1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Polish
  4. >
  5. "Dzieci to mali ludzie."

"Dzieci to mali ludzie."

Translation:Children are little people.

December 15, 2015



I'm not understanding how to use "to" in this sentence


The pronoun to can be used in copula-type clauses to connect subject and predicate, ie. it can be used instead of the verb to be to express equality.

Just as dzieci są małymi ludźmi means ‘children are little people’ (notice that the predicate, little people, is in instrumental, małymi ludźmi), so does dzieci to mali ludzie (but here the predicate is in familiar nominative).

There is no similar construction in English, so you should just remember that to can be usedd instead of to be verb to equate two nouns. And it is independent on gender and number, eg. córki to dziewczyny (daughters are girls), jabłko to owoc (an apple is a fruit) – so it is actually simpler than English, where you would use is or are, depending on number.


So using "to" to express equality between two nouns is something that's used because it's simpler than using To Be. Is this because that verb requires the noun to be in the instrumental instead of the familiar nominative?(Thanks for the thorough explanation)


Both of them are pretty common in Polish. I believe the course introduces the construction with to earlier, because it is much simpler. ;-)


I am fluent in Russian, so for me "to" is equivalent to "это", and in English I'd say this could be "Children that (are) small people", only instead of "that", English uses "are".


I understand your explanation about the use of "to", but i don't understand why we have mali instead of małe (nominative, plural): https://imgur.com/NjFhVJV


Your tables say "except for male persons" (more specifically: groups of people with at least one man, and surely 'people' are such a group), and you have a few sounds that are softened, enumerated... but it misses Ł turning into L. Generally, the masculine personal plural version of adjectives/possessives is usually different from the other variants.


Thanks for your explanattion Silmeth, have a lingot.


This is quite helpful, thanks so much!


In English, it would be like saying, "Children: these are little people," as opposed to "Children are little people."


For better understanding, in a sentence "Lew to kot" the literal translation is: Lion it a cat. It's like a short form of Lion it (is) a cat. Hope this helps. ;)


Why is it 'Dzieci to mali ludzie' not 'Dzieci to małe ludzie' ???


because mały/małe/mali has to math gender number and case with "ludzie"=people, not "dzieci"=children.

And ludzie gramatically is masculine personal plural noun, so it needs masculine personal plural adjective.


But the declension for masculine personal plural adjective is "e"and not "i" : https://imgur.com/NjFhVJV ??


No, plural masculine personal is mali. Ludzie is a personal noun.

Plural masculine non-personal is małe as in małe psy, "little dogs." Psy is a non-personal noun.


yes yes they are


Huh... This sentence sounds like it's right out of a Victorian era Psychology book. Kinda creepy and dated... and wrong.


How are you like the only one to say this?!? Im a kid and find this offensive


Is there a reason why "humans" isn't accepted for ludzie?


It is now. Report things like that, not only comment; it helps us, the learners from the future.


Is ludzie masculine or neuter?


it is masculine personal. ( which is a plural gender that includes only nouns that are both masculine and describe a person)


The actual word is masculine, but it can be used for both genders. I can say 'Kobiety są ludźmi'.


Can I say Kobiety to mali ludzie?--even though women is feminine plural?


grammatically correct. But you should not say it - women will tear you apart. We are not small. :P


Kobiety to duzi ludzie? Hahaha


This sentence gave me the biggest chuckle


What a shame there are no more explanations for the lessons, just exercises. This is the perfect learning system for this language, as far as i'm concerned. I've tried several times to learn Polish and not got far because the system didn't suit my mind. This one is systematic and has the right steps, addressing the language in grammatical building books, not in a tourist approach ("can i book a hotel room for two people please... where is the post office?") or all-of-life-in-one-go approach (i have two books on the desk and lots of flowers in my garden..."). I almost gave up when the explanations stopped and i struggled to find quick but orderly answers to my queries on declension, adjectives, plurals etc. But i have found the answer here! https://end.translatum.gr/wiki/cz%C5%82owiek Click on "main page" (top left) then insert the key word (it helps if you know the nominative singular) and lo and behold, you get a little lookup table with all you need to know. So then it's easy to understand the progressions in the exercises that seem haphazard without the key. Good luck and lots of fun, everyone!


I should understand that ludzie here is 'men', because of the masc plu form of the word mały (which is mali)?


Well "ludzie" are masculine personal, it is a plural form of a noun that is masculine and personal (człowiek). Mali is masculine personal.


Why don't accept "humans"?


why isn't it dzieci są mali ludzie?


After it requires instrumental case.

Dzieci są małymi ludźmi.



Maybe this can help, Part 1 may be enough for the beginning :)


I'll have what Duo's having.


Are "to" and "są" similar? If so, when do I use either of them?


I hope that this article explains it thoroughly: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/16373167


Again, why dobrzy (not dobrzi) ludzie, but mali ludzie?


I am sure there is a long explanation describing evolution of Polish language, and other with groups of letters put in tables, but

-ry ending changes to -rzy - ły changes to -li

you can read page 38-39 here http://www.mediafire.com/view/s2uuu1gp0wgv9pp/PolishGrammar.pdf

Adjectives have different gender-forms corresponding to the genders of nouns, as well as a full set of case endings in both singular and plural, except for the Vocative, which is always like the Nominative. An adjective agrees with the noun it modifies in gender, number, and case. The masculine singular ending is -y, as in dobry (good), ładny, (pretty), miły (nice, kind). This ending is spelled -i after k and g: wielki (great), drogi (dear, expensive); and after soft consonants (which are not common): tani (stem tań-) (cheap), głupi (stem głup’-) The feminine singular ending is -a, as in dobra, ładna, miła. The neuter singular ending is -e, as in dobre, ładne, miłe, spelled -ie after k and g: wielkie, drogie. This is also the plural ending for adjectives modifying nonmasculine personal nouns. The masculine personal plural adjective ending is -y/i, before which a hard-to-soft consonant change occurs: dobry dobrzy, ładny ładni, miły mili, wielki wielcy, drogi drodzy; for more illustrations see further below.


Ah, so rz c dz are followed by y rather than i.


rz, cz, sz, ż, are followed by y, never i

If C is followed by Y, then it makes a "tsy" sound. If it's followed by "i," then it makes an English "chee" sound like "cheese," or the Polish Ć sound.

If dz is followed by Y, then it makes a "dzy" sound. If it's followed by "i," then it makes an English "gee" sound like "Jesus" in English, or the Polish "dź" sound.


Thank you, immery. This makes sense.


1 - Why "l" is not slashed through here? 2 - Also would it be too strange if all variants of adjective "mali" would be spoken and written without slashed "l"?


What in masculine singular had -ry ending, changes to -rzy, what had - ły ending, changes to -li. For masculine personal plural, of course. And "ludzie" is masculine personal as it's "a group of people including at least one male".


L and Ł are two different letters, not "slashed through." The Polish Ł is pronounced like an English W.

Plural masculine personal adjective "mali" but all other plural "małe." Singular neuter is also "małe," and singular masculine "mały" and singular feminine "mała."


how would you say "These children are little people"?


Te dzieci to mali ludzie. Te dzieci są małymi ludźmi.


Shouldn't it be small, not little?


Both work, "little people" have around 4 times as many results in Google.

Learn Polish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.