The Polish pronoun niektóre / niektórzy as a partitive quantification operator

2020. № 3 (25), 24-34

Maciej Grochowski

Institute of the Polish Language of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland, Toruń)


From a syntactic point of view, the pronoun niektóre / niektórzy ʻsomeʼ always belongs to the noun phrase. As an exponent of reference and quantitative assessment it may occupy the first linear position in the phrase. The pronoun under study designates a part of what the co-occurring noun refers to. This part may not be characterized in a concrete manner with the use of numerals; see, e.g. *Niektórym dziesięciu uczniom przyznano nagrody; *Niektórych uczestników olimpiady było czterdziestu. Combination of niektóre with nouns denoting substances is deviates from the norm since the latter are assigned amorphic predicates; e.g. *niektóre mąki / mleka / masła. The pronoun niektóre / niektórzy belongs to the class of indefinite pronouns. This qualification is confirmed by the contradiction arising from the addition of this pronoun to the demonstrative pronouns te, ci, my, wy. It is possible to add the pronoun under study to the noun phrase with a possessive pronoun, e.g. Niektóre moje uczennice pracują naukowo. The pronoun niektóre / niektórzy does not exclude in its co-text the definite reference of the set of entities to which it refers; e.g. To jest środek na niektóre, czyli następujące owady: komary, kleszcze, muchy. Some dictionaries of the Polish language acknowledge the existence of the pronoun poniektóry / poniektórzy ʻsome,ʼ explaining its meaning as synonymous with that of the pronoun niektóre / niektórzy. The pronoun poniektóry / poniektórzy is regarded as archaic and pragmatically marked (colloquial, showing slight contempt) against the neutral niektóre / niektórzy. It had and continues to have a very low frequency in Polish written texts.