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Common mistakes made by foreigners in Polish

moonsa 4 | 28  
2 Jan 2008 /  #1
i'd be glad to know common mistakes that foreigners usually make in polish?
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
2 Jan 2008 /  #2
too many to name at once :)
plk123 8 | 4,148  
2 Jan 2008 /  #3
lol.. no kidding.. all pronounciation is hard for non slavic speakers. i'd say rolling the "r" is and keeping the "a" always the same, are the first things i notice.
2 Jan 2008 /  #4
i think there are some problems with declension
and it is hard...
dtaylor 9 | 823  
2 Jan 2008 /  #5
all pronounciation is hard

id second that, some of my pronounciation frankly scares me sometimes, but im getting there:D
OP moonsa 4 | 28  
3 Jan 2008 /  #6
i didn't mean the pronunciation!! i meant the grammar stuff!!!!!:)
Michal - | 1,865  
3 Jan 2008 /  #7
I have never heard Polish spoken by a non native speaker so it is difficult to say but on the end of nouns in the genitive case I would imagine is difficult i.e. using an 'a' or an 'u'.
Seanus 15 | 19,704  
3 Jan 2008 /  #8
Definitely the endings like bez szynka when it should be bez szynki. I guess also they'd have problems with mam rękawiczki and nie ma rękawiczek, this difference.
OP moonsa 4 | 28  
3 Jan 2008 /  #9
Definitely the endings

yeah i agree!!!:D and it is soooo difficult though!!!
kioko - | 84  
4 Jan 2008 /  #10
Once I was booking a room for a German client (I worked in a Travel Information in Masurian Lakes area). I asked for his surname and he replied "Katsinskey" (more or less), so to confirm I asked "Kaczyński?". He got very confused, because he couldn't even say his name properly. And I got little bit stupid, because I guess I shouldn't have corrected him.

Other example: my English teacher (native) asked us once something about Lek Ualsa, it took us few minutes to understand he was asking about Lech Wałęsa.

So I guess pronounciation is the biggest problem, because even if someone says "bez szynka" instead of "bez szynki" I will understand what he wans to say. As long as he will say "szynka" not "shinkey" :)
db1874 7 | 227  
4 Jan 2008 /  #11
I was trying to say 'ciocia' once and came out with 'ciota' :) It took the Poles I was speaking to about 5 minutes before they could stop laughing and explain what i'd said. Wont be making that mistake again.... :)
Seanus 15 | 19,704  
4 Jan 2008 /  #12
Kioko has a good point. Like in English, there are subtle changes that us foreigners cannot hear so easily. For example, the difference between wies and wiesz is clear for Poles but not always for us. I guess that foreigners, when they count for example 6 of sth, will often mistakenly use ów. For example, jedno okno, dwa okna, szesc oknów but it should be okien. I used to use the instrumental case in the wrong way too, e.g pałeczkiem but it should be pałeczkami
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
4 Jan 2008 /  #13
I was trying to say 'ciocia' once and came out with 'ciota' :)

I just said "ciocia" one in a supermarket with a few Latinos around. The words sounds almost idendical to Spanish "chocha"
Seanus 15 | 19,704  
4 Jan 2008 /  #14
My biggest mistake was when I was new to Poland and asked for cipa instead of czipsy. The girl looked kind of sheepish.
Foreigner4 12 | 1,768  
4 Jan 2008 /  #15
i remember asking for something cheaper (why i used english is beyond me) it was like some stupid bath sponge or something and i didn't really want to buy my lady friend a 100zl. bath sponge. So to them it seemed like i was trying to say it's for her, ah gawd how awful for them and all i could think is "gee they sure don't like it when i say anything in english.":(
Seanus 15 | 19,704  
4 Jan 2008 /  #16
As long as u didn't pronounce cheaper like an Aussie!! A 100zł bath sponge, LOL. The Scots would expect a 10 year supply for that amount
Foreigner4 12 | 1,768  
4 Jan 2008 /  #17
gawd no, i'm sure they would have shot me if i'd pronounced it like those mongrels do. yeah i thought that was pretty excessive, but that's what i deserved for being so nondiscerning regarding prices circa 2001.

Speaking of which, another mistake i made was with the telephone, oy vie. first week in Poland back then i dished out 1750.00 zl for a phone bill; my dumba$$ "is that a lot?"

And always check your meters for gaz, elec, water, you're sure to get taken to the cleaners if you don't.

A long time ago i remember hitchhiking with my girlfriend back to our town cause i listened to her advice on trains and buses.

Another thing expats-get a car a make you life simpler.
Seanus 15 | 19,704  
4 Jan 2008 /  #18
This thread is not only about linguistic mistakes, ok, then I agree with Foreigner4 that u have to be careful about trains here. The timetables especially, u have to check the dates carefully. Another mistake was when I said czesc/3maj sie to an old lady that I didn't know. My girlfriend found that really funny.
Matyjasz 2 | 1,544  
4 Jan 2008 /  #19
A friend of mine told me that the current Pope instead of saying "Witam was czule"( I welcome you tenderly") said "Witam was ciule" to gathered Polish pilgrims, which means something like "I welcome you mugs." Hehehe funny sh!t, even if that's not true. :))

OP moonsa 4 | 28  
4 Jan 2008 /  #20
"I welcome you mugs."

ha ha ha!!!:D
Seanus 15 | 19,704  
4 Jan 2008 /  #21
Lucky he didn't say czulu, it's Silesian slang for the male member and not a very friendly version at that
gosiaczek 1 | 85  
4 Jan 2008 /  #22
"Witam was ciule"

yeah, that was hilarious. and it is true
Davey 13 | 388  
4 Jan 2008 /  #23
first week in Poland back then i dished out 1750.00 zl for a phone bill; my dumba$$ "is that a lot?"

That is how much I took to Poland to last me a month.
4 Jan 2008 /  #24
hey Davey, don't listen to foreigner44444. He's asian o.o
Foreigner4 12 | 1,768  
4 Jan 2008 /  #25

hmmm well i am reportedly asian so y'know i guess i must be loaded. but maybe it was in 2001 so as long as you were here before that inflation can explain the rest.

Man one time i got dinged for something like 600zl for electricity. Even this month my landlord is trying to tell me i used 350zl in electricity, she's a nice lady and i think she's a dime, but that is obviously a mistake on her part (i gave away my hifi a year ago and refuse to own a tv).

oh here's one, one time my girlfriend sees a couple laski she knows and says "czesc moj pipki." So what does foreigner4 do? Oh he houses that one in his database to try on the secretaries while having absolutely no clue what it meant. Imagine a dashing f4 waltzing into the staff reception and saying...well anyway imagine it and laugh.

Oh another one for expat guys, when you get in an altercation do NOT wait for the ambulance to come for him and do NOT let your gf see what you've done to her ex, she'll wake up the entire village with her shrieking.

In fact avoid fisticuffs in general cause even when you win, you lose.

For some reason all this reminiscing is starting to remind me of the time me and a trainload of poles got sent off to Prague, even though none of us bought tickets to go or even wanted to. Oh lord, for a crap time it was ok, but still what a debacle pkp could be.
seretan 2 | 6  
5 Jan 2008 /  #26
honestly i care about endings i cannot speak polish
there are a lot of exceptions
Seanus 15 | 19,704  
5 Jan 2008 /  #27
I think I landed on my feet Ian. I rent a central apartment in Gliwice, ok, it's a bedsit/studio, but I pay 700zł per month for everything. My landlord pays for all the utilities. I can only imagine the water and electricity bills to be high so it's quite incredible that it's only 700zł. I pay 50zl per month for my internet connection. Given how often I use it, it's nothing. Back to the thread, when asked quickly if i want 1 of sth, I really have to think if it's she (jedna), jeden (he) or jedno (it/neutral). The grammar itself is easy enough but knowing the gender is another matter
Foreigner4 12 | 1,768  
5 Jan 2008 /  #28
man i just slap an ending on and hope that it works out, if it doesn't then the crowd cranes their collective neck to "catch the excitement." One trick i will use when i want to be incognito is just fake being confused and give a "prozsa?" so i can hear the ending the sales lady puts on.

(and no i can't spell for dirt in this language)

who's ian, i'm f4.
osiol 55 | 3,922  
5 Jan 2008 /  #29
i just slap an ending on and hope that it works out

I should probably try doing that more. There are three possibilities:

1. They understand, but just let it go.
2. They understand, and correct you.
3. Your meaning is completely altered, with dire/outrageous/humourous/tragic consequences.
Mufasa 19 | 358  
5 Jan 2008 /  #30
3. Your meaning is completely altered, with dire/outrageous/humourous/tragic consequences.

yes! lol

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