Utwór, nutka, and kawałek. What's the difference?

Very often while reading Polish and seeing people speak online, they all refer to these words as a "song."

My question is what is the difference between all these and which is most common or acceptable to use and when?

July 22, 2016


"Utwór" is a normal word for a "piece", for example in music or poetry so it's helpful especially when you can't call music "piosenka" (a song) as no one is singing there, it's instrumental. But you can use it for a song as well.

"Nutka" is a diminutive from "nuta", a musical note. So that's definitely totally colloquial. I rather hear "nuta" about a song, don't know if I heard "nutka".

"Kawałek" is more literally "a piece" - also a piece of cake even, and it's colloquial as well, although not that much as "nutka".

So the acceptability of these words, from the highest, would be: utwór - kawałek - nuta - nutka.

July 22, 2016

Thank you so much for that detailed explanation! That makes a lot more sense to me now.

July 22, 2016

isn't kawałek also a diminutive form, or is there no such word as kawał?

July 22, 2016

Yes, it is :) There's word for "kawał" that can mean "joke" or something big, like "kawał drogi" - "long distance/way" or "kawał sera" - "a big piece of cheese".

July 22, 2016
  • 2012

It may be purely philosophical observation but although "kawałek" is grammatically the diminutive form of "kawał" it is "kawał" that is an augmentative word based on its meaning in Polish.

"Kawał" means a big piece of something and "kawałek" usually is considered as somewhat "standard" piece of something - a portion. The small piece of something is called "kawałeczek".

"Kawał" in the meaning of "a joke" does not have any other forms - neither diminutive nor augmentative.

July 25, 2016
Learn Polish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.