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Posts by mafketis  

Joined: 31 Mar 2008 / Male ♂
Warnings: 2 - AO
Last Post: 25 Feb 2024
Threads: Total: 36 / In This Archive: 1
Posts: Total: 10,761 / In This Archive: 501
From: tez nie
Speaks Polish?: tak
Interests: tez nie

Displayed posts: 502 / page 7 of 17
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6 Apr 2009
Work / I have a "zero" chance to succeed in Poland - I do not have a degree! [93]

Is this the memorisation were were talking about earlier?

Well, a good educational system does not shy away from memorization, which is a skill like lots of others that needs to be honed and refined. And developing one's ability to memorize carries a lot of side benefits as well.

At the same time you can't depend too much on memorization and there should be lots of practice in:

a) learning how to apply knowledge gained to the real world

b) figuring out how to solve problems

At present the Polish system goes too far in the direction of context-free memorization (though not as far as many countries go) but some western countries go too far in the opposite direction for fear of taxing the fragile memories of the delicate little snowflakes.
6 Apr 2009
Work / I have a "zero" chance to succeed in Poland - I do not have a degree! [93]

I would never put my child through the Polish system

Bubbly, do you really think the current English or American systems are any better?

From the systems I know something about (Polish / American) I'd ideally combine them roughly as follows:

American : grades 1-2 (relatively gently easing the kids into the system)

Polish : 3-12, university 1-2 (making them work)

American : university 3 and up (giving them room to explore)
5 Apr 2009
Work / I have a "zero" chance to succeed in Poland - I do not have a degree! [93]

As a general rule, Poles love the idea of 'qualifications' where qualification = piece of paper that certify a person knows/or can do X.

In the US at any rate what's more important (traditionally) is the idea of 'skills' where skills = demonstrated ability to do X in real world conditions.

The Polish attitude is shared by most countries in Eastern/Southern Europe (and Germany which is neither).
3 Apr 2009
Work / Any non-shafty English schools in Poland to work as an English native speaker? [36]

Don't bet on it. I've seen the stories before.

The school people can speak Polish and he would be dependent on the reporter's ability in English (not guaranteed to be high). The school people can make him look like a trouble-making idiot with very little effort (and they will). In this kind of situation you either know the language and/or culture and know how to stand up for yourself (or get around obstacles) or youre s-c-r-e-w-e-d.

Poland can be a wonderful place to live, it's no place to go if you're not up to learning the language and how things are done (and/or taking some financial hits before you do).
3 Apr 2009
Language / Verb aspect exercises [6]

Time for one of the dirty-little-secrets about learning Polish that textbook writers would rather die than admit: ..... Aspect isn't that big a deal. Okay, okay, it is a big deal in a way, but if you ever graduate to using the language in context (including reading things meant for native speakers) it kind of disappears as a concern.

I do remember seeing lists of 'aspect pairs' and worrying how I'd ever learn them at all, much less keep them straight. When I began spending time in Poland I spent too much time on other things to pay much attention to aspect and it didn't impinge on my ability to understand or speak the language in ways that native-speakers found acceptable.

Of course a non-native speaker will make lots of mistakes with aspect by not paying that much attention to the aspect pairs but guess what? A non-native speaker will make lots of mistakes no matter what approach they take. Aspect choice is a little like articles in English there's a lot of overlap and individual choice and context sensitive factors that go into aspect and the best thing to do is not to try to learn in advance but pay attention (easier said than done) to real usage.

Also learning the morphological rules behind forming perfective verbs from imperfective ones (and vice versa) is worth much more than memorizing pairs of verbs.
31 Mar 2009
News / Lech Wałęsa threatens to leave Poland [30]

Boy, was it a soft landing for the communists. ...
Have you seen any convictions for communist crimes since the "fall" of communism?

The idea of revenge against the communists and a soft landing for everyone else was not a real possibility. You might not like it, but that's the way it goes.

I'm in favor of prosecuting specific people for specific acts that can be proven. I'm not so interested in vague or collective convictions.
31 Mar 2009
News / Lech Wałęsa threatens to leave Poland [30]

It's so funny. They apparently actually have authentic communist era documents about plans to drive a wedge between Wałęsa and the rest of the S movement by making them think he was an informant .... and it worked splendidly. And those who fell for it have so much invested in that idea psychologically that they can't let go of it.

Basically my opinion of the roundtable results is that the process wasn't perfect but, given the state of knowledge at the time, was about as good as it could be and most importantly provided the country as a whole with a relatively soft landing.

Those who talk a good game now (with the advantage of hindsight) about how tough they should have been with the communists and "traitors" (the majority of the population to some degree or other) are fools.

Yeah, the whole privatization process was handled horribly but that wasn't necessarily the fault of the communists but of the traditional Polish defeatist attitude, according to which nothing in Poland at the time was worth preserving or safeguarding (and naive beliefs about western industrial concerns wanting to 'help' Poland).

(And yeah, Wałęsa was an awful president but that was the fault of the Polish electorate in beeling foolish enough to elect him - democracies pretty much get what they deserve).
30 Mar 2009
Language / Polish Conditionals (okresy warunkowe or zdania warunkowe) [23]

Also, there's

żeby and aby (more or less the same meaning though there's probably a difference for native speakers

in order to (before an infinitive)

so that

Ledwoń miał załatwić żeby Austria wygrała mecz z Polską

Ledwon was suppposed to arrange it, so that Austria would win its match with Poland

Also used for English personal 'to clauses'

Kolega prosił, żebym odebrał jego legitymację.

My friend asked me to pick up his ID.

Also used for English subjunctive (what's left of it)

Piotr Galiński sugeruje, żeby TVN pomyślał o nowej formule programu.

Piotr Galinski suggests that TVN (should) think up a new format for the program.
28 Mar 2009
Language / Polish Conditionals (okresy warunkowe or zdania warunkowe) [23]


quick and simple and dirty and sloppy:

by = (added between the past tense stem and personal ending) = would

gydyby (with person endings attached for first and second person) = if (something that isn't/can't be true or can't happen)

oby (with person endings....) = I wish, It would be nice if ....

jakby (with person endings....) = as if, like jakbyś tam był (it's like you were there)
28 Mar 2009
UK, Ireland / Why Scotland doesnt Need any Immigrants By a Scotsman [56]

Actually most things I've read that crunch the numbers say that Scotland is a net recipient of money from England and that Scotland's economic problems are mostly because Scottish voters like policies that limit economic growth and vote for them (and are then astonished when economic growth is not great).
28 Mar 2009
UK, Ireland / Why Scotland doesnt Need any Immigrants By a Scotsman [56]

If Scotland doesn't need any immigrants, I guess it's safe to say it doesn't need any emigrants either and you'll take back the expatriots from countries that don't need/want Scottish immigrants?
19 Mar 2009
Love / Whose Life is it? Polish girlfriend under family "house arrest" [224]

and yet you went on to pretty much restate whet he said.

if you weren't paying attention maybe.

To be clear: both men and women have it tough in small town Poland, the stresses for both are different. Describing the situation of women in the countryside as 'second class' (implying that the men are substantially better off) is a shallow non-observation.
19 Mar 2009
Love / Whose Life is it? Polish girlfriend under family "house arrest" [224]

Understanding and remembering the fact that women are second-class beings is crucial when attempting to understand small-town Poland.

This is the kind of misunderstanding that's likely to occur when you don't speak Polish. Women have to put up with a fair amount of crap from Polish men and are discriminated against in hiring and promotions at work (and both these problems are bigger in the country than in the city) but overall they pretty clearly run the household sphere make most of the major household decisions (with or without consulting their husbands) and remain useful and productive well into old age (whereas old men have no productive role in the household, maybe one reason they die younger).

Simple flat statements like Harry's conceal more than they reveal.
19 Mar 2009
Language / What's in a Name? Kazimir versus Kaz versus Kaziu [4]

Kazimierz [ka-zhi-miezh] formal
Kazik [ka-zhik] pet-name
Kaziu [ka-zh-yu] - vocative case of pet-name

Kazimierz is formal, right.
Kazik is a pet-name
Kaziu is _not_ the vocative of Kazik (which would be Kaziku) it's the vocative of Kazio, another pet-name.

In standard informal spoken Polish the vocative can be used a nominative but this only works for pet-names for men/boys where the vocative ends in -u, when the vocative would end in -(i)e you can't do that and if it's not a pet name you can't.

Leszku could be the vocative/nominative for Leszek as a petname for Lech but not for the separate man's name Leszek.
18 Mar 2009
Love / Whose Life is it? Polish girlfriend under family "house arrest" [224]

I tend to agree with Harry (though I don't share his disdain for Polish values).

Young Polish adults accept a _lot_ more interference from their parents than US (or UK) young adults are likely to. And those from small towns or villages accept more interference than young urban adults do. Parental interference is actually a big cause of marital failure and both women and men are likely to side with their parents against their spouse.

Back to this particular case, I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm pretty sure there's important info that we're not being told (either because Ireland32 is trying to maintain some privacy or because he doesn't know himself).

I'm beginning to lean toward the theory that she's playing him and a plea for money 'to escape' is in the offing (to be followed by a second plea because the parents or boyfriend 'took' the first payment).
16 Mar 2009
Language / Do Polish Movies Help learn the language? [60]

at one point somebody answered a question with "yes" and the subtitles said "no"

That happens in Polish subtitles all the time.

"Are you okay?"
translated as "Nic ci nie jest?" (lit. there's nothing wrong with you?)

"Yes" (spoken)

"Nie" (subtitle)
16 Mar 2009
Language / Du ju spik polisz? [21]

This isn't misuse, the word profesor (note spelling) has two different meanings in Polish.

Informally, it can refer to a high school teacher as a courtesy title (indicative of the respect traditionally given teachers in Poland). Generally it's a better idea to enforce ideas of formality and respect in Polish young people, otherwise they start doing things like knifing each other or their teachers. Polish students don't respond well to an informal approach and the canny teacher steps on their toes until they fall into line.

At universities, it's a formal academic title, not a professional one. Basically there are two higher degrees past the PhD in Poland.

dr habilitowany / habilitowana ("habilitated" doctor) no equivalent in English, but it requires a second dissertation (shorter than the first but it has to be published) and some other requirements.

profesor - again two versions, a university profesor has to have finished their habilitation and they have that title only at the university it was awarded to them, a national profesor (informally belwederski / belwederska named after the ceremonial palace in Warsaw where the title was officially awarded) has the title no matter where they are.
15 Mar 2009
Work / Interview at a Callan School [204]

Given that Polish is the L1 here, outside of class, many Poles don't have much opportunity to practise it on the streets.

Many private school students are there because:

a) they have it offered at school but they don't like the classes
b) they're having trouble with passing tests at school
c) they think it will improve their job prospects
d) they think it will save their job if there are cutbacks
e) they think it's something they should do
f) it's a hobby like stamp collecting or ballroom dancing
g) someone else is paying (company, family member)
h) it's unfinished business (this time I'll learn something!)

Probably a small minority have real intentions about moving to an English speaking country or will ever have real need to use the language in any important way.

They're also not generally interested in questions of accents or various non-standard usage, they're there to learn their idea of English (which in their minds is an inferior kind of Polish with different words, insufficient grammar, bad spelling and confusing pronunciation).
15 Mar 2009
Work / Interview at a Callan School [204]

Not that there aren't occasional problems
15 Mar 2009
Work / Interview at a Callan School [204]

Two things most Polish learners of English seldom (if ever) learn:

1. English like German and Spanish is pluri-centric (there's more than one standard and the areas they're used in sometimes overlap).

2. Many native speakers see no need to model their usage (especially pronunciation but grammar too) on any particular standard.

Even many of those that 'know' those two facts don't come to terms with all the implications.
13 Mar 2009
Work / Interview at a Callan School [204]

What little I know (and have seen) of Callan, it seems designed to produce people who'll answer questions, take orders and not (be able to) talk back.
13 Mar 2009
Language / Confused about the Polish Imperative [15]

Imperatives aren't used in giving directions IME.

You might use 'niech' once (though technically speaking niech isn't an imperative), but overall future tense (perfective) and the verb musieć are more used. You can also use trzeba.

Giving your example some wild guesses (which will probably be hilarious to Polish speakers):

Tu pan skręci w prawo, potem pan pójdzie prosto do pierwszej ulicy by skręcić w lewo ....

Pan musi pójść do pierszej ulicy i skręcić w prawo, potem pan pójdzie prosto do pierwszej ulicy by skręcić w lewo....

Trzeba pójść do pierwszej ulicy i skręcić w prawo, potem trzeba skręcić w następną ulicę w lewo ....


zgubiłem się... this has connotations (I think) of existential or moral quandries

zabłądziłem is better, but you generally don't explain yourself like that.

A better tactic is just to ask.

Przepraszam pana, jak można/mogę dójść na dworzec?
Przepraszam pana, czy pan wie jak pójść stąd na dworzec?
11 Mar 2009
Language / Du ju spik polisz? [21]

Or are there concepts that there is simply no Polish expression for?

My impression is that the most common borrowings from English are for things that there are already Polish words for (but which have negative connotations which the English words don't).

Not to mention that (as is normal in all languages) once a word is established as a borrowing the meaning/usage changes from the original. (for example 'full' used as a noun in Polish or niusy (news as a plural when the original is non-count). This just makes it harder for learners to be able to use the words correctly in English in my experience.

I think the stupidest borrowings are those made by shallow people to try to impress their countrymen (listen to me! I'm so used to speaking English and so fluent that English words have permeated my speech! I bet you don't even understand half of them you silly burak!).

Also a weird thing I've noticed. Many Europeans think lots of English in other languages sounds silly or stupid but think it sounds sophisticated in their own language (which then sounds silly and stupid to others).
11 Mar 2009
Language / What do you find difficult about learning Polish? [98]

egészségedre = na zdrowie
egész seggedre = do twojej zdrowej dupy

Shouldn't that be = do calej twojej dupy? (to your whole ass?)

egész = whole (cały)
egészség = health (zdrowie)
egészséges = healthy (zdrowy)
11 Mar 2009
Life / MEN'S DAY and FEMALE CHAUVINIST SWINE? Situation in Poland. [46]

Uh .... you do realize that All-Poland Youth is a proto-fascist organization, don't you?

Really? I guess you have wet pants when you see them in real life?

I'm not the wet pants type thank you, but let's look at the record (in this case Wikipedia)

"All-Polish Youth was more radical than any of organizations of the National Democracy camp. It openly praised Mussolini and his Italian fascism for its hardline stances towards the left and realisation of "national revolution". Part of the members, including Jędrzej Giertych, b. 1903, also praised Hitler's Germany. Members of All-Polish Youth also praised authoritarian regimes ... Salazar's Portugal and Franco's Spain.

They also favoured economically boycotting the Jews, limiting their access to higher education (numerus clausus) and actively campaigned for ghetto benches, segregated seating for Jewish students"

Yes this is about the first group but that's the modern group's roots. Why would anyone who isn't a fascist want to revive or belong to such an organization?

"The modern incarnation of the All-Polish Youth was founded in Poznań in 1989,.... Continuing the tradition of its precursors, the organisation maintains its aim of raising youth with their ideology, ...

In 2006 the office of the Polish public prosecutor has launched an investigation after video recording from a private party in which All-Polish Youth members ... were seen fraternizing with Neo-Nazi skinheads, listening to Neo-Nazi bands and saluting the swastika, was leaked to Polish press. After this Leokadia Wiącek has been kicked out from All-Polish Youth."

A number of other figures were caught giving the nazi salute as well.

The fact that they can pull it together for a camera and look relatively normal and non-threatening doesn't change the nature of the beast.
9 Mar 2009
Life / MEN'S DAY and FEMALE CHAUVINIST SWINE? Situation in Poland. [46]

PAP reported a counter-demo outside the Sejm (parliament) by the patriotic youth group All-Poland Youth who waved placards

Uh .... you do realize that All-Poland Youth is a proto-fascist organization, don't you?

And I don't mean that in a general hyperbolic, provocative way, I mean that in a literal, descriptive way.

And another thing ....

pubs, footie ... nappies, women's rags

Your profile says you live in the US, so why do you make a point of using colloquial British terms? It seems .... odd (like so many things about your postings).
6 Mar 2009
Work / New English 'teacher' in Poland (I have no qualifications). [119]

It's interesting that you mention coursebooks as I firmly believe that they are one of the great evils in ELT today.

A number of years ago I decided the purpose of most monolingual English textbooks isn't to teach at all. The purpose is pathologize the student by diagnosing them ("you're at the upper pre-intermediate level!") and getting them into a graded system where finishing one level doesn't prepare you to do anything but take a course at the next higher level. That is, the purpose is to keep students paying money for as long as possible.

I've yet to find any evidence to make me change my mind.

That said, there are some good Polish-produced textbooks that a student can learn from. But the monolingual books from the UK seem like all filling and no content.

Fortunately I only deal with very advanced uni students (not technically English specialists but close) and can avoid using the mandated textbooks over 90% of the time.

We all went to school and took English(people from English speaking countries) for several years, learning grammar, spelling, writing, poetry, literary works, I think it may be enough to teach English if you understand what was taught in school.

The problem is that the language curriculum in English speaking countries is awful. The traditional grammar model for English is terrible and wrong (since it's based on Latin) and can't be operationalized but for various reasons schools can't use anything else. The last I knew British schools had mostly dropped any mention of grammar for students.

The grammar that ESL students get (when grammar is covered) is far superior to what native speakers get (mostly a bunch of zombie rules that have never been valid).

Also, most everyday explanations that untrained English speakers give are wrong.
The "simple present" is not a present tense at all (it's a habitual and gnomic tense) and the "present continuous" does not necessarily describe something happening now (the single most relevant parameter is 'not over yet').