Żyła tam sama.(Question)


#1

Can anyone tell the difference, in this context, if any, if it had been written as ‘Mieszkała ta sama’? Thanks!


#2

We usually use the verb “mieszkać” when talking about the place where someone lives. Something like “Żyję w Warszawie” sounds very unnatural to the Polish ear.

That said, there might be some contexts when using “żyć” coupled with a location is okay, and this seems to be one of these cases.

Here, the emphasis on “sama” (alone) changes the connotations of the verb “żyć” a bit. It’s hard to explain it, but it feels like the meaning conveyed by “żyła sama” (as in “living alone, without a partner or family”) is a bit more personal and less “technical” than the meaning of “mieszkała sama” (as in “inhabiting a place without any cohabitants / roommates”).


#3

Thanks for the clarification. From a learner’s perspective, it seems to be best to use ‘mieszkać’ when simply trying to convey information about ‘living in a particular place’ and to use ‘żyć’ when trying to express something more personal/emotional.


#4

That’s it! Here’s an example that might better illustrate the connotations of “żyć”:

  • “Anna żyje z nim od roku” (“Anna has been living with him for a year”) – the sentence implies that Anna is in a close/intimate relationship with the man, and they’re almost certainly living in the same place.
  • “Anna mieszka z nim od roku” (as above) – the sentence doesn’t really tell us anything about the relationship about the two. They might be a couple, there might be friends, they might even hate each other – all we know is that they share a house/flat.