https://www.duolingo.com/NanoRicci

Are there rules to form plurals?

Cześć everyone!

Yesterday I was doing some of the lessons in the plurals skill and I noticed that generally plurals are formed by adding 'i', 'y', 'a' or 'e' to the nouns. I tried to figure out if there were any patterns but I didn't arrive at any conclusions :(. Could someone tell me if there are any rules to form the plurals?

Dziękuję bardzo!

December 16, 2015

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/silmeth

The most obvious ones are:

  • Neuter nouns ending in -o take -a in plural (okno, n.sg., = ‘window’; okna, n.pl., = ‘windows’).
  • Masculine not personal (animate and inanimate) ending in hard (non-palatal consonant) take -y (kot, m.sg. = ‘cat’; koty, m.pl. = ‘cats’) which changes to -i after /k/ or /g/¹ (ptak m.sg. = ‘bird’; ptaki, m.pl. = ‘birds’; targ m.sg. = ‘market, marketplace’, targi, m.pl. = ‘markets’).
  • Masculine personal take -i (which palatalises last stem consonant) or -owie, and there is hardly any rule for when is which (pan, m.sg. = ‘sir, man, lord’; panowie, m.pl.; kat, m.sg. = ‘executioner’, kaci, m.pl) but -i changes into -y after /sz/, /ż/, /rz/, /c/, /cz/, /dz/, /dż/² (kupiec, m.sg. = ‘buyer’, kupcy).
  • Feminine with stem ending in hard consonant take -y similarly to masculine not personal (krowa, f.sg. = ‘cow’, krowy, f.pl.).
  • Those ending in soft (palatal) consonant take -i or -e with no clear rules (ciocia, f.sg. = ‘aunt’; ciocie, f.pl.; gość, m.sg.personal = ‘guest’; goście, m.pl., kość, f.sg = ‘bone’; kości, f.pl.).

Soft consonants here would be: ś, sz, ź, ż, rz, c, ć, cz, dz, dź, dż, l, ń, j (and sometimes m, p, b, f, w, when they change to mi, pi, bi… in inflection).

Hard consonants would be: s, ch, h, z, r, k, t, d, g, ł, n (and most of the times m, p, b…).

You can also look at declension tables on Wikipedia, which gives some basic rules.

¹ Because of Polish phonology and orthography, which both prohibit /y/ (as a letter and a sound) after /k/ and /g/.

² Again because of phonology and orthography, -i is prohibited here and it must change the other way around.

December 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/alukasiak
Mod
  • 2029

This is great!

December 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/NanoRicci

Thank you very much! I think I have a general idea of these rules now. But of course, learning all these will require practice :)

December 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/silmeth

Learn the distinction between hard consonants and their corresponding softs (there is a nice table on Wikibooks). Knowing which can have only -y, which only -i, and how they change when before -i will make it all pretty easy.

The only real problem is to decide when to apply -i and when -e in soft endings, and when -i or -owie in masc. personals – sometimes both are correct (Norweg m.sg. = ‘Norwegian man’, Norwegowie or Norwedzy m.pl = ‘Norwegians’).

PS. I’ve updated the post above, because I had left some consonants before. Now the lists are exhaustive.

December 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/mitchell274

This guy should be a moderator.

December 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GeraldoSan4

Don't get whats a personal noum. is it like a name?

January 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Okcydent

No. The most crude division of nouns distinguish only 3 categories: masculine, feminine and neuter. It is much more convenient to subdivide masculine into 3 new categories: masculine personal, masculine animated and masculine inanimated.

Masculine personal encompasses: proper names and functions, jobs that are being done by men. Examples: Piotr (Peter), Paweł (Paul), lekarz (physician), pilot (pilot).

Masculine animated -> animals.

Masculine inanimated -> rest, so things, ideas etc.

January 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/alukasiak
Mod
  • 2029

Sorry that the Tips & Notes are not there yet, I understand how this aspect can be confusing for learners.

I will do my best to bring the T & N section there before the end of the year (sometimes around Christmas maybe?).

December 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/el_kappa

We still don't have the "Tips Notes" Section, but the silmeth's explanation was pretty good, would be great all the text schematized in the TN style.

June 20, 2016
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