The English translation is given as ‘What’ve you been up to?’. In the translation, is the ‘person’ correct, from the original Polish sentence? The Polish sentence would literally translate as something like ‘He’s done something up to this time/period?’, or ‘What’s he been up to?’. Thanks!
“Coś robił?” is an archaic second person form—so the translation is right. That said, it’s still very weird that this Polish sentence ended up here, given that it’s definitely not your everyday Polish. I think it would be right to report it, as it’s not a very helpful sentence.
I’ll try to explain it in general terms, but I don’t really think you should bother with learning how to use it—it’s enough to know that the form exists.
In this antiquated/colloquial structure, the -ś ending is added to “co” to signify the second person singular. Since the -ś works as a second person marker, it would be kind of redundant for the verb to also be in the second person form, so it just takes the 3rd person form.
The -ś particle can also be attached to some other question words and different forms of “co” (kogoś, czegoś, gdzieś). When that happens, they look and sound just like indefinite pronouns, which is probably why you tried to make sense of this sentence assuming that “coś” means “something” (and I don’t blame you since this is pretty much always true).
There is also the “-ście” particle used to signify the second person plural, as in “Coście zrobili?” (“What have you folks done?”).
As if this wasn’t enough, -ś and -ście sometimes attaches itself to “że” to form “żeś” / “żeście”. These are also very colloquial words, and you shouldn’t worry about them too much. You might stumble upon these forms in Polish comedies and sitcoms, where they are used to emphasize that the characters using them are crude or uneducated.
Thanks v/much. That’s a really good and clear explanation. I had a feeling that there was perhaps some unusual sentence structure being used here, rather than an error, which is why I asked a question in the forum, rather than report it immediately.
I’ve certainly never encountered ‘coś’ meaning anything other than the indefinite pronoun version i.e. something.
Now that you’ve explained -ś ending signifies the second person in this structure, it makes sense that ‘robić’ would take the 3rd person form. I guess it is a similar structure to 'Chcę, żebyś robił … ’ (I want you to do …)
I think I’ll take your advice and report this sentence, as it sounds like such an archaic and advanced structure that it won’t benefit the majority of learners. Thanks!