Declension

Introduction

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Meaning of the colours in the tables:

Contents:

Explanations to the tables:

  Explanations
r. gender
  m     masculine  
m-os. (m1) masculine-personal
m-yw. (m2) masculine animate (impersonal)
m-nyw. (m3) masculine inanimate
n neuter
feminine
l.   number  
poj. (lp) singular
mn. (lm) plural
  case
  M   nominative
D genitive
C dative
B accusative
N instrumental
Ms locative
W vocative
Mx depreciative nominative–vocative plural
~0 zero ending

Declension of substantives

List of the endings

  gender
masculine neuter feminine
personal animate inanimate
  singular
nom. ~0, ~o ~a ~0 ~o, ~e, ~ ~a, ~i ~0
gen. ~a ~y ~a, ~u ~u, ~a ~a ~y (~i), ~i (~y)
dat. ~owi, ~u ~e ~owi, ~u ~u ~e, ~i (~y) ~i (~y)
acc. ~a (=D) ~ ~a, ~u ~0 ~o, ~e, ~ ~ ~0
ins. ~em ~ ~em ~
loc. ~e, ~u ~e, ~i (~y) ~i (~y)
voc. ~e, ~u ~o ~e, ~u ~o, ~e, ~ ~o, ~u ~i (~y)
  plural
nom. voc. ~i (~y), ~e, ~owie, ~a ~y (~i), ~e ~a ~y (~i), ~e
col. nom. ~y (~i), ~e n/a
gen. ~w, ~i (~y), ~0
dat. ~om
acc. ~w, ~i (~y), ~0 ~y (~i), ~e ~a ~y (~i), ~e
ins. ~ami, ~mi
loc. ~ach

In plural the vocative form is always equal to nominative.

WARNING:

  1. The record ~y (~i) denotes:
  2. The record ~i (~y) denotes:

Consonantal alternations

Position Alternations of consonants
~0 p b f w m t st d zd
~e pie [p′e] bie [b′e] fie [f′e] wie [w′e] mie [m′e] cie [e] cie [e] dzie [de] dzie [de]
~i pi [p′i] bi [b′i] fi [f′i] wi [w′i] mi [m′i] ci [i] ci [i] dzi [di] dzi [di]

Position Alternations of consonants
~0 s z n sn zn s z r
~e sie [e] zie [e] nie [e] nie [e] nie [e] le le le rze
~i si [i] zi [i] ni [i] ni [i] ni [i] li li li rzy*

Position Alternations of consonants
~0 k g ch h
~e ce, cze*** dze, e*** sze e (dze)
~i cy* dzy* si [i]  
~em kiem [k′em] giem [g′em] chem hem
~y ki [k′i]** gi [g′i]** chy hy

Position Alternations of consonants
1 p b f w m j d
2 pi [p′] bi [b′] fi [f′] wi [w′] mi [m′] j ci [] dzi [d] si [] zi [] ni []
3 p [p′] b [b′] f [f′] w [w′] m [m′] j, 0 c [] dz [d] s [] z [] n []

  alternations in spelling only
  alternations in pronunciation only
  alternations in pronunciation and spelling
1 when before a consonant or word-finally
2 when before the vowel a, , e, , o, , u
3 when before the vowel i
  WARNING: j disappears when after a vowel before i
* the following i changes into y
** the following y changes into i
*** in vocative sg. of masculines

Division of substantives

An analysis of the inflection forms of Polish substantives lets divide them first into groups which corresponds with the grammatical genders.

Masculine-personal substantives have:

  1. accusative equal to genitive in both numbers (D=B);
  2. the genitive (and accusative) singular ending ~a;
  3. the dative singular ending ~owi (exceptionally ~u);
  4. in nominative singular (M lp) they have the zero ending, rarely ~o; some have the ending ~a and are declined in singular like feminine; some have the ~y (i) and are declined like adjectives;
  5. in nominative plural they have the endings: ~i (~y) preceded by consonantal alternations, ~e or ~owie (rarely ~a), never ~y (~i);
  6. they build a special, coloured form of nominative–vocative plural (Mx).

Masculine animate substantive have:

  1. the accusative form equal to genitive in singular (D=B), to nominative in plural (M=B);
  2. the genitive (and accusative) singular ending ~a (exceptionally ~u);
  3. the dative singular ending ~owi (exceptionally ~u);
  4. in nominative singular they have the zero ending;
  5. in nominative plural they have the endings ~y (~i) or ~e, never ~i (~y), ~owie.

Masculine inanimate substantives have:

  1. accusative equal to nominat. in both numbers (M=B);
  2. the genitive singular ending ~u or ~a;
  3. the dative singular ending ~owi;
  4. in nominative singular they have the zero ending;
  5. in nominative plural they have the endings ~y (~i) or ~e, never ~i (~y), ~owie.

Neuter substantives have:

  1. accusative and vocative equal to nominative in both numbers (M=B=W);
  2. the genitive singular ending ~a;
  3. the dative singular ending ~u;
  4. the nominative singular ending ~o or ~e;
  5. the nominative plural ending ~a (exceptionally others).

Feminine substantives have:

  1. accusative singular different from both nominative and genitive (however equal to nominative when it has the zero ending);
  2. dative singular equal to locative (C=Ms).

Another division is based on the final sound of the stem. So we distinguish the following sorts of substantives:

  1. of the hard stems ending in:
    1. p, b, f, w, m;
    2. s, z, n;
    3. t, d, st, zd, sn, zn;
  2. of the hard stems ending in ;
  3. of the hard stems ending in r;
  4. of the stems ending in ch, h;
  5. of the stems ending in k, g;
  6. of the soft stems ending in , d, , , ;
  7. of the soft stems ending in j after a vowel;
  8. of the stems ending in j after a consonant;
  9. of the soft stems ending in p′, b′, f′, w′, m′;
  10. of the soft stems ending in l;
  11. of the stems ending in c, dz, cz, d, sz, , rz (soft hardened);
  12. of the stems ending in the vowel a, o, u;
  13. of the stems ending in the vowel e.

You can find here a standard division, used in many Polish dictionaries.

Here the distribution of individual endings and stem changes is discussed.

And here you can find a list of the endings.

And here you can learn the motive of the accepted way of presentation.


Continuation


Another view on declension


Main pagePolish grammar

2008-06-30