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Virile and non-virile confusion

Rain33 14 | 19
19 Jul 2011 #1
I am confused with something called virile and non-virile in grammar. Can anyone explain this confusing concept?
OP Rain33 14 | 19
19 Jul 2011 #3
Good lord, I could understand computer viruses or, for that matter, human viruses much more easily than Virile and devirilised nouns in Polish. This relates, of course, to an article written by Dunstan Brown in Lingua on subgender in Polish and Russian.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
19 Jul 2011 #4
You must mean męskoosobowe (or is it męsko-osobowe?), in other words, nouns
referring to a male person. They get special treatment in modern Polish.*
One example: masculine personal nouns have the same ending in both the genetive and accusative plural, whereas others masculine nouns have nominative = accusative.
Nominative plural is also different for masculine personal nouns: Polak~Polacy as opposed to wilk~wilki.
Adjectives also have different endings: mądrzy Polacy as opposed to mądre wilki.

That barely scratches the surface, of coruse, Good luck in mastering this aspect of our beautiful Polish tongue!

*In the past one could encounter in old literary texts things like wilcy for wolves and męże for husbands in the nom. plural.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
19 Jul 2011 #5
For Polish the important fact is:
virile masculine nouns = humans of male gender.

The plural forms of these noun have special endings (in nom. and acc.). Also groups of males and females take these endings. Groups of only female do not take these endings. Non-living things also do not take these endings.

This is not so easy for beginners. So I think you can wait a little before learning the special PLURAL endings for virile masculine nouns.
19 Jul 2011 #6
Basically, all Polish nouns fall into two categories: animate and inanimate i.e. "living" and "non-living". This distinction is particularly troublesome for us foreigners learning the language when it comes to masculine nouns. Without the time to construct another chart, it's safe to say that ALL masculine animate nouns assume genitive endings when being governed by the accusative, whereas masculine inanimate nouns retain their accusative endings in the accusative, thusly:

Widzę mojego nowego psa. (I see my new dog. - ANIMATE NOUN) vs. Widzę mój nowy stół. (I see my new table - INANIMATE)

21 Jul 2011 #7
Feldstein however makes a distinction here between 'virile non-male' nouns (Widzę mój kot) which [up until the number 5, of course!] take accusative endings in the previous sentence vs. 'virile/male' nouns, (król, brat, ojciec etc.. e.g. Widzę mojego brata etc..) which take genitive endings in the accusative! Seems to be either a new wrinkle, or I simply misunderstood much of which I forgot I had learned LOL

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