"The big boys and little boys."
Translation:Duzi chłopcy i mali chłopcy.
~y po c, dz, cz, dż, sz, ż, rz,
but there is still possibility for -owie,
„Dzieci” ≠ „chłopcy” ;) „Dzieci” are indeed not-masculine-personal, „chłopcy” are masculine-personal and for a total mind-bender, „chłopaki” are not-masculine-personal in the nominative and behave like masculine-personal in other cases… Personally, I suggest to take cue from the natives, and never use „chłopak” in the plural (personally, I avoid it like a plague). ;)
No, ł does not stand before i -- thus you have mały chłopiec with ł but mali chłopcy with l.
The "i" historically softened (palatalised) the letter -- ł used to be more like a "dark (velarised) l" in English as in "bell" while l (without stroke) is more like a "light l" in English as in "light".
Similarly, duży but duzi -- the i palatalised the ż to ź (but we write zi instead of źi).
These changes sound very similar to lenition. Quite fascinating. This is my first serious attempt at Polish because I adore wandering small Polish villages and few speak English there. My knowledge or Gaelic lenition helps guide me when to soften a word. It's not perfect but oddly enough it does help when I remember to use it. (in case anyone else knows the Gaelic!)