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Posts by Switezianka  

Joined: 17 Jun 2008 / Female ♀
Last Post: 15 Jul 2009
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Posts: Total: 463 / In This Archive: 403

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11 Jul 2008
Life / Teens in Poland, their typical life, schooling, influences, etc. [32]

I disagree Switezianka :) being student you know only some stories about 90's

Yeah, right, ten years ago I was sh*tting into nappies and had no TV at home. And I cannot check for what kind of changes this society allowed in Polish law and education.

When I was at primary school, we were going to have sexual education lessons. But, later, the idea was given up, we didn't have it, and sexual education was never introduced to schools.

In 2001 the process of Nieznalska aroused strong controversies and protests against limiting the freedom of speech.
In 2006 people cared less about the idea that homosexuality cannot be discussed at school (Giertych's one) than about uniforms.

When I was a kid, I read about some old grannies and priests who wanted to ban some bands from performing because they were "satanist", and I treated it as absurd humour. But for a few years an MP (Ryszard Nowak) has actually managed to cancel several concerts that he thought "satanist" and made up a list of bands that were supposed to be banned and sent it around to local authorities. The absurd became reality and nobody reacted but a few musicians and listeners. No protests against limiting freedom of speech.

In general, people accept more and more limitations on civil liberties if they follow the conservative values and I am able to perceive it during my lifetime. What would have shocked me five years ago, now happens.

Anyway, I can draw interesting conclusions from comparing TV series made before my birth to the contemporary ones. Soaps are made to cater to wide audiences tastes and the values that positive character follow, mirror the audiences values. Analysing soaps one can see the ideology they actually transfer, which is something the viewers mostly agree with. And when I think about it deeply, I can see either no change or increase in conservativeness of mass-media heroes. I wonder where this came from - I don't remember what people were like in the '80s but their TV series were less conservative.
11 Jul 2008

Polonius3, why don't you acquaint yourself with the subject you're writing about?
11 Jul 2008
Life / Teens in Poland, their typical life, schooling, influences, etc. [32]

Actually, I can see the society is getting more and more conservative. I can hear many people noticing the same thing. I don't have to deal with people like that personally (maybe apart from my grandpa), but it's enough to hear the so-called 'average' people talking on the bus, in the queue, or on the TV or watch the political changes in Poland.

Or maybe it's not about the change in people themselves. Some 10 years ago it was appropriate to be modern, open, and tolerant and those benighted ones were kept quiet, on the margins, and didn't have too much influence on anything. Now, I can observe that xenophobic, homophobic and orthodox ones start being taken seriously in the public discourse and those, who used to be just a bunch of cranks, dominate the political and social life.

Unfortunately, what is so-called traditional Polish values (God-Honour-Fatherland, family, religion etc.) is not what it seems. For example the Polish religiousness is usually limited to going to church and crying after the Pope's funeral. An average Polish Catholic doesn't even know what is written in the Bible and does not show too much Christian charity. I knew only one person who was a conscious believer, and, apart from going to church, followed Christian ethics and did not treat her faith superficially (she was a religion teacher BTW)

The claims to let Poles follow their tradition are in fact driven by obscurantism and intolerance. Sorry to write this, but what usually is behind all the claims to defend the tradition and national identity is looking for an excuse to find scapegoats in the society and have a reason to hate.

Polish conservatives are in fact very similar to American Puritan-rooted movements like those who want to teach creationism at school.
11 Jul 2008
Life / Cyganski Music [10]

Cygan = Gypsy
Góral = highlander

These are guys wearing traditional highlander clothes singing a Gypsy song in Polish with a bit highlander-style fiddles, '80-sheavy-metal-style guitar solo and Russian-style male choir. Quite a mix-up. And I really don't know why they're wearing those clothes.

Here you've got some typical highlander folk, for comparison:
11 Jul 2008
Language / I know "się" is the only reflexive personal pronoun..but "jak się masz?" [34]

Mr Bubbles:
The constructions without the obvious agent can be made from any verb. This constructions are usually translated into English as either passive, 'should' sentences or 'one does something' sentences and describe things that are usually done or should be done. So, here you go:

- Nie mówi się z pełnymi ustami: One does not speak with one's mouth full (or you shouldn't speak with your mouth full).

- W tym kraju je się psy: Dogs are eaten in this country
- Nie prowadzi się samochodu po pijanemu: One does not drive a car drunk.
-W tym sezonie nosi się jaskrawe kolory: Bright colours are worn this season.
-Naleśniki smaży się z dwóch stron: Pancakes are fried on both sides
So, anyway, "się" hasn't got the meaning of a reflexive pronoun in all of these sentences.

Agent=patient, (or logical reflexive verbs):
czesać się (to comb one's hair), myć się (to wash oneself), zamknąć się (in the meaning: to lock oneself), podrapać się (to scratch oneself), wykąpać się (to have a bath), zanurzyć się (immerse into water), zarazić się (catch up a disease).

All of them are intransitive and with the removal of "się", they become transitive verbs:
czesać klienta (to comb a client's hair), myć samochód (to wash a car), zamknąć złodzieja (to lock up a thef), podrapać kota(to scratch a cat ), wykąpać dziecko (to bathe a baby), zanurzyć wiadro w wodzie (immerse a bucket in water), zarazić kolegę grypą (to make your mate catch up a flue from you).
11 Jul 2008
Language / Use of ze and z [25]

"Ze" goes before words, that begin with:
z, s, sz, ż, and ź followed by a consonant:
e.g. ze zbożem, ze skóry, ze szczegółami, ze żbikiem, ze źrebięciem

The rest goes with "z", even if it begins with "z" or "s" (followed by a vowel):
z zamkiem, z samochodem, z chrząszczem
So, it should be "z serem".

And one remark: if "z" precedes a voceless consonant, you should pronounce it as "s", otherwise, you get hypercorrect. Anyway, it's easier. So "z serem" is in fact pronounced as "s serem" or "z krzesłem" sounds "s krzesłem".

Grammatically, "Witam" is in the first person singular (sth. like "I welcome you") and "Witaj" is in second person singular imperative (Welcome).

You can say "witam" to anyone, but "witaj" can be said only to one person and informally. Plural form of "witaj" is "witajcie". If you want the formal version, I'd recommand "Witam Pana(1 male)/Panią (1 female)/ Państwa(>1, both male and female)/ Panie (>1 female)/ Panów (>1 male)".

Yeah, Polish is difficult.... ;)
11 Jul 2008
Life / Feminism in Poland:Pro and against [14]

You know, I've read about some 30 branches of feminism... Usually, these ideologies contradict one another, so, could you be more precise?

So far, I can say that feminist interpretation is quite popular in literary criticism in Poland but I guess it is not what you were asking for.
11 Jul 2008
Life / Teens in Poland, their typical life, schooling, influences, etc. [32]

On the other hand you can argue that the lack of smoking ban also restricts civil liberty of non-smoker (as it makes people be poisoned against their will).

I would agree, that US is in fact non-democratic: they torture prisoners of war, ban Darwin at schools in certain states and persecute Muslims. But Western Europe isn't as bad.

Anyway, in the UK, when you say gay people are all sick and Amnesty International should not be allowed to organize anything at schools, you are considered an idiot, an in Poland, you're considered the defender of traditional values and become the minister of education.

I do not claim that Polish law in general is non-democratic (apart from the concordate), but there is a high pressure from certain groups of people to restrict the others' liberties, even against the law (as in the example of a 14-year-old girl who could not get a legal abortion, because a priest and some pro-life organization followed her to the hospital). And those people are the traditional values defenders.

In fact there is no comparison between the slight liberties restrictions in the UK and restrictions posed by the so-called traditional values. In UK, so far, you can be any sexual orientation you like, dress whatever you like, believe in whatever you like and decide what you want to do in your life.

According to the Polish traditional values, whoever is not Polish straight Roman Catholic living in a nuclear family (with, non-working woman, of course) and who never uses contraception (because it's a sin) and who does not vote for right-wing parties, is evil and should be fought with.

And such views are not popular among well-educated, trendy teens. (And the majority of well-educated people). That groups of the teens who go to good schools, read books, and appear in places such as threatres and cinemas (so, let's say the well-educated teens) consider such views as outdated and inappropriate for a young, intelligent person.
8 Jul 2008
Language / Bezele and Ciapaci [30]

" NO, daj mi szlug ziom ! "

LOL. Perfect urban underclass.
8 Jul 2008
Life / Teens in Poland, their typical life, schooling, influences, etc. [32]

On the level of private life and conscience - yes.

More traditional Polish 'value-defenders' think it is great to influence other people's lifestyle, sexual life and religious choices - if that's democracy, I'm Thomas Jefferson.
8 Jul 2008
Life / Polish products for sensitive skin, are they available in Poland? [17]

What suncreams do you use? My daughter needs Vichy and it's tricky to find.

I use Ziaja Sopot Sun SPF 50+. A bit hard to apply on skin (very thick) but it is perfect for preserving my paleness. I just came back from Heineken Open'er festival with absolutely no tan at all, while most people there got burnt.

Avene, Vichy etc. can be bought in any Apteka (pharmacy). They are very expensive but widely available.
8 Jul 2008
Language / Bezele and Ciapaci [30]

I just tried to look up this word in some online slang dictionaries. I figured out it's a word made up by some rapper. Probably it means some kind of a wannabe (aspiring to be cool and have a hip-hop style) but I'm not sure of it. It is probably pejorative. Or maybe it means someone who really is cool. But most probably it means nothing.

According to Totalny Słownik Najmłodszej Polszczyzny (The Total Dictionary of The Newest Polish Language), the word may come from English slang words:
bezel, bezzeled, bezzled out, bezzy (to be found on

In general, it is not a word that... hmmm.... an intellectual would use. It is a part of the so-called hip-hop slang, which in Poland is used only by our cultural equivalent of chavs. A person using such vocabulary (if not ironically, or in a quotation) compromises him or herself. Such words are nothing useful - I don't understand most of them and have never had a need to, even being at the age of the people who use them.
8 Jul 2008
Language / Translation Dictionary [10]

I think the best bilingual dictionary on the market is The Great English - Polish / Polish English Dictionary by Oxford UP and PWN. Unfortunately it is very expensive and it has no Polish pronunciation. For a serious learner or a translator it is the best one so far. I base on this dictionary even in literary translations.
7 Jul 2008
Language / I know "się" is the only reflexive personal pronoun..but "jak się masz?" [34]

I think the problem is not about the meaning of 'się' but about Polish reflexive verbs.

In Polish, reflexive verbs are marked by the word 'się', which means: oneself, yourself, himself, themselves etc, depending on the context. But there are two types of reflexive verbs:

1) Logical reflexive verbs - where 'się' really conveys the meaning of 'oneself', such as: myć się = to wash oneself, zabić się = to kill oneself etc. These verb really mean that that the doer does something to him or herself.

2)Illogical reflexive verbs - where 'się' is just there and carries no specific meaning, such as: bać się=to fear (but not fear oneself), skradać się = to creep (but not 'creep oneself'.

Mieć się is an illogical reflexive verb, so the word 'się' conveys no specific meaning. It means 'to feel'. 'Jak się masz' literally would mean 'How do you have yourself' but in fact it means 'how are you'. So if you've got a sentence with the word 'się' which makes no sense, look for the dictionary entry composed of verb + się, not just the verb alone.(Don't look for 'mieć' but for 'mieć się'). Illogical reflexive verbs often have nothing to do with their non-reflexive counterpart (e.g. wabić = to attract, wabić się = to be called (about an animal) )

'Się' is also a marker of reciprocal verbs (doing something to one another), e.g. całować się=to kiss each other.

And, of course, there are subjectless sentences (Chleb kupuje się w piekarni = Bread is bought in bakery), but 'się' is a grammatical marker in this case.

I hope this makes the things a bit clearer.
3 Jul 2008
Life / Level of English among the Poles? [64]

I think the biggest problem for Poles is the treatment of oral skills in Polish education. English language teaching is based on written texts and often students don't even know how to pronounce words properly (often, they don't recognize a word when pronounced correctly). Because Polish phonetics is completely different from English (there is no vowel shared, and 'th' and 'ng' sounds do not exist in Polish), a lot of attention should be paid to it. But often teachers mispronounce words.

When oral skills are completely ignored at schools, students can often understand written text but they have problems with saying anything. In most schools students are almost never told to say something in English and, unfortunately, it is possible to learn to speak without speaking.

I give private lessons in English and I often ask my pupils about their lessons at school - it's usually a disaster. Kids never speak, the teachers do not explain grammar in a clear way and, as far as I can see, they don't actually teach anything. Once I had a pupil who had learnt English for 6 years and when, during our first lesson together, I told her in Polish to say: "I go to school" in English, she opened her eyes wide and didn't know what to do.

Although there are many qualified English teachers, English Philology graduates don't want to work at schools so the need for teachers is filled with non-qualified people. Teachers' wages are too small and the work is too hard. Parents who can afford it send children to private language schools or hire a teacher (usually a student) for private lesson, but not all Polish children are lucky enough to have parents who care about their education.

Anyway, I guess the generation of Poles who are now at school will be divided into children of more educated parents who speak English well and children of non-educated parents who don't speak English despite several years of learning it and who, consequently, cannot find a descent job.
29 Jun 2008
Life / The strangest things in Poland [468]

Plus children are required to change shoes at school - terrible infringement of their human rights...

Try to lift an average Polish ten-years-old's school backpack with one hand.
The kids in Poland have to carry a lot of books, shoes for a change and their PE clothes + PE shoes to school. They cannot leave their shoes at school. I've got a pupil who is 12 and when she comes home from school on a day she's got PE, she has to call her parents on the intercom to come down and help her as she cannot carry all her stuff upstairs (living on the 4th floor). KIDS SHOULDN'T CARRY HEAVY STUFF EVERY DAY.

Yeah, that's great, all you stupid foreigners should have a f***ing lot of respect for our Polish customs.
29 Jun 2008
News / First rabbis since WW2 ordained in Warsaw [4]

Some time ago Lublin yeshiva was renovated and now Chabad makes some graduation ceremonies in Warsaw. What the hell is going on?
I wonder who needs a yeshiva in Poland. I live in a city with a great Jewish past but nowadays it is hard even to collect a minyan there. I think there are too little religious Jews for a yeshiva to be needed. And Chabad? All the Chassidim I've ever seen in Poland were visitors from Israel or rabbis. It is goddamn hard for a Chassid to live in Poland (where to get kosher food from? where to go to mikvah? etc.).

No, I think it makes no sense. Poland is not a good place for Chassidim. There are a lot of Chabad institutions in the US - what is the sense of re-planting this movement in Poland? I don't belive it can work.
28 Jun 2008
Life / Polish movies - what they are like? [34]

I don't like contemporary Polish movies. I like older stuff like "The short film about killing", "Żywot Mateusza", and the classic comedies (Seksmisja, Rejs, Miś etc.).

Some exception are Dzień Świra or Kiler, a very depressing drama called Nic (Nothing) (about a woman who killed her baby) and a little known comedy called Pół Serio. It's a film about two guys trying to find an idea for a film script and the film is composed of 'productions' of those ideas. The ideas include: the beginning of Kafka's Trial, where it comes out that Mr. K is charged with not liking sitcoms, TV quizzes and commercials; a blend of Star Wars and Ingmar Bergman style; 3 or 4 versions of one scene from Romeo and Juliet (mixed with various cinematic conventions); or a story about medicine students who hire a male to study anatomy before an exam. I think this film is absolutely brilliant but it didn't gain popularity because most Polish viewers would not understand the references.

Adaptations of school setbooks are a good business because no matter how much the film sucks, the kids will always go and watch it not to have to read the books. The bottom of the bottoms is, IMO, "Zemsta" by Wajda. This is a classic comedy play written in verse. Although I've seen and read Zemsta many times, I still find it hilarious, even in print, but Wajda's version was deadly boring and not funny at all. If I hadn't seen this movie, I wouldn't believe that Zemsta can be not funny.
28 Jun 2008
Love / Polish Gay Life [142]

If you say Polish people are so tolerant and nobody's persecuted for being day, make an experiment:
take two guys and make them walk holding hands in the centre of some little Polish town on a Sunday afternoon. Good luck!

There are people who are tolerant and there are milieux where one can be openly gay and have no problems but there are still people who think homosexuality is a disease. Really, you must be careful who you talk to if you want to come out.

A few facts from PL:

A member of Polish gov (who was in charge of children's rights) said that Teletubbies may be dangerous for children to watch because Tinky Winky carries a lady hanbag which implies he's a homosexual. She said she must consult it with a psychologist.

Each year during the Freedom Parade (a gay rights parade) there is a 'counter-parade' of nationalist (i.e. skinhead) organizations. Police has to protect the gay parade from nationalist parade because the skins are very aggressive.

There were cases of teachers who were fired when the headmaster learnt the were gay. The previous minister of education wanted make it illegal for teachers to discuss homosexuality at school.

Many gay people (sorry, I don't have statistics around) reported being harassed and persecuted because of their orientation.

So, it's not so nice as some people may think.
25 Jun 2008

That's exactly the point.

I think there are in fact very little people who don't support Owsiak in Poland. Yes, there are some ultra-orthodox Catholics who say Przystanek Woodstock is evil but these are just the same people who say rock music is the work of Satan etc. But in general, he's got a lot of support in Poland.
23 Jun 2008
Language / What does "czy" mean? [37]

OK, I'll try to clean this mess. Meanings of "Czy":

1. Yes/No question marker.

If you take a declarative sentence ('Kasia jest zmęczona' = 'Kate is tired'), it is enough to add 'czy' in the beginning to turn this sentence into a question ('Czy Kasia jest zmęczona?' = 'Is Kate tired?'). In case of question marker function, 'czy' can be omitted ('Kasia jest zmęczona?='Is Kate tired'). The intonation is enough to make it a question. As a question marker, 'czy' has no English counterpart.

2. 'or' in questions
Napijesz się kawy, czy herbaty? = Will you drink tea or coffee?

3. 'if/whether' introducing a subordinate clause
I don't know if I have seen this movie = Nie wiem, czy widziałem ten film

Other meanings are not especially important.
23 Jun 2008
Language / Gra półsłówek (play on "half-words") [11]

Sebastiansky, why don't you read the definition of gra półsłówek/spoonerism first? There's now way of making "satelita na orbicie" of "alpinista na szczycie" by exchanging initial letters/morphemes.
23 Jun 2008
Life / Visiting a Polish friend who's just given birth? Flowers, gift? [23]

I guess bringing something for the baby would be the most appropriate: a toy, a rattle, a piece of clothing etc. It can be something for an older baby, which will be useful in future.

It will not only be polite, but also helpful to the parents.