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Polish to Begin with: Lesson 27 (Old Family Pictures)

In this podcast we are talking about some old photos and once more we discover that you should always write dates on your family pictures because no, you wil not remember where it was taken, how old the child was or even who it was (I swear, all babies in our family look the same on pictures).

But back to grammar…

As today we talk a lot about age, you might notice several fascinating language facts here.

1. In Polish we say: Mam 11 lat = I HAVE 11 years.

(Like in French, Spanish and many other languages).

2. The noun ‘rok’ = year is especially interesting in Polish. In plural it looks like this: LATA. It actually means „summers” (‘lato’ = summer) so it’s as if we were counting not whole years but summers. Nice, sunny summers…

3. When you talk about amounts in Polish, things get always a bit complicated. Look at these examples with the word LATA:

Mam 2 lata

Mam 3 lata.

Mam 4 lata.

Mam 43 lata.

Mam 52 lata.

BUT:

Mam 5 lat.

Mam 6 lat.

Mam 100 lat.

In short:

Any number that ends with 2, 3 or 4 + lata

Any other number + lat

Or in more grammatical terms:

Any number that ends with 2, 3 or 4 + Biernik/Accusative

Any other number + Dopełniacz/Genitive

And remember: It’s what you say that counts, not what is written. So:

Ona ma 2 lata.

Ona ma 22 lata.

But:

Ona ma 12 lat. (Note that when you say ‘dwanaście” you don’t hear ‘dwa’ at the end of the numeral)

4. And here is how the word ROK changes:

Dziecko ma jeden rok.

Dziecko ma pół roku.

1 + Biernik/Accusative

½ or any other fraction + Dopełniacz/Genitive

anna

Anna is a language teacher. anna@bloggypolish.co.uk

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