"On jest synem mojego sąsiada."

Translation:He is my neighbor's son.

January 28, 2016

25 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bluebell-John

It says 4 comments but there appear to be only two.

But, anyway, my main point is that this is fiendish. It moves immediately from instrumental synem to the next two words in genitive?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei

Well... yeah. The sentence is built as "This is Y", right? And the noun phrase Y is "my neighbour's son". If we consider this noun phrase on its own, it's "syn mojego sąsiada". Saxon Genitive in English = Genitive in Polish. Now we're putting this Y into the sentence and we see that Y must take Instrumental. And luckily the Genitive part doesn't change anymore here, you just need to put "syn" in Instrumental. "synem mojego sąsiada".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Valkorus

"He is my neighbor's boy" isn't acceptable? It's not quite a literal translation, but it's functionally identical.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei

Still, "boy" is not a translation of "syn". And that's definitely the first such suggestion I have seen in more than two years.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei

Respectfully, I apologize, seems that you are right. However, I'd still prefer to keep the translations as literal as possible, especially that you're really the first person to suggest that. As 'just acceptable answers' (not the main, starred ones) sometimes get suggested without any particular reason, I don't want anyone to get such a suggestion and get confused. Especially people that are not native speakers of English could get confused about the exact meaning of "syn".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Valkorus

That's a very reasonable position. Fair enough.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/franksimor

How would you say, 'he is my son's neighbor' vs 'he is my neighbor's son'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei

On jest sąsiadem mojego syna = He is my son's neighbor.

On jest synem mojego sąsiada = He is my neighbor's son.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lurven1

What about "he is the son to my neighbour"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei

I believe that would only make sense if you meant "he's like a son to my neighbour", but not for the neighbour's real son.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mangle_love_you

To jest zepsute ,bo napisałem to samo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alik1989

Maybe you missed the apostrophe?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IvesAB

Would on jest mojego sąsiada synem work? I am trying to figure the word order for these cases where the genitive implies possession.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei

It's really strange, I'd say. In Polish you just put the 'possessed noun' first and the 'possessor noun in Genitive' next.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IvesAB

Alright, that sounds fine. Thank you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BuchitaBuchys

Ok, so I'm confused, yet again. Lol Sorry. So this sentence translates literally to: "He is the son of my neighbor". Is my observation correct that in Polish, possession follows this order: thing that is possessed, followed by word like my or yours that shows who it belongs to, and lastly the person, thing etc that it belongs to?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei

You're generally correct, but I'd say that there are rather two notions here, not three. First is 'the thing that is possessed', but the pronoun "my" and the noun "neighbor" together create one notion, "my neighbor", and that is 'the person that it belongs to'. This sentence has "my", but it could also be "He is Adam's son" - "On jest synem Adama".

The 'owner' always takes the Genitive case, the 'owned thing' takes the case that is needed in the given sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sharinglanguage

Hi, could "On jest synem mojego sąsiada." maybe actually be an abbreviation of "On jest synem od (or even z) mojego sąsiada." (which can also be used, or was used in the past?)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alik1989

Since the Proto-Indo-European period, one of the functions of the genitive case was to indicate possession. Replacing the genitive case with a preposition was a relatively late innovation in the development of modern European languages. Old English, for example, didn't even have a word for 'of'. So, if you are asking about the timeline, then possessive genitive was first and possessive prepositions came later, not the other way round.
And in modern Polish it's still wrong to put a preposition in that spot.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndreiHorac

he is son of my neighbor not accepted


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei

Firstly, it at least needs to be "the son/a son". Secondly, that's just not really how native speakers of English usually speak. Given that people (mostly Polish people) learn English here as well, we don't want to accept what we consider unnatural.

A rare exception where it feels natural enough (but still less than the 'basic' variant) is a construction like "a friend of mine".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CVFleming

Boy, did I fall right into that trap or what!!! My son's neighbour

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