"A horse is an animal."
Translation:Koń to zwierzę.
Slightly confused. Shouldn't 'Koń jest zwierzem' be correct too? Or maybe I am just doing it wrong :x
Koń jest zwierzęciem should (as zwierzęciem is the instrumental form of zwierzę, neuter, most of the -ę nouns decline with additional -t-/-ci- in the root).
Zwierzem also exists, and is instrumental of zwierz (masculine), which can also mean animal, but sounds odd and wouldn’t be used in normal speech (Wiktionary suggests it is poetical and figurative)
Oh, alright, thank you! Zwierz is referring more to a beast than to an animal, isn't it?
Yup. Or a game (hunted) animals (but for that there is yet another more popular word, zwierzyna).
I translated it as 'Koń jest zwierzeciem' (without ę) and it was accepted. So which one is it? Should I report it? Is 'ę' pronounced same as 'e' here (as in 'zwierzę')?
It should be zwierzęciem. I think this course would just accept everything without Polish diacritics – but that is wrong. You should probably report it.
And ę here is pronounced differently than in zwierzę. It would be something like [zvʲɛˈʐɛ̃ɲt͡ɕɛm] – as if it was written *zwierzeńciem – because the /ć/ sound that appears after /ę/ is soft (palatal), the /ę/ is realised as /eń/.
Before /t/, /d/, /s/, /z/ (some dental, and hard, ie. non-palatal, consonants) it would be pronounced as /en/.
Before /b/ and /p/ (bilabial consonants) it would be /em/.
And so forth – /ę/ is pronounced always as nasalised /e/ followed by a nasal consonant with the same place of articulation as the next consonant. And just as /e/ if it is at the end of a word.
it's emotionally wrong. While technically "zwierzak" is augmentative, it works more like diminutive/endearment.
wsjp. pl = zwierzę, w stosunku do którego mówiący odczuwa sympatię lub współczucie / animal that speaker likes or feels symphaty/compassion
sjp.pwn; wikitionary -zwierzak= tenderly "zwierzę"
We do not use instrumental in English and I wouldn't say that animal is the instrument by which horse is. So, is the basic idea here that this is referring to "an animal" vs. "the animal"?
No. Both koń to zwierzę and koń jest zwierzęciem mean exactly the same, and without context would be understood as ‘a horse is an animal’ (but in some contexts both could mean that ‘the horse is the animal’).
Using być (the ‘to be’ verb) + instrumental is just one way for making copular (defining) sentences in Polish (and some other Slavic languages, like Czech).
Why instrumental is actually used here, and not some other case? For the answer we would probably have to ask some Proto-Slavs or even Proto-Balto-Slavs, from over thousand (or more) years ago, as they started to use that construction.