Do Poles use the word 'drinks' without a beverage to imply drinking alcohol like we do in English?
Could this be sort of the same thing as saying that "that boy over there is drinking"?
Yeah, it could be drinking alcohol or a usually fountain drink. Anything basically.
Is there any difference between the words "This" and "That" in Polish? Or does it come from context?
yes. But difference between ten/tamten and between this/that is not the same.
In English this, that, that In Polish ten, ten, tamten.
So you have to translate "tamten" to "that" and "this" to "ten", but translation of "that" and "ten" depends on context.
Just for the record, "tamten" literally means "there 'this" ("tam" = there), so I think it's usually used for things slightly further away ("over there") or in opposition to "this":
"Podaj mi książkę. Nie tę, tamtą"
Pass me the book. Not that one, the other one
(PWN/Oxford "Wielki" dictionary)
'tamtą' :) Yeah, it's not exactly logical, but 'tamtę' doesn't exist and both Accusative and Instrumental are 'tamtą'.
Why isn't it "Tamtego chlopiec pije" instead of "Tamten chlopiec pije"? [Sorry about the 'l' - English keyboard]. The Doulingo notes say that tamten is for masculine inanimate and tamtego is for masculine animate - surely a boy is an animate noun?
Is it because 'this' in the phrase 'this boy drinks' is a modifier as opposed to a pronoun such as in 'this [thing] drinks'?
I'm confused. Please help.
Cases. Yes, "tamtego" is masculine animate, but it's an Accusative form. Accusative of masculine nouns is the only case where it matters whether the noun is animate or inanimate. So for example you can say "Widzę tamten stół" (I see that table), but "Widzę tamtego chłopca" (I see that boy).
In this sentence, "that boy" is simply the subject of the sentence, so it uses Nominative. Which for masculine nouns is "tamten".