"You are a boy."
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https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Polish/Noun_cases Cases explained. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ch%C5%82opiec#Polish Click on "show" declension to see the word endings for boy in Polish.
Generally, age. "chłopiec" is a younger boy, "chłopak" is an older one, up to a young adult.
The border between those two is very subjective. One can say that an 8-year-old is already "chłopak", one can think that the right age is 13... depends on a person.
"chłopak" can also mean a boyfriend. But it has to be "someone's chłopak".
How do you know which one Duolingo is looking for? I've answered 'Jestes clopiec' and it's told me I'm wrong and that it should be 'Jestes Chlopczykiem', which I'm sure was never a word in Basics 1.
Now i've just answered 'Jestes chlopiec' and I was wrong, it wanted 'Jestes Chlopcem'.
I'm totally confused..!!
There are at least three translations of the English word "boy". Two of them are taught in this course. Those are: [chłopiec/chłopak/chłopczyk]. Their Instrumental forms are: [chłopcem/chłopakiem/chłopczykiem].
You need Instrumental in a sentence like this one. "Jesteś chłopiec" is grammatically wrong. More info here: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/16373167
As for why Duolingo suggested two different answers... well, it doesn't always suggest the main answer. Maybe it considered that "chłopczykiem" is closer to what you answered.
It seems that most of the examples have "chłopiec" for "boy" where it is nominative but examples where instrumental is required have "chłopakiem". This is a bit confusing.
In my studies I found that as well as 'chłopiec' being the diminutive if 'chłopak', 'chłopiec' itself has a diminutive: 'chłopczyka'. Surely this form should also be put into some of the examples, to keep us on our toes and give us the full flavour of the wonderful Polish language.
Am i missing something to Duolingo? Is there somewhere that it actually TEACHES us why and when to use certain forms? The previous example just said: "Ty jesteś chłopcem". We drop the "ty" and now it's "jesteś chłopakiem"? Its the ty that makes the difference?
I feel like I'm being tested on a course i never took!
The correct translations are "[Ty/] jesteś [chłopcem/chłopakiem]". "ty" can always be omitted. "chłopcem" (from "chłopiec") is a younger boy while "chłopakiem" (from "chłopak") is an older one.
A significant portion of the course has T&N (Tips and Notes) available, but they are only available from the browser version. It's the lightbulb button.
"Jesteś chłopiec" - do not say this because it is incorrect.
"chłopiec" should be used when a boy is the subject of the sentence. For example, "Chłopiec piję wodę." The boy is the subject, it is the boy who is drinking. What is the boy drinking? Water. Observe that normally water is spelled "woda" when it is the subject, but since it is the instrument it gets the weird ending, just like with "chłopiec"/"chłopcem".
In "Jesteś chłopiec" the subject is "Ty" (you). You already have 1 subject, but you cannot have 2. You must use "chłopcem" here.
As others have commented,
"chłopiec"/"chłopcem" - a young boy "chłopak"/"chłopakiem" - an older boy
So if you are speaking of a young boy playing on the floor with his toy trucks, you would use "chłopiec"/"chłopcem".
If you are speaking of a teenage boy smoking cigarettes after school, he is probably an older boy, so use "chłopak"/"chłopakiem".
Where to draw the line in-between is subjective, but you will probably know it when you see it.
The exercise before this was "Jesteś dziewczynko," and gave its meaning as "Are you a girl?" Yet here it says "Jesteś chłopcem" means "You are a boy." No question mark. There's a difference between, say, "are you a boy?" and "you are a boy." The former a question, the latter a statement. ???
It's "Jesteś dziewczynką"
Well, Polish, like many languages, just needs to put a question mark at the end of the sentence to change a statement into a question. So you need to look at the end punctuation. There's no inversion like in English (you are -> are you), the word order stays the same. You can start a question with "Czy" if it's a yes/no question, but you don't have to use it.
In English you could say to someone"you are a boy" even if they were of old age. It doesn't not necessarily mean "you are a child, you are immature" (though i suppose it can depending on context.) Let's say hypothetically i walked up to a random man (not child) and said "jesteś chłopcem" would he intepret this as "you are male (not female)" or "you are a male child"?
I think it would have the same effect as in English, "you are immature".
What I'd personally use then would probably be "Dzieciak z ciebie" - "dzieciak" is more or less "a kid", in some contexts it can be a bit insulting. The construction is grammatically unusual, not even having a verb. Literally it's "A kid out of you" or something similar, so the literal translation makes no sense, but the meaning is "You're a kid".
That works in Ukrainian or Russian, but not in Polish. Firstly, you need the verb ("jest") in Polish, and secondly, that verb needs the following noun to take the Instrumental case. "Ty jesteś chłopcem". Grammatically it's kinda like Russian "Ты являешься мальчиком", which I understand is something correct, but rather not used.