po polsku (understanding the grammar behind this phrase)

zorba111

New Member
English - Ireland
I'm a beginner at Polish, with a month of Duolingo behind me, a couple of visits to the country, and a lot of polish friends to practice with.

I'm trying to undertand the mechanics of "po polsku" here. So I know that "po" is a preposition that takes the accusative or the locative case.

My question: is "polsku" (in whatever case it may be, acc. or loc.) an adjective that has been turned into a noun (e.g. in Spanish "el bueno" - the good one), or the noun itself for the language of Polish. And if the latter, what is the base word and its gender.

I ask this because on google translate, when I look up "Polish" it gives me "Polskie", also "język polski" (the polish language, where polish is an adjective).

I can't get a handle on the gender for "Polskie". because when I try my usual strategy of discovering a gender by putting "good" in from of it, google translates "good Polish" as "dobra Polski" indicating feminine gender. But the feminine endings for acc. and loc. cases do not feature "u" (as in "po polsku").

From the endings, "polsku" is either masc. loc., neut. loc.,

or possibly masc. acc. (if it is treated as an "animate" object, and devolved to the masc. gen.).... but I think this is unlikely....

I checked the adjectival endings too, and none of them have "u", apart from some dative endings, which could not possibly apply here.

I'm tending to think google translate is giving me a bum steer as to the gender of the word and its actually male or neuter... but then the stem seems to indicate an -e ending rather than -u in the loc. Help!

Sorry, I'm trying to reverse engineer the sentence from my limited resources...
 
  • Karton Realista

    Senior Member
    Polish - Poland
    Polsku is not an adjective, but an adverb.
    Po polsku is called wyrażenie przyimkowe in Polish (po polsku :D ), which is translated to English as adverbial expression. It doesn't have a gender, of course.
    Polskie is an adjective, plural, non-male-person (niemęskoosobowy), so plural for feminine, neuter and male non-alive (męski nieżywotny, so it's ones that aren't people, animals, etc.: polski pieniądz (masculine), polskie pieniądze (non-male-person)).
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Etymologically, it's a short adjective in the locative case – those declined exactly like nouns before succumbing to the dominance of the long-form adjectives with the Nom.Sg. m. ending -i/-y. Many Slavic adverbs feature petrified archaically declined forms. Cf. aslo po prostu.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I would only add that this form can be used with any given language, not only Polish:
    Not quite so. Some exotic language names are indeclinable, for example Nahuatl, Navajo, Inuit. These require a construction with the word "język" - "Nie mówię w języku Nahuatl", at least in formal or careful speech.
     

    Karton Realista

    Senior Member
    Polish - Poland
    Not quite so. Some exotic language names are indeclinable, for example Nahuatl, Navajo, Inuit. These require a construction with the word "język" - "Nie mówię w języku Nahuatl", at least in formal or careful speech.
    I've heard po nawajsku, po inuicku.
    If you google them they give results, in normal, correct sentences.
    But Nahuatl is definitely one that has to stay the way it is.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    Not quite so. Some exotic language names are indeclinable, for example Nahuatl, Navajo, Inuit. These require a construction with the word "język" - "Nie mówię w języku Nahuatl", at least in formal or careful speech.
    I've seen somewhere "język nahuatlański", which would mean that "mówię po nahuatlańsku" could be correct as well.

    But ok... "never say never", and never say "always". indeed. Let's make it "almost any given language". ;)
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I've seen somewhere "język nahuatlański", which would mean that "mówię po nahuatlańsku" could be correct as well.

    But ok... "never say never", and never say "always". indeed. Let's make it "almost any given language". ;)
    Have you a good proposal how to call the langauge of Cap Verde (Wyspy Zielonego Przylądka) in Polish? The speakers of the language call it "caboverdiano" when speaking Portuguese.
     

    Karton Realista

    Senior Member
    Polish - Poland
    Have you a good proposal how to call the langauge of Cap Verde (Wyspy Zielonego Przylądka) in Polish? The speakers of the language call it "caboverdiano" when speaking Portuguese.
    Kapwerdański. It doesn't have to come from the Polish country name, look at niderlandzki, flamandzki.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    Have you a good proposal how to call the langauge of Cap Verde (Wyspy Zielonego Przylądka) in Polish? The speakers of the language call it "caboverdiano" when speaking Portuguese.
    What's your point, actually?
    I guess that for (almost) everybody it's pretty obvious that if a language does not have a name, its name cannot be used in a construction which requires a name of the language.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    What's your point, actually?
    I guess that for (almost) everybody it's pretty obvious that if a language does not have a name, its name cannot be used in a construction which requires a name of the language.
    I don't agree. You can always use a compund construction like "język plemienia Yanomami", which is a name of a language.

    And what is your point asking "what is your point"?
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    "... w okresie prasłowiańskim oraz staropolskim przymiotnik mógł odmieniać się według dwóch wzorów deklinacji: rzeczownikowej bądź zaimkowej. Zaimkowa to ta, która w zmienionej nieco postaci przetrwała do dziś, natomiast w rzeczownikowej przymiotnik odmieniał się tak samo jak rzeczownik. Dziś reliktem odmiany rzeczownikowej przymiotników są m.in. wyrażenia po polsku, po włosku, które są skrótem dawniejszych: po polsku języku, po włosku języku."

    Source: JAK POWSTAŁA POLSKA. KATARZYNA STANIEWSKA.

    According to WIKISŁOWNIK the Polish noun "język" is in the masculine gender (rodzaj męskorzeczowy).
    The form "po polsku" is a short form of the Old Polish "po polsku języku", where the adjective "polsku" has the same ending as the noun.

    Polsk język. (the Nominative)
    Nie znam języka polska. (the Genitive)
    Mówię po języku polsku. (the Dativ)

    Source
    : Co w mowie piszczy. Dlaczego mówimy "po polsku", "po niemiecku", "po francusku" itp., a nie "po polskim (języku)"? Katarzyna Kłosińska.

    Mówię jak? - Po polsku. Po języku polsku.
    Both expression "po polsku" and "po języku polsku" are adverbs, but the word "polsku" is really an adjective in those expressions.
     
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