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środa, 21 czerwca 2006
The virile plural endings in Polish
The virile gender is what we call masculine personal nouns in Polish. Although in singular one can distinguish three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter), the opposition of genders in Plural is simply virile — non-virile.

Polish virile nouns have a plenty of endings in plural, which is definitely, to some degree, motivated by various historical reasons. Nevertheless, their proper use nowadays is a challenge even for native-speakers, as the rules intersect and alternative nouns’ forms are allowed.

1. The -i ending
It is used among with stems ending in a hard consonant. It causes an alternation of the consonant, chiefly the palatalization:

chłop — chłopi (p : p’)
sąsiad — sąsiedzi (d : dź)
Włoch — Włosi (ch : ś)
anioł — anieli (ł : l)

2. The -y ending
It is used with nouns ending in K and G causing their alternation to C and DZ. It is also used after a hardened consonant C, mostly combined with an E in the ending -ec; this E is dropped in the inflection. The last consonant requiring the -y ending is R with the alternation to RZ.

Polak — Polacy (k : c)
Norweg — Norwedzy (g : dz)
Niemiec — Niemcy (e : ø)
aktor — aktorzy (r : rz)

3. The
-e ending
It is used with nouns ending in a soft or hardened consonant. Also the nouns ending in drop this ending and take -e with palatalization of the last consonant. The same happens with very few nationality nouns ending in -an.

lokaj — lokaje
nauczyciel — nauczyciele
towarzysz — towarzysze
lekarz — lekarze
Amerykanin — Amerykanie (n : ń)
chrześcijanin — chrześcijanie (n : ń)
Hiszpan — Hiszpanie (n : ń)
Cygan — Cyganie (n : ń)

4. The -owie ending
The most irregular of all the endings can be systematized only to some degree. The rules are as follow:
a) It occurs with nouns of kinship: syn — synowie, ojciec — ojcowie, wuj — wujowie, dziadek — dziadkowie (BUT: brat — bracia, siostrzeniec — siostrzeńcy).
b) It occurs with names and surnames: Nowak — Nowakowie, Jan — Janowie, Dominik — Dominikowie.
The ending can be also met with names of nationalities (Arab — Arabowie, Norweg — Norwegowie), titles and relations (minister — ministrowie, profesor — profesorowie, pan — panowie, król — królowie, generał — generałowie) and some other various nouns (uczeń — uczniowie, więzień — więźniowie, świadek — świadkowie).

The greatest illustration of variety and impossibility of clear systematisation of Polish virile endings are the double forms, where two endings are allowed.

Norweg — Norwedzy/Norwegowie
profesor — profesorzy/profesorowie


Za:
B. Bartnicka, H. Satkiewicz: Gramatyka języka polskiego. Warszawa, 1990.
O. E. Swan: Polish Grammar in a Nutshell. Pittsburgh, 2003.
18:43, qaanaaq87 , Polski
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