Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Polish people are all virgins?

I was looking for information on how to inflect nouns after numerals in Polish - specifically, whether numbers such as 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 cause numbers to inflect like after 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or not.

So I googled for people announcing their age ("mam [number] [years]") to see what form the word for "years" took.

And when I type in "mam [number]", Google autocomplete (or whatever it's called) helpfully suggests, for example, "mam 21 lat" but "mam 22/23/24 lata" and then again "mam 25 lat". So -1 doesn't make it use the nominative singular as with just "1", but -2/-3/-4 does use the nominative plural as with the paucal 2/3/4. And then -5 uses the genitive plural as with 5, as does -1.

But that's not the whole story: after typing (say) "mam 23 " (with the space at the end), Google usually suggested not merely "mam 23 lata" but the top suggestions usually were "mam ... lat(a) i jestem prawiczkiem/dziewicą" (I'm ... years old and I'm a virgin) - sometimes even the #1 suggestion! (Well, and also "... i jestem sama".)

I wonder whether that's an artifact of the type of situations where people typically use the wording "I'm ... years old", or whether it says something about Polish society....

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