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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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17 Jun 2008
Language / Capitalization of Cie, Ciebie, and others [17]

You capitalize Ty, Ciebi, Was etc. in:

-letters (including e-mails)
-on the Internet forums and chat. Many people don't but it is not too polite

In other words, when you address someone directly in writing.

In books (e.g. in dialogues), they are not capitalized, because the writer does not address anyone. In cases the author does address the reader directly in narration ("Now, dear children, I will tell you what the princess did..."), not to be confused with a 1st. pers. narrator addressing a fictional listener, second person pronouns are usually capitalized.
22 Jun 2008
Life / Goth scene in Poland [30]

There is a goth scene in Poland but here, it is completely underground, I would say. There is no goth in the media and you don't usually see people wearing goth clothes in the streets for they would just get beaten up or verbally abused. I used to dress in an extravagant way in gymnasium but I got sick of being abused in the streets and harassed at school. Now I just dress black and goth up for gigs and festivals and that is what most Polish goths do. (I still haven't grown out of that, contrary to my family's expectations )

Castle Party is the most important event on Polish goth scene and it's really a great party. People are relaxed, have a lot of fun, and the locals are very nice to all the 'freaks' who come to Bolków. I've been there three times and this year it will be my fourth time. A lot of people from abroad come, mostly Czech, Russian and German, but I've met there English and Dutch people as well.

But a lot of stuff happens apart from Castle Party. In most of the big cities there are some goth parties going on, but they are known only to the interested ones. There is quite a lot of concerts in Poland. These year we already had performances of: Clan of Xymox, The Fields of the Nephilim, Christian Death, Einsturzende Neubauten (I know it's not exactly goth, but popular among goths, and btw, THE WERE FANTASTIC!!!), The Cure. And there are going to be (apart from CP line-up): Diary of Dreams, Peter Murphy, Combichrist, to name the most important artists in the scene visiting Poland.

Unfortunately there aren't too many interesting Polish bands. I can recommend Miguel And The Living Dead (post-punk, gothabilly, very energetic, oldschool and tongue-in-cheek yet too professionally performed to be treated as a mere joke; they are great live), and Sui Generis Umbra (dark ambient, industrial, electronica etc.). Pati Yang is interesting, too, and she's performing at CP this year with Flykkiller, but it is rather a kind of dark trip hop, not anything gothic.

All of these can be listened to on MySpace band profiles if anyone's interested. Asking about Polish bands you can also come across names such as Closterkeller, Artrosis or Monlight, but in fact they are popular rather among young metalheads as they play more of a goth metal.

So, we're there but you can't see us ;-)
22 Jun 2008
Language / Gra półsłówek (play on "half-words") [11]

Gra półsłówek is Polish for Spoonerism.

The phrase "Gra półsłówek" is a spoonerism itself, as when you exchange the initial letters, you get "sra półgłówek" which means: "a dumbass is having a shit".

I'll try to translate the least obscene of the examples on the website you linked:
chodzenie w płaszczach - wearing coats=> płodzenie w chaszczach: begetting in bushes

elita wieprzy na piecu: the elite of hogs on a stove => elita pieprzy na wiecu: the elite is talking bullshit on a rally

Jacek na wózku: Jack on a rally => Wacek na Józku: Wacek (a male name) on Joseph

Kędy z miłą? : Which way to go with my beloved? => mendy z kiłą: crab lice with syphilis

kupy w trawie: pooh in the grass => trupy w kawie: corpses in the coffee

pradziadek przy saniach: great grandfather by the sleigh => sra dziadek przy paniach : grandfather is shitting in ladies' presence

The other examples on the list are much more 'indecent'. And more funny...
22 Jun 2008
Language / Pozdro & kasa? - examples of Polish word abbreviations [21]

Are any of these examples of gaol slang entering normal slang or at least youth jargon?

'Siema' is a trademark word of

The others are used by older people who think they sound cool and young when they use it, or by youths who think using slangy words will make them cool. I think 'spoko' is entering more common speech. Sometimes I use it, but never in formal situations. I guess these words sound a bit... ridiculous. I'm 22, so I guess I'm still a youth, but if someone started talking to me like that, I wouldn't treat the person seriously.

Only Jurek Owsiak can say 'Siema!' and not turn out silly. :)
22 Jun 2008
Language / Capitalization of Cie, Ciebie, and others [17]

I'm young and relatively impolite but I always do, and people with whom I communicate in writing (usually young) do as well. Maybe a generation gap or something?
22 Jun 2008
Language / Adjective/Noun Order? [20]

When an adjective describes an individual feature of the noun, it goes before the noun. Amerykańska borówka - an American cowberry.

When the adjective describes a type of the noun (e.g. in the names of species), it goes after it. Borówka amerykańska - blueberry :)

So you've got: fale krótkie (high frequency waves), because it's a kind of radio waves, but you've got krótkie nogi (short legs) because it is just feature of some individual pair of legs. And so on.
22 Jun 2008
Life / Goth scene in Poland [30]

So maybe they play post-punk or cold wave?
23 Jun 2008
Life / Goth scene in Poland [30]

Never understood goth culture. I mean, you're going to be dead a long time; why would you want to assume the look when you're alive?

Dead Is The New Alive ;-)
23 Jun 2008

Do they believe they are making some individualistic ideological, cultural or fashion statement? Or are they simply fulfilling a need to belong to some peer group and want to go with the flow?

Do you believe that individualism lies in what you wear and what you listen to? How about your mind?

And why spending money on alternative clothing is more 'naive' than spending money on brand mainstream clothes (which are even more expensive)?

Really, that's ridiculous. These are not the subcultures who make up an ideology to clothes - usually these are people who share some sense of aesthetics, so they like similar kind of clothing. And the non-subculture people desperately try to find some ideology in it, which isn' there. Why do so many people assume that the ones who dress differently do it in order to say some statement or prove something? Is it really so hard to understand that people wear alternative fashion BECAUSE THEY LIKE IT?

You are naive.
23 Jun 2008
Language / Pronunciation difference between Ź and Ż / RZ [83]

Gab, if you mean IPA?

Ż is something like in 'u[b]s[/]ually' but a bit harder.

- is a 'z' sound, but it is palatalized; i.e. if you say it, you say it like 'z', but you move the blade of your tounge up so that it is close to your hard palate. Then, it sound much 'softer'.

And here are recordings:
23 Jun 2008
Life / Polish people start families at early age-how true is this? [20]

I guess it's the matter of the social background.
In a farming family a girl at the age of 21 may be urged to look for a husband, but in a big city family a 21-year-old girl will be demanded to study and not even think of marriage. My friend who comes from a small village in the mountains told me that there, most of girls in their early twenties are determined to find a husband as soon as possible. But if I (I'm 22) told my parents I'm going to get married soon, they'd say I'm nuts and I should think of graduating and finding a proper job first. Polish society is not homogeneous.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.