How would you say in Polish "why is your boss in jail?" (vs. "in A jail" here)?
Polish justice system distinguishes between więzienie, which is a long-term confinement facility for convicted criminals, and areszt, which is used to detain suspects.
From what I understand, in English prison is więzienie and jail is areszt.
Dlaczego twój szef jest w areszcie?
About the difference between "in jail" and "in a jail", or "in prison" and "in a prison", Polish doesn't distinguish those, although you can use verb siedzieć instead of być to refer to someone who is detained compared to someone who just happen to be in there:
Dlaczego twój szef siedzi w więzieniu? – Why is your boss in prison? (=What crime has he been convicted of?)
Dlaczego twój szef jest w więzieniu? – Ambiguous –the boss can either be sentenced or just visiting, or be there for any other reason.
Because "w więzieniu" is perfectly pronouncable.
We use "we" when what follows starts with W/F and another consonant. Compare: We Francji/W Finlandii, We Wrocławiu/W Warszawie.
Also "we mnie" (in me).
What's the difference between dlaczego and czemu? We have both in ukrainian, but they have different meanings...
They have the same meaning in Polish, but some people may find "czemu" more colloquial, and/or less 'proper' because it's a russicism.
Not everything that resembles Russian is actually Russian.
For example, Ukrainian colloquial “нє”/“nie” instead of normal “ні”/“ni” is often considered russicism. Thought, it’s “нет”/“nyet“ in Russian, while Polish/Belarusian “nie” is exactly the same.
Yeah, from Russian language and culture.
For example, in movies from the communist times you can hear addressing a single person using 2nd person plural, which is Russian 'Formal You'. In today's language that would sound absurd.
This is very interesting. And those films were in Polish, you say? (Wy vs. Pan o Pani)
Also, are you supposed to capitalize Pan or Pani when it is written?
Yes, I mean Polish movies of course.
Well, the thing about capitalization is as follows: yes, it is polite and recommended to capitalize all forms of "you" and "your" (not only Formal You, all of them) when you use them while addressing someone directly. So for example in your comment above there's no reason to capitalize them. But if you were writing to someone, let's say, "Co u Ciebie?", that asks for a capital letter.
Duolingo sentences don't use them, as they are just sentences taken out of context. Even though many of them address some imaginary interlocutor, this is not a real address to a real person. It's like a line from a dialogue in a book. And there is no capitalization in dialogues. But writing to someone (letter, comment, text message, Facebook message) - yeah, you should do it there :)
Thanks for clearing that up, I got a similar question: What about the difference between Coś and Czegos?
I asked my dad and he said there really isn't one, but I'm unsatisfied with that answer.
Well, they are different forms of the same word (something).
"coś" is either Nominative (Coś tu jest = Something is here) or Accusative (Widzę coś = I see something); "czegoś" is Genitive (Szukam czegoś = I'm looking for something).