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zostać: to remain *and* to become?

kgoess 8 | 11
10 Sep 2012 #1
The fact that "zostawać/zostać" can mean both "to remain" and "to become" is giving me cognitive dissonance. Can anybody give some insight into the mental model Poles use when they use these words? And how they avoid ambiguity?

So if I say "Zostanę dobry w języku polskim" would that communicate that I am remaining good at Polish, or that I am becoming good at Polish?
mafketis 24 | 9,187
10 Sep 2012 #2
Zostać gdzieś to stay (a place) = Został w domu. (He stayed home). That is it's followed (usually) by a preposition and a noun in the locative case.

Zostać czymś/kimś to become (something/someone) = Został nauczycielem. (He became a teacher). It's followed by a noun in the instrumental case.

In practice it's not confusing at all.

So if I say "Zostanę dobry w języku polskim" would that communicate

No, it would not communicate anything. It's gibberish. Other expressions would be used in those cases (I'll leave it to the natives to come up with better translations than I would).
cinek 2 | 345
10 Sep 2012 #3
Zostanę dobry w języku polskim

We don't use it this way. We only use zostać - to became with nouns, not with adjectives, so:

Zostanę mistrzem
Będę (not zostanę) dobry w j polskim.

reg. 'to remain', we usually use 'pozostanę' if any ambiguity is possible, so e.g.:

Po studiach zostanę nauczycielem i pozostanę nim do emerytury.
After my study I'll became a teacher and will remain at that position until I'm retired.


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