budynek, budowla, gmach

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Encolpius

Senior Member
Hungarian
Dear Foreros, what is the difference between budynek, budowla, gmach? They all mean building in Polish. Thanks. Enco
 
  • ornityna

    Member
    Polish
    From what I understand, budynek is a construction with foundations; budowla, on the other hand, is anything that is built. Finally, gmach is a word used for big buildings, like an opera or a university building (I don't think they use it for skyscrapers). Gmach is frequently used by the tour guides or in the literary language. (I used my intuition and sjp.pwn.pl to confirm)
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    From what I understand, budynek is a construction with foundations; budowla, on the other hand, is anything that is built. Finally, gmach is a word used for big buildings, like an opera or a university building (I don't think they use it for skyscrapers). Gmach is frequently used by the tour guides or in the literary language. (I used my intuition and sjp.pwn.pl to confirm)
    I agree with the definition of 'gmach' meaning 'a large building', but I don't know where you found the condition of 'budynek' having foundations.
    In my opinion there is no such definition. 'Budynek' and 'budowla' overlap in the meaning, but are not quite exchangeable. 'Budynek' corresponds roughly to 'house', and 'budowla' to 'construction'. Every 'budynek' is a 'budowla', but not the opposite. A 'budynek' can stand directly on the ground, without foundations.
    Examples of 'budowla' : pyramid, silo, tomb, tower, industrial plant, ski jumping tower, rocket launching tower.
    'Budowla' is often used for objects the speaker does not know exactly what it is.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    To make it short: it's complex. For example, I do not think I would naturally use the word "budynek" to refer to a wooden house, cottage, stables, barn, etc., albeit technically they meet the definition, and formally are "budynek"s. At least some of them that is (Budynek – Wikipedia, wolna encyklopedia). On the other hand, in case of larger constructions (like this one: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2d/Schronisko_morskie_oko.jpg) I don't have that problem despite of the material. So for me "budynek" is something either fairly large or brick. But it's just my sense of the word.

    "Gmach" sounds pretty monumental and official to me, and it works well with a building inhabited by a respected institution like a ministry, court, etc. Albeit I do not think I would use it to a modern glass and aluminum construction. To me it sounds like brick and mortar, perhaps with a colonnade or other features of traditional monumental architecture. As Ben Jamin noted, they overlap, so you may say "budynek sądu" or "gmach sądu" - albeit to discuss architecture, I would probably tend to use the former, while in case of the court itself - probably the latter. But it's not science.

    "Budowla" overlaps everything, as it refers to virtually any sort of construction attached to the ground, regardless of technology. Albeit some examples provided here: Budowla – Wikipedia, wolna encyklopedia refer to the legal rather than the common meaning of the word.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    To make it short: it's complex. For example, I do not think I would naturally use the word "budynek" to refer to a wooden house, cottage, stables, barn, etc., albeit technically they meet the definition, and formally are "budynek"s. At least some of them that is (Budynek – Wikipedia, wolna encyklopedia). On the other hand, in case of larger constructions (like this one: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2d/Schronisko_morskie_oko.jpg) I don't have that problem despite of the material. So for me "budynek" is something either fairly large or brick. But it's just my sense of the word.

    "Gmach" sounds pretty monumental and official to me, and it works well with a building inhabited by a respected institution like a ministry, court, etc. Albeit I do not think I would use it to a modern glass and aluminum construction. To me it sounds like brick and mortar, perhaps with a colonnade or other features of traditional monumental architecture. As Ben Jamin noted, they overlap, so you may say "budynek sądu" or "gmach sądu" - albeit to discuss architecture, I would probably tend to use the former, while in case of the court itself - probably the latter. But it's not science.

    "Budowla" overlaps everything, as it refers to virtually any sort of construction attached to the ground, regardless of technology. Albeit some examples provided here: Budowla – Wikipedia, wolna encyklopedia refer to the legal rather than the common meaning of the word.
    A search by Google gives 143 000 finds of "budynki gospodarcze drewniane", so I think far from everybody would share your view of wooden houses not being a 'budynek'. Connotations of words are often formed by individual language experience and preferences. I think that we should try to give our "non Polish native speakers forero guests" information about Polish usage based on as basis as broad as possible, marking our own idiosyncratic opinion as such.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    A search by Google gives 143 000 finds of "budynki gospodarcze drewniane", so I think far from everybody would share your view of wooden houses not being a 'budynek'. Connotations of words are often formed by individual language experience and preferences. I think that we should try to give our "non Polish native speakers forero guests" information about Polish usage based on as basis as broad as possible, marking our own idiosyncratic opinion as such.
    I thought that I clearly wrote what *I* would or would not do - not what *is correct* (or is not).

    I know that the term "budynki drewniane" (whether gospodarcze or not) exists as a general term. So does "budownictwo drewniane". Never the less, most of the cases, standing in front of a wooden barn, i would call it "stodoła" rather than "budynek gospodarczy drewniany" - perhaps unless I would be making a formal report of some sort.

    Similarly, standing in front of a wooden house I'd rather call it "dom drewniany" - or perhaps chata, chałupa, even chyża - rather than "budynek". Even though legally it's budynek mieszkalny drewniany całoroczny.
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Hello, if you have a campus made up of 4 buildings and each building is market as A, B, C, etc... so Building A..which word would you use in Polish? My guess is: :confused: Budynek A, Budynek B...
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    Hello, if you have a campus made up of 4 buildings and each building is market as A, B, C, etc... so Building A..which word would you use in Polish? My guess is: :confused: Budynek A, Budynek B...
    If it's a university or a business campus, we would say indeed "Budynek A", "Budynek B", etc. - like in the address: "ul. Postepu 18A Budynek Syriusz". But "gmach" is used as well - for example on Warsaw University of Technology campus there is "Gmach Główny", "Gmach Elektroniki", "Gmach Lotniczy" etc. University of Warsaw uses both: Gmach Audytoryjny but Budynek Poseminaryjny or Budynek Dawnej Biblioteki.

    On the other hand, on a fair area (whether a local food market or Międzynarodowe Targi Poznańskie) the word "pawilon" or "hala" would be more prevalent - depending on the size and the nature of the object. In a recreational area, where you hire individual bungalows (or parts of) I heard exclusively (probably exclusively) "domek". Except when the objects are big, multitennant - then "budynek" again.

    And it's not quite random - if an organisation decides on using a term with regards to an object, it usually becomes a part of its official name.

    So as always, the context is the king.
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Yes, I think I understand, it is always better to be more specific.
    So the collocations Budowla A, Budowla B or Budowlna Główna are hardly conceivable, right?
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    Yes, I think I understand, it is always better to be more specific.
    So the collocations Budowla A, Budowla B or Budowlna Główna are hardly conceivable, right?
    It's not impossible. For example if for a reason you have a collection of various constructions which you need to name in a consistent way without referring to their actual functions, "Budynek" or "Obiekt" A, B, C sound like an option. A scenario of archaeological excavations came to my mind quite immediately, where you originally may not know that Budynek C are actually foundations of a temple and Budynek B used to be a workshop. Military use came next. In fact, it's easier to execute (and give) an order of destroying "Obiekt C" in the enemy base than a dining room or dormitory, isn't it? I'm not 100% sure if such names are actually used in these contexts, but I find it plausible.

    Other than such specific scenarios, indeed, I don't find these collocations very likely.
     

    Włoskipolak 72

    Member
    Polish
    Gmach to, jak wiadomo ‘duży, okazały budynek’. ?
    I would say gmach = 'large, stately building'.
    gmach
    1. «wielki, okazały budynek»
    2. «o zjawiskach społecznych lub abstrakcyjnych: wielka, złożona struktura»

    • gmaszysko
    Than what about gmaszysko...!? :D
     

    Poland91pl

    Senior Member
    Polish
    As to budynek and budowla I can't agree with the other posts above. For me budynek is any building made of concrete and is the most often used word whereas budowla refers almost always to some historic old built thinkgs like pyramids or big churches etc. I don't think if I've ever used budowla in everyday speech.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I thought that I clearly wrote what *I* would or would not do - not what *is correct* (or is not).

    I know that the term "budynki drewniane" (whether gospodarcze or not) exists as a general term. So does "budownictwo drewniane". Never the less, most of the cases, standing in front of a wooden barn, i would call it "stodoła" rather than "budynek gospodarczy drewniany" - perhaps unless I would be making a formal report of some sort.

    Similarly, standing in front of a wooden house I'd rather call it "dom drewniany" - or perhaps chata, chałupa, even chyża - rather than "budynek". Even though legally it's budynek mieszkalny drewniany całoroczny.
    Let's not introduce more rules in the language that actually exist. Usage in this case is not consistent, and it varies. Personally i don't see any reason for rejecting the use of "budynek" to denote a wooden house standing on ground as incorrect.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    Let's not introduce more rules in the language that actually exist.
    If you disagree with a statement of mine, quote e specific statement and provide a statement which is correct in your opinion or quote any source you may want to quote. However, if you prefer to discuss forum rules instead, let's invite a moderator or let's move to a private conversation. Otherwise, I do not think that the discussion would actually be useful to anybody.

    Usage in this case is not consistent, and it varies. Personally (...)
    So now, having criticised me for sharing my personal opinion, you share your own. Why should it be any better?

    (...) i don't see any reason for rejecting the use of "budynek" to denote a wooden house standing on ground as incorrect.
    I do not see any reason to reject "budynek" to denote a wooden house either.
    However "budynek" is a very broad and thus imprecise term. As it happens, I'm quite familiar with a bunch of more specific words, so I would naturally use one of them in the first place. Similarly, since I normally can distinguish between "stodoła", "stajnia", "obora" and "chlew", it's most natural for me to name respective objects as precisely as I can in a given situation. It does not mean that I would never use "budynek" to denote them. Of course, I would - if and when the context justifies it or if for a reason I'm unable to properly identify the construction. Albeit I recognize that there are people out there (a growing number of them, actually) who have to stick to a generic "budynek (gospodarczy)" merely for a lack of proper vocabulary.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    If you disagree with a statement of mine, quote e specific statement and provide a statement which is correct in your opinion or quote any source you may want to quote. However, if you prefer to discuss forum rules instead, let's invite a moderator or let's move to a private conversation. Otherwise, I do not think that the discussion would actually be useful to anybody.
    Concerning "my personal opinion":
    Słownik języka polskiego PWN:
    budynek «budowla ograniczona ścianami i dachem»

    Wielki słownik języka polskiego
    budynek
    Definicja:
    jednopoziomowa lub wielopoziomowa budowla naziemna, ograniczona ścianami i dachem, mająca pomieszczenia mieszkalne lub o innym przeznaczeniu

    In addition I repeat my reference to 146000 instances of "drewniane budynki gospodarskie".
    Moreover, as native users of Polish language we are allowed to express our personal opinion about usage, and those opinions can vary among the native speakers. Your personal opinion is based apparently on the Polish Building Code (Prawo budowlane) which does not reflect either the recognized dictionaries of the Polish language, or popular usage. Despite this you seemed to insist in your initial posts that your definition is the only correct one, albeit it is mostly restricted to legal use. Both technical and legal language differ from common language, and are usually unknown for "ordinary people".
    By the way, I am a mechanical and construction engineer, and familiar with the differences between common and technical language, but this forum is not dedicated to technical nor legal language.
    I hope I did not offend you by my post.
     
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    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Kamienica is, as I undertand it, a town house of at least three or four condignations, built of bricks or stones, usually touching the neighbouring houses, and forming a continous area with the facades of othet houses. It is primarily a residential building, and can be inhabited by the owner famlly, or rented to tenants.
    Czynszówka refers to houses containing rented appartments, without determining the form of the building, but usually consisting of more than one floor.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    Hello, is kamienica and czynszówka not the same thing?
    Not really.
    Depending on the source the details may vary, but Encyklopedia PWN (kamienica - Encyklopedia PWN - źródło wiarygodnej i rzetelnej wiedzy) defines "kamienica" as a mortared, at least two-story building. Some sources indeed mention its placement within a tight line of buildings along a street or a square - and sometimes only intended, if the neighbouring buildings were destroyed or have never been constructed. To me the word has a sort of a historical flavour, as nowadays residential buildings are rarely constructed this way: typically they are either stand-alone family houses (dom jednorodzinny), as a row of family-houses (bliźniak, szeregowiec) or as a Corbusier style multi-tennant buildings more or less resembling an enormoust matchbox (blok). I dont' know if there is a special term for modern multi-tennant constructions.

    Albeit "kamienica" basically is a residential building, quite often (and in some urban context - virtually always) the ground floors and / or basements were used for business purposes, like shops or services.

    As for "czynszówka", I can't recall seeing the word to refer to a wooden building. :)
    It refers to a building specifically constructed to rent appartments - and, depending on their needs, owner could or could not occupy one of the appartments for his own needs. Some sources (czynszówka – Słownik języka polskiego PWN) explicitely treat the word as a subset of "kamienica". And, like "kamienica" it has a historical flavour - it's rather occasionally used in a context of modern residential buildings.
     
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