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  5. "Mali ludzie noszą małe ubran…

"Mali ludzie noszą małe ubrania."

Translation:Small people wear small clothes.

December 17, 2015



Who would have known?


Well, its the only logical answer


Why "mali ludzie" but "male (l with stripe through) ubrania"?


Polish is the only Slavic language with the Ł sound taking the place of L (except for the occasional Polish loanword in Belorussian), and the change happens only to masculine personal adjectives and pronouns (little boy, little man, white tomato, etc).

Every other Slavic language just uses the velar L all the time, like Russian яблоко vs. Polish Jabłko. The sound it makes does also occur in Ukrainian and Belorussian, but its usage and rules are completely different.


"Mali ludzie" -- "mali" is plural masculine (of "mały")

"Małe ubrania" -- "małe" is the plural feminine (of "mała")

With feminine words, the "a" at the end is changed to an "e". With masculine, many times it goes from "y" to "i" with a slight alteration of spelling (which is why it has an "l" and not an "ł" in the plural form).

Hope this helps!


I need to add that in plural there is no masculine-feminine distinction. Even though mały pies (a small dog) is masculine, its plural version will still be małe psy.

Mali - masculine personal (virile): Groups of people containing at least one man.

Małe - non-masculine-personal (nonvirile): Everything else.


Small people wear small clothes. Could you please try to explain again why it is Mali (with no cross through) ludzie nosza (with a tail) male (with a cross through) ubrania. The comments from Sirwootalot 1 year ago do not seem to tie up with the answer given. Thanks. In your reply, can you also please explain how I get back to this posting, other than by remembering which section I was doing when I raised this question!! Many thanks.


In Polish, there are two plurals: one is "masculine personal", and the other is "not masculine-personal". Yeah, the names are difficult, but at least they describe their functions well.

So masculine personal is used for 'groups including at least one man' and not masculine-personal, logically, for anything else: women, boxes, dogs, trees... The not masculine-personal form is identical to neuter singular, so at least it's one thing less to remember.

The word "ludzie", by definition includes at least one man - otherwise you'd just specify and say "women" or "girls", not "people". So it's masculine personal.

Now, the adjective form for masculine personal often looks different from other forms. For example, Ł turns into a normal L. Like here.

So we have:

Mali (masculine personal, because "ludzie" are masculine personal) + ludzie + noszą (3rd person plural) + małe (not masculine-personal, as clothes are not human at all) + ubrania.

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Thanks man. Your explanations makes headaches go away.


Clothes and pants are always plural? And as such they don't change to accusative?


Pants (spodnie) is always plural and can be seen as either masculine or feminine (it doesn’t matter much). Clothes isn’t always plural, it’s ubranie in the singular and ubrania in the plural, in particular it’s a neuter noun. And the accusative of plural inanimate nouns is the same as the nominative form, so they don’t change when they are at the accusative case.


so one pair of pants would be one "ubranie" then?


I would say that "ubranie" is one set of clothes that you wear at the same time. You would say "Załóż ubranie!" - "Get dressed!"/lit. "Put the clothes on!" (or more often "Ubierz się!") to someone naked or in undergarments only to tell them to put e.g. trousers, shirt, socks and shoes; or any set of clothes appropriate at that situation on e.g. suit before going to a meeting. "Ubierz się!" or "Przebierz się!" is appropriate when telling someone to change their clothes, but "Ubierz się" fits rather only when the new set of clothes has more pieces. Plural "ubrania" can mean one set of clothes but more often than not means multiple sets or your whole suitcase/wardrobe worth if clothes.


so is nosza (with a flick on end) 3rd person plural?


First, it's called ogonek – it's one of the borrowings from Polish to English and this diacritic is also called that in Polish. It's literal meaning is 'little tail'(„ogon” is 'tail').
Second, yes, that is right, „noszą” is 3rd person plural, and since it doesn't indicate grammatical gender(„Oni noszą”, „One noszą”) it's one of these cases where you shouldn't omit the pronoun, unless context makes it clear in some other way(which it does in 90% of cases in 'real life' but almost never on Duolingo ;) ).


Small people wear little clothes Oh, the ambiguity! :^)


Actually, there is none:

  • „Mali ludzie noszą małe ubrania” – the size of their clothes is small
  • „Mali ludzie noszą mało ubrań” – they are exhibitionists :P


I see, I see! Thanks!


oh come on! my translation 'the small people are wearing' is totally the same as duolingo's 'the small people wear'. One gets marked down for nothing sometimes.


We have a mess with wearing, as some sentences already have only the correct answers, and some still accept the wrong ones. And actually "are wearing" is a wrong answer.

You are used to Polish verbs being translated either to Present Continuous or Present Simple. Yeah, in 99,9% of the cases there is absolutely no difference.

However, "wearing" is in that 0,01% that shows the difference between PC and PS. And the current version of the course actually doesn't teach "to be wearing" at all. That's why it's sometimes still accepted, because for a long time we couldn't decide what to do with it.

Anyway: "to wear" (generally, habitually) is "nosić". As here. While "to be wearing" (right now) is "mieć na sobie" (literally "to have on oneself"). Therefore: "Noszę koszule" is "I wear shirts" while "Mam na sobie spodnie" is "I am wearing trousers".


why is "are wearing" less valid than wear? is it because of past/present tense??


The following verbs we teach in this course distiguish habitual from progressive action: biegać/biec, jeździć/jechać, pływać/płynąć, nosić/nieść, wozić/wieźć, latać/lecieć.

Nosimy (habitual) - We carry / we wear

Niesiemy (progressive) - We are carrying (Exception; it does not mean: we are wearing)

We are wearing - Mamy na sobie or Jesteśmy ubrani/ubrane w

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