Polish/Feminine noun declension

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
< Polish
Jump to navigation Jump to search

< Hard and soft consonants < ^ Polish ^ > Masculine noun declension >

Feminine noun declension[edit]

The declension of nouns in Polish is less regular than of adjectives, but follows a pattern that is in many ways similar to adjective declension.

Let's take a look at a few typical feminine declension nouns in singular and are equal to nominative in plural):

Girl (also means Girlfriend)
Singular Plural
Nominative dziewczyna dziewczyny
Genitive dziewczyny dziewczyn
Dative dziewczynie dziewczynom
Accusative dziewczynę dziewczyny
Instrumental dziewczyną dziewczynami
Locative dziewczynie dziewczynach
Vocative dziewczyno dziewczyny
Singular Plural
Nominative kobieta kobiety
Genitive kobiety kobiet
Dative kobiecie kobietom
Accusative kobie kobiety
Instrumental kobie kobietami
Locative Kobiecie kobietach
Vocative kobieto kobiety
Singular Plural
Nominative mrówka mrówki
Genitive mrówki mrówek
Dative mrówce mrówkom
Accusative mrówkę mrówki
Instrumental mrówką mrówkami
Locative mrówce mrówkach
Vocative mrówko mrówki
Singular Plural
Nominative kawa kawy
Genitive kawy kaw
Dative kawie kawom
Accusative kawę kawy
Instrumental kawą kawami
Locative kawie kawach
Singular Plural
Nominative krowa krowy
Genitive krowy krów
Dative krowie krowom
Accusative krowę krowy
Instrumental krową krowami
Locative krowie krowach
Vocative krowo krowy
Kasia (Katie)
Singular Plural
Nominative Kasia Kasie
Genitive Kasi Kaś
Dative Kasi Kasiom
Accusative Kasię Kasie
Instrumental Kasią Kasiami
Locative Kasi Kasiach
Vocative Kasiu Kasie

As you can see it's quite regular. Possible changes are:

  • softening of final consonant group in the singular dative and locative (which have the same form)
  • change of "o" to "ó" (pronounced /u/) in the plural genitive
  • insertion of "e" between the two final consonants in the plural genitive. You may think of this "e" as a kind of aid to pronunciation. "mrówk" would be pretty hard to say without this "e". The Polish language allows quite complicated consonant groups at the the beginning of a syllable, but it tries to avoid complex syllable endings.

These changes aren't specific to the feminine noun declension - they happen throughout the Polish language, so you'd better get used to them.

A bit less typical are feminine nouns that end in "-ia":

Singular Plural
Nominative komedia komedie
Genitive komedii komedii
Dative komedii komediom
Accusative komed komedie
Instrumental komed komediami
Locative komedii komediach
Vocative komedio komedie

Notice that in the genitive and the accusative the pronunciation is the same in the singular and plural. This is not usual in Polish, and may cause some problems if number is not obvious from context. One solution is to overemphasise difference between "e" and "ę" in speech (which are usually pronounced the same at word endings). A better solution is to use some adjective or pronoun, for example:

  • "tej komedii" (singular genitive, of this comedy)
  • "tych komedii" (plural genitive, of these comedies)
  • "tę komedię" (singular accusative, this comedy)
  • "te komedie" (plural accusative, these comedies)

And abstract feminine nouns ending in "-ść" (note vocative forms):

Singular Plural
Nominative miłość miłości
Genitive miłości miłości
Dative miłości miłościom
Accusative miłość miłości
Instrumental miłośc miłościami
Locative miłości miłościach
Vocative miłości miłości
Singular Plural
Nominative wysokość wysokości
Genitive wysokości wysokości
Dative wysokości wysokościom
Accusative wysokość wysokości
Instrumental wysokośc wysokościami
Locative wysokości wysokościach
Vocative wysokości wysokości

There is some magic here with "ść" changing to "śc" but it's only spelling. You never write the softened version of a consonant before a vowel - you change it to the "normal" version and add "i" to mark it as "soft". You don't have to add "i" if it's already there.

Without this magic endings would look like:

Singular Plural
Nominative i
Genitive i i
Dative i iom
Accusative i
Instrumental iami
Locative i iach

Let's try to use that knowledge in practice.

  • Agnieszka myśli o miłości - Agnieszka thinks about love (love in locative)
  • Agnieszka nie myśli o miłości - Agnieszka doesn't think about love (as above)
  • Dziewczyny lubią komedie - The girls like comedies (comedies in accusative)
  • Kobieta pije kawę - The woman is drinking coffee. (coffee in accusative)
  • Dziewczyna nie pije kawy - The girl doesn't drink coffee (coffee in genitive)
  • Basia nie widzi krów - Basia doesn't see cows (cows in genitive)
  • Marta nie lubi mrówek - Marta doesn't like ants (ants in genitive)
  • myśli - third person singular form of "to think"
  • lubi - third person singular form of "to like"
  • lubią - third person plural form of "to like"

< Hard and soft consonants < ^ Polish ^ > Masculine noun declension >