ISSUE 1 / 2011


  • Adam Bednarek : The trouble with kłopot ‛trouble’
    The aim of this sketch is to analyze the semantics of the lexical units X jest zakłopotany Y-em ‛X is confused by Y’ and X ma kłopot z Y-em ‛X is in trouble with Y’. The author begins by establishing that there is no synonymic relation between the two units in question. Then, he takes up the semantic relation between Polish lexemes kłopot ‛trouble’ and problem ‛problem’. The author assumes that there is a hyponymy between them, and that the notion of discomfort is what makes them different from one another. The semantic analysis of the units X jest zakłopotany Y-em and X ma kłopot z Y-em shows that both items imply the need for X’s specific behavior. This feature differentiates them (especially the first one) from the unit X jest zażenowany Y-em ‛X is embarrassed with Y’. The final result of the discussion is a proposition of two tentative explications of the examined units. The initial hypothesis of the hyponymy between examined units has not been confirmed.
  • Jolanta Chojak : Does przypomieć się komuś ‘to do something in order to get somebody’s attention’ is the same as przypomnieć komuś o sobie ‛to remind somebody of oneself’?
    The author’s subject of interest are the language units formed by the verbal sequence przypomnieć ‛to remind’. Her attention is focused on the linguistic status of the expressions się ‛oneself’ and o sobie ‛of oneself’, the relationships between them, as well as the interpretation of the instrumental case position of the predicate in question. The author distinguishes the following language units: two agentive verbs implicating intentionality: [ktoś] przypomniał [kogoś] [komuś] ‛[sbi] reminded [sbj] of [sbk]’ and [ktoś] przypomniał się [komuś] [z czymś] ‛[sbi] did something in order to get [sbj’s] attention on [sth]’, and the language unit defined as a causative-agentive verb, which has two operative variants: [ktoś] przypomniał [się] // [o sobie] [komuś] [czymś] // [w czymś]. The word się (as well as o sobie) indicates the object position of the predicate, and the instrumental case is the marker of the agentive operation.
  • Magdalena Danielewiczowa : On the word spokojnie ‛calmly’. Self-review.
    The author of the article criticizes the theses of her earlier work on spokojnie ‛calmly’. The user of the word compares two disjunctive courses of things; each of them is accompanied by certain knowledge and certain ignorance, although the knowledge of the negative operand of the disjunction is prevailed by the knowledge of the positive operand; so the point is not in valuing (as it was presented in the earlier work on spokojnie), but in judging of the factors involved in the hypothetical result. The epistemic peace (calm) appears when the knowledge of the negative operand is prevailed by the knowledge of the positive operand which is directly marked by the right¬ hand-argument open by spokojnie.
  • Adam Dobaczewski : On constructions such as Sąd sądem, a sprawiedliwość musi być po naszej stronie ‛Court is court, but justice must be on our side’
    The subject of this article is the Polish construction Nnom Ninstr (a/ale)_ ‛Nnom Ninstr (but)_’ (where N is obligatorily filled by identical lexical forms). The construction is contrasted with similar nominative-instrumental structures interpreted as tautological predications with ellipsis of copula. However, the structure Nnom Ninstr mentioned in the title is recognized as a separate language unit. The author proposes its tentative semantic interpretation based on the data from Polish language corpora.
  • Katarzyna Dróżdż-Łuszczyk : A man is born to labour and the bird to fly. Semantic-syntactic vs contextual features of the lexeme pracować ‘to work’

    The article is devoted to semantic-syntactic analysis of the lexeme pracować ‛to work’. The author’s aim is to verify the hypothesis, suggested in the title, of the relationship between being human and the necessity of working, as well as to collect arguments to take a stance on the polysemy of the word pracować postulated in dictionaries.

    The analysis of the syntactic positions and the performed semantic tests allow to describe following components of the meaning of the examined verb: 1) there is somebody (a human being) who notices the purposefulness of his/her actions; 2) the actions include making changes to the object; 3) the changes are intentional and regarded as good, useful or desirable. All these components prove that one should link the work with the human being.

    A full answer to the question of the meaning of the verb pracować – according to the author – will become possible only after a contrastive analysis of the verb in question and the verb robić coś ‛to do something’. However, it is possible – on the basis of the analysis – to question the polysemy of the verb pracować suggested in dictionaries.

  • Maciej Grochowski : An adnumerative operator z górą ‛over’

    The lexical unit z górą ‛over’ is representative of both adnumerative operators and markers of approximation with a component ‛more than n’. This unit is pragmatically neutral, in contrast to other colloquial (mainly) elements of the sequence. The investigated unit opens the position, characterized semantically, of definite numeral expressions. The expressions defining the scale of difference between points of time and space are dominant in this position. Numeral expressions which define points of time, age and temperature are probably excluded.

    The unit z górą is internally inseparable; it is characterized by a linear order which varies in relation to its superordinate element. It can be the rheme of the utterance. The expression z górą is being investigated against the background of other adnumerative operators. There is a relation of exclusion between them.

  • Elżbieta Janus : Vilnius constructions with się ‛oneself’ (a diachronic excursus)
    The article focuses on passive constructions with się ‛oneself’, common in today’s Vilnius variant of Polish (e.g. Karty telefoniczne kupują się w kiosku ‛Phone cards are bought at a newsagent’s, literally: Phone cards buy themselves at a newsagent’s). At first glance, one could consider these constructions as a Belarusian or Russian syntactic calque. However, they are only ostensibly loan translations from Belarusian or Russian, because they should be considered as an archaism originating from the northern borderlands of Poland, known in common Polish starting from the 16th century, and they have almost completely disappeared in the 20th century. The author examines the history of these constructions and the reason of their disappearance in common Polish.
  • Piotr Sobotka : Knowledge and God’s foreknowledge. Does man have free will if God knows everything?
    Taking the logical-linguistic point of view, the author considers the question of the relationship between God’s foreknowledge and the possibility of free decision-making by a human being. Different solutions of the problem being discussed (whether men are determined in their actions by the foreknowledge of God) were offered by philosophers of the Middle Ages (including Boethius, Peter Abelard, Thomas Aquinas) but also by contemporary ones (Søren Kierkegaard, Arthur Schopenhauer, Alvin Plantinga) as well as logicians (e.g. A.N. Prior). The author makes a critical overview of these solutions and suggests his own approach to the problem in question, rooted in the scholastic philosophy. God, as an Omniscient Being, is – as Boethius said – a Timeless Being, so His act of knowing is well beyond the time. God’s foreknowledge does not affect our actions, because they (understood as the objects of His knowledge) are first in ‛ontological’ order. The truth conditions of a sentence The Socrates’ father, Sophroniscos, was born in the first half of the 5th century BC are associated with two events that took place at different points of time. This does not mean that the phrase came to be true only after Sophroniscos had beget Socrates, nor Sophroniscos – due to one of the truth conditions of the sentence in question – was forced to beget Socrates in the second half of the 5th century BC. This view also forms the foreknowledge of God: for Him both the birth of Sophroniscos and the birth of Socrates are simultaneous.
  • Marzena Stępień : An attempt to distinguish parentheticals with the expression jak ‛as’
    The subject of the article are the Polish constructions _, jak + Vf, _ ‛_, as sb + Vf, _’. The aim of this research is to answer the question of how to distinguish two types of parentheticals with jak ‛as’, that is _, jak + Vf, _ and _, tak jak + Vf, _ ‛_, as sb + Vf before, _’. The investigation involves an attempt to determine which verbs may substitute the variable Vf, and whether they share any common semantic component.
  • Jadwiga Wajszczuk : The Polish oprócz ‛except’ – what part of speech is that? Reflections on the margin of Andrzej Bogusławski’s study on the meaning of the Russian krome

    The starting point for the study of the Polish oprócz ‛except’ in this article is Andrzej Bogusławski’s study of 2008 of the Russian krome. He recognizes the metatextual nature of this operator. Regarding it as a word having only one meaning, contrary to the ambiguity widely attributed to it (cf. exclusive and inclusive meaning of krome/oprócz), the author suggests an explication of its meaning in logical terms.

    The author of this article is most interested in the difficulty of classifying krome/oprócz as a part of speech. From the formal perspective, it is undoubtedly a preposition, but it seems to collide with its metatextual nature. The author attempts to solve this dilemma by indicating that oprócz is ‛a typical thematizer’, i.e. a prepositional operator representing a whole metatextual statement which allows to differentiate already known rhematic information from a new rheme or a range of new rhemes.

  • Daniel Weiss : The „decapitation” of sentences in modern Polish. On the Polish equivalents of Russian verbless sentences
    In the article I examine utterances without finite verbs in different varieties of contemporary Polish, notably in new genres of internet communication (blogs and forums), colloquial usage and narrative texts. This subject is motivated by the behavior of colloquial Russian which allows the omission of finite verbs far more freely than colloquial Polish does. The study attempts to seize some crucial factors either favoring or blocking the emergence of verbless sentences in the abovementioned Polish varieties. Anaphoric ellipsis, missing copulae and grammatical vagueness are not taken into account. The article is mainly based on data collected through Google searches and my own observation of colloquial usage. Its principal results may be summarized in the following way:
    1. The omission of finite verbs is much more restricted in Polish spontaneous speech than in its Russian counterpart; we observe however the rise of new verbless structures strongly reminiscent of colloquial Russian in Polish internet communication.
    2. The degree of explicitness/vaguess or ambiguity does not seem to have an impact on the acceptability of a given construction with missing verb.
    3. The narrative register proves to be more favorable for the omission of verbs of movement and communication than the discourse register.
  • Zofia Zaron : Someone – meaning whom? On the linguistic status of plants
    The presence of plants in the world is so obvious that it rarely becomes the object of reflection. Plants are simply there in our lives. We associate them with a field, a garden, a vase, different types of ceremonies etc. The author of this article is not interested in such a perception of plants, although it in a way confirms our objective attitude towards them (linguistic reflection of this attitude is attributing inflectional category of inanimate gender to the names of plants which is marked by formal requirements of the identity of accusative and nominative). The author does not agree with such a clearly mechanical (non-reflective) categorization of plants as inanimate beings, which is why she presents semantic-syntactic arguments proving, in her opinion, that plants belong to a common (including people and animals) world of living organisms, a world where every member is SOMEONE who acts.