Pronouncing numbers – tip

A quick tip today on how some of the polish numbers are usually pronounced.  This one is direct from my teacher and made a huge difference to the stuttering noises coming out of my mouth when trying to say these words.

The cluster of letters is …ćdz…  You see it in the following numbers :

Pięćdziesiąt (15)

Sześćdziesiąt (16)

Dziewięćdziesiąt (19)

When you try to say these as they’re written, you end up trying to quickly change your mouth from saying CH to DZ.  In Polish however, the ć ends up being silent in these words.

Try saying them again like this :




Much easier!

Common words with 1, 2-4 & 5+

I’ve mentioned in a previous post How many summers do you have? that there is some magic polish grammar that changes when you’re talking about 1 thing, 2-4 things or 5+ things.  It then repeats for 21, 22-24, 25+ then 31, 32-34, 35+ etc.  Though for the sake of completion, I’ll note here that teens (11,12,13,14,15+) all follow the 5+ pattern, so just be aware of that.

Today I thought I’d share some more case of common words which change in the same way.  I’m going to skip going into which case these come from & why today, so just worry about a few new words to learn and when to use them.

(Thanks to Marta, my great polish teacher on skype for helping my get my head around these better in today’s lesson – although any mistakes are purely my own! )

Tysiąc (thousand)

# word example
1 tysiąc tysiąc
2-4 tysiące dwa tysiące
5+ tysięcy pięć tysięcy

Milion (million)

# word example
1 milion jeden milion
2-4 miliony dwa miliony
5+ milionów pięć milionów

Rok (year)

# word example
1 rok jeden rok
2-4 lata dwa lata
5+ lat pięć lat

Godzina (hour)

# word example
1 godzina jedna godzina
2-4 godziny dwie godziny
5+ godzin pięć godzin

Minuta (minute)

# word example
1 minuta jedna minuta
2-4 minuty dwie minuty
5+ minut pięć minut

There are also similar patterns in the basic number words, but it’s not quite as simple to write, so I’ll list them below and highlight, which hopefully will make sense to you with a few examples :

10 – dziesięć

20 – dwadzieścia

30 – trzydziesći

40 – czterdzieści

50 – pięćdzieściąt

60-90  – ……dzieściąt

And the 100’s

100 – sto

200 – dwieście

300 – trzysta

400 – czterysta

500 – pięćset

600-900 – ……set

How many summers do you have?

There are 3 common words you’ll see when talking about years.

Rok – One year

Lat / Lata – Years (plural)

As with other numbers, there’s a special rule for when to use Lat and when to use Lata, which is connected to the Genitive (Dopełniacz) case, which I’ll explain in a moment. First though I’d like to point out where the word comes from, because once you know, you’ll remember it forever and that’s another free word in your memory!

The word for Summer in Polish, is Lato.

So when you’re counting in years, you’re actually counting in summers.

Lato is a neuter noun and since we’re dealing with counting, we’re going to be converting it to either :

Lat Genitive plural (Dopełniacz) for numbers greater than 5
Lata Nominative plural (Mianownik) for numbers ending in 2, 3, 4 (but not 12, 13, 14)

Some examples

Masz 1 rok : You are 1 year old

Masz 2 lata : You are 2 years old

Masz 3 lata : You are 3 years old

Masz 4 lata : You are 4 years old

Masz 5 lat : You are 5 years old

Masz 12 lat : You are 12 years old

Masz 22 lata : You are 22 years old

Masz 25 lat : You are 25 years old

Or perhaps it would be easier to remember in this format :

 1  rok
 2, 3, 4  lata
 5 – 21  lat
 22, 23, 24  lata
 25 – 31  lat
 32, 33, 34  lata
 x5 – x1  lat
 x2, x3, x4  lata

The gender of numbers

In Polish, you get used to changing the ending of adjectives to suit the gender of their associated noun.  Numbers are similar, but fortunately only the first two, which makes life simpler!  In the table below you can see that for one and two, the word changes for a Masculine, Neuter & Feminine noun.  Whereas for three and greater, the word for the number is the same for all.

Masculine Neuter Feminine
jeden kot jedno jabłko jedna kobieta
dwa koty dwa jabłka dwie kobiety
trzy koty trzy jabłka trzy kobiety
cztery koty cztery jabłka cztery kobiety
pięć kotów pięć jabłek pięć kobiet
sześć kotów sześć jabłek sześć kobiet
siedem kotów siedem jabłek siedem kobiet
osiem kotów osiem jabłek osiem kobiet
dziewięć kotów dziewięć jabłek dziewięć kobiet
dziesięć kotów dziesięć jabłek dziesięć kobiet

The other thing you might have noticed if you were paying attention, was that from five, the nouns change too.  This is one of the rules for the Genitive (Dopełniacz) case coming in to play, where a quantity of five or more changes the case to Genitive.  Well, mostly.  Except where the number ends with the word dwa, trzy or cztery (ie, 22, 23, 24, 32, 33, 34, 42…).  But that wasn’t the focus of this post and I’ll cover the rules for Genitive another day.