"Jestem w małym mieście."

Translation:I am in a small city.

March 2, 2016

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Does anyone have a clue why is that word changing so radically from nominative (miasto) to locative (mieście)? :) There seems to be some irregular things in every language that don't have deeper reason, is this one of them? Dziękuję bardzo!

  • 1048

Two regular processes:

  • normal palatalization: hard -st- → soft -ści-

  • -a- between two soft consonants usually turns into -e-


It's regular alternation of a stem. "Miasto" belongs to III group of declension of neuter nouns. Look at "miejscownik" (locative):


Alternation occurs according to this table: bit.ly/21H2hPE


The locative ending contains a palatalising element (something that shifts the pronunciation towards the center of the mouth), let's write it <-ie> (the being the "palataliser"), it affects the /t/ which becomes a palatalised /t/, in writing , but /s/ then has to be palatalised as well, <ś> in writing, and even the vowel is affected (closer thanks to the palatalisation, so we have , not to be mixed up with (a derivative of ),

The derivation of works as follows: + <-ice> (there's the palatalising again), so we get palatalised /t/ and /s/ again and the vowel closing: in old Polish (the palatalising element does not materialise as a segment). This is difficult to pronounce, esp. due to the <ćc> clash, so again there is assimilation from right to left: <ć> becomes and <ś> depalatalises to , but the idea of palatalisation is kept before as a semivowel /j/ before the /s/. (Do not get confused by the bracketing: denotes a graphemic representation, /t/ represents phonemes.)

It looks confusing, but is actually quite regular.


"miescie" - is a place, You offer using to translate it as a ciy which means 'miasto"Why?


No, miejsce is 'a place', miasto is 'a city' and its locative is mieście. They are different words, although miejsce is derived from miasto (it's miasto + diminutive).

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