Friday, 4 November 2011

Accusative and Instrumental

It took me more than a few days but I finally managed to put together some notes on the use of the Accusative and Instrumental, which will hopefully be helpful, although I must say that when it comes to cases it is perhaps wise to just practice, guess, make mistakes and then remember those mistakes. My advice is to try to remember some of the most common patterns / structures that go with each case and for the rest of it just go along as you learn. Some verbs and prepositions you will use very often so try to focus on those and worry not about the others :)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Polish consonants

Yes, those sounds that twist our tongues even when we no longer have major issues with grammar and manage to make ourselves understood. Most foreigners never get pronunciation right and they can be spotted immediatly, but that's part of the fun when it comes to learning Polish (or any other language, for that matter, but it may be that I am highly subjective, I love all my accents). So here's our attempt at making these very unfriendly sounds a bit more friendlier: Polish Consonants.
Anna, we do hope this helps :) Enjoy!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Possessive pronouns - Zaimki posesywne

In response to Jim's question about the possessive pronouns in Polish:

Pronoun swój, swoja, swoje // swoi, swoje indicates possession and can be interchanged with the possessive mój, moja, moje // moi, moje. However, there are certain contexts in which this exchange is either gramatically incorrect or it just doesn’t sound right (I know, lots of things don’t sound right in Polish, and there’s no rule telling us how to avoid the embarrassment of not sounding right...). Oh well, one thing’s sure: people will understand what you say even if you mix these pronouns up once in a while – and they will be kind enough to correct you without making you feel odd for not catching the subtleties of the language. But that’s just not good enough, is it? So here’s my best attempt at making things clearer – I have my reasons (mam swoje powody) to believe that this is one of the trickiest parts of Polish grammar: usage of possessive pronouns.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Notes on the Genitive

This is in response to a comment Jim posted on this blog asking about the endings for masculine nouns in Genitive. Although there are no rules telling us how to determine the right ending, I tried to put together a list and hopefully it makes things a bit clearer.

Monday, 20 July 2009

The Infinitive (Bezokolicznik)

The infinitive is the basic form of the verb, the one you'll find in dictionaries and that you'll easily spot due to the ending ć : czytać (to read), pisać (to write), kupić (to buy) (most of the times. You probably guessed, there are exceptions even to this elementary rule*). We'll need the infinitive to form the future, but also for some specific constructions with modal verbs or some particular nouns - since it's very easy to learn & use, you'll soon notice how these constructions enrich your vocabulary :)

* and here are the exceptions: verbs ending in c, like
móc (can): mogę, możesz, może
piec (to bake): piekę, pieczesz, piecze
biec (to run): biegnę, biegniesz, biegnie
strzec (to guard): strzegę, strzeżesz, streże

Here are the most frequent constructions requiring the infinitive.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Vote for us!

Hello to our faithful followers - it'd be cudownie if you were to go to this link and vote for us (we'll have to let them know that they've missed Sam off the name - especially as she is doing ALL of the good work here now!).

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Polish verbs (czasowniki) - the basics

We've dealt with the verb before - by now, if you've been following this blog, you know quite a few things about aspect, you can tell the difference between perfective and imperfective verbs and you're familiar with the conjugation patterns in Polish. That should be enough for you to be able to build correct sentences, and even though it's possible that you'll sometimes mix & match those perfective and imperfective forms, you'll still make yourself understood.
However, there's still a lot of things to find out about the verb, way too many rules and exceptions and some more exceptions, but we'll take a look at all of them, one at a time.
First of all, we need to define the categories we'll be working with, meaning that we need to know what's really important in learning the verb:
1. Aspect (aspekt)
  • there are two classes of verbs in Polish: perfective (czasowniki dokonane) and imperfective (czasowniki niedokonane). The first ones are for actions that are completed or will be completed, whereas the others are taking place in some particular moment, without indication of completion.
  • for example, the pair pić - wypić (to drink):
On pije piwo means that he drinks beer (we have no indication of completion) or that he is drinking beer as we speak.
On wypije piwo means that he will drink all his beer (thus the action being completed at a certain point in the future).
  • perfective verbs only occur in the past or in the future - the action was either completed earlier, or will be completed. However, a perfective verb in the future looks like an imperfective verb in the present - the pattern of conjugation is the same. Check out at the above mentioned pić - wypić - you conjugate them in the same way, but they express different times. So try to remember it this way: with perfective verbs, what looks (grammatically) as the present is actually an expression of the future.
2. Tense
As far as tense is concerned, you'll probably be relieved to find out there's just three tenses in Polish: past, present and future. But there's several ways to express them.

PAST - both perfective and imperfective verbs occur in the past
- completed action: perfective verb
- action in progress in the past, not completed: imperfective verb
To form the past of both perfective and imperfective vebs, we need the participle and specific endings for each person, singular and plural.
PRESENT - only imperfective verbs occur in the present, there's four big groups of verbs according to the pattern of conjugation (some linguists argue there's actually just three groups, but when we take a look at the present tense I'll explain my choice and why I stand by those people who argue there's four groups)
FUTURE - both perfective and imperfective verbs occur in the future
- we need a perfective verb for a completed action (remember it looks like the present of imperfective verbs)
- we'll express an action that will be in progress at some point in the future with an imperfective verb (to do this, we'll need the verb to be in the future tense and the infinitive or the participle)

3. Mode
- there's three modes in Polish: indicative, conditional and imperative

4. Person
5. Number
6. Gender

- these three categories are important while conjugating verbs because, as you might expect, the question of gender is quite delicate not only when counting nouns or maing the agreement with the adjective, but also when you have to be specific about the person undertaking the action - all information about person(s) and gender is contained in the verb

7. Voice
- this is simple. There's a passive voice and an active voice. Of course, you have to know when to usethe perfective and when the imperfective, but for now no need to enlarge upon this. Pogadamy o tym żniej :)