The Subtlety of the Polish Language

     The following treatise on the expressiveness of the Polish language was submitted by my Polish correspondent, Zbigniew Lechniak, in Warsaw. What better word to chose as an example when explaining the "subtlety" of a language!! Everything Zbyszek wrote is in blue. My comments are in red.
     If you don't see the "special" Polish letters, take a look HERE.

     "I would like to express some general remarks on the Polish language. As everyone knows, people speak to provide information but also to express our emotions. There are plenty of ways to do so. In Polish, we have uncountable substitutes, diminutives or augmentative forms of the original words. Let us take such a simple word as kobieta (woman):

kobietka - a small girl pretending to be a woman

baba - a funny word meaning many things. It is often more or less derogatory

and then:
goła baba - a naked woman. I usually say this when so many appear in our TV (znowu gołe baby w telewizji)

głupia baba - a stupid woman. It is quite impolite to tell it to your girlfriend!

niegłupia baba - is often said among men with the implied admiration but also implying: you see she is a woman but in spite of this she is so wise.

babka - is much softer and then
fajna babka - a fine girl

babka - means also the same as babcia. (Babcia means "Granny". Babka is sometimes used in the U.S. to mean the bread that granny bakes. Babuszka means the kerchief that granny wears)

babeczka - is just caressing and then:

zgrabna babeczka - a good looking woman

niczego sobie babeczka - not-so-easy-to-translate expression softly implying positive sexual asessment (but 'baba do niczego' is quite opposite and rough)

babunia - a nice word replacing babcia or just any old woman

babina (or even babulina, babuleńka, kobiecina, kobiecinka) - the same as above, but said with the implied compassion. (These words are the "diminutive" form. The endings imply "little", "tiny", or "cute")

babsko is unacceptably rough and impolite , vide stare babsko (old woman)

Surely, we have also plenty of the indirect substitutes of this word, giving sexual flavour: lalunia, laleczka, (These are diminutives of "lalka", the word for "doll") kociak (ummm... kitten), niezła sztuka (tasty morsel), ślicznotka (pretty little one), and so on.

This is live Polish language!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

The word "pani" means Mrs. (as a title), Ma'am or Madam (as a direct address), and it substitutes as the personnal pronoun "you" when speaking to a woman in polite conversation. The word "panna" means "miss". In English it is polite to address any young woman of unknown marital status as "miss". Watch out!! In Polish it is usually used sarcastically if the young lady is obviously over the age of "consent".

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