Saturday, December 8, 2012

Unusual Word Constructions

There are a number of word constructions in Polish that are fairly unusual to me, as a native English speaker.  Obviously every different culture sees things from a different perspective, but so far, of all the languages that I have looked at (and, granted, most of those languages have been either Germanic or Romantic), Polish seems to come up with some thought processes that seem especially foreign to me, or that would seem askew in English.

A street name that is common in Polish cities is "Ulica Piękna" which means "Beautiful Street."  I passed through a town in Poland called "Niedźwiedź," or "Bear."

The word for "shallow" is "płytki," which appears to mean "plate-y." "Greedy" is "chciwy," or, literally, "want-y."  "Torrential" (as in torrential rain), is "gwałtowny" or "rape-y." "Oznaka" means "indication" or "symptom." but "oznakowany" means "labeled" or "tagged."

And then there's the way meanings are grouped together within a word.  "Zawodowy" means either "professional" or "disappointment."  "Doświadczenie" means either "experience" or "experiment." "Kostka" has the meanings of "cube, bar, block, lump," which are all relatively easily conceptualized together, but can also mean "die" (as in the singular of "dice"), or "ankle", "wrist" or "knuckle."

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