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What do you find difficult about learning Polish?

welshguyinpola 23 | 463  
9 Nov 2008 /  #1
I attend a school of Polish and am in an upper intermediate group but even at this level I am still having some problems such as:

1. Noun endings
2. The subltle differences between all the words that can be made from the stems jechac and ciagnac (around 20 apparently) ie. dojechac, pojechac, przyjechac etc
3. The fact that one polish person will use one grammatical form whilst another will use a diff form to say exactly the same thing.
4. dokonane and nie dokonane - when the fuck to use each one. I know the rules but its so diff to put into practice.

Anyone else having similar problems? Please dont go into and explaination of the rules as I know them, just wondering if anyone else has the same probs as me
osiol 55 | 3,922  
9 Nov 2008 /  #2
All endings. There are many I haven't attempted to learn because there isn't anyone to actually teach me.

Verbs in anything other than the present tense.

Not having my mistakes corrected for me.
LondonChick 31 | 1,134  
9 Nov 2008 /  #3
Guys - I am having the same problem. I am trying to build up my vocab from signs, menus, magazines etc. but I am never sure what form to learn them, on account of the endings. Any tips?
OP welshguyinpola 23 | 463  
9 Nov 2008 /  #4
I would take some lessons in Polish grammar if I were u. I've been learning Polish for 5 yrs and I am only at an upper int level, this is because the entry test I took for the schhol was rather grammar heavy and I got my endings screwed up. I might have been in a Post upper int grp if it wasnt for those poxy endings.

There are 7 cases in Polish and these determine the endings:
1. Locative
2. Dative
3. Vocative
4. Accusative
5. Nominative
6. Instrumental
7. Genitive

There are plenty of websites which can explain these cases to you for I dont have the will at the mo.

Hope this helped
Marek 4 | 867  
10 Nov 2008 /  #5
For me, the system of verbal aspects, 'niedokonany'/'dokonany', without a doubt! As a German speaker, cases didn't bother me that much, only insofar as cases which appear similar to German do not often correspond to Polish, such as Polish genitive vs. German dative in certain instances like the sentence 'Piszę list DO niego.' which is second declension in Polish, cf. 'Ich schreibe IHM einen Brief.' which is third declension in German. This sort of thing used to drive me crazy until I stopped "translating" i.e. intellectualizing, and just started expressing myself in Polish!
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
10 Nov 2008 /  #6
The same as most. I understand the rules to a point but can't comfortably use them in conversation. I'm moving in the right direction so it's not so bad.
benszymanski 8 | 465  
10 Nov 2008 /  #7
Personally I didn't mind the perfective/imperfective. Once you get your head around that concept the verb tenses aren't too bad. Took me a while to feel the difference between the determinate and indeterminate verbs of motion though (e.g. chodzić versus iść, latać versus lecieć).

For me I find it hard to get the pronunciation right. I am making a big effort to pronounce cz, sz and ż hard as opposed to the soft ones like ć/ci and ś/si and zi. There are so many difficult words to pronounce. An example is "wszcząć" which I came across yesterday and made me stop and think for a few seconds!

I think the hardest think is that there are so many exceptions to every rule. Just when you think you have got the hang of one rule you find a bunch of words that appear to work differently....

I am planning to sit the Polish exam for foreigners when they announce the dates for next year so am studying hard....
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
10 Nov 2008 /  #8
As Osioł said, the counters are a bugger to get to grips with. There are ways to get round it tho.
Lodz_The_Boat 32 | 1,535  
10 Nov 2008 /  #9
Polish is easier than Russian.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
10 Nov 2008 /  #10
Not for Russians, it isn't ;)

Seriously tho, the Cyrillic alphabet is a tough nut to crack.
Prince 15 | 590  
10 Nov 2008 /  #11
Polish is considered to be harder (garmmar).

Polish is easier than Russian.

Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
11 Nov 2008 /  #12
Re vocabulary building, when you've got a sprare mo, take out a piece of paper and write such headings as: family members, emotions, sport, buildings, fruits vegetables, domesticated animals, wild animals, irds, motor vehicles, occupaitons, bodies of water, nationalities, countries, capitals of countries, etc., etc, -- the sky is the limit.

Then under each heading write as many Polish words as you know. This will show you where you are the strongest and where you need the most work.

BTW, this can also be an itneresting "parlour game" when in a group of people learning Polish (in class or informal social setting). You can have participants write 5 or 10 or moo words in each category (the no. of categories need not include all he above). The firt to finish wins (a Polish prize).
OP welshguyinpola 23 | 463  
11 Nov 2008 /  #13

????? what are irds???

Good advice polonius but when u know all these words how do you put them together? This is where the prob with learning Polish lies
Bondi 4 | 142  
11 Nov 2008 /  #14
First and foremost difficult: grammatical genders for everything, just to multiply the headache with the cases.

Next: the different meanings and nuances in "prefix + case" combinations. I.e. na+Acc., na+Loc. etc. - same prefix + different case = different meaning. And I can't translate (=understand) them all the time in the same way, just have to learn them by heart. The same goes to "when to use na? when to use do?" dilemma and such. (Which is worse than the English "at/in/to?" dilemma, because of the different cases you have to apply.)

Pronounciation: to get used to all those soft consonants (ć, dź, ś, ź). For my ears, they sound like you have a lisp. O_o Not that I can really hear any faint difference in natives' speech, but the way I have to pronounce them with the tip of my tongue. ('Cause them buggers can of course hear the difference in my speech!)

Hmm, the struggles of a beginner, I suppose...
At least I have no problem understanding and using dokonany/niedokonany! :)
Marek 4 | 867  
12 Nov 2008 /  #15
Indeed, Bondi! For a Hungarian native speaker, the travails of Polish sibilance must be almost too great to bear--:)!!

While, being quite honest, pronounciation was never a big problem for me, I continue to struggle with 'niedokonany'/'dokonany', it seems, for even the most primitive sentences!! Oh, my Polish colleagues understand perfectly, yet I know in the back of my mind that I could be saying it more precisely.

And it's exactly here that the argument, "Well, let 'em all speak English!" falls flat! Imagine the struggles a Pole has in expressing himself in English, no matter how good he or she thinks they are.
Bondi 4 | 142  
14 Nov 2008 /  #16
One more thing: the way they're using Pan/Pani instead of ty. In Poland, even young people, in their twenties, address each other like that.
JosephJR - | 3  
17 Nov 2008 /  #17
I find the pronunciation of y and i very difficult, since they are switched from English to Polish. I've noticed Polish speakers of English have this problem too.

7 cases, 3 genders, very difficult.
koziolek 2 | 31  
17 Nov 2008 /  #18
I find the pronunciation of y and i very difficult, since they are switched from English to Polish.

I wouldn't say that they are switched. At least the Polish "i" and "y" are predicatble, unlike the English ones that have more to do with "looking right" orthographically. (Does that make sense? Orthographically? Who knows?) I find it a little tricky, even though "y" is pretty close to the "e" in pretty, and the "i" sounds pretty close to the "y" in pretty. Sometimes I still get these sounds a bit mangled, and it's not pretty!
JosephJR - | 3  
17 Nov 2008 /  #19
I've never heard the word orthographically but I just looked it up, that makes sense.

Yeah I am very appreciative that Polish words are almost all pronounced the same way once you know all the rules. English spelling and pronunciation must be a nightmare for you.
Marek 4 | 867  
18 Nov 2008 /  #20
Guilty here too !

Even for us native English speakers, English spelling is often chaotic, sometimes, pure guesswork as to how something is spelled, particularly if it's a new word. Punctuation though is fairly straightforward, compared for instance with Spanish or French.
rejd 5 | 17  
18 Nov 2008 /  #21
The way we say things in English doesn't seem to be the correct way to say them in Polish. Example, I say "I'm fine." in English. If I were to translate this into Polish, I would think it would be "Jestem dobrze." But NO. I would say "Czuje sie dobrze." or "I feel fine." I never say that, lol! It just sounds weird.

BTW, can anyone tell me how to pronounce 'czuje'? (Or even if that's the right spelling.) :)
Marek 4 | 867  
18 Nov 2008 /  #22
Actually, to the question 'Jak się masz?'/'Jak się Pan(i) ma (miewa)?', for example, the best answer is often simply 'Dobrze!', short and simple!

More colloquial is 'Jak leci?', lit. 'How's it flying?', to which a simple 'dobrze' would usally be sufficient. If you want to give a non-commital answer, then 'No, tak sobie.'
rejd 5 | 17  
18 Nov 2008 /  #23
Actually, to the question 'Jak się masz?'/'Jak się Pan(i) ma (miewa)?', for example, the best answer is often simply 'Dobrze!', short and simple!

Yes, good point. I was thinking about speaking through email, since that is really the only way I have to converse in Polish. But actually speaking, you are correct. I will remember that. :)
danielle1 3 | 12  
7 Feb 2009 /  #24
Thread attached on merging:
Learning Polish

oh my god why is polish sooooooooooo hard to learn theres to many z and w in every word and they never spell anything like it sounds
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510  
7 Feb 2009 /  #25
isnt polish a phonetic language?
sausage 19 | 777  
7 Feb 2009 /  #26
theres to many z and w in every word

great for your scrabble score

and they never spell anything like it sounds

the good thing about Polish is that there are relatively few rules to learn, once you've learnt them you can read anything
danielle1 3 | 12  
7 Feb 2009 /  #27
i hate it being so hard to learn, i wish i was polish learning english it would be sooooooooo much easier and what u mean few rules? what are they? Yes it is good for my scrabble game if i could remember to spell it its bad enough trying to say it let alone remember it spell it too
sunhp 4 | 23  
7 Feb 2009 /  #28
hi, Every body,
i found polsih language vital, unexpected pronounciation and tongue. some words can hardly remember and understand while spoke slowly but i got mostly strange.
Marek 4 | 867  
7 Feb 2009 /  #29
"I wish I was Polish learning English....."

Oh no you don't! Polish may seem to have 'more grammar' than English, but English orthography and pronounciation is far more complex and confusing for Poles! Most Poles take their grammar for granted, therefore it CAN'T be harder for them than English, since, as native speakers of their own language, they never knew anything else growing up!! This is to say, they have no point of comparison. They'll usually say however that they find English easier, if merely to make foreign learners feel somewhat better about having to struggle learning all those case inflections.

If anything, quite the opposite, I found. Many Poles remarked how threadbare and superficial English seems in comparison to the morphological richness and subtle texture of their language, especially with those verbal aspects which usually are untranslatable in another language.
danielle1 3 | 12  
7 Feb 2009 /  #30
i dont understand none of that ? can u speak polish or not?

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