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"There is a desk between the window and the door."

Translation:Pomiędzy oknem i drzwiami jest biurko.

March 10, 2016

39 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anna678613

Why is "biurko jest między oknem i drzwiami" not accepted?


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

You started your sentence knowing about the existence of the desk (The desk is between...). In the Polish sentence, this is a new piece of information.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anna678613

Isn't it too much for one sentence, to make us mind the newly learned household words, the newly introduced preposition and the new case endings, and to top it with this theme/rheme thing which has never been stated expressly in previous lessons? Are situations like "There's a lot of things between the window and the door. Lampa jest między oknem i drzwiami. Lustro jest między oknem i drzwiami. Biurko jest między oknem i drzwiami. And a lot more things too" totally impossible in Polish?

Not that I'm insisting, it wouldn't be the only odd sentence to memorise, so I can do this too. But I've seen much more dubious variants allowed on the course and I am somewhat at a loss here, I really can't see reasons for this sentence to be rejected as completely wrong.


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

Those are perfectly possible and natural, but that's the thing - if you say "Biurko jest między oknem [a/i] drzwiami", that means that you know that the desk exists and state where exactly it is located. While in "Między oknem [a/i] drzwiami jest biurko", you start with the knowledge of 'the window' and 'the door', and give an information that there is a desk between them.

Teaching such nuances isn't easy (and it's not easy to be consistent in this - in terms of your 'dubious variants allowed'), but well, we shouldn't accept every sentence that is more or less similar, as it won't help understand the exact meaning.


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

There's an ambiguity in the english sentence though, which I think is the problem. "there's a desk between the window and door" can be used to describe the location of a desk or can be used to describe what sits between the window and door, and the only accepted translation here appears to be to the latter while without context it seems english speakers seem to assume the former.

As an example, you say "Biurko jest między oknem [a/i] drzwiami" means you start with the knowledge of the desk's existence and you describe where it was located, which is precisely what the English sentence we're asked to translate can mean: "I need you to do me a favour: go into my into my office; there's a desk between the window and the door. In the upper left drawer of that desk is an envelope I need you to bring me". This is opposed to what the only accepted translation would be, which is more like: "I don't know where to put my bookshelf" "why don't you put it between the window and door?" "there's a desk between the window and the door"

Thus, it makes sense that both translations should be accepted. If only the latter remains accepted, the English sentence should be changed so that it can only mean the latter


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anna678613

Yeah, for the record, I second jwkrasow's opinion above. The grammatical subtleties of "there is" constructions are too elusive to make them a firm ground for insisting on the sole Polish variant chosen by Duo. More logical would be either to make the point clearer and shape the English sentence in a more defined way to avoid ambiguity, or to allow both Polish variants. The current situation, not very logical, makes the user memorise rather than understand the principle and use it knowingly.


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

Well, true that 'door' and 'window' may have not been known to you before, sure. But still, you used "the door" and "the window", but "a desk".

"Biurko jest..." really translates to "The desk is...".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Popo-lsku

I understand what you mean, but the english sentence, what we have to translate into polish, starts with the knowledge of the desk, too!? Isn´t it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Popo-lsku

"Biurko jest..." really translates to "The desk is...". OK, that´s it! Thank you Jellei !!! :)


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

Well, when translating from english "there is a desk..." i cannot catch a difference between polish sentences


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeanette364461

But the english version of the sentence starts with the desk, ie the desk is known about first.


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

Well... the word "desk" is closer to the beginning of the sentence, but as it's "a desk", while you also have "the window" and "the door", I believe that you learn about the existence of this desk only after hearing this sentence.


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

On top, I didn't learn about między so far ;)


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

On the polish wiktionary page for drzwi I noticed that there isn't a plural version for drzwi. Is that right or is it just not on the webpage?


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

there is no singular version of drzwi. It is always plural like trousers


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

Why instrumental and not locative?


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

While of course Locative is used for many locations, it's not for every preposition denoting location. "między" is among those others, and it uses Instrumental. A few others (nad, pod, za, przed, probably something else) do as well.


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

Is the preposition usually used to start the sentence in Polish? It is sometimes awkward to do so in English.


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

It's common to start the sentence with the preposition ("Na ścianie wisi obraz" - "On the wall there hangs a painting" woah that sounds so weird in English). I'd say you start a sentence with the preposition when you're speaking about "a picture" (not defined), but when you want to say about "the picture" (defined) you start with the noun because you want to put an emphasis on the thing you're describing ("Obraz wisi na ścianie" - "The picture hangs on the wall"). But that's just a subtle difference, basically a matter of what you want to emphasize. But starting with a noun in this case ("Wisi na ścianie obraz") sounds very unnatural unless it's poetry.


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

This sentence is normal. If I were to say: Biurko jest ... that would probably be: The desk is ...

To say „a desk” I would use aforementioned order or add another word: „Jakieś biurko jest ...”.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OlegOleg747282

can 'a' be used instead of 'i' and what is the difference?


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

"i" is a normal "and", "a" gives contrast. So here, it can work just fine. Doesn't really make any important difference in this sentence. But in most cases, only one of those makes sense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xavier.eH

Could it also translate to "Between the window and the door, there is a desk."?


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

Yes, it works.


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

Why is "To biurko pomiędzy oknem i drzwiami" wrong? Thanks.


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

It misses a verb.

"To biurko" generally means "This desk", it may also possibly mean "This is a desk" but rather when you're pointing at it. "To biurko pomiędzy..." definitely seems to miss something.


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

Thanks. Hmm so will it be possible with masculine or feminine nouns since "to" can only mean" to jest" in these cases? "To torba pomiędzy oknem i drzwiami".


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

It's still weird to say: This is 'a bag between the window and the door'. As if the part put in inverted commas was one noun phrase. This is a bag, and where it is located is another matter.


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

What is the plural of door?


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

"drzwi" only have a plural form in Polish.


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

I thought drzwiami was a plural. Mea Culpa


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

Could be singular or plural, but that's Locative.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Inge452707

Why not: "to jest biurko pomiędzy oknem i drzwiami"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JaniceSchl1

What case is biurko?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JaniceSchl1

There is a lack of lessons overall. I thought the Duo Plus would explain more. It doesn't and was a waste of money.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Inge452707

There is no such promise. With the plus version you get rid of the advertisements.

For the explanations: I always get them in the discussions. I ask and I get an answer. And in the Polish course, the answers usually are given quickly.

For me, just doing the exercises of the crown levels one by one is not enough to memorise the vocabulary, word order and grammar in polish. So I often only use the practice button and do a lot of Tinycards.


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

What Inge said.

If you want Prime service that is essentially basic, you can try Busuu. I am - for my part - very happy with my basic Duolingo, and to be honest, I learn much about the structure of the language by "hey, what is that?! Lets look into discussion. Ahhhh... Okay? Hm. Strange, too. Okay, let's ask about this. - Cool, got it, thx." I think you even can't teach some details in normal lessons, like, to explain in each sentence why this verb or that case is used like that. Duolingo does way more, optional to see by one tap or click. And if not, as Inge said, you can ask for it. For free ^^

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