narzędnik czasu

Discussion in 'Polski (Polish)' started by Encolpius, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Hello, there is an interesting instrumental for time in Czech, but I am not sure if it exists in Polish as well. You know that you can reply to the question "when?" with pure instrumental (narzędnik) in Slavic languages (e.g.: jesienią...), is this sentence used / possible in Polish: Filip pracuje tu już piątym rokiem.?? :confused: That is the literal translation of a Czech sentence. Does it work in Polish, too? Thanks.
  2. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    The sentence you give doesn't work in Polish.
  3. Polilotte Senior Member

    Polish - Warsaw, Poland
    You would say "Filip pracuje tu już piąty rok", or "od pięciu lat".
  4. jasio Senior Member

    Does "piątym rokiem" indeed respond to the question "when"? ;) What exactly would it mean in Czech? In Polish the phrase looks more like a responce to 'how long?'.

    Indeed, in some cases you can respond to "when" using only instrumental: "nocą" (during the night), "dniem" (during the day, an archaism btw which nowadays is probaly used only in fixed phrases like "nocą i dniem"), "wiosną", "latem", "jesienią", "zimą" (names of seasons), perhaps a few more.

    However with numerals or demonstrative pronouns locativus is used instead, such as in "w drugim tygodniu ciąży, pracy, miesiąca" ('in the second week of pregnancy, work, month'), "w tym miesiącu" ('this month') or genitive ("tego dnia" - 'this day').

    Also with time units alone locativus is used, although most of the cases it requires some form of time specification, such as "w roku, w którym oglądaliśmy zaćmienie Słońca nad Balatonem" ('in the year, in which we watched an eclipse of the Sun at the Balaton lake') :) An exception would probably only be "w tygodniu", which in this context means something like 'during working days'.
  5. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    It's occured to me that our instrumental, when used with nominal groups expressing time, answers the question Kiedy? (When?) and is an adverbial of time: Pracuje wieczorami. (He works evenings). I'm not 100% sure this is always the case, but I'm unable to find a counterexample of another case in exactly the same function (maybe someone will). We will use it also to express an adverbial of place: Szliśmy ulicą. (We walked down the street.) or of manner: Płynie żabką. (He's swimming breaststroke).

    Your example is a bit different. It looks like an adverbial of time order, by which I mean an ordinal nominal group answering the question Który rok? (Which year?). What Polilotte suggests, "Filip pracuje tu już piąty rok." (Filip works here already the fifth year.), seems to be matching this function in the Polish language. Another possibility using only a nominal group is an adverbial of time length and it answers the question Jak długo? (How long?) -- well, it looks like a specialised version of a time adverbial, but that's not important. You could say, to express the idea you're having in mind: Filip pracuje tu już pięć lat. (Filip works here already five years). I believe they both use the accusative.

    PS: the translations are literal and have been provided to show the Polish structures.

    EDIT: I've just seen the post by Jasio.
  6. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Yes, you are right. The proper English question would be "how long". "piątym rokiem" means for 5 years...I meant when as a general particle for time...
    The Polish expression "pracuje piąty rok" is interesting as well...let's admit that it does not exist in many languages, I mean using the ordinal number to express "how long"... Thanks.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  7. jasio Senior Member

    So in Polish it is:


    In fact, with numerals ending with five or more it is genitive, if I am not mistaken, as well as with full tens and ending with one. With numerals ending with 2, 3 and 4 it would be accusative.

    In fact "pracuje piąty rok" has a slightly different meaning. It means that he has already worked for full four years, and now it's his fifth year in the company.
  8. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Actually the expression "pracuje piąty rok" does not answer the question "how long", it is just a misunderstanding caused by Polish usage. If you want to be strictly precise you should answer "pracuje tu już pięć lat".
    The answer using expression "pracuje piąty rok" is actually not to the point.

    The expression "pracuje piąty rok" can be translated literally to English as "it is the fifth year of his work here"*, and answers the question "what is the ordinal number of the year he has been working here", so the use of ordinal numbers is nothing unexpected.
    * This is, of course, unidiomatic English.
  9. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    I meant the two wordings "piąty rok" and "pięć lat" in "Filip pracuje tu już piąty rok." and "Filip pracuje tu już pięć lat." respectively as a whole. We can clearly see that "wieczorami" in "Pracuje wieczorami." is in the instrumental, but I was hesitating about the case of these two formulae. Their genitive would be "piątego roku" and "pięciu lat" respectively. However, in the forms "piąty rok" and "pięć lat" they can be either in the nominative or accusative. I'd suppose the latter is the case in the sentences "Filip pracuje tu już piąty rok." and "Filip pracuje tu już pięć lat".
  10. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    To decide if it is nominative or accusative we should try this sentence: Wojna trwa już piątu dekadu or piąta dekada...... if that sentence is possible... :confused:
  11. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Thanks for the useful tip, Encolpius. :thumbsup:

    The sentence should read: Wojna trwa już piątą dekadę. It is indeed in the accusative.

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