każdy dudek swόj czubek

Discussion in 'Polski (Polish)' started by jacquesvd, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. jacquesvd Senior Member


    Do I understand “każdy dudek swόj czubek” correctly to mean what the Germans understand under “Jeder Vogel singt so wie ihm der Schnabel gewachsen ist” which in English is something like “every bird sings the way his beak is built” or “every bird is known by its note” or does it mean something different.

    Thanks for helping
  2. BezierCurve Senior Member


    the meaning of this one can be broad. I think the most general point of it is, that every person (or even: every being) has some unique features, sometimes flaws or weak sides, things that make him/her/it different.

    The examples you gave seem to be fairly close to that.

    Note: “każdy dudek ma swόj czubek”
  3. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska

    I don't know the German expression nor the English one, but it means either "everyone has something commendable" or "no one is perfect/everyone has their vices". The meaning depends on context.
  4. jacquesvd Senior Member

    Thank you both for your help. I see I need to express the verb 'ma' in this expression.
    So, it leads to the next question: I have noticed that the third person singular of 'byc' is sometimes left out from the sentence and gather then that this cannot be done with other verbs? Under what conditions can you leave out the third person singular of 'byc'?
  5. BezierCurve Senior Member

    I think there are other examples. In the passive voice, for example, you can omit "zostac": "Robota [zostala] wykonana, teraz [jest] czas na odpoczynek.".

    As for a more general rule about omitting "byc" - it's hard to tell one, really. I suppose it is most often done in the present tense, while "zostac" and passive voice are used with the past tense. You'll see a lot of it in headlines, also used by games commentators (no time for full sentences), slogans... Also some fixed expressions and sayings (Madry Polak po szkodzie). Wait for the others' ideas anyway.
  6. Agiii

    Agiii Senior Member

    the question has been answered but i would add that this "każdy dudek..." is not a very common expression. as a polish native speaker i have heard it a few times in my life and would have doubts if i were to explain its significance...

    but i would rather say it's more like

    "jeder mensch hat seine marotten"

    in german. although, as above, it's just a guess.
  7. For me it's been the first time. :D

    Agiii, please remember about capital letter. :)
  8. jacquesvd Senior Member

    I think you're absolutely right because just today I got a big Polish-German dictionary and there it is translated as "Jedem Narren gefällt seine Kappe" for which I have no English idiom but which means that every fool likes his cap.
    So, the meaning is somewhat different from 'Jeder Vogel singt wie ihm der Schnabel gewachsen ist' because this basically means that everybody fatally acts according to how he is constituted.

    I am trying to learn Polish and read to that effect 'Przekrój' but regularly meet expressions that are labelled 'literary' or even 'archaic' in my dictionary, yet it is a modern publication also using very often 'slangish' words. My desire to learn Polish sprang from reading the fabulous Polish poets that I discovered in beautiful bilingual editions in Berlin. I've a long way to go!
    Anyway, thanks a lot to you all for helping me finding my way in your beautiful language.
  9. jacquesvd Senior Member

    Would it mean the same as "każda pliszka swój ogónek chwali"
  10. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Hello Jacques,

    If you're asking if "każda pliszka swój ogonek chwali" has got the same meaning as "każdy dudek ma swój czubek", the answer is no.

    "każda pliszka swój ogonek chwali"* means that everyone praises/likes speaking highly of themselves, especially what they consider their strong suits, which isn't always justified. Imagine a situation in which there are a few vendors of some kind of food, but just one buyer. Each vendor praises their products, saying that it's the best. You could use the expression "każda pliszka swój ogonek chwali" to describe the vendours' behaviour.

    You could as well use "każdy dudek ma swój czubek" to describe the vendors, for instance,in the following way: the first one's products look very nice, the second one's are very tasty, the third one's are organinc, the fourth vendor is very polite and friendly, etc.

    *"każda sroka swój ogonek chwali" or the plain "każdy chwali swoje" are other versions of the same expression which I've come across more often.
  11. jasio Senior Member

    First of all, returning to the context of your original question "ma" is present tense, third person singular of "mieć" ("to have") rather than "być" ("to be"). Literally the proverb says:

    Pol: Każdy dudek ma swój czubek.
    Eng: Every hoopoe has its [own] crest.

    The figurative meaning has already been explained by the others.

    BTW - if the proverb can indeed be used in both positive (advantages) and negative (disatvantages) contexts, my personal feeling is that it may be a relatively recent shift, perhaps driven by the fact that colloquialiy 'czubek' means 'a lunatic', 'a crazy person' or someone out of his mind. However, for people living in the country it's probably obvious that the bird's crest is clearly an advantage.
  12. Agiii

    Agiii Senior Member

    Thomas explained it well. But again, it's not precisely the language an average Pole uses. I mention that so that you're not surprised if you use it one day in a conversation with a Pole and he/she starts to lough... I would ;) It sounds archaic in itself and given that you probably have an accent - because it's normal to have it when speaking a foreign language - it would be even more funny.
  13. jasio Senior Member

    I'd rather say that it's not used within the groups you communicate with. But it does not mean that others don't use this kind of a language. Some people use anglicisms, some people use proverbs to comment on the situation. It's a matter of a personal style.

    You shouldn't, although many people probably couldn't help smiling or express signs of surprise. ;)

    I recall participating in a meeting with an American scientist, who had Polish ancestors. When speaking English, he used an educated American English, but when speaking Polish, he used a sort of a dialect (full of 'ino', 'a juści', 'onegdaj', 'żeśmy byli') which he had learnt from his grannies - emigrants from a poor vilige probably in Podkarpacie. The contrast was huge, yet nobody laughed at him. On the contrary, many people expressed positive reactions.
  14. Agiii

    Agiii Senior Member

    ... and some people answer questions and some don't, right?

    Any more truisms to share?

    Congrats you've found a perfect answer to each and every question asked here: "Some people do use it and some don't. Some people do use anglicisms [what does that have to do with my comment in the first place?] and some don't".

    I don't really fathom what sense it makes to pose it this way - because if somebody asks a question they probably want to get some information on the phrase and in this case the expression definitely doesn't belong to the everyday language used in Poland among friends for example (under 50), but still, always good to know some Poles use anglicisms and some don't.

    I'm sorry? Like laughing is not a "positive reaction"? Btw: Your story, although it really doesn't have anything to do with the expression the thread is about, only illustrates that using archaic sounding expressions in normal, everyday, pragmatic conversations does strike people as strange, so I don't really get the sense of recalling it to prove otherwise.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  15. DW

    DW Banned

    For all it's worth, I'm not quite sure about that, but likely as not it's the first time I meet with both the "każdy dudek [...]" and the "każda pliszka [...]".
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  16. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    I'm familiar with "każda sroka swój ogonek chwali" and even more with "każdy chwali swoje" (I've definiterly heard the latter in spoken Polish, though I can't say the same about the former). The version "każda pliszka swój ogonek chwali" is understandable to me, and I'm not very surprised the author used this version, I mean, I see some stylistic benefits behind it. Out of curiosity I've looked up the proverb up in Uniwersalny słownik języka polskiego by PWN, which gives more versions of it:
    Każda liszka, pliszka, sroka, sroczka swój ogonek, ogon chwali; każdy kupiec swój towar chwali «ludzie mają skłonności do samochwalstwa, przypisywania sobie zasług, nie zawsze słusznie»

    A possible translation of these into English can be "everyone blows their trumpet" (UK) or "everyone blows/toots their horn" (US). Have a look at this Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs which gives a comparative compilation of proverbs expressing, among others, this idea in various European languages (I won't bet they are all current, but are an interesting point in the discussion).

    By the way, "pliszka" is a bird, and "liszka" a vixen.
  17. jacquesvd Senior Member

  18. jacquesvd Senior Member

    Thanks for the thorough explanation. I came across the expression "każdy dudek' in the now defunct magazine Przekrój and had almost forgotten about until I recently read the one with "każda liczka" in either Polityka or Gazeta Wyborcza but I don't recall exactly in which and wondered at first if it had the same meaning but am now very clear about it that it are two different things as Thomas explained so well.
  19. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    And not just a fox of any sex?
  20. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Modern dictionaries of the Polish language say that today "liszka" means a "vixen"; however, they also add that it used to mean a "fox" (of any sex). A quick look at the so called Słownik wileński języka polskiego (1861) confirms that:
    Liszka, i, lm. i, ż. 1) lis, samiec lub samica. Liszka, zwierzę poświęcone słowiańskiej bogini Mudrzenie. Każda liszka swój ogon chwali, przys. 2) = gąsienica motyla.

    So there seems to have been a semantic shift in the meaning of "liszka", probably before the fifties of the twentieth century (Doroszewski already indicates in the entry for "liszka": "dawniej w ogóle: lis"). Here's a relevant example from the National Corpus of the Polish Language:
    Liszka, przygotowując się do cieczki, już w grudniu zaznacza swój rejon śladami zapachowymi (odchody, mocz i wydzielina z gruczołów ogona) na pniach lub kamieniach. Wypędza z tego rejonu inne liszki i młode lisy. W tym okresie nieraz kilka psów lata za sukami, gryząc się między sobą. Sam akt kopulacji następuje przeważnie w norze, gdzie zbiera się nawet kilka psów. Ma on przebieg podobny jak u psów domowych; sczepienie się trwa ok. 20 min. Po okresie cieczki psy odchodzą od liszki.
    Liszka pomiata po 7 1/2 tygodniach (51-53 dni), tj. w kwietniu-maju, 4-7 szczeniąt, czasami nawet więcej (do 12 sztuk).
    Vademecum myśliwego​
    Stanisław Godlewski, ​
    Data publikacji:​

    Anyway, this is mainly hunting jargon.
  21. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    My point was that the word "liszka" was used in the meaning of "fox" at the time the adage was created, and that's why one should translate "fox", not vixen, which is a much more modern meaning.

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