Polish language/Nouns and adjectives

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At this stage you should have full understanding of Polish phonetics. If you had trouble understanding any of the examples from the last exercise, please leave a message on the previous lesson's talk page. If you feel you understood all of the examples than you are in the right place. This is where the language really begins. This is where you will learn your first Polish words.

Before we begin, it is important to understand Polish stress patterns. In all areas of Poland, the stress (emphasis) of a word always lies in the second last syllable. With this in mind, you will have no problem pronouncing these words.


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The first thing students learn in any language is the ability to be polite. Here are some examples of greetings in the Polish language:

Cześć - This word is used to say a short-hand hello, "Hi", or a short-hand goodbye, "Bye".

Dzień dobry - "Good-day"

Dobry Wieczór - "Good evening"

Dobranoc - "Good night"

Do widzenia/zobaczenia - "See you later"

Miło mi - "Nice to meet you"

Jak się masz? - "How are you?"

(Bardzo) dobrze, a ty? - "(Very) well, and you?"

Dziękuję (bardzo) - "Thank you "very much"

The multifunctional proszę

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Poproszę.... - "Can I please have...?"

Proszę - "Please", "There you go" and "You're welcome"


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Nouns in Polish, like any language, represent people, places or things. That is, people's names, cities, countries, animals and furniture are all nouns. In Polish, however, all nouns have one of three genders - masculine, feminine and neuter. In general, the gender of a noun can be determined by its ending:

  • Most masculine nouns end in a consonant
  • Most feminine nouns end in -a or -i
  • All neuter nouns end in -o or -e

There are exceptions to this rule, e.g. noc is a feminine noun meaning "night" but it ends in a consonant. As exceptions to the rule appear, they will be pointed out using (m) for masculine nouns that do not end in a consonant and (f) for feminine nouns that do.

Unlike English, the Polish language does not contain articles but instead uses seven grammatical cases to define context. Throughout this lesson, we will be using adjectives and nouns in their nominative case, i.e. as they appear in the dictionary.


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Adjectives are words that describe a noun. Whether an adjective appears before or after the noun depends on the type of adjective used. Descriptive adjectives usually appear before the noun while adjectives used to classify nouns tend to come after. Unlike nouns, adjectives do not have genders, but they must agree with the gender of the noun they are describing.

All adjectives have a stem. The stem is the part of the word that never changes. The remainder is the ending, which does change. It is the changing ending that allows the adjective to agree without losing its meaning. Let's take a look at your first adjective - dobry meaning "good". In the dictionary, this word may be written as dobr|y. The vertical line you see separates the stem from the ending. This is how all vocabulary (Słownik) will be presented throughout the course to allow you to understand how the adjective changes.

Adjective endings in the nominative:

  • Masculine - -y Example: Dobry Wieczór
  • Feminine - -a Example: Dobra noc
  • Neuter - -e Example: Dobre piwo - "Good beer"

Do you see how important the phonetics of vowels are?


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This is the first list of vocabulary that this course recommends for learning. It contains some items of clothing and some colours.


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  • Czapka - Hat
  • Szalik - Scarf
  • Kurtka - Coat
  • Sweter - Sweater
  • Koszula - Shirt
  • Krawat - Tie


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  •   biał|y - white
  •   czerwon|y - red
  •   żółt|y - yellow
  •   różow|y - pink
  •   pomarańczow|y - orange
  •   zielon|y - green
  •   niebiesk|i - blue
  •   fioletow|y - purple
  •   brązow|y - brown
  •   szar|y - gray
  •   czarn|y - black


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Before beginning to do this exercise, please make sure you have understood the lesson and learnt the vocabulary. Without looking above for help, write down, on paper, translations for the following:

  1. A black shirt
  2. A yellow scarf
  3. A green Tie
  4. A brown coat
  5. A red sweater
  6. An orange hat