the accusative and sometimes as genetive
mafketis 37 | 10,897
15 Aug 2023 #24
"czasu" as in "potrzebuję czasu" is not accusative but genetive

maybe.... the difference is count vs non-count? just the first thing that comes to mind.... or maybe more or less definite?

I remembering having the idea that often the genitive has an idea of uncertainty / lack of concreteness that the accusative has

chcesz kawę? / chcesz kawy? the first certainly seems more common

what's the difference between

co chcesz? / czego chcesz?
gumishu 13 | 6,140
15 Aug 2023 #25
the difference is count vs non-count?

only it isn't? I say "potrzebuję komputera" (genetive) and not "potrzebuję komputer" (like "widzę komputer" with computer in accusative) (komputer is countable as opposed to "czas" or "spokój")

co chcesz is ungrammatical coloquialism, that's all
Lyzko 45 | 9,420
15 Aug 2023 #26
@Maf, thanks just the same, but I do berate myself for on occasion glitching on stuff I learned at least thirty-five years ago in my beginner Polish classLOL

It's analogous with my students of German who still after years of study often don't grasp when a verb is transitive and Dative. I have to wrap my brain around the concept of needing in Polish as one which requires the possessive rather than the Accusative case:-)

Probably just a typo.
jon357 74 | 22,054
15 Aug 2023 #27
The thread title is a bit misleading since it would be better to say 'sound' than 'character'.
Lenka 5 | 3,475
15 Aug 2023 #28
which doesen't make sense

It doesn't but it's common.
Lyzko 45 | 9,420
15 Aug 2023 #29
Right, Lenka!
So, so much in Polish over which I still must deliberate before committing pen to paper, so to speak.

The final letter, "a" vs. "u" in the Genitive continues to dog me when I need to produce a written text on the spur of the moment. Speaking isn't the problem really, as one can always slur or try to gloss over certain final vowels as schwa sound:-)

Some texts actually provide rules or examples, but off the top of my head, I confess to making mistakes unless I think about it for several minutes at least.
mafketis 37 | 10,897
15 Aug 2023 #30
one canalways slur or try to gloss over certain final vowels as schwa sound:-)

... not really, Polish vowels are all supposed to be clearly pronounced.

, "a" vs. "u" in the Genitive continues to dog me

when in doubt, guess, you'll be understood

It doesn't but it's common.

Years ago I was trying to teach someone Polish. This person was multilingual including very good Latin. the problem was they couldn't switch gears from the Latin case system (all settled and cut and dried) to the Polish system which is dynamic and always changing (in small increments here and there).

At one point I was asked.... "Did something happen?.... Someting must have happened to make Polish this way!"


Home / Language / When do I use certain characters?
BoldItalic [quote]
 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.