"Is this boy evil?"
Translation:Czy ten chłopiec jest zły?
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Why is 'jest' required when there is 'czy'? I read it 'is this boy is bad.' I think I'm having trouble with word order in the sentence? Or is the first part- czy ten chłopiec - is this boy plus the second part - ten chłopiec jest zły- this boy is bad. I'm confused and haven't found a good place for basic grammar and phonetic instruction.
czy does not mean "is" or "does". It's just a question marker.
Ten chłopiec jest zły. Statement -- "This boy is bad."
Czy ten chłopiec jest zły? Question -- "Is this boy bad?"
czy is not translated in the English sentence -- it's there to mark the sentence as a question, but in English we use word order rather than a question marker to do so.
You can ask a question simply by changing the dot in the sentence to a question mark. So "Ten chłopiec jest zły." changes into "Ten chłopiec jest zły?" and you have a question. But as this may be understood as "What?! This boy is evil?!" (showing surprise), it's safer to start with "Czy" to make it clear that it's a real Yes/No question.
There is no inversion in Polish questions.
jest is the verb "is".
czy can't be translated directly into English -- it marks the sentence as a question.
It's a little bit like the "do" in English questions such as "Did he laugh?" -- it doesn't have a meaning of its own and is just required grammatically in order to make a question (you can't say "Laughed he?").
We don't exactly need "czy", it's just useful to make it clear that this is a real yes/no question. Otherwise the sentence could be understood as a surprised "What? This boy is evil?".
If you ask why is "jest" needed, then it sounds as if you got something confused with Russian. You can't just omit "to be" in Polish.
That's where Czech and Polish are different. Due to German influence, Czech developped a non-mandatory subject-verb inversion in questions, which is absent from Polish.
Whereas in Czech, the subject is usually not expressed and in case it is, the inversion is optional .
Source: https://theses.cz/id/h9ceie/BP_-_Zaoralova_Gabriela.pdf (page 34)
[...] no inversion to form questions, e.g. *’You know my sister?’ (‘Ty znasz moją siostrę?’);
Source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320835041_Polish_as_L1_English_as_L2_the_linguistic_transfer_impact_on_Second_Language_Acquisition_stemming_from_the_interlingual_differences_implications_for_young_learners_education (page 72)
Having said that, it's not totally wrong to use inversion, but it has nothing to do with this being an interrogative sentence (as it is the case with Czech and English) and it is rare enough that we can safely reject it. We want to avoid a so-called 'negative linguistic tranfer' where features from the source language get transferred to the target language, even though they don't belong there. English speakers are very likely to automatically use the inversion in Polish, which could become a hard-to-get-rid-of habit if we allow it in every exercise.