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  5. "Can you read and write?"

"Can you read and write?"

Translation:Umiesz czytać i pisać?

June 28, 2016



Which sentence is more correct? 1."Oczywiście, że umiem czytać i pisać." 2."Oczywiście umiem czytać i pisać."


The first one. In the second one, at least a comma after "oczywiście" should be used.


Do you have to use the imperfective with możesz and umiesz? (I had put przeczytać i napisać...)


It's because it's very general here. Can you read (generally) and write (generally)?

If you had something more specific: Can you read what is written here, it would be perfective "przeczytać". Can you write the word "grzegrzółka" would take "napisać".

So the perfective version would at least need some "this" which would be at least a bit specific thing that could be read/written.




And now let's all pretend that my mistake was on purpose, to show that it is very valid to ask "can you write this word?" :D

But seriously, this is one of the most classic orthography tests, rarely used to actually refer to this bird.


Answer on mine was Umieją panowie czytać i pisać. Which doesnt match the answer shown above.


It is one of the possible translations for "you" ... the official polite plural in polish.


I am confused. I would use 'umiecie' or 'umiesz' because 'umieją' works with 'oni, one' (they)


If you're talking to one person, then you would say umiesz. If you are talking to two or more people, you'd say umiecie.


Click on the link and then click on "Conjugation of umieć impf" once inside, for a full conjugation table


So the polite form of 'you' takes the 3rd person plural?


Formal singular forms (pan = Mr., pani = Mrs.) take 3rd person singular, formal plural forms (panowie = gentlemen, panie = ladies, państwo = mixed couple/group) take 3rd person plural.


I have a question about panie. In the declension table, it says that it's also the vocative case of both pan and panie. So does that mean that you'd address one man or multiple women the same way? That's what the vocative case is for, right? Addressing people directly?


It's hard to imagine a situation where you would address someone using a pronoun. If it's vocative then it really isn't a pronoun anymore, but a noun.

Examples in combination with another noun:

  • Panie Profesorze! (one male)
  • Pani Profesor! (one female)
  • Panowie Profesorowie/Profesorzy! (more than one male)
  • Panie Profesorki! (more than one female)
  • Państwo Profesorstwo! (mixed group)


I'd add simple things like "Szanowny Panie" (Dear sir), "Szanowna Pani" (Dear Madame), "Panie Nowak" (Mr. Nowak), "Pani Kowalska" (Mr. Kowalska). Or "Panie i panowie" = "Szanowni państwo" (Ladies and gentlemen).

We discussed it further with Alik and there are a few comments to the Professor thing: I'd say that only the singular ones are in common usage, there just usually isn't need to use the plural ones (for example "Szanowni państwo" really seems polite enough to me even if everyone there is a professor).

And "profesorki" (plural of "profesorka") is one of those risky feminatives that are so controversial lately. Some people may consider it colloquial and even kinda offensive, some others would say it's completely normal.

Please also remember that unlike in English, where the 'feminist' tendency is to make everything gender-neutral, Polish goes completely the other way, feminism wants female nouns for professions where there wasn't a commonly used female variant so far. Another note: it seems that around 100 years ago Polish language used a lot more feminatives than it used 5 years ago.


Yes, Russian is the same way with feminine nouns, although in recent years it has become more common to use the masculine noun. Ona doktor, wrać, inżenier instead of doktorsza, wracicha, inżenierka.

We don't have a vocative case in Russian, that's why it was confusing to me. Except we do use a vocative case for God - Boże. Until I learned about vocative case, I always thought that Boże was just a nickname for God that everybody used. LOL


Yes, Russian was one of the first Slavic languages where the vocative fell out of use and was replaced by the nominative. The only place it can frequently be found nowadays is in old religious texts (отче наш, человече, владыко...).

Linguists have recently discovered a re-emerging vocative case in casual speech (Толь/Лен/Мам instead of Толя/Лена/Мама).


Is it possible to say "pan umie pisać?" or does the verb umie have to be the first element of this sentence?


It is okay, although I do believe that it feels a lot more natural to put the verb before the Formal You pronoun.

Which makes it probably the only context in which the verb feels natural before the subject pronoun.

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