"He is speaking about something boring."

Translation:On mówi o czymś nudnym.

August 23, 2016

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'something boring' in nominative would be 'coś nudnego' right? So why is it here 'czymś nudnym' instead of 'czymś nudnego'?


Hmmm. I believe that in most situations the whole phrase assumes the needed case. Although for sure there are situations when it doesn't happen, like with ownership: pies Adama (Adam's dog) -> On mówi o psie Adama. But then in that noun phrase the ownership is still identical, and the sentence would make sense as just "On mówi o psie".

I guess that you can also just substitute "czymś" with something specific and then you have a normal noun phrase: On mówi o nudnym wykładzie. And it's not surprising that this whole noun phrase assumes Locative.

This is more of a stream of consciousness than a real answer, but I don't have anything better ;)


Thanks. I thought that most languages with cases kinda work the same, but that’s clearly not the case. In Dutch, we sometimes have some remnants of cases (like ‘iets saais’ [something boring], which is genitive). As cases aren’t actively used anymore, this doesn’t change even though it’s in a different function. That’s why I somehow thought that it’s be like that in Polish as well, but I was wrong.


Hmmm so how about "He says something boring" and " he cuts with something boring" Would it be " nudnego" in both of those or would it be "nudne" and "nudnym" respectively? In other words, is it only when cos is nominative that you have the non matching genitive or is it only when you have a preposition that the nudne agrees?


"He cuts", as in "Adam was talking but suddenly Jeff interrupted him and started talking himself"?

Yeah, I think that would be "On mówi coś nudnego" for "He says something boring" and let's say "On wtrąca się z czymś nudnym" for the cutting part. In the first one, "coś nudnego" as a whole is Accusative, although the word "coś" itself makes the adjective that follows Genitive - don't ask me why, it just works like that here. "czymś nudnym" is Instrumental for both words.


Thanks, that is really interesting, I find all these anomalies fascinating. It seems to me that the Polish language is an amalgamation formed when two different tribes, or cultures, met. One contributed the structure of positive sentences , "czymś" etc and "jestem" etc; the other culture contributed the structure of negative sentences, also "coś" ," şa" and various other bits that don't seem to fit in. Do you know if this is a theory linguistic experts have mooted? Maybe I should stop distracting myself with these thoughts and just get on and learn my new verbs! Talking of which, Jellei, do you think you will have time soon to write any more of your wonderful "light bulb" explanations? I, along with many others, really love them. They are always interesting as well as informative. Thanks x


I'll try my best to find some time for that, although some recent changes in my life don't make it easy ;) But thank you so much for your kind words :)


I'm not sure what you are referring to when talking about the structure of positive and negative sentences, but I suspect that it's about the accusative changing to the genitive when a direct object is negated. That is actually a quite early innovation in Proto-Balto-Slavic (before 1500 BCE). Modern Lithuanian, for example, which is a Baltic language, still has this feature.

About the difference between jest and : This is an even older phenomenon that dates back to Proto-Indo-European (probably before 3000 BCE). The majority of European languages, including English, use different stems for those two conjugated forms.


Thanks Alik for your reply, for some reason I am not being given the option to reply to your message so I am replying to Jellei's. I suppose it is obvious really that the older the language the more inconsistencies it will have , as languages are developed by different people over millennia. It will only be invented languages like Indonesian which are consistent. I had thought of są being like sont in French but had never noticed jest being like est in French.

And yes i was thinking of negative sentences taking the genitive, but also jestem often negating to nie ma mnie.

I find learning Polish marginally less difficult as in am beginning to see these patterns and your explanations make it so much more interesting. Thanks again


I think it often works like this in Polish: That you use Genitive in the dependent, if the main word is nominative/accusative, and use the same case for both, if it is another case. Compare: Widzę wielu ludzi. > acc + gen Rozmawiam z wieloma ludźmi. > instr + instr

(No native speaker, but it should be so as far as I have understood it.)


Yes!!!! That makes so much sense, most big numbers behave like that too. In these cases we have adjective (or maybe qualifier?) followed by noun and in the cos nudnego we have noun followed by adjective, but is the same structure


"czymś"?? Where does that come from?


It's Locative (and Instrumental) form of "coś" (something).

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