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Polish verbs are confusing/I get many results when I look them up in an online dictionary


wantlearnpolski 1 | 1
25 May 2011 #1
I am learning polish and I am using an oline dictionary to look up words. www en.bab.la/dictionary/english-polish/jump
But when I look up a verb (eg: jump) loads of different words come up. How do I know which one is commonly used?
Apparently there are perfective and imperfecticve verbs but how can I tell which one is imperfective and which one is perfective when I
look up a word and get several results? Im a beginner and I barely know anything about the polish grammar)
any input appreciated

thank you!
Maaarysia
25 May 2011 #2
But when I look up a verb (eg: jump) loads of different words come up

You know what? Funnily enough I have the same problem with English... ;)

For Polish word skakać I receive such answers: spring, jump, hop, bounce, leap, dart

How do I know which one is commonly used?

Usually the first one is the most common.
caveman 4 | 14
25 May 2011 #3
Maaarysia is spot on here... you just need to start reading, hearing and speaking them to learn the subtle differences, but you probably can't go too wrong with the first word, which is likely to be 'jump'.

UNLESS, you're talking about the different verb endings - in which case that's a whole new topic. (I jump, she jumps etc.)
OP wantlearnpolski 1 | 1
26 May 2011 #4
haha yes that was a good comparison. when you look up the english word "jump" you will get many results too.

i know that there are different verb endings (he, she, it, one etc). i thought maybe the reason different results came up was that it would depend on how u use it. eg: perfective/imperfective form. im just being lazy i need to study polish grammar.

yeah i dont even know much about the english grammar either. the terms etc
Polish Tutor - | 80
26 May 2011 #5
Do not perceive grammar as a number of abstract terms.
Grammar should be a kind of manual which tells you how to operate with words.

Learning vocabulary can be confusing and useless.
Knowing just word forms from a dictionary is not enough to produce Polish sentences.
To speak Polish you need to know how the Polish language works. The grammar explains it.

No grammar – no Polish. I got enough people to speak Polish to be sure that this is what the things look like (-:
Lyzko
2 Jun 2011 #6
In some ways, I find that Polish verbs are way more specific, i.e. precise than English ones. I certainly can understand a Polish native speaker like Maryśia being confounded by the wealth of variety available in a verb such as 'skakać' and finding 'jump', 'leap', 'bound etc...

After all, when does for example a 'jump' go from a 'leap' become a 'bound', like the English expression 'to grow in leaps and bounds'?? Terribly confusing ar first glance, I'll grant you, and I've been teaching English for just over twenty years!

I suppose context clues remain the Polish learner's most valuable asset here, as there are hardly any rules to guide a person. It's probably a darn sight easier therefore to learn Polish from English than vice versa:)
Koala 1 | 332
3 Jun 2011 #7
It's difficult both ways, though I think learning English from Polish is easier simply because of abundance of textbooks and established teaching practices. The reverse is rather scarce from what I can gather and English speaking people attempting to learn Polish don't know where to start.

Though the best way to learn any language is just to read and listen to it a lot and absorb all the patterns (and then to practice it, eg. writing stuff on pointless message boards:)).
al111 13 | 89
3 Jun 2011 #8
I think this comes down to the fact that English is not Related to Polish in any way they come from different families. The Germanic and Western Slavic Languages.I learnt from Polish speakers and discovered that the vocabulary is quite limited that one word in Polish might have many different meanings in english. However it's also important to know what the word is being used for, skakać generally means to jump but to leap (as a verb) in english meaning to jump either high or a long way is still considered as to jump in polish although sometimes but (i guess not all the time) u can use przeskakiwać if you want to specify though, but to many polish people it's still to jump.
Koala 1 | 332
3 Jun 2011 #9
I learnt from Polish speakers and discovered that the vocabulary is quite limited that one word in Polish might have many different meanings in english

Well the reverse is also the case:
(to) match - łączyć
match - zapałka
match - mecz

to know - wiedzieć
to know - znać
etc.
OTOH:
zamek - zip
zamek - castle
Context is the king in such cases. Ambiguity comes either from not knowing the context or insufficient knowledge of the language.
gumishu 11 | 5,016
3 Jun 2011 #10
if Polish language is so poor why it is so difficult to translate such things as 'Pan Tadeusz' into English mate
Lyzko
3 Jun 2011 #11
Whilst English and Polish are from unrelated language groups, that's true, they DO of course belong to the same family; the Indo-European! Therefore, Polish is that much closer in relation even to a Germanic tongue, than, say Hungarian etc...

Polish may indeed be 'poor' in synonyms as compared with English or even German, it is however no end richer than either in the prefixal productivity of its verbal aspects, in this regard, like Russian-:))
Koala 1 | 332
4 Jun 2011 #12
German is actually very productive with prefixes. Though often prefixes change the meaning of the word entirely (eg. nehmen - to take, abnehmen - to subtract, to lose weight), which doesn't happen too often in Polish. Back to the 'skok' example, the prefixes are a nice way to discern different ways of executing the same activity (skok, przeskok, wyskok, odskok, doskok) that are always clear.
Monia
4 Jun 2011 #13
Polish may indeed be 'poor' in synonyms as compared with English or even German,

It is total rubbish !!! What basis do you claim this statement upon ? Give me examples pls .
Lyzko
4 Jun 2011 #14
@Koala
In German, the most productive prefixes tend to be the separable/detachable ones, a phenomenon of German, by the way. While many, many languages indeed have prefixes as well as prefixed verbs, German has the leeway of placing the prefix at the very end of the clause if necessary!

I was referring mostly to the infamous verbs of motion (czasowniki ruchomne)-:)

@Monia
My comment was not a reflection on any sort of 'poverty in language' regarding Polish. I was merely pointing out that whereas in everyday English, a plethora of related words with similar meanings are often used to enhance discourse, f. ex. "This BUILDING is one of the premier "EDIFICES" in the United States, a STRUCTURE singular amid the myriad ABODES found throughout the entire Middle West. This is definitely Wright's finest LANDMARK." etc.... Whilst this too is possible in Polish, it's not as frequently found in my experience.
asik 2 | 220
4 Jun 2011 #15
It is total rubbish !!!

Not only this one is rubbish! LOL

I like this nice statement about Polish language from 'difficult languages' :)

"Comparing the German language with Polish is like comparing apples and oranges. While there are connections between the languages, they are not inherent and organic but rather the result of language restrictions placed on Poles during times of German military occupation....

"...While German is the predecessor of Anglo-Saxon as well as the base of the English language, Polish is a Slavic language with its own unique alphabet. And while German continues to change and morph with the time and its users, the Polish language of today is much more similar to it's original, ancient composition. Older than both French and English, Polish remains one of the most difficult languages to speak or learn. Considering the countries are neighbors, their languages are amazingly unlike one another in general."
Lyzko
4 Jun 2011 #16
Asik, as you must know, Polish adopted the Latin alphabet during the 12th century! So much having "it's own" alphabet LOL

Secondly, where Polish may in fact be wanting in word choices, cf. English, it is far richer than most other languages, including even German or Icelandic etc.. in the wealth of its verbal aspects. In terms of case morphology though, both Finnish and Hungarian, even Turkish, has Polish beat by a country mile:))
Monia
4 Jun 2011 #17
As a matter of fact polish languge is more precise because specific words have in most cases one meaning ( there are words with multiple meanings of course ), but it is a general rule .

Lets take just as an example of a given word - " to jump "

to jump - means - skoczyć ( perfect ) , skakać ( imperfect )

It is vital to mention that the Polish verbs occur in two grammatical aspects: imperfective and perfective , but sometimes there are words with both aspects with a particle of " się " .

polski.slowka.pl/gramatyka,verb-czasownik,m,1469.html

synonyms for " to jump" are in english :

to leap - means - prze-skoczyć ( perfect ) , prze-skakiwać ( imperfect )

to spring - means - pod-skoczyć ( perfect) , pod-skakiwać ( imperfect)

to pounce - means - dawać susy lub biec susami ( mixed aspect )

to skip -means - opuścić ( perfect ) opuszczać ( imperfect) in common language means przeskoczyć lub przeskakiwać
Lyzko
4 Jun 2011 #18
In complete agreement with you on this point, Monia-:)
asik 2 | 220
4 Jun 2011 #19
as you must know, Polish adopted the Latin alphabet during the 12th century! So much having "it's own" alphabet LOL

Eureka! Where does English alphabet comes from, huh?

What else you wonna add?
Remember Lyzko,you won't change the facts in the a/s statement about the Polish language, just be nice, stop arguing, focus and try to remember it by your heart:

"...Older than both French and English, Polish remains one of the most difficult languages to speak or learn."[/b]
Monia
4 Jun 2011 #20
"This BUILDING is one of the premier "EDIFICES" in the United States...

the translation of bold words are as follows :

building means - budynek
edifice - gmach
structure - konstrukcja
abodes- sadyba
landmark - kamień milowy lub charakterystyczny obiekt

All words are translable with precise meanings into Polish , so I don`t understand your point .
FlaglessPole 4 | 669
4 Jun 2011 #21
There is aprox 250 000 words in English, Polish has roughly one fourth of that…no need to explain further.
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
4 Jun 2011 #22
Just look up the word 'follow' in an English - Polish dictionary to show what happens.

Here's an example of French - Polish that someone sent me:

Wyniki tłumaczenia: manquer
francusko-polski

manquer (Ectaco-Poland)
v,
1 brakować
2 udawać się
3 nie udawać się
4 popełnić błąd
5 osiągać
6 nie osiągać czegoś
7 zmarnować
8 chybiać
9 rozminąć się
10 powieść się
11 nie powieść się
12 sukces
13 nie odnieść sukcesu
14 trafić
15 nie trafić
16 zastać
17 nie zastać kogoś
18 wykorzystać
19 nie wykorzystać
20 być
21 nie być
22 uczestniczyć
23 nie uczestniczyć
24 odmówić posłuszeństwa

Lyzko
4 Jun 2011 #23
Monia, the point is that whilst I never doubted the existence of Polish synonyms for any of the above English concepts, my experience has been that many of my Polish ESL students, high-level learners most of them, have had had no end difficulties choosing appropriate synonyms where necessary. Most have indicated that daily English simply uses more varied vocabulary in instances where daily Polish typically wouldn't, that's all-:)

Co znaczy to zdanie?? Nie rozumiem. Tylko sprobój przepisać Twój paragraf po polsku-:)
asik 2 | 220
4 Jun 2011 #24
There is aprox 250 000 words in English, Polish has roughly one fourth of that...no need to explain further.

Did anyone tell you, it's impossible to count words in any language? If not, it's time your learn this facts.
There are probably millions of different words in Polish but how many exactly it's impossible to tell.
New words are added on every day basis.

How many words you have listed in your dictionary doesn't mean you have all the possible words.
strzyga 2 | 993
4 Jun 2011 #25
There is aprox 250 000 words in English, Polish has roughly one fourth of that…no need to explain further.

Where did you get this number from - a pocket dictionary?
My Praktyczny słownik współczesnej polszczyzny (Practical Dictionary of Contemporary Polish) has about 133 000 entries, and it includes neither obsolete words nor technical and specialist terms. Just the words that are in everyday use.

Uniwersalny słownik języka polskiego PWN - 100 000 words, 145 000 lexical items.
Add to this the morphological flexibility of Polish and I think it's not too bad for a language that's spoken just in one country which has never been a world empire.
asik 2 | 220
4 Jun 2011 #26
Most have indicated that daily English simply uses more varied vocabulary in instances where daily Polish typically wouldn't, that's all-:)

Your student's opinion is just their limited opinion only. You shouldn't base your opinion on somebody's private view.

Daily typical Polish language is rich as well . The only difference is, who's the speaker because some people have limited vocabulary and it happens in every language.
Monia
4 Jun 2011 #27
Most have indicated that daily English simply uses more varied vocabulary in instances where daily Polish typically wouldn't, that's all-:)

What some nasty , lazy students !

As a teacher you should know all that very well , not just from rumors spread by your not very diligent pupils .
Lyzko
4 Jun 2011 #28
Asik, I might inform you that the students in question were an assistant editor of 'Tygodnik Powszechny', a translator from Polish to English and an engineer with the Polish government.

This rather knocks your entire theory into a cocked hat now, doens't it!!

My prior post in Polish was directed to you too. I simply couldn't follow your English, sorry::)
Monia
4 Jun 2011 #29
Lyzko - give me an example of your theory , pls .

In my opinion it is a hopeless and pointless idea to compare those two languages as I don`t see the point of such comparison . Both languages deriving from the same core called Indo - European with European origins in Latin as the first modern language used in Europe are similar and there are no significant differences . I am sure that Polish and English has got the same amount of synonyms , antonyms and Latin borrowings and foreign words borrowings .

For example Latin borrowings in English are huge and present on a larger scale than in Polish . Lets take as an example medical vocabulary , Polish language has got Polish medical names whereas English uses only Latin names ( pronounced like English which sound very funny for those who know Latin ) .

I am not talking about common medical language as it is different from medical language in both languages .

About a dictionary containing everyday language :
my dictionary of Jan Stanisławski contains 100 000 words translated from English into Polish ,and 180 000 words translated form Polish into English .

Lyzko - give me an example of your theory , pls .

In my opinion it is a hopeless and pointless idea to compare those two languages as I don`t see the point of such comparison . Both languages deriving from the same core called Indo - European with European origins in Latin as the first modern language used in Europe are similar and there are no significant differences ( if you only omit group and within a group differences) .

I am sure that Polish and English has got the same or similar amount of synonyms , antonyms and Latin borrowings and foreign language borrowings .

For example Latin borrowings in English are huge and present on a larger scale than in Polish . Lets take as an example medical vocabulary , Polish language has got Polish medical names whereas English uses only Latin names ( pronounced like English which sound very funny for those who know Latin ) .

I am not talking about common medical language as it is different from medical language in both languages .

About a dictionary containing everyday language :
my dictionary of Jan Stanisławski contains 100 000 words translated from English into Polish ,and 180 000 words translated form Polish into English .
Lyzko
4 Jun 2011 #30
Often when foreigners, i.e. non-native English speakers (not only Poles!). use English, they are stymied by the huge choice of synonyms before them. Compare for example Roget's Thesaurus of the English Language with its Polish equivalent. English speakers, both Brits and Yanks, are encouraged to use a variety of vocabulary, even to express common things. Perhaps this was moreso in my generation (I'm 51) and less the case today. Certainly, a Polish professor will employ a more elaborate word choice than a butcher or road worker, this is a no brainer LOL Yet, English children for instance are taught to use language far less proscriptively in daily parlance than, say, German children, where word play is far more restrictive.


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