This feels like a silly question, but what's the difference between 'jest' and 'to'? Or are they both ways of saying the same thing using different cases of object?
Yes, these are two ways of saying the same thing, but they differ in case used.
It's a serious addiction already.
(BTW - the streak would be longer but the coach feature lost it for me: i have chosen to high amount of required points and failed to reach it two days in a row, and didn't know, that it wont count. So it should be about 700)
"Kot jest zwierzęciem" is more like "Cat is an animal", while "Kot to zwierzę" is something like "Cat - it is an animal".
exactly. in Russian you can even use the dash symbol for that, e.g. "Дима - медик".
Almost. The dash (-), "Дима - медик," (Dima - medik.) is "Dmitrij jest medykiem," in Polish. The dash (-) is a substitution for the omitted present tense verb "to be/is" есть (jest'). It is not omitted in Polish. In Russian, it's left in only for emphasis. Дима есть медик! (Dima jest' medik!) For example, if you're arguing with someone about him being a medic, and they're denying that he's a medic.
"Dmitrij to medyk," has a direct translation in Russian "Дмитрий это медик." (Dmitrij eto medik.)
Interesting. Would that pause apply to all times you use "to" in this way?
In this sentence you can use both. No difference in meaning ,
Noun is Noun - You can use "to", "to jest", "jest to" bot)h nouns in Nominative (easier) OR you can use "jest" - second noun (object) in Instrumental.
Pronoun is noun - You can use "to" "jest to" "to jest" with on/ona/ono/ one/oni, (he/she/it they) you cannot skip pronoun. (you cannot use it with I, you sing., we, you pl) Pronoun is noun- you can use different forms of "być= jestem/jesteś/jest/....) + noun in instrumental , you can skip pronoun.
Pronoun or noun is adjective - you don't use "TO" adjective in nominative
I would like to know too! By the way, all of the comments here are so helpful, thank you all people, you make learning this language a very plesant experience!
Zwierzę is the noun in the regular, nominative case, like you would look up in the dictionary. After the verb "to be" in Polish, być, in this case "is"/"jest", the noun declines into the instrumental case. That declension is zwierzęciem. It means that a cat is "in the state of being an animal."
If you omit the verb jest and say,
Kot to zwierzę.,
then zwierzę stays in the nominative case.
Well, the literal translation would be the singular. The plural "Cats are animals," would be Koty są zwierzętami. Or Koty to zwierzęta.
This sentence doesn't exactly have "c", it has "ci".
"ci" = "ć" is a palatalized consonant. It's also rather not "ch" (which is more like Polish "cz"), but at first it's really hard for the learners to perceive the difference between these sounds.