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Gramatyka opisowa

Discussion in 'Polski (Polish)' started by Skatinginbc, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    [FONT=&amp]A Polish student is taking a college course called Gramatyka opisowa języka angielskiego”. She started a thread in the English Only forum (http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2565308) and a poster concluded at the end that [/FONT][FONT=&amp]the word for "descriptive" in this course title is not the same as the word for "descriptive" in "descriptive grammar" (i.e., an objective, nonjudgmental description of the grammatical constructions in a language http://grammar.about.com/od/d/g/descrgramterm.htm)[/FONT].[FONT=&amp] I’m totally confused. Isn’t “descriptive grammar” gramatyka opisowa in Polish? If not, how do you say it? [/FONT]

    [FONT=&amp]This is my understanding: [/FONT]
    [FONT=&amp]Gramatyka [/FONT][FONT=&amp]‘grammar’([/FONT][FONT=&amp]nominative singular)[/FONT]
    [FONT=&amp]Opisowa [/FONT][FONT=&amp]‘descriptive’(classifying adjective)[/FONT]
    [FONT=&amp]Języka [/FONT][FONT=&amp]‘of the language’(genitive case of język)[/FONT]
    [FONT=&amp]Angielskiego [/FONT][FONT=&amp]‘English’ ([/FONT][FONT=&amp]neuter genitive singular of [/FONT][FONT=&amp]angielski[/FONT][FONT=&amp]).[/FONT]
    [FONT=&amp]Am I correct to say that the reason [/FONT][FONT=&amp]opisowa[/FONT][FONT=&amp] follows the noun gramatyka is to specify a specific type or class, that is, not any grammar but “descriptive grammar”? [/FONT]
    [FONT=&amp]Can gramatyka opisowa mean “a survey of grammar”? If so, please analyze the syntax for me so that I can understand why it can be so . [/FONT]

    [FONT=&amp]Thanks. [/FONT]
     
  2. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    'descriptive grammar' is 'gramatyka opisowa' in Polish.
    I think your understanding is correct.

    Also compare:
    historical grammar -- gramatyka historyczna
    contrastive grammar -- gramatyka porównawcza
    generative grammar -- gramatyka generatywna
    etc.
     
  3. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Yes, you are absolutely right. ;)
     
  4. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    'Descriptive grammar' in the sense of one of the approaches adopted towards teaching grammar is not 'gramatyka opisowa' because for that we use the term 'deskryptywizm'....... Also, some native speakers of English sided with me in that Descriptive gramar of English is not a proper term and makes one think of something else than the course is about. I can't see why you insist on those names, and call into questions the opinions of both native speakers of English and Polish.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  5. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    [FONT=&amp]I asked [/FONT][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]what the course title Gramatyka opisowa języka angielskiego[/FONT] means. I didn't ask what you think the course should be named.[/FONT] [FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]Many people come here for references; therefore [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]misleading information [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]is a great concern of mine. If [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]Gramatyka opisowa[/FONT][/FONT] [/FONT][/FONT]means "Descriptive Grammar", then please say so.
    [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]
    If a Polish poster [FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]misled others into believing that "[/FONT][/FONT]deskryptywizm[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]" is in fact what [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]the title Gramatyka opisowa języka angielskiego[/FONT][/FONT] means, people that don't speak Polish of course would make wrong conclusions. [/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT]
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  6. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    In case you haven't noticed, in the thread I started in the English-English forum, different people had different ideas of what 'Descriptive grammar' means in English. Such being the case, please make it clear what it does it mean in English to you.

    I didn't mislead anyone to think anything, and I resent you saying so. I suggest that you think twice before accusing people of such things.
     
  7. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Honestly -- a college can call their course whatever they want. I agree that this term may be slightly imprecise these days, but this is what it is. What alternative do you see for this term?

    "Gramtyka opisowa" is definitely the branch of grammar which describes language (its phonology, morphology and syntax) at a particular point in time as opposed to a diachronic approach.
     
  8. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    :D To start with, it's not a college, it's a university. Fine. Let's call the course "Two little mouses." then.

    Honestly, I don't really care whether you consider the name adequate or not. The thing is, the course is no longer referred to as 'gramatyka opisowa'. The first and the second part have been given seperate names, and some people from my university I've spoken to don't seem to consider 'gramatyka opisowa' an apt name, either.

    Enough of that, though. It's the second thread in which we discuss the same thing. I have nothing to add here. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  9. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    In the US we can call it a college as well. It is different than college in British English. It has been called gramatyka opisowa in all language departments -- for years:polish, Russian, English, Baltic, Scandinavian. I think only the first semester is called gramtyka opisowa, or descriptive grammar, since it serves as an intoduction to phonology, morphology and syntax. Then the folowing course is probably just called Phonology It has always been this way at many European universities. I think I am done with this descriptive grammar term because I may really have dreams about this subject if the discussion continues.
     
  10. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Same here! :D Let's give it a rest.
     
  11. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    This is a Polish forum, and I'm asking a question about Polish (not what one thinks the course title should be called): Am I correct to say that deskryptywizm means "descriptivism" (i.e., the belief that description is more significant or important to teach, study, and practice than prescription, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Descriptive_linguistics), and it does not mean "a comprehensive survey of grammar"?
     
  12. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Hi, Skatinginbc. I think only someone who graduated from the Polish Philological Department would know for sure what is meant by it in Polish -- it is not a term other people would really know, unless someone ifs interested in linguistics and this is his or her greatest hobby. I know English Departments in many countries call that course Descriptive Grammar.
     
  13. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    'Deskryptywizm' does not mean 'a comprehensive survey of grammar', but then again who said that it does? :) Here's a definition taken from the most reliable Polish dictionary.

    deskryptywizm
    «opisywanie osób, rzeczy, faktów, wydarzeń bez ich oceny» describing people, things and facts without making judgments, without judging them
     
  14. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    Thank you, Thomas1, LilianaB, and Dreamlike for the inputs. May I conclude that [FONT=&amp]Gramatyka opisowa[/FONT] is a type of grammar, whereas [FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]deskryptywizm[/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT], as the Polish suffix-izm suggests, is a type of ideology, attitude, action, or condition? It is like "racial segregation" and "racism" are not synonymous despite their overlapping connotations?
     
  15. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Yes, I think so -- this is why this term may seem slightly imprecise because it overlaps with the term deskryktywizm to a certain extent. (I am not sure why it is called descryptywizm and not dyscryptywizm, which would make more sense phonetically). It is an approach to grammar, or something else, without itself being the grammar, or the thing it describes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  16. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Yes, that is correct. Please note, though, that 'gramatyka' in itself can't be 'opisowa'. It's kind of a mental shortcut whereby gramatyka is said to be 'opisowa' but really it is the course and the way in which it is taught that is so. And again, it does not mean that they teach us descriptive approach towards grammar.
     
  17. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    This is my guess: 1) It ultimately came from Latin describere (de- "down" + scribere "scribe, write"), and 2) de- (from Latin de-) is a legitimate prefix in Polish.
     
  18. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Yes, thank you. It makes sense, because if it came directly from English it would have to be dyskryptywism (I still like dyskryptywizm more, phonetically).
     
  19. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    This is the part that really confused me (and still does). I've never confused "racial segregation" with "racism", or "descriptive grammar" with "descriptivism", whether I think in English or in my native tongue Chinese. I honestly don't understand how a Polish speaker will confuse them. Aren't the morphological/syntactic clues in the two expressions enough to tell them apart?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  20. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Yes, I think it is more feasible in Polish -- probably due to the fact that there isn't a strict word order, and the adjective can either precede the noun or be its antecedent. That might be it. I don't know -- it would be really better to ask someone with linguistic education in Polish -- specializing in the Polish language. This is just a subject for a Polish linguist, more than anybody else.
     
  21. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Oh, really? It sounds rough and un-Polish-like to me.
     
  22. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    It sounds very pleasant to me. ;)
     
  23. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Well, from a phonetic point of view, 'd' and 'e' are sounds that are both frontal, as opposed to 'd' and 'y', the latter being a back sound. :) I'll leave it to you to determine which of these roll off the tongue better, Lil. :)
     
  24. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    My taste might be influenced by the word descriptive in English, or something else: after all I speak English about 90% of time. I thought it was dyscryptywizm -- I could have confused it with pozytywizm. I thought these words rhymed.
     
  25. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    [FONT=&quot]
    You both are correct. One is speaking from the perspective of [/FONT][FONT=&quot]source language agentivity, while the other r[/FONT][FONT=&quot]ecipient language agentivity[/FONT]. Both types are common processes in borrowing.
    Thank you both for helping me out in Polish. I appreciate it.
     
  26. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Skatinginbc, I hope you will forgive me for not having read the thread you linked to, but I was unable to do it then. I've had a quick look at it.

    From my experience 'gramatyka opisowa' or less often 'gramatyka deskryptywna' means in Polish the type of grammar that describes synchronically a given language (and usually doesn't focus on evaluation). This translates into English as 'descriptive grammar'.

    Univeristies, especially their language departments, run courses called 'gramatyka opisowa języka xyz'. By definition this course focuses on describing the *grammar of a given language. So you can learn in it things like: native English speakers very often say 'There's many people in the streets.', and then see it contrasted with the prescriptive approach: although traditionally the sentence calls for the plural 'There are many people in the streets.' or in spoken French it is common to skip the first part of the negation: J'ai pas vu Pierre au cours aujourd'hui., etc.
    *most often it's modern

    Since Polish univeristies are quite autonomous in the choice of their syllabuses, the content of the courses really depends on the particular department. How the content itself is taught in practice is really up to the teacher who delivers the course in 'gramatyka opisowa języka xyz'. That is at least my experience.

    Going back to your questions:
    By definition it is (especially that it is postpopsed).
    I think it is a survey of the grammar of a given language (in its modern form if we are talking about university courses). However, I am wondering if a survey of grammar can be a broader term, because it can also focus on elements that belong in other types of grammar.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013
  27. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Hi, Thomas.

    I take it that you were a student of English yourself, and you did participate in the course called 'Gramtyka opisowa'. I refuse to believe that what they'd been teaching you for two years is what is is the descriptive and prescripive approach, and how do they differ, by illustrating it with different examples.

    No, the course does not deal with that. The first part is 'Phonetics and phonology of English', and the second part is 'Syntax and morphology of English'.
     
  28. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Hi. I don't agree with you Thomas. The course Dreamlike is talking about usually does not deal with language comparison -- how people speak English in the streets of X town in England, or somewhere else with what the grammar prescribes. It is a highly specialized course which gives an introduction to the English phonology, morphology and syntax for linguists, including language teachers -- not for regular language learners. It usually does not include any grammatical exercises at all.
     
  29. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Yes, I was an English student. Let me talk, however, about the French course, because I studied English much earlier, followed it with other languages and don't recall much of the syllabus.

    Of course we didn't do that for the whole course, but this is what has remained in my memory. I guess this is partly due to the fact that in other classes we often covered the same/similar subjects but from another angle. In one of the first classes we discussed the differences between the descriptive and prescriptive grammars, so the example I gave in my last post isn't that surprising. However, it was basically syntax and morphology with particular focus on the verb and noun phrases. It took up 'just' one year though. Anyway, what struck me the most in your course, Dreamlike, was that I, for one, don't recall any phonological/phonetical elements in mine.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013
  30. The_Moonlight

    The_Moonlight Junior Member

    Polish
    Well, I did have a phonetics course in mine. :)
     
  31. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    [FONT=&amp]
    The course Thomas took strikingly resembles the "Descriptive English Grammar" I took many years ago at a U.S. university, an introductory course for students working toward a graduate degree in English. My professor mentioned the descriptive-prescriptive contrast merely in one paragraph. And there was no dialectal comparison during the entire course. The one Dreamlike is taking at least covers variances between British and American English. Mine didn't. As Thomas pointed out, "descriptive grammar" is "a type of grammar that describes synchronically a given language". Free Dictionary defines “descriptive” as follows: “Of or relating to the study or the description of a language or a specific stage of a language, with emphasis on constructing a grammar without regard to historical development, comparison with other languages, or advocated norms for correct or proper usage. Clearly, a "descriptive" approach towards grammar concerns how the grammar is formulated, not how the grammar is presented (i.e., teaching methodology such as comparing different dialects or registers).[/FONT]


    [FONT=&amp]That being said, I would like to reiterate my purpose of creating this thread. It is solely about the Polish language, not about how descriptive grammar should be taught or what the course should be called. I was confused by some posts in the English thread regarding the course “Gramatyka opisowa języka angielskiego” . Here are some examples: [/FONT]

    [FONT=&amp]
    [/FONT]
    And so a conclusion was made:

    [FONT=&amp]
    [/FONT]

    [FONT=&amp]Is it true that Polish “Descriptive X” = English “Survey of X”?
    Deskriptivna Statistikameans “survey of statistics” instead of “descriptive statistics”?[/FONT]
    G[FONT=&amp]ramatyka deskryptywna[/FONT][FONT=&amp] (or opisowa) means “survey of grammar” instead of “descriptive grammar”?[/FONT]
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013
  32. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Lucky you! These are a though nut to cruck, and I wish it hadn't formed part of my course. We've dealt with that during the first semester, and will continue to do so for the whole second semester. Only in the second year will we move to syntax and morphology, which might prove even more difficult to handle.

    Anyway, it's interesting to see how these courses differ depending on the university.
     
  33. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Yes, I agree with Dreamlike. At many European universities (not only in Poland) it used to be a course that Dreamlike describes -- phonology, morphology and syntax -- a highly theoretical course. I think it is completely different than the course with a similar title in the US. There is no productive way to determine why they called the course this way in certain countries, so the only way might be just to live with it.
     
  34. kknd Senior Member

    Polska / Poland
    polski / Polish
    no, that's wrong: “Survey of X” would be in polish something like “Przegląd X”; i don't know the nuances of lecture's names but for me “Descriptive grammar” would rather mean Gramatyka opisowa/deskryptywna in the sense of sychronical description of grammar and not “Description of grammar” (Opis gramatyki) or “Survey of grammar” (Przegląd gramatyki). i think we should treat other uses and understanding of this compound as a wrong custom or tradition.
     
  35. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Yes, synchronic as opposed to diachronic (or historical), not descriptive as opposed to prescriptive.
     

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