"mali chłopcy, małe dziewczynki"

Translation:little boys, little girls

December 15, 2015

This discussion is locked.


How does the l become a ł in the feminine?


"Ł" doesn't like being followed by "i", so it then turns into "L". Words with "LY" are very rare (for example, "Lykantropia"). Words with "ŁI" also, maybe even not a single one exists.


There was a great comment on "Źli ludzie." by HelioLBS which explains the l-question: "Well, in Polish (and other languages) there's what is called "a phonological agreement". Soft consonants go with soft ones and hard consonants go with hard ones. If I'm not mistaken, "l" is considered "soft" and "ł" is considered "hard". Nominative, singular, masculine adjectives usually end in "-y", which agrees phonologically with hard consonants, for instance "zły". To form its plural, we need to drop the "-y" and replace it with its soft version "-i", but the latter only agrees with soft consonants, so we need to drop the "-ł-" and replace it with its soft version "-l-", but "z" is not soft, so we also need to replace it with its soft version "ź". Then we are left with "źli", in which all three sounds agree in phonological softness. Please, everyone, feel free to tweak this explanation; I'm not a 100% sure I explained correctly."


It's more the opposite question you should concern yourself with, why does "ł" become "l" in the masculine form, because "ł" is in the basic form of the adjective "mały" (the basic form given is the masc. sing. Nom.).

"The masculine personal plural adjective ending is -y/-i and the preceding consonant is softened: dobry → dobrzy, ładny → ładni, miły → mili, wielki → wielcy, drogi → drodzy; for more examples, see below.

Swan, Oscar (2008-10-12). Polish Verbs & Essentials of Grammar, Second Edition (Verbs and Essentials of Grammar Series) (Kindle Locations 780-782). McGraw-Hill Education. Kindle Edition.

As you can see the third example is almost exactly the same word, save one vowel change.


Touch long "l" -sorry my English is not good


Without explanation it feels like puzzeling in stead of learning a language. So puzzeling I find that the adjectives before nominative plural nouns are formed like so: -y/-i for male personal, and -e for male non-personal, female en neuters (not taking in account some some extra letter changes) Can anyone confirm or correct?

It would also be a nice timesaver if we could get a hint on the adjectives for plural nouns in Accusative and Instrumental.


You have to remember the masculine/neuter/feminine plurals and non-plurals. Then you would understand more. Try taking notes in a journal, it really helps.


There are good tutors too if you'd like a one-on-one conversation with someone instead of learning off of a website.


Message me if you need any help!! ((:


Thanks Madcat, for your offer. Next week I'm gonna start all over with my son. We'll now use additional sources for our information.


learning from a website, rather than "off of" a website.


Any notes on plural endings for adjectives? I know singular endings are y, a, and e for masc, fem, and neut respectively. For plurals, is it i, and e, for masc, and fem respectively? + what's for neut? Thanks in advance for help folks


In plural you don't have masculine/feminine/neuter. There are 'only' two plurals. Sometimes they are called masculine and feminine, but although that seems simple and tempting, it's just not true. Their real names are complicated, but at least descriptive.

The first one is 'masculine personal plural' - generally, it's used for 'groups of people including at least one man'. So as "chłopcy" are men, they are obviously masculine personal.

The second one is 'not masculine-personal plural' - and it's used for everything else. All feminine nouns, all neuter nouns, and the masculine nouns that don't denote people.


What is the difference betven "small" and "little"?


Can mały,and it's other forms, also mean young as in "a young boy/girl"?


Yes and they often come together with a diminutive form of the noun. "Mała dziewczynka" means a small (& young) girl, but "mała dziewczyna" means small in size, i.e., a short or a petite girl. It can also mean small in importance, like a small problem = mały problem. However you should not use it in the sense of a younger sibling, unless the little brother/sister is still quite young: "mały braciszek" as well as "mały brat" both mean a younger and (at the same time) smaller brother and should never be used about adult siblings, because it sounds pejoratively, like a (figuratively) little man.


I wrote-dziewczyny and it didn´t take it. Why?


The only potential reason I see is the problem of meaning dissonance. If you use "dziewczyna" then you imply that the girl is not so little anymore, so "małe dziewczyny" sounds a bit weird.

You don't learn many diminutive on Duolingo (in part because including them would exceed the limit of possible answers in many questions), but some of them, like "dziewczynka", are so important that they are taught here.


Mała dziewczynka, to be accurate, should be translated as "a small, young girl", which isn't accepted as an answer. I wish Duolingo would use dziewczyna when doing those exercises. Dziewczyna and dziewczynka, I don't believe, are interchangeable , yet are translated here as if they were. I think most of us know dziewczyna by now.


In English, small and little don't mean the exact same thing. Is this the same case as with zła where later I can learn to distinguish between similar ideas in Polish?


I can understand that there are some context when one is preferred, but to my Polish mind the meaning of those two is the same and don't think I'd translate them differently.


That is very surprising to me. Perhaps others might chime in with their opinions. If others agree with you, I will change my use.


I'm just a Polish guy talking about a language I learned, I wouldn't really be surprised if there was some nuance I do not see.


I choose to trust you. A Polski with such a good grasp of English should know by now the difference we mean between 'small' and 'little'. Really the difference I want to know is small in the sense of smaller than the average human and little in the sense of having some kind of preciousness and/or fragility to it.


A diminutive form might be something to use in some situations where you would use little. For example in English there is a normal "cat" and diminutive "kitty". In Polish many words can have diminutive forms, and not just nouns, but adjectives too. Diminutives, however, are not covered by this Duolingo course.


The preciousness/fragility aspect is not covered by the Polish word.

I second Vengir, the diminutive is a good option.


Sorry, I'm seeking clarity here. I've had Polish friends tell me it's common to diminutise a word itself and can be done to any noun. Is this what's being referred to or is this a grammatical device I haven't learned of yet?


We do not teach diminutives in this course, but yes, I agree that it can be done with any noun. Some Polish people use diminutives a lot, others hate it and consider infantile. But it's an important feature of the language. A lot of the time, the diminutive doesn't exactly refer to something "little". I think that one of the most commonly hated diminutives is "pieniążki", coming from "pieniądze", i.e. "money". It doesn't mean "little banknotes and little coins" nor even "a small amount of money", it's just a different way to refer to the same notion.

"dziewczynki"... I guess technically we could consider it a diminutive form of "dziewczyny", but it's such a common word that we just don't think of it as a diminutive, it's basic vocabulary. No diminutive-hater would complain about this one ;)

To be clear, when I wrote "The preciousness/fragility aspect is not covered by the Polish word.", I meant simply that the adjective "mały" doesn't show it. A diminutive form could indeed suggest that.


what i wrote was exactly the same as what you said is correct, except that I capitalized the first letter of the first word, and you have it in lower case. But that should not matter.


Yes, it shouldn't and it doesn't. Do you have a screenshot of this?


Thank you for your response, but I later realized what my error was: I put an "i" instead of a comma between the two phrases, so that what I wrote was the phrase (in Polish) "little boys AND little girls," when what was called for was simply "little boys, little girls." So it was my mistake after all. Unfortunately, I did not think to make a screenshot. But thank you again for your concern.

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