Dialogue

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Vocabulary

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pochodzić to come from
sumienny diligent
doświadczenie experience
opowiadać to tell a story
wykształcenie education
zdyscyplinowany disciplined
zastanowić się to consider
projektowanie design
konkretnie specifically
obecnie currently

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The Focus of This Lesson is Formal Language and Instrumental Case

Czy mógłby pan nam o sobie opowiedzieć?
"Could you tell us something about yourself?"


In this lesson, we will learn how to:

  1. use the instrumental case
  2. use formal speech in third person

1. How to use the instrumental case


Instrumental case, called narzędnik, is the fifth of seven Polish cases. It is never used for the subject of the sentence. Natives usually distinguish it from other cases by asking one of the following questions: "(with) whom?" - (z) kim? and "(with/by) what?" - (z) czym?—the answer to these questions will always be in the instrumental case.

That being said it can be very difficult for non-natives to distinguish between the instrumental case and any other case. Below you will find some tables which will help you formulate it. These tables are an extended version of what you may have already seen in other lessons.

Instrumental Singular of Masculine Nouns

Nominative Singular

Instrumental Singular

Endings in Instrumental

brat ("brother")

brat-em

-em

chłopiec ("boy")

chłopc-em

diphthong -ie is removed, and the ending -em follows

pociąg ("train")

pociąg-iem

-iem after the consonants -k and -g

mężczyzna ("man")

mężczyzn-ą

for the masculine nouns that end in -a in the nominative

uczeń ("student")

uczn-iem

-ś, -ć, -ń, -źare replaced with -si; -ci; -ni; -zi  followed by -em

pokój ("room")

pokoj-em

-ó in the nounchanges into -o,and the ending -em follows

Instrumental Singular of Neuter Nouns

Nominative Singular

Instrumental Singular

Endings in Instrumental

kino ("cinema")

kin-em

-em

krzesło ("chair")

krzesł-em

-oat the end is changed to -em

morze ("sea")

morze-m

to -e we just add -m

dziecko ("child")

dzieck-iem

-iemafter the consonants -k and -g (if these are in the final syllable)

muzeum ("museum")

muze-um

-um stays the same

Instrumental Singular of Feminine Nouns

Nominative Singular

Instrumental Singular

Endings in Instrumental

mama ("mom")

mam-ą

-a or -i  changes to

uroczystość("party")

uroczystści-ą

-ś, -ć, -ń, -ź become -si; -ci; -ni; -zi   followed by

Instrumental Plural

For plural form, it is much easier since all the instrumental cases end with -ami.(Note that in the case of words ending in -a we add only -mi. If the noun in plural ends with any other vowel, it is removed, and an ending -ami is attached.)


Nominative Singular

Nominative Plural

Instrumental Plural

Feminine

studentka ("student")

studentki

studentk-ami

karta ("card")

karty

kart-ami

Masculine

kot ("cat")

koty

kot-ami

koszyk ("basket")

koszyki

koszyk-ami

Neuter

krzesło ("chair")

krzesła

krzesł-ami

jajko ("egg")

jajka

jajk-ami

Note that there are some exceptions, like dzieci ("children") where -ci changes into and becomes dzieć-mi.

All these tables may seem a little bit difficult and challenging at first, but the best way to learn all the cases is through examples.

In the dialogue, we saw two different ways of expressing one's abilities: z wykształcenia jestem... "I am (trained as)..." and zajmuję się... "I'm doing (as a job)...." Now both of these phrases have one thing in common - they are both followed by an instrumental case.

  1. Z wykształcenia jestem prawnikiem.
    "I am a trained lawyer."
  2. Zajmuję się kontrolą jakości.
    "I'm in charge of the quality control."

Let's look at some other examples where the instrumental case may come in handy.

With preposition z ("with")

  1. Idę z mamą do kina.
    "I'm going to the movies with Mom."

When expressing a tool or a way of doing something:

  1. Pojadę pociągiem.
    "I will go by train."

Following the verb być ("to be") or when expressing relationships between people.

  1. On jest moim przełożonym.
    "He is my supervisor."

2. How to use formal speech in third person


As with many other languages, in Polish, we use the third person in a formal situation. In order to tell it apart from the third person, we always add Pan ("Sir") or Pani ("Ma'am") for the singular, and Państwo,"You" (formal) for the plural. Here are some examples:

  1. Czy mają państwo czas w sobotę?
    "Do you have time on Saturday?"
  2. Jak się pani miewa?
    "How are you, Ma'am?"
  3. Czy może pan powtórzyć?
    "Could you repeat (that), sir?"

In the last sentence, the verb móc ("to be able to") is used in the może form. It is already very polite, since this uses the third person to refer to somebody. However, to make it even more polite, one could use mógłby ("could") for men and mogłaby ("could") for women, as in the example below.

  1. Czy mogłaby mi pani pomóc?
    "Could you help me, Ma'am?"

Personal pronouns mentioned above (Pan ["Sir"], Pani ["Ma'am"], Państwo ["You"]) are written in small letters here, since we assume that these sentences were taken from the spoken language. However if we write them in an email or a letter, we should use capital letters to show respect to the person to whom it is directed.

Examples from the Dialogue

  1. Czy mógłby pan nam o sobie opowiedzieć?
    "Could you tell me about yourself?"
  2. Z miłą chęcią. Nazywam się Thomas Meyer, pochodzę z Ameryki, a konkretnie z Nowego Jorku. Obecnie uczę się polskiego tutaj, we Wrocławiu.
    "With pleasure. My name is Thomas Meyer. I'm originally from America, New York to be more specific. Now I'm studying Polish here in Wroclaw."
  3. Ma pan doświadczenie w kierowaniu projektem?
    "Do you have any experience in project management?"

Sample Sentences


  1. Czy mogłaby pani zamknąć drzwi?
    "Could you close the door please?"
  2. Pomogę pani z miłą chęcią.
    "I will help you with delight."
  3. Ma pani czas we wtorek?
    "Do you have time on Tuesday?"

Cultural Insights

Job Hunting in Poland


Job hunting in Poland is not an easy thing, but it is less formalized than some other countries. Interestingly, it's still required to put your age and a picture on a Polish CV, which are not needed anymore in some other countries. As for part-time jobs, these are less flexible and usually still require you to come in for the whole 8-hour shift. This sadly makes it more difficult to keep your job and, let's say, study at the same time.

Useful expression

  1. rozmowa kwalifikacyjna
    "job interview"

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
John: Hi everyone, and welcome to PolishPod101.com. This is Intermediate Season 1, Lesson 1 - A Polish Job Interview. John here.
Marzena: Cześć. I'm Marzena.
John: In this lesson, you’ll learn about formal language and the instrumental case. The conversation takes place at the office.
Marzena: It's between Thomas and Monica.
John: The speakers are strangers; therefore, they’ll speak formal Polish. Okay, let's listen to the conversation.
DIALOGUE
Monika: Czy mógłby pan nam o sobie opowiedzieć?
Thomas: Z miłą chęcią. Nazywam się Thomas Meyer, pochodzę z Ameryki, a konkretnie z Nowego Jorku. Obecnie uczę się polskiego tutaj, we Wrocławiu.
Monika: Kim jest pan z wykształcenia?
Thomas: Z wykształcenia jestem informatykiem. Zajmuję się projektowaniem stron internetowych.
Monika: Ma pan doświadczenie w kierowaniu projektem?
Thomas: Nie, ale szybko się uczę. Jestem zdyscyplinowany i sumienny.
Monika: Dobrze, muszę się zastanowić.
John: Listen to the conversation with the English translation.
Monica: Could you tell me about yourself?
Thomas: With pleasure. My name is Thomas Meyer. I'm originally from America, New York to be more specific. Now I'm studying Polish here in Wroclaw.
Monica: What is the profession you learned to do?
Thomas: I'm an IT specialist. I've been designing websites.
Monica: Do you have any experience in project management?
Thomas: No, but I learn quickly. I'm disciplined and diligent.
Monica: Well, I have to think about it.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
John: We’re starting this series with the most terrifying of situations - a job interview.
Marzena: They aren’t that bad, are they?
John: I don’t know, what are job interviews like in Poland?
Marzena: They’re not as formal as in some other countries.
John: What’s a Polish CV, or resume, like?
Marzena: In some countries, you don’t need to put your age or picture on a CV. In Poland you do.
John: Really? That’s interesting.
Marzena: Another thing that’s different is that it can be difficult to be a part-time worker and do something else at the same time, such as studying.
John: Why’s that?
Marzena: Because part-time jobs are less flexible. Usually, they will ask people to come in for the full eight hours.
John: That’s harsh. How do we say “job interview” in Polish?
Marzena: rozmowa kwalifikacyjna
John: Okay, now onto the vocab.
VOCAB LIST
John: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary from this lesson. The first word is...
Marzena: opowiadać [natural native speed]
John: to tell a story
Marzena: opowiadać[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Marzena: opowiadać [natural native speed]
John: Next we have...
Marzena: pochodzić [natural native speed]
John: to come from
Marzena: pochodzić [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Marzena: pochodzić [natural native speed]
John: Next we have...
Marzena: konkretnie [natural native speed]
John: specifically
Marzena: konkretnie[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Marzena: konkretnie [natural native speed]
John: Next we have...
Marzena: obecnie [natural native speed]
John: currently
Marzena: obecnie[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Marzena: obecnie [natural native speed]
John: Next we have...
Marzena: wykształcenie [natural native speed]
John: education
Marzena: wykształcenie[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Marzena: wykształcenie [natural native speed]
John: Next we have...
Marzena: projektowanie [natural native speed]
John: design
Marzena: projektowanie[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Marzena: projektowanie [natural native speed]
John: Next we have....
Marzena: doświadczenie [natural native speed]
John: experience
Marzena: doświadczenie[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Marzena: doświadczenie [natural native speed]
John: Next we have....
Marzena: zdyscyplinowany [natural native speed]
John: disciplined
Marzena: zdyscyplinowany [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Marzena: zdyscyplinowany [natural native speed]
John: Next we have...
Marzena: sumienny [natural native speed]
John: diligent
Marzena: sumienny[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Marzena: sumienny [natural native speed]
John: And last...
Marzena: zastanowić się [natural native speed]
John: to consider
Marzena: zastanowić się[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Marzena: zastanowić się [natural native speed]
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
John: Let's have a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson. The first word is...
Marzena: pochodzić z
John: Meaning "to come from." In what circumstances would we use this word?
Marzena: It can be used to talk about the place of origin.
John: So where something comes from.
Marzena: Right. The verb itself, pochodzić, consists of two parts: the prefix po and the verb chodzić. That means "to walk on foot."
John: Are there any circumstances where you can’t use this verb?
Marzena: You can’t use it to say that you “came back,” so you don’t usually hear it in the past tense.
John: Can you give us an example using this word?
Marzena: Sure. For example, you can say, Te banany pochodzą z Filipin.
John: ...which means "These bananas come from the Philippines."
John: Okay, what's the next word?
Marzena: konkretnie
John: meaning "specifically." This is an adverb.
Marzena: And like most Polish adverbs, it ends in -nie.
John: What’s it used for?
Marzena: It’s used to specify something or to ask for extra information.
John: Can it be used in any other circumstances?
Marzena: Yes, konkretnie has a second meaning of showing how big or worth noticing something is.
John: Can you give us an example using this word?
Marzena: Sure. For example, you can say, O co ci konkretnie chodzi?
John: ...which means "What do you specifically mean?"
John: Okay, now onto the lesson focus.

Lesson focus

John: In this lesson, you'll learn about formal language and the instrumental case.
John: So let’s start with the instrumental case.
Marzena: The instrumental case, or narzędnik, is the fifth of seven Polish cases.
John: The instrumental case isn’t used for the subject of the sentence.
Marzena: That’s right. It can be a little difficult for non-natives to distinguish the instrumental case from the other cases.
John: Can we look at some examples?
Marzena: Sure. In the conversation, the speakers talked about their abilities using the instrumental case.
John: Let’s hear an example of how to express ability. How can we say “I am a trained lawyer?”
Marzena: Z wykształcenia jestem prawnikiem.
John: Let’s list the situations where we use the instrumental case.
Marzena: It’s used with the preposition z.
John: This means “with.”
Marzena: Idę z mamą do kina.
John: “I’m going to the movies with mom.”
Marzena: It’s also used to express a tool or a way of doing something. Pojadę pociągiem.
John: “I will go by train.”
Marzena: When talking about relationships or with the verb być.
John: That means “to be.”
Marzena: On jest moim przełożonym.
John: “He is my supervisor.” For examples of how to conjugate nouns in the instrumental case, take a look at the lesson notes. There are many examples there. Now, let’s look at formal speech in Polish.
Marzena: Like some other languages, we use the third person in a formal situation.
John: Is it exactly the same as third person?
Marzena: Not quite. When referring to other people, we use Pan, Pani, or Państwo.
John: They mean “sir,” “ma’am,” and the plural formal “you,” respectively.
Marzena: In writing, we always capitalize these words when directing it towards someone.
John: Let’s hear an example using one of these words.
Marzena: Czy może pan powtórzyć?
John: “Could you repeat (that), sir?”
Marzena: In that example, we used może. That’s the third person polite form of móc.
John: That means “to be able to.”
Marzena: We can make that even more polite by using mógłby for men and mogłaby for women.
John: They both mean “could.”

Outro

John: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening everyone, and we’ll see you next time! Bye!
Marzena: Cześć.