Saturday, 19 September 2009

Nie ma Pani drobnych?

What better way to spend a Saturday morning than watching Polish economic news reports?

According to TVN 24, the Polish mint says it's not inconceivable that the issue of 1 and 2 grosze bits (that's those tiny irritating pennies that get lost in the bottom of your handbag) will cease in 2011.

It would seem that it costs 0.05 gr to produce a single grosz/2 grosze coin. That means that the Polish national bank spent 24, 400, 000 PLN on pennies last year.

If that's the case, why are they waiting until 2011? Why not stop production now, and improve the country's productivity by slashing lunchtime queuing times in Kefirek...


Link to the report here.

19 comments:

Michael Dembinski said...

This is indeed one of Poland's great economic absurdities...

http://jeziorki.blogspot.com/2009/05/why-poland-cannot-afford-grosz.html

I've been hoarding one and two grosz coins in the expectation that their price will soar one day. In any case, their scrap metal value is greater than their face value! Hoard! Save! Millions of Poles of doing likewise. Now you know why there's not enough in circulation!

Bartek Usniacki said...

why are they waiting until 2011? In 1995 there was a denomination of zloty. Four zeros were reduced and as a result old 10,000 zlotys were turned into one new zloty. But according to the bill banks are obliged to change old 100 zl and 200 zl into 1 grosz and 2 grosze coins until the end of 2011. That's why they wait.

Would such change mean the decay of "psychological prices"? What if I bought one product for 1,99 zl and paid with 2 zł coin? Would I have to tell the lady behind the counter "keep the change"?

This idea seems to be ridiculous and at first I thought the headline should appear on April fool's day.

Michael Dembinski said...

Bartek - the 'psycological' price at the shops would be 1,95 zł. Inflation would come down. Not ridiculous at all.

Bartek Usniacki said...

or the withdrawal of smallest coins would put the illusion of "less than two zloty to an end". Either way (1,95 or 2,00) it would seem beneficial for the customers. I feel convinced.

What a peculiar translation of niewykluczone - double negation... :)

pinolona said...

hang on - have I misunderstood the whole thing?? Basically it might happen, they haven't ruled out the possibility...

It's not unusual in English to negate things twice as a sort of subtle understatement a la John Major in the early 90s.
For example, someone ridiculously good-looking might be described as not unattractive; whereas a total disaster might be described as not entirely unsuccessful. It's a subtle stylistic device.

Bartek Usniacki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bartek Usniacki said...

basically it might, but to my eye it's not likely to happen. Has the silly season not come to an end yet?

I've come across double negation a few times but I took it as a translation from Polish.

total disaster = sth not entirely unsuccessful, so taking out double negation I get sth entirely successful. Is sth entirely successful a total disaster or haven't I caught your drift this time?

pinolona said...

yeah I was wondering about that. I think in the second case there would be a touch of sarcasm that would reverse the meaning. Gosh, English is complicated. Must practice more.

Bartek Usniacki said...

and so do I ;)

English is just intricate, but Polish is really convoluted, especially when it comes to negations.

Just look at the simple sentence "nic nie robię" - here a double negation is completely illogical. In this respect English with its single negation "I'm doing nothing" expresses the meaning in a plain way.

PS. would you finally give us a link to your Polish-language blog you mentioned some time ago?

pinolona said...

ahem, yes, I suspect Onet may have closed down my inactive Polish blog now :)

re "nic nie robię" - 'I'm doing nothing' and 'I'm not doing anything' have totally different meanings... bizarre, isn't it?!

in the 'not inconceivable' case, the double negative reverses rather than emphasises the meaning so it's not quite the same as the Polish double negation.

I'm with you on Polish being convoluted though...

Bartek Usniacki said...

bizarre but still logical...

take note that "I'm doing nothing" and "I'm not doing anything" would both be translated as "nic nie robię" - it lays bare the next flaw of Polish.

let's separate the stylistic device from the fixed construction which the double negation in Polish is. Is it the only language where such weirdo functions? In German it's a single one, like in English. How about French and Italian?

eerrr... "not inconceivable" - I'd say it emphasises the meaning of of conceivability. Are we on the same wavelength? Double negation in Polish has the same function as single in English...

So convoluted that many Poles have problems with using it correctly. Let alone those brave foreigners who chose to learn it...

pinolona said...

I'm not sure about emphasising the meaning of conceivability... it's a way of saying that there's a very very small chance - it's not inconceivable but it's not likely either. As such my translation was wrong, come to think of it: I should have said it's possible that grosze will no longer be issued or that they haven't ruled out the possibility or something.

French has double negatives (ne... pas is technically a double negative) although the 'ne' tends to be dropped in everyday speech (j'ai pas de sous - 'y a plus de lait' etc etc)
oh wait - je n'ai aucune idée... 'I don't have not a single clue'.

Italian also double negates, but again (as in Polish) this is grammatical and not stylistic:
non c'e nessuno, non faccio nulla, non l'ho mai visto, ecc.

Bartek Usniacki said...

if you had written "it is conceivable..." it would imply it'd have been more probable than in "not inconceivable" case, so applying such stylistic device you seemed to mark your doubts about such possibility - it's your own contribution, both translations (plain and double negation) are correct and sound better than "possible" and "rule out" versions.

But wait, English is your first language, not mine...

pinolona said...

ok cool, thanks!
And that reminds me:


"- Inconceivable!
- You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

:D

Michael Dembinski said...

Pinolona - Bartek - you both need to pop in (for a few minutes at a time, it will do your nut in to stay here any longer) to this blog.

This post is also a must-read.

Bartek Usniacki said...

thanks for the link. I've JK's blog from "cover to cover" - why haven't you posted a link to it on your blogroll - it would come in handy to all your Polish readers who treat learning English seriously. It's a kind of hard bit (unless you skip the logic stuff) and reading really does in, but it's worth...

pinolona said...

Thanks for the link Michael! I'll read it when I'm feeling a bit stronger :/

Bartek Usniacki said...

not to mentioned you once told me you'd come back to my post on translation

Damien Moran said...

Michael, that blog has caused my appendix to rupture from over-laughter. Thanks though, I would give another, if I had one. Are them commas well-placed, I ponder?

Pinolona, thanks for reminding me of what every cashier in Poland says when I hand her/him a thousand zl. note for a pack of 8.59 zl. soja sausages. I've been in Ghana for the past 10 months so my Polish needs some brushing up. you had a blog in Polish? Ale teraz nie dzialal? How the bleeding hell do I get o use Polish characters on my Dell laptop. Tak, jestem troche glupi w zwiazku technologie!

Anyhow, I'm happy I've come across your blog again and impressed you understood that news item. I find it fierce hard to understand the news still. It's just too fast for me.