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Polish Language - basic grammar: Nouns

 

In this lesson you fill find some basic information on nouns in Polish.

 

In Polish there are no definite or indefinite articles. For example, in English we use articles 'the' and 'a/an'. This is not the case in Polish.

Polish nouns can be  of masculine, feminine or neuter gender. For example:

 

ławka - bench - feminine

dziecko - child - neuter

ogórek - cucumber - masculine

 

In this Polish is similar to German. Unfortunately, like in German language, there are no strict rules to tell you the exact gender of every noun just by looking at it. However, there are some hints:

- In general, Polish nouns are usually feminine if ending with -a:

kobieta - woman

butelka - bottle

pocztówka - postcard

 

- On the other hand, they are usually neuter if they end with -o, -e, -um or :

dziecko - child

pranie - laundry

kocię - kitten

muzeum - museum

 

- The rest of nouns are usually masculine. For example:

notes - notepad

długopis - pen

kabel - cable

laptop - laptop

 

Knowing the gender of a noun is very important, because it's strictly related to using adjectives correctly. For example, czerwony means 'red'. But it can only be used with masculine noun. This is how we use adjectives:

- for masculine noun: has to end with -y, like czerwony
-
for feminine noun: has to end with -a, like
czerwona
-
for neuter noun: has to end with -e, like
czerwone.

Hence, we would say:

czerwona kobieta - red woman

czerwona butelka - red bottle

czerwone kocię - red kitten

czerwony długopis - red pen

czerwony kabel - red cable

Now, all these nouns mentioned are singural. So how to create plural number of a noun?

Again, this is a bit complicated because there are no strict rules. So, unfortunately the best way is to memorize the plurar version of a noun while studying. Here are some examples:

kobieta - kobiety (women)

butelka - butelki (bottles)

pocztówka - pocztówki (postcards)

dziecko - dzieci (children)

muzeum - muzea (museums)

notes - notesy (notepads)

długopis - długopisy (pens)

kabel - kable (cables)

 

There are also some irregular Polish nouns which are a bit different in plural:

oko (eye) - oczy (eyes)

paznokieć (fingernail) - paznokcie (fingernails)

 

Plus, there are nouns which occur only in plural, and do not have singular form:

nożyczki - scissors

spodnie - trousers

okulary - glasses

perfumy - perfume

drzwi - doors

 

One of the most confusing things while learning Polish are definitely seven cases which apply to nouns, pronouns and adjectives. What are they? Well, they do not occur in English as such, but let's compare these two sentences to get an idea:

I made chicken for dinner. - Zrobiłem kurczaka na obiad. (kurczak - chicken)
I like potatoes with chicken. - Lubię ziemniaki z kurczakiem.
I made a soup. - Ugotowałem zupę. (zupa - soup)
(male speaking)
While eating I spilt some soup on the table. -
Jedz±c, wylałem trochę zupy na stół. (male speaking)
 

Have you noticed endings of nouns are different in each scenario? Polish language is much more complicated in this case than English, because you cannot just put a noun as it is in all sentences you create. However, this can be learnt.

The seven cases are:

1. Nominative (Mianownik) 
2. Genitive (Dopełniacz) 
3. Dative (Celownik)
4. Accusative (Biernik)
5. Instrumental (Narzędnik)
6. Locative (Miejscownik)
7. Vocative (Wołacz)

Now, let's see how we can use word 'zupa' (soup) in all of those cases:

1. It's a nice soup. - To dobra zupa.
2. There isn't any soup left. - Nie ma już zupy.
3. I looked closely at the soup. -
Przyjrzałem się zupie.
4. I see soup on the table. - Widzę zupę na stole.
5.
I have a bowl with soup. - Mam miskę z zup±.

6. We talked about the soup.- Rozmawiali¶my o zupie.
7. Soup! - Zupo! (Which doesn't really makes sense as this is like we were talking to the actual soup.)

 

 


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