June 4, 2011 | Polish
Polish Nouns: Kind of Scary
Polish has seven cases, and I am frightened.
This morning I went to a Rosetta Stone event at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Columbus Circle. What a view!
New York As Seen from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel
The purpose of the event was to announce their new TOTALe Companion HD application, which allows you to run their course content on an iPad. I don’t currently have an iPad, but I can appreciate how this development would add to the language-learning experience by making it more flexible and mobile.
I will aspire to an iPad in the near future.
I think that after inviting me to two events, the Rosetta Stone people might possibly be getting tired of my tendency to derail new-release-related discussions in favor of my own agenda, which tends to involve listing in excruciating detail the pros and cons of my Rosetta Stone experience—or, alternatively, trying to talk broader language-learning philosophy that has nothing to do with whatever new release we are there to discuss.
I don’t meant to derail the discussions. I am excitable and can’t help myself. It’s not every day that you get to be around so many language-learning nerds at once. (That’s a compliment, Rosetta Stone people!) But they are very nice to me anyway.
Today I got the results for my oral French test, taken two days ago. I got a 9. That’s out of a maximum possible 12. My 9 is described as “advanced,” and it is two points higher than the 7 I scored back at the beginning of March, but still, I was hoping for at least a 10. I am a little sad, to be honest.
Polish Verbs & Essentials of Grammar, by Oscar E. Swan, with Latte
But I have to move it along! My attention is now on Polish. I have been doing Pimsleur Polish lessons—sadly, they offer only 30 lessons for this language—and reading my new Polish grammar book.
I will also be using Rosetta Stone as soon as I set it up.
One great resource is the women who work at my favorite local café. Most of them are Polish, and they are, generously, happy to help.
At least the Polish alphabet is familiar. It is after all the Roman alphabet, with some extra letters with diacritical marks.
I was going to type them here, but I see they are not among my symbols in Microsoft Word. Grrr. I will write them instead.
Some Fancy Polish Letters
Letters like these always make foreign languages look so, well, foreign! And mysterious! And exciting!
That the other letters are familiar is a good thing, because I can already see that the declensions in Polish are crazy. There are three noun genders (masculine, neuter, and feminine) and seven cases.
You know how in English there is only one form of the noun “store” no matter how you use it?
- The store was open.
- I ran into the store.
- I robbed the store.
Well, that’s not true in Polish. Depending on how you use a noun in a sentence, the forms change. A lot. Shown here are the possibilities for “store,” whose basic form is apparently sklep.
One Noun (Store), Many Forms
Please don’t think for one second that because I’m writing these forms down, I already know them. I do not have the slightest clue at this point. I haven’t even memorized the basic word sklep, much less all its permutations.
And the thing about this kind of stuff is that it adds so much time to the learning process. I mean, if I want to learn how to say “store” in English, someone tells me “store,” and I am done with it.
Well, okay, that’s not quite true. I also have to know that “stores” is the plural. And then, much more significantly, I have to learn how to use articles (“a,” “an,” and “the”), which is an automatic thing for a native English speaker and extremely tough for someone whose native language does not even have articles.
Still, I think I’d take articles over this. If I had a choice. Which I don’t. So I will need to suck it up.