My problem is that I've lived in Poland for 25 years, never took any lessons (when I was younger and it was easier to learn a language) and spent all my time in an environment where someone spoke English (I was training English teachers) so I never really 'had to' learn Polish to survive. Now I understand a LOT (depending on the context and how fast someone speaks), but ask me to respond or take part in a conversation and.... pffft. I sound like a child raised by wolves or something, and it's quite stressful. So my problem is that it's too easy just to translate the sentences correctly into English and move on. I need to slow down and really learn the Polish, and especially work on practices where I have to write it in Polish and say it. I'm hoping that by the end of this course, I won't be such a total embarrassment to myself when someone who has only been here a year has to do all the talking just to order in a cafe. Sheesh!
Absolutely! Since conjugation of the verb says it all, the repetition of the same information serves no purpose. Most of the Polish sentences in this course are unfortunately literal, word for word, translations from English...
It is a pity, because it's really easy to learn one very basic and simple rule:
English: NO verb conjugation - personal pronoun is necessary
Polish: verb conjugation - personal pronoun is NOT necessary
I have - mam
you have - masz
he/she/it has - ma (exception to the "no verb conjugation" rule)
we have - mamy
you have - macie
they have - mają
Educated Polish speakers do not use pronouns and conjugated verbs
together, unless they want to emphasize or compare certain people:
Mamy ciastka/ Mamy herbatniki - We have cookies
My mamy ciastka, a wy macie chleb - We have cookies, but you have bread
Polish is a pro-drop language, so you can leave off the pronoun, but you don't have to, afaik. It's correct to use either. I think it's more usual not to use it, but I don't think either is 'wrong'. Native speakers would be able to elucidate further... :)
With the disclaimer that I'm not a native speaker of either language, Polish seems more inclined to drop pronouns than Russian, even though I believe they're both classified as pro-drop languages.
I’m a native speaker of two Slavic languages (not Polish though). What flootzavut wrote seems correct to me. “My mamy” = a pronoun + a conjugated verb in the present, that implies usage of the aforesaid pronoun, so there’s no harm in dropping it. Although, in Polish it seems more common than in Ukrainian or Russian.
For example, in English it is possible to say: Q: why didn't you answer my calls last night? A: was busy. This is not grammatically correct in English, although one can drop a pronoun in their speech when it's obvious in the context. In Polish it's more fixed in the grammar due to conjugation.
I'm glad it's not just me who has that perception of pro-drop tendencies with Russian (and Ukrainian) - I am guessing, though trying not to assume, that those are your two native tongues?
I managed to go through Russian to an honours degree level without ever even coming across the term pro-drop LOL even after spending a year learning Croatian as an elective, which is decidedly more pro-drop happy than Russian headdesk absurd, I know.
Yep, those are my native languages :) In terms of pronoun usage, Polish very much reminds me of Spanish. And from my profound knowledge of the South Slavic languages (that comes from reading “Let it go” lyrics in Serbian :D), Serbian and Croatian indeed are more pro-drop than Russian, and probably just a little less than Polish.
In Russian and Ukrainian we usually drop a pronoun to avoid redundancy in a sentence (after the initial pronoun). Basically the purpose of pro-dropping is to make a sentence... Neat? But it’s 100% grammatical to use as much pronouns as in English.
I would absolutely love to see the Balkan languages make an appearance on Duolingo!
I am pretty sure I will continue the tradition of trying any Slavic language that appears (my main interest in Romanian is as a Romance language influenced by Slavic languages, I may be a little fixated ;)), but for it to be a South Slavic language would be a real bonus :D
And from my profound knowledge of the South Slavic languages (that comes from reading “Let it go” lyrics in Serbian :D)
This made me laugh aloud, thanks ;D
It is a very, very long time since I actually studied Croatian, but I think maybe the past tense in Croatian is more like Russian and less like Polish, so probably requires pronouns more than Polish, with its very specific past tenses. But my Croatian was one year's worth of uni fifteen years ago, so I don't know how accurate my recollection is. I have been searching for my language books for months and not finding them, so I can't check 8-p
It often boggles me how many little details I either missed or forgot after studying Russian so intensely. I don't know that it ever registered it was even okay to drop pronouns, though I presume I probably picked it up somewhat when I lived in Russia.
As usual, when you are in a language environment you pick up clusters of information just like idiomatic phrases, without pondering over them too much :) Probably it was the case with Russian and its pronouns.
I'd like to see more Slavic languages here, on Duolingo, to make further comparison between them. At least one from the Balkan group would be great :)
The sentence "My mamy ciasteczka" sounds clumsy and silly.
cookies/ biscuits/ tea biscuits - ciastka/ herbatniki
tiny little cookies - bardzo małe ciastka/ ciasteczka
We have cookies/biscuits - Mamy ciastka/ Mamy herbatniki
We have cookies/biscuits - Jemy ciastka/ Jemy herbatniki
No. It's just a choice of whoever put those sentences into the course.
"We have an apple" = "(My) mamy jabłko."
"We have cookies" - "(My) mamy ciasteczka."
In Polish, the personal pronoun is totally redundant for 1st and 2nd person, as the form of the verb makes it clear who's the subject. As 3rd person is concerned, it can be omitted as well, but it's not that common as with 1st and 2nd.
If you actually do use a pronoun for 1st and 2nd, it's as if you put more emphasis to it. So it's kinda like "WE have cookies".
Funny story. When I was 20 I went to Poland. We were at a bar and I mentioned I wanted one of the cookies I had seen another patron eating. My friend Marek told me, "when the waitress comes, tell her 'po proszu ciastek.'" I did, to a shocked look. I'll leave it to you to figure out what I actually asked for.