Szperać

Discussion in 'Polski (Polish)' started by ThomasK, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    This word seems to mean browsing through things in Polish. Could anyone enlighten me on the origin of the word?
     
  2. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    From old High German spieren or spüren, to search.
     
  3. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Ha, I see, thanks !
     
  4. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Probably related to Scandinavian "spore/spora", to trace back.
     
  5. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    ... and Dutch 'sporen'? But I suppose the main influence came from German, or did it not?
     
  6. warudemaru New Member

    Gůrny Ślůnsk
    Polish (Silesian)
    the polish meaning is slightly different, browse is neutral and formal, while "szperać" is in most cases negative, something unwanted and definetely colloquial
     
  7. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Where did you get this from? Szperać is actually colloquial, but negative? Don't you confuse it with another word? The word is not much used nowadays, so maybe many people have quite a diffuse idea of it's meaning.
     
  8. R.O

    R.O Senior Member

    Polish
    Well, it stands to reason that people might associate the word szperać pejoratively. It's very often used in situations where one person is going through someone else's stuff. It does have the unpleassant ring to it. I'm thinking what English word might best be used for szperać but right now nothing comes to my mind.
     
  9. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    The starting point was browsing, for example in shops. Nothing negative about it, except perhaps for the owner that the customers feels no urge to buy...
     
  10. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    I'm afraid we would be rather unlikely to use the word 'szperać' in such a context, and so would be the owner of the shop in the situation given. It would be extremely impolite, and the word doesn't really seem fit to be used in this context. That's the most natural-sounding sentence, coming from a disgruntled shop owner, using the word in question, I was able to come up with:

    "Szperają w półkach godzinami, i nie zanosi się, by chcieli coś kupić."

    These are the usages I'd expect:
    Ktoś szperał w moich rzeczach! -
    someone's been going through my stuff!
    Nie powiem ci od razu. Muszę poszperać w książce
    - I can't tell you offhand. I have to browse through the book.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  11. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    I agree with Benjamin. It is sort of an older word, but not obsolete. It is not necessarily colloquial, and it does not have negative connotations (unless someone hates things which do not have any other purpose than fun or the act of doing something, or it gets on their nerves when people keep browsing through things in their presence). It more just like going through things for fun -- just to look at different things, without any other purpose than that, or to look for something in particular, for an extended period of time, and look at other thing in the meantime, as well.
     
  12. R.O

    R.O Senior Member

    Polish
    I agree with Dreamlike; with one exception, though. I wouldn't use szperać for normal shops as opposed to second-hand shops where the word in question is perfectly acceptable, and maybe even preferable.
     

Share This Page