"Jaka jest twoja odpowiedź?"
Translation:What is your answer?
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Based on my knowledge of Russian and German (not necessarily Polish), I would say that "jaka" is probably a lot like "which" in addition to "how".
In this case, "co" would make less sense, then. Think of it this way:
"Co jest twója odpowiedź?" -- What is your answer? Well, it's an answer. Duh!
"Jaka jest twója odpowiedź?" -- Which (answer) is your answer? Well, my answer is [blah blah blah]....
In other words, the proper response to "co" is to identify what the thing is, and you've already specified that it's an answer. But you want to know which answer, and that information is requested by asking "Jaka?"
i am german, and you can say in german both, how but also what Wie ist deine antwort, was ist deine antwort. so it is again different from polish and english. in polish i think only jaka is correct maybe also która jest twoja opwiedz? but i think jaka is more like what is your question and która as mentioned above in a comment is more like which
Since Jaka is said to be a sort of an "adjectival what" that seems to require an adjective as an answer, does this mean that asking "Jaka jest twoja odpowiedź?" should be answered like, for instance: "good", "bad"? From the comments I've read here, it doesn't seem to be the case, so this sentence may definitely not be an exemplary (most common) way to use Jaka, no?
It is a very basic usage of "jaka", it's just that I've always had problems explaining this particular difference ("co" vs "jaki"). I guess that perhaps "adjectival what" is not the best possible name for it.
I found this old explanation from br0d4, even if there's an exception that I can't think of, this should generally work:
If in English you have "what" on its own (What is this? What do you want? etc.), then it translates to forms of "co" ("co" undergoes declension through cases).
If in English you have "what" and a noun/pronoun (What color do you like? What is your question?), then it translates to forms of "jaki" ("jaki" undergoes declension through cases and genders).
The jaka and twoja suggest odpowiedz is feminine but the word ends in a z (By the way, why is Polish so full of the letter z in its words and why . not content with one z , do you need three in the alphabet?) so I wonder why this word does not appear to be a masculine noun as it ends in a consonant.
They are three different sounds, you wouldn't ask this question if someone centuries ago decided that they should look completely differently ;)
Firstly, there are exceptions to the 'ends with a consonant -> is masculine' rule. For example "mysz" (a mouse) is feminine.
And nouns ending with palatalized letters (ć, ń, ś, ź) are even more unpredictable in terms of their gender. They could be masculine (koń, słoń), they could be feminine (odpowiedź, przyjaźń). But I believe that most abstract concepts ("answer" is an abstract concept) that end with those letters are feminine.
Sorry, no, What is your answer like? doesn't work, or not sensibly.
What is your answer like? My answer is long, pink, fluffy, and rather like a unicorn.
What are his parents? I'm not sure but I think they're either ducks or dentists.
The latter question isn't impossible but would need to be in the context of a conversation about jobs to make sense. Either way, it doesn't mean the same as Jacy są jego rodzice?
a conversation about jobs? interesting. i thought that would still be "who are his parents?", with "what are..." meaning something else
"what is your answer like?" doesn't make much sense as a question, but (as i understand) it does convey a possible meaning of "jaka jest twoja odpowiedź?". just like in english one can dad-jokingly respond to "what is your answer?" with "a sequence of words" (or "well, it's an answer. duh!", as on top of this discussion), in polish one can go "krótka"
yes, i know you don't accept 'technically correct' translations anyway, only those that are 'probable' :(
"What are his parents?" would definitely not translate to "Jacy są". Probably to "Czym są", but then it means they're not people (you'd say "Kim są", so "Who are they" then)...
I guess "what is your answer like" is technically a correct translation, but as you said, not exactly the most probable one ;)