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Posts by mafketis  

Joined: 31 Mar 2008 / Male ♂
Warnings: 2 - AO
Last Post: 7 Feb 2023
Threads: Total: 35 / In This Archive: 1
Posts: Total: 11,574 / In This Archive: 501
From: tez nie
Speaks Polish?: tak
Interests: tez nie

Displayed posts: 502 / page 4 of 17
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28 Jul 2009
Study / Aviation for non-Polish in Poland [11]

Air Traffic Control is required by international law to speak English.

A very poor choice for exactly the reasons you give, English phonetics vary too widely from dialect to dialect and it takes too much effort for too many people to achieve an acceptable pronunciation. But the decision was not made on linguistic grounds or taking into consideration the burdens it imposes on the less linguistically gifted.

And how long have you been in Poland, can you speak Polish and if not, why not?
27 Jul 2009
Life / Polish Radio and TV stations online? [68]

In most of Poland most radio stations mostly play English language music (warning: most Poles don't listen to or care about lyrics in English so sometimes songs are cut off or begun at weird times).

I don't know of any easily available radio stations with spoken English.

On the other hand, internet radio from all over the world is available here (just like everywhere else).
25 Jul 2009

One of the big reasons for the falling birthrate is that young women are afraid they won't be able to find (or keep) a good job if they have kids. This was less a concern in communist times when having kids was not an issue in terms of employment but in the current system it's changing a lot of behaviors, especially since very few men in Poland make enough money to support non-income-generating wife and kids.
20 Jul 2009
Language / Example sentences for different cases. [42]

IINM "w Zakopanem" is a frozen form from when the locative masculine/neuter adjective ending was -em instead of -ym (there was some back and forth for a while before -ym won out in the standard).

In fact, the current -ym ending for instrumental and locative is weird in that I'm pretty sure most other Slavic languages have -em (or -om).
19 Jul 2009
Life / What should be done to make life in Poland better and more enjoyable? [94]

why can't they say PLEASE.

Because it would be inappropriate in that context? Different languages and cultures have different rules about politeness, people aren't being rude when they follow their own cultural rules (in their own culture).

You say please (proszę) when you're asking for something or you're giving or granting something (or as a substitute for 'yes'). Answering a simple factual question doesn't really any of those.

Technically they could add 'proszę pani' afterwards as in "dwanaście złotych, proszę pani" but that sounds a little .... obsequious.
18 Jul 2009
Language / Things Polish people who speak English language say [180]

Actually kminek is caraway, cumin is kmin rzymski

(I love cumin, indispensable in mexican and indian food and it was completely unavailable in Poland so I'm picky about the name).
18 Jul 2009
UK, Ireland / How many paddies in Poland? [38]

Have you considered contacting the Irish Embassy in Warsaw? They might have an idea. I don't think anyone here would.

FWIW some years ago I heard of a very large and growing Irish community in or around £ódź (though it may have been folklore, the source wasn't especially reliable).
18 Jul 2009
Language / Example sentences for different cases. [42]

I suppose practically all of the names of both the weekdays as well as the months in Polish have a special meaning:

days of the week (very approximate ideas of the meanings)

niedziela = not work (similar to 'nie działa')

poniedziałek = after not working (po = after)

wtorek = second

środa = middle

czwartek = fourth

piątek = fifth

sobota = sabbath
17 Jul 2009
UK, Ireland / Irish Primary schools to teach Polish [223]

My point is the British army stopped hanging people a long time ago and the Irish have had every opportunity to make the switch back Irish and have overwhelmingly chosen to not do so (more's the pity).

Reversion to the native language has happened in every European country to free itself from linguistic colonialists with only one exception ....

Repression against Polish wasn't quite as strong or as long lasting but Poles devotion to their language comes partly from the fact that both German and Russian speakers actively tried to wipe it out for a long time. Poles should be an inspiration to the Irish to rethink their linguistic attitude toward the world. Both German and Russian would have been more advantageous financially and/or politically but the Poles stubbornly stick with their own perplexing and fascinating language.
17 Jul 2009
UK, Ireland / Irish Primary schools to teach Polish [223]

Heres a bit of advice, when in Ireland ...

I personally have no intention of ever going to Ireland (unless a lot more people actually start speaking Irish, a beautiful and wondrous tongue that I'd love to know) why the Irish prefer boring old English to Irish I'll never, ever understand.
17 Jul 2009
UK, Ireland / Irish Primary schools to teach Polish [223]

The colonisation of Ireland is in full swing. All systems go.

You've already been culturally and linguistically absorbed once by outsiders, why put up a fuss now?

Bye bye Eire, hello Rzeczpospolita Irlandzka!
17 Jul 2009
Work / Are there any of you here that only work in English at your jobs in Poland? [3]

AFAICT the general rule is that monoglot English speakers are assigned to Poland by their companies. English speakers who arrive here on their own are not necessarily in demand unless they speak Polish as well. I don't know of any company has ever successfully implemented an English only policy for Polish employees (and I've known of a couple that tried and failed) and an English only speaker is generally going to be a burden rather than an asset.

FWIW I work as as a teacher but also need Polish to function in my workplace (which teaches a number of languages).
16 Jul 2009
Life / Why build a supermarket with 20 checkouts with only 3 till staff? [46]

One of the things I've heard is that the big hypermarkets like Tesco are having trouble being able to hire (and keep) people. Cashiering in a big box store isn't exactly fulfilling or well-paid.

Also unemployment figures are ridiculously overinflated in Poland (just as they're lowballed in western countries) and a lot more people say they want and can't find a job than actually want a job (sound familiar?)

Some months ago there was a long interesting article in Gazeta Wyborcza on how a lot of the cashiers in big stores in Warsaw are shipped in from the countryside (average commuting time 3 hours each way plus a 10 or 12 hour shift). I've even heard of some of the chains shipping in cashiers from Ukraine but crappy Polish foreign labor laws may make that not a paying proposition.
15 Jul 2009
Love / What are the perceptions of polish towards homosexuality? [106]

What I really need is a mouthy Yank trying to pop off at me.

Good thing I'm here then.

Isn't it time that you stopped playing at being a European bohemian and pissed off back home?

I'll think about it about the same time you stop thinking you're superior to everyone who's not you (or you learn Polish well enough to get your info about the country you live in first hand instead of filtered).
15 Jul 2009
Love / What are the perceptions of polish towards homosexuality? [106]

filipina, this question comes up from time to time. Here's my take.

Traditionally Polish people aren't too concerned about the moral status of homosexual behavior but the uncommon nature of it. That is, Poles tend to be conformists and they're suspicious of those who stand out.

On the other hand, contrary to a lot of publicity, a lot of (especially educated) Polish people see tolerance as a basic virtue and when an issue is presented in terms of tolerance then they'll intellectually choose that (even if they can't always follow through especially well).

All in all, things were developing slowly (but well) for gay people until a few years ago when some of the more socially conservative parties (there are no socially libreral parties in Polish politics) paid attention to American politics where fag bashing always wins at the polls and decided to follow suit. Since then, there's been tension between Polish politicians wanting to be taken seriously by the rest of Europe and wanting to pander to the less educated voters by talking up the queer menace*.

Current situation: All in all almost no Polish people have anything like gaydar. Unless you actually tell people directly to their face you're gay no one is liable to notice or care. If you are _very_ open then some people will react negatively (though probably not violently, Poles aren't Albanians after all).

Also, don't pay attention to Harry, he doesn't even know Polish and certainly doesn't understand Polish values at any level. He simply knows they're different from his and so he looks down on them (as he looks down on anyone different from him).

I've been through Radom by bus a couple of times. It's not a beauty spot but it's not awful either.

Finally, your girlfriend is lying. She's not afraid of physical violence (unless you make out in the street). My guess is that she's afraid of her parents. In Poland (probably like the Phillipines) your parents are _always_ your parents and many adults are afraid of telling their parents things they think would upset them.

*sad irony: one of the worst anti-gay demogogues in Polish politics is probably gay himself.
15 Jul 2009
Language / Things Polish people who speak English language say [180]


somebody asked a question, people are answering it in an informative and non-judgemental way.

What's the problem.

For the record, a fair amount of English speakers in Poland do know Polish to various extents and I think research on the typical mistakes we make would be interesting and informative.

In my case there's:

a tendency to overregularization : as in przyjacielów instead of przyjaciół

poor sense of aspect : pisałem instead of napisałem or napiszę instead of piszę (in my case I understand the concept of aspect but my judgements about when each is appropriate often don't coincide with Polish speakers')

underuse of plain instrumental : Pokroił chleb z nożem. (instead of plain 'nożem')

not declining numbers : widziałem cztery mężczyzn (instead of czterech?)

Overreliance of English like word order (etc etc etc, the list goes on).
15 Jul 2009
News / Buzek. another step to abyss? [41]

ConstantineK, you might not like it but membership in the EU is broadly popular in Poland and Polish people currently see a lot more plusses than negatives (and the EU is the _only_ supranational organization of its kind with a proven track record of reducing poverty).

If Poland is going to be in the EU (the clear political will of the great majority of the country) it might as well have some influence in it.

What would you suggest Poland do, become a Russian client like Belarus to be bullied at will? Russia has no track record of improving the lives of the people that live in it or the lives in its client states. If Russian leaders were truly interested in improving the lives of Russians they would be doing very different things from what they're currently doing.

Which direction do people want to move in: To Russia from the EU? To the EU from Russia?

Kind of says it all.
15 Jul 2009
Language / Things Polish people who speak English language say [180]

The pronunciation CON-troversy is correct, though some poor misguided souls say con-TROVersy instead. I've never heard contro-VERsy before.

Some typical pronunciation errors (as in 'no native speaker says that')

COM-puter (this one drives me craaaazy)
deetER-mine (last syllable pronounced just like 'mine')
MOUN-tane and FOUN-tane (last syllable rhymes with pain)

There's also a general over-reliance on the past continuous when native speakers would use something else.

"I was buying that magazine when I was young." (instead of "I used to buy .....)
15 Jul 2009
Language / Things Polish people who speak English language say [180]

A couple of typical and recurring errors.

Where he lives? or Where he live? (instead of 'Where does he live?")

I don't know where does he live. (instead of "I don't know where he lives.") (This is more common than the first, very frequent among even advanced learners).

I thought she is rich. (instead of "I thought she was rich.") (This is because Polish doesn't use any kind of sequence of tenses - hooray!)

Are they riches? (instead of Are they rich?) (Not so super common but they clearly want to decline adjectives).

There's also a host of things that aren't technically mistakes but which are stylistically odd and not the way that native speakers anywhere would do things.

He is such a stupid one. (instead of He's so stupid.)

I think that I won't go. (instead of I don't think I'll go).

Finally, just search around the forums as many of the mistakes made in speaking happen in writing too.
14 Jul 2009
Food / Blueberry Pierogi's [30]

I agree that polonius3 often sounds .... out of date, but he does have a point here. For my money on the whole fresh fruit grown and sold in Poland is better than any of the overprocessed and bland fruit I've had in the US. I just had some black cherries bought on the sidewalk of Warsaw that were amazing.

I'm just surprised that Polish people are so into blueberries (too papery and harsh around the edges for me) and not as fond of blackberries (jerzyny) as I am.
1 Jul 2009
UK, Ireland / Friend told "just allow your son to forget Polish" by school. [96]

ShelleyS, there's every indication that this child will _need_ Polish in the future (considering how much family he probably has there and how many Poles in Britain don't stay there forever no matter what they may say). Telling his parents to let him forget Polish is not serving his best interests in the slightest.

And linguists have known for a long time now that kids mostly learn from other children (the parents are important but kids aim their language at other kids). I know parents in Poland trying to make sure their kids know some other language and how hard it is given that the language of the playground trumps mom and dad's language (even when mom and dad's language is pretty prestigious).

My recommendation (as a professional linguist and language teacher) is for the parents to speak Polish to him (and make sure he answers in Polish) while encouraging his acquisition of English from friends and school. As long as he's around mostly English speaking kids he'll be dominant in English (which helps at school) while still retaining full fluency in Polish (which he'll also need).
26 Jun 2009
UK, Ireland / Friend told "just allow your son to forget Polish" by school. [96]

Mafketis what is this rubbish you are feeding the members of this forum. Pray tell me what are the "traditional models of grammar which are so awful and make no sense

Most of what used to be taught as 'grammar'.

- Don't end sentences with prepositions. ("That's the house in which I live." instead of "That's the house I live in."

- Whom is the object form of who (say "Whom did you see?" and not "Who did you see?"

- Don't begin a sentence with "hopefully"

- Don't use lay as an intransitive verb (don't say "He was laying on the couch.")

- Don't use the 'accusative' after be (say "It's I." instead of "It's me.")

Not a single one of those 'rules' makes any sense for English.

Actually the grammar materials for those who learn English as a second language are ten times better than those for native speakers and the reason is that it was impossible to teach anyone to speak real English by using those rules.

But if you try to teach children the real rules that govern their language a bunch of dinosaurs will try to have you burned at the stake for being a witch.
26 Jun 2009
UK, Ireland / Friend told "just allow your son to forget Polish" by school. [96]

Your remarks about foreign language teaching and teachers wasn't exactly friendly.

My most offensive comments (of which I mean every syllable and can absolutely defend) were about first language teaching.

A few years ago on Linguist List there was discussion comparing how first languages are taught worldwide (Danish to Danish kids, Korean to Korean kids etc) and the overwhelming consensus was that first language education in English speaking countries was terrible and that in that sorry company the UK was about the worst.

There are complex historical reasons for this (short story: the traditional models of grammar are awful and make no sense but for various political reasons can't be replaced). The effect is what it is.

I do have sympathy for the poor teachers trying to do a good job in the English school system, totally unprepared for the influx of non-anglophone kids and given no help or preparation.

And I know first hand how often teachers feel the need to offer (unwanted, unsolicited) advice (that will not generally be followed). I've found myself doing it though I try to keep it in check.
26 Jun 2009
UK, Ireland / Friend told "just allow your son to forget Polish" by school. [96]

Thanks. Are you trying to be offensive ?

I never need to _try_ to be offensive.

Are just another monolingual English speaker? If so are you happy about it?

Back to this case, I wonder if maybe the teacher in question just felt they had to offer some kind of 'helpful' advice and just said the first thing that popped into their mind without thinking it through very well.
26 Jun 2009
UK, Ireland / Friend told "just allow your son to forget Polish" by school. [96]


1. The UK has the worst first language education system in Europe.

2. The UK has the worst foreign language education (for the local population) in Europe.

Obviously no one should listen to anything a teacher from England says about language learning.

There's every possibility that the kid in question will need Polish in the future (since he probably has family in Poland) and letting it deteriorate will not help him learn or speak English any better.

The parents should speak to him in Polish and make sure he can respond in Polish.

In short: Being bilingual will be good for him. Being just another monolingual English speaker will not be especially good for him.

ps: I'm a professional linguist, translator and language teacher if that makes difference.