It would be of great help to me if the "revealed" translation available when you click on the word was not just a simple meaning ("fish" of "it") but also told us what case it was. This little bit of extra information would help in figuring out the rules since there are no lists in Duolingo of these forms.
Unfortunately Duo wants us not to put grammar notes in the hints, because they appear as words as puzzles (so you would get "Nominative" as a puzzle in the application). I hope they will finally fix it so we could provide those notes.
They are provided in some places, still, although they technically shouldn't.
Anyway, "ryba" is singular and Nominative.
what do you mean? It is a normal polish possessive pronoun. it means his. It also has the same form as one of three genitive forms of "on"- jego/go/niego . And it does not change with declination.
genitive forms of nouns follow nouns they describe, possessive pronouns precede nouns they describe.
If "jego" were a true possessive surely it would decline by gender, as NJG88 asked above?
It doesn't: "jego pies, jego kobieta i jego dziecko w domu"
Also by case, But it doesn't:
Kocha jego kobietę. Nie kocham jego kobiety
Which leads me to believe its the genitive form of the pronoun... literally "of him".
Anyway, whether you think of it as a possessive pronoun (or possessive adjective, as that's really how were using the other ones in the list above here) that doesn't decline, OR as the genitive form of the pronoun, it doesn't really matter. The effect is the same.
One thing that you might not be aware is that in Polish there aren't two forms for possesion like English "his" and "of him". „Jego” can be interpreted as either, and so does any other possesive pronoun. Third person possesive pronouns are special in that they don't change with the gender of the objects, but other than that there is nothing special in them, even in the literal meaning.
Ok, so accepting both your points then, what is the difference in usage between "jego" meaning "his" and "jego" meaning "of him".
Someone above said the genitive form has to come after the verb?
Ona lubi jego ryba (possessive pronoun/adjective - whatever you want to call it)
Ona lubi ryba jego (3rd person sing. masc. gen. pronoun)
is that correct?
If word placement doesn't matter, then I revert to my argument that the two things are the same. But its all academic anyhow... :)
Ok guys, I concede defeat :)
Nothing like a good debate though to help one with learning grammar. Checking facts and sources motivated by a desire to prove a point lol. I've learned a lot from this thanks.
The major thing I was missing is "why else do the genitive forms of the pronouns exist, if not to express ownership?"... what I hadn't considered, and you guys made me think about, was .... the answer is they are there for all the other times the genitive case is needed WITHOUT expressing possession, e.g. object of a negative transitive; complement of certain prepositions etc. etc.
IE all the things that an English speaker never thinks about because we only associate the genetive case with possession :)
Thanks for your patience and explanations.
there is no difference, you can complicate things for yourself if you want, "ryba jego" is still his fish, just in weird order, (Yoda or Bible).
I tried to point out the difference between nouns in genitive and possessive pronouns:
we never use mnie/cię/ciebie/was/nas instead possessive pronouns
we never use go/niego/niej/nich instead of jego/jej as possessive pronouns
we put nouns in genitive after nouns they describe ( zeszyt Kasi), and possesive pronouns before them (mój zeszyt)
Just before we start: it should be „rybę”. Because the object of „lubić” takes accusative.
The difference here is that the first variant feels much, much more natural. The second one has the same basic meaning, but sounds incredibly off, even in poetry it would be risky. to use.
The basic function of word order in Polish is to accentuate certain parts of speech, while maintaining the same logical meaning (which is possible thanks to complex inflection), but it also means that certain combinations doesn't sound right.
To give an example of genitive „on” that is not a possesive, let's look at „nie lubię go” or slightly differently accentuated „jego nie lubię”. Yes, it's identical to the possesive pronoun. Yes, the two forms differ from each other in first and second persons. It's a specific quirk of the third person.
If thinking about them as third person genitive pronoun helps you learning, then go for it. But I treat "jego/jej" as a normal possesive pronouns that simply behaves in a slightly different way.
Starting from the second question: well, but there surely is a difference and it may not even be a small one.
If you say "That fish is his", you know that there is some fish, and you say that it belongs to 'him'. "That fish" is the grammatical subject.
If you say "That is his fish", the new information is "his fish", so 'fish' is also a part of the new information. Perhaps the fish is in the box, so we didn't even know it's a fish until now? And the subject is "That" - serving as the dummy pronoun.
In Polish the differences are exactly the same.
Back to the first one: no, I don't think that "to" is the verb. I'm not even sure if it can ever be called a verb, but let's simplify and call it that way... so it's a 'verb' in a sentence like "Ryba to zwierzę", but not here, here it's the subject. "To (jest) jego ryba" = "This is his fish".
What does 'to' specifically mean in this sentence? My first thought would have been that "Czy to jest jego ryba?" makes more sense, but I guess I'm missing something. Maybe I'm just so used to those sentences like "To jest kot." I apologize if anyone already answered this question somewhere on this page, it's hard to scroll through and catch everything. Any help is appreciated, thanks in advance!