"Czy mówi pani po angielsku?"

Translation:Do you speak English?

January 1, 2016

This discussion is locked.


Can the order of "mówi" and "pani" be switched?


Yes. That will be still the same question.


so i use 3rd person when addressing "formal you"?


It is similar to French and Spanish where you say "does the gentelman" or "does the lady". For example Czy pani ma papierosy? Does the gentelman have cigarettes?


Maybe it was just a typo, but 'pan' is a gentleman, 'pani' is a lady.


in Spanish yes but not in French. in French, the "vous" is used as a formal you


I've encountered "Est-ce que [le monsieur/la madame] a besoin de quelque chose?" in a shop, but maybe that is ridiculously formal these days!


It is quite formal, it can however be used for effect, possibly teasingly. Generally, though, without the article.


It's incredibly formal these days and it would only ever be used by for instance wait staff or shop assistants in an incredibly posh establishment but I think 'does madam speak English?' would be an acceptable translation. At least that's how I mentally translate the formal second person.


Yeah this is the literal translation, but is it really possible in English? "does madam(e) speak" has altogether 12 results in Google...


I would not hear this in my everyday life, but I certainly would hear it on TV--an English speaking butler saying, "Would the lady like tea? Would the gentleman care for some dinner?" Or, as verticordian said, at ridiculously formal establishments. Therefore the phrasing exists all over the English speaking world, just in contrived instances. (But for any English speakers struggling to understand how to use this, think of a butler in an old movie and suddenly pan and pani meaning "you" makes sense)


Okay, adding it does no harm even if it's 'ridiculously formal' (Polish sentence is after all 'totally normally formal'), so it's gonna work now.


I wasn't advocating for change. I think y'all got it right! (I seriously love this program). I understand you are looking for normal conversation, not contrived wording. I just wanted to help an English speaker understand the Polish construction of these formal sentences. We have it, we just don't really use it. Keep up the good work!


Well, if that is technically possible and will make literally three people (the number of reports) in a group of few thousands happy, then I guess why not ;)

Thank you for the kind words!


But can you translate "y'all" into English ;o) ?


It is indeed good English, though it is, as she says, very formal and somewhat dated.


Better translation: Do you speak English, ma'am? We have formal nouns in English just no formal conjugations


Yes, and also "Sir/madam, do you speak English?"


But that's closer to "Proszę pana/pani, czy mówi pan/pani po angielsku".


I'm curious that the vocative isn't used here. Does "Proszę" take genitive?


It does in constructions with Formal You, which I guess you can treat as fixed phrases. It's not "proszę" as in "I am asking for", it's rather like "Excuse me, sir/madame".

By the way, it's a relatively common mistake for Polish people to say "Proszę panią" when they should have used "Proszę pani", and a joking answer can be "Do tańca"? "Proszę panią do tańca" is like "I'd like to ask you for a dance, madame" ;)

As for Vocative, it would work perfectly with people, when actually meaning "please". "Proszę, mamo/tato/Marku/Aniu!" = "Please, mom/dad/Marek/Ania!"


So, if I understood well: pan (litt. sir) -> when addressing to a man pani (litt. lady) -> when addressing a woman panowie (litt. gentlemen) -> when addressing to some men panie (litt. ladies) -> when addressing to some women panstwo -> when addressing to a group where there are both men and women


In Polish, do you do the German thing like when addressing somebody with a doctorate? Such as "Czy mówi pan doktor po angielsku?" (male example in this case).


only if: a) they are medicine doctor, even if they don't have doctorate
b) it's a university based situation.



I think that (apart from very formal situations) it's rather an Austrian than a German thing to call someone "Herr/Frau Doktor" unless he or she is a medical doctor. Some people say that Austrians miss their titles of nobility and so they hang on to those few remaining titles.


Can you leave out pani altogether?


That would change the meaning of the sentence. You can leave out "normal" pronouns, but if you omit the Formal You form, it's just as if you were asking about some 3rd person that must be known from the context.

So "Czy mówi po angielsku?" would be "Does he/she speak English?".


One can address a woman more formally in English by saying "Madam, do you speak English" and a man by saying "Sir, do you speak English.


Not "Ma'am/madam, do you speak english?"


Added such a word order (we mostly expected 'madam' at the end of the sentence).


That, and the corresponding "Sir," for the version using "Pan" are OK-ish. More likely English would be to drop the title altogether, and just say, "Excuse me, do you speak English?". But that would be a different Polish construction too!


Well yes, we probably wouldn't use the title in most circumstances, but to me that is a different sentence. If I were to be speaking formally to a stranger — like maybe if I were in a fancy hotel or something — I might say "Excuse me, do you speak English, Sir?". And at many schools the students still address the teachers as Miss and Sir. It weirds me out, but they do it.


Could some shed some light on the 'po angielsku' bit in terms of the case?

I have English (as in in the adjective to speak English) as angielski in the nominative. What case does 'po' make it?

I checked Wiktionary and it came up with angielsku as 'Old Dative'?


Well... Wiktionary for "po" (at https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/po#Preposition_6 ) states that "po" takes dative with adjectives when used in the sense of a language. It also states that "Dative adjectives that end in -ski for the lemma take the archaic suffix -sku instead of the usual -skiemu when used with this preposition."

Does that help?


Perfect explanation. Dziękuję bardzo!


So would i be right to say that when pan (etc.) is used as the pronoun carrying out the action then the verb always goes before pan?


Both orders are perfectly correct and a question word "Czy" is optional:

(Czy) Pani/Pan mówi po angielsku? - Ma'am/Sir, do you speak English?
(Czy) Mówi pani/pan po angielsku? - Ma'am/Sir, do you speak English?


is is correct " Czy pani mówi po angielsku?"


Looking at https://context.reverso.net/t%C5%82umaczenie/polski-angielski/czy+pani+m%C3%B3wi it seems to be perfectly correct, but I cannot speak for Duo.... Try it and see!

It's probably a matter of emphasis: "Do you speak English?" (as opposed to somebody else in the room) against "Do you speak English?" (as well as being able to read and write English)


Should’t „Do you, ma’am, speak English?” be accepted? I admit that the wording is a little clunky, but it is grammatically acceptable.


It is indeed clunky but acceptable. The problem is that it does require those commas, and Duo isn't great at checking punctuation.


It should honestly accept "Do you speak English, miss?". Pani denotes it must be referring to a female, not a male... not specifying that seems like an omission.


I got distracted and took mówi very literally and put "he speaks". yikes


Why mówi (he/she/It? Why not mówisz Is pani nominative here?


"Pani" is indeed nominative here. It is "mówi" and not "mówisz" because "Pan"/"Pani" behave like a 3rd person singular subject. Think of it as "Does the lady (being addressed) speak English?" or "Does Madam speak English?"


why not "mówisz " ? and why not " czy pani mówisz" ? Thanks


This lesson is teaching you how to use the formal version of "you", which are forms involving "pan" (m) and "pani" (f). So, "mówisz" is fine for friends and family, but you'd use "pan(i)" for more formal situations.

The "pan(i)" forms take the third person, hence "mówi" instead of "mówisz".


"Does sir speak English?" was not accepted. I've often heard the use of "sir" this way.


Where did you hear that? (Which country? What kind of situations?)


In London, in the 1990's. A shopkeeper used it. Seemed bizarre to me at the time, but I liked it and since then I've always translated Pan into Sir like this.


Well, he could have been being sarcastic, or veeerrrry olde-fashioned, or even, dare I say it, not a native English speaker. I (former-Londoner) would suggest avoiding using this expression.


Well, then it was just his personal habit... Not a common thing to say in Britain. But I found some hints saying that it might be used in Africa – maybe it has remained from old colonial times.


That is a perfectly correct translation. Not used in everyday speech but certainly in very formal situations. ~Would Sir like wine with his meal?


Jellei: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/amp/english/sir Under "examples of sir in a sentence" here. It's technically correct however very rare, I can only imagine it being said by waiters, servants or butlers in very formal, upper class establishments


Well, so far all our teammates are strongly against it... can you provide us with some source proving that this is in use?


Does the pan/pani vs ty apply as usted vs tú in Spanish or is there a difference?


Yes, and they behave as third person pronouns just like "usted".

Be aware, though, that they have many more cases than usted/ustedes.


One difference is that I believe (it really surprised me) that you can omit "usted" in a Spanish sentence but you can't omit "pan/pani" in a Polish one, because it will be understood as "Does she/he speak English?".

In Spanish "¿Habla inglés?", I believe, can mean both "Does he/she speak English?" and "Do you speak English[, sir/, ma'am]?", but I would never understand "Czy mówi po angielsku?" as "Do you speak English?".


As far as I remember, in Hungarian it works in a similar way as in Spanish. The formal pronoun "ön" can be omitted and the plain 3rd person singular is used.

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