Return PolishForums LIVE
  PolishForums Archive :
Archives - 2005-2009 / Language  % width 147

Should I learn both Polish and German


Marek 4 | 867  
3 Apr 2007 /  #31
Hi,
And no, I'm not making it up.
You're right, I AM hard on arrogant people who are immodest about their skills, masquerading as "language experts" in this borderless global economy. I am no end sympathetic (I am after all, among other things, an ESL instructor! :) ) with those right-side of the brainers: service people, engineers, sports figure, mathematicisnas who are not especially competent in language and who admit it from the outset.

I do become mildly irritated when travelling in Northern or Eastern Europe and being told by perfect strangers that there's no need for me to continue speaking their language, as they are far better in speaking mine, meanwhile, making such aggregious errors of which they remain blissfully unaware.

Marek
muzyka  
3 Apr 2007 /  #32
I AM hard on arrogant people who are immodest about their skills, masquerading as "language experts"

I see, I was not aware you were referring to people in your own profession, doing your job with apparently poor english skills......that gives me an idea - I could certainly set myself up as an interpretor/translator.....

there's no need for me to continue speaking their language, as they are far better in speaking mine, meanwhile, making such aggregious errors of which they remain blissfully unaware.

To keep pushing the tolerance angle: these folk are probably so proud and excited to have learnt some english, they can't wait for the chance to give it a shot.....I've done the same thing with my 3rd language (one time, I got into hot water by "showing off")
Marek 4 | 867  
4 Apr 2007 /  #33
Muzyka,

When Poles correct my Polish in this forum, I'm grateful andd try to internalize the correction. The reverse??

In my experience, not usual. :)
Marek
muzyka  
4 Apr 2007 /  #34
so, are you saying Poles don't like it when you correct their enlgish???
Marek 4 | 867  
5 Apr 2007 /  #35
Yes, that's right!

Not to generalize, but certain nationalities seem actually grateful for correction, non-linguistic speakers as they may be, f. ex. Hispanic speakers, Italian and most Latins (with notable exception of the French:)) know they have trouble with English and appreciate the assistance. Poles, Germans, Scandinavians, Icelanders, also Turks and Hungarians, appear positively insensed if their English is corrected, even in the kindest, most undidactic manner!

The latter, much as a beautiful starlet who has been told she's gorgeous and without a blemish on her face, often give the impression (to me, at any rate) that they believe they speak en masse excellent English, from whom the rest of us can only benefit.

While it may be true that English-language instruction is superior in certain countries, this doesn't necessarily mean that the English-language learning in those countries is anywhere in synch. Why, for instance, is it "cool" for Germans or Dutch to misuse idioms, but "uncool" if Americans speak German or Dutch less than perfectly??

My discontent here lies simply in the double standard.

Marek
Michal - | 1,865  
7 May 2007 /  #36
I have had my Polish corrected on this forum from a Pole.
glowa 1 | 291  
7 May 2007 /  #37
Not to generalize, but certain nationalities seem actually grateful for correction, non-linguistic speakers as they may be

you do generalize and what you wrote is soooo not true
Michal - | 1,865  
7 May 2007 /  #38
Most scandinavians would be insensed as they probably know English better than most of the English! I have never met a lot of Icelanders in New York or London so can not say for certain. Surely, at the end of the day it is a personal thing. If someone loves linguistics and thinks that they can speak well then they do not like criticism. In England the English hate negative comments about their driving but is this a racial thing or is it in all of us? I think that it is in human nature rather than a border issue.
Marek 4 | 867  
13 Jun 2007 /  #39
Hi, Glowa!
You're quote reminds me of the youngest daughter in the US-TV sit-com "Six Basic Ways For Dating My Teenage Daughter": "Hey, Allie! Are you going..? - Like, uh- I'm sooo going to the party..."

American slanguage really seems to catch on. Hope the American "standard" (Ooops, did I say a bad word -:) ) at least reaches a first place tie!



Michal,

I think you've hit the nail on the head! "If someone is linguistic and thinks they speak well....". Problem is often (not always, I ruefully admit) they DON'T and have inflated egos concerning how linguistic they actually are!

Scandinavians, especially Icelanders and Norwegians, do in fact learn English very thoroughly from very early on. Still, it's a bit of the "Look Ma, no hands!" syndrome of believing oneself to be perfect because everything seems to come so easily.



Mihal,

That's different. You're Polish was corrected by a Pole because you're not Polish. My point is different. As an English speaker, what has been the reaction when you correct their English. I wouldn't think it etiquette to correct their Polish being as you're not a native speaker (save for a pure typo, for example).



Michal,
That's different. You're Polish was corrected by a Pole because you're not Polish. My point is, as a native English speaker, what has been the reaction when you correct their English? I wouldn't think it etiquette to correct their Polish being as you're not a naitve speaker (save for a pure typo, for instance). Why is English the language which can be trampled over on a regular basis? Is it becoming the case for the tesy of the world as I once saw on a sign over a London bookstore: "BROKEN ENGLISH SPOKEN PERFECTLY"?

Gilbert and Sullivan would be turning over in their graves!
Marek
osiol 55 | 3,922  
28 Jul 2007 /  #40
Native English speakers hear English being spoken by so many different people in so many different ways. The British Isles have so many different native accents and dialects, then there are the Americas - including all the Caribbean forms, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia... Then there are all the non-native speakers, some very good, some who mangle the language beyond reasonable understanding.

But we are used to it, so it is normal. It is my opinion that Poles are not used to either such a wide range of dialects or more importantly, a large number of foreigners having a go at their language.

The results are that bad English is often not corrected, and Polish spoken by a foreign amateur tends to get over-corrected.
Marek 4 | 867  
10 Aug 2007 /  #41
....because, Osiol, a higher standard is attached to Polish, not to English.
I find this a great pity, since this simply devalues the level of English.

Poles who learn English shold learn to appreciate the greatness of the language, say, Gilbert & Sullivan, much as we who learn Polish should learn to love its melodic and consonant-heavy literature, much less, the clangour of Iwaszkiewicz, Tuwim and other!

Marek
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
22 Aug 2007 /  #42
we who learn Polish should learn to love its melodic and consonant-heavy literature, much less, the clangour of Iwaszkiewicz, Tuwim and other!

And what exactly would you mean by that?!
Both Iwaszkiewicz and Tuwim were great masters of the Polish language. They would not be my personal first choice for curling up on the sofa with, but I cannot but admire how they wrote!

By the way, Czech has a lot more consonant clusters than Polish: vlk, vrch, krk, blb, to list just an anecdotal few ;-)
Marek 4 | 867  
22 Aug 2007 /  #43
".......much less..."= nie mniejszy...
You may have misunderstood the typical English-language turn of phrase "much less" in my post, apologies.
I simply meant, that we come to love the depth, certainly not any less, the beautiful sound of Polish, distinctive in it's consonant clusters as compared, say, with Italian, Finnish, Hawaian, where the vocalic is far more apparent to the ear than often in Polish, German or indeed, Czech.

I see you're a translator as well. From Polish to English, English to Polish or both? I'm a German to English/English-German translator and interpreter, but I know Polish fluently (though not always "accurately").

Czy jestes Polka? Czytalem, ze mieszkasz w Anglii, ale nie wiedzialem, czy jestes z Polski.
Pozdrawiam!

Marek
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
22 Aug 2007 /  #44
much as we who learn Polish should learn to love its melodic and consonant-heavy literature, much less, the clangour

Blah blah blah, which means I wanted to sparr with you over this, but never mind, that's all water under the bridge anyway, at least now I know what you meant! ;-)

Yes, I do ENG-PL and PL-ENG, with some Czech occasionally thrown in for good measure.
Tak, jestem Polką i mieszkam w Londynie; przyjechałam tu trzy lata temu i mam zamiar za jakiś rok wrócić do Polski! :-)
By the way, my grandmother was German/Kaszubian and I had four semesters of German at university, not that it did me much good. ;-) I finally gave up when we started declinating adjectives... You know, when they tell you to take a phrase like "my beloved old gray-haired grandfather" and run it through the cases... And each of the adjectives gets inflected differently. OMG. Totalna porażka! ;-)
Marek 4 | 867  
22 Aug 2007 /  #45
Serwus, Magda!
No, tylko trzy lata temu a jednak juz umiesz taki idiomatycznie po angielsku, ale bez "akcentu obcego" w twoim pisanym jezyku angielskim??!! Takze masz humor naszego jezyka. Jestes Jozefa Konradem, poniewaz on byl Polakiem, ktory lepiej pisal po angielsku niz po swoim jezyku ojcowym. Ale jego imienie bylo "Jozef"!

Jestem zdumiony.
Zostawimy w kontaktu

Wszystkiego najlepszego!
Marek

By the by, Magda. Mark Twain once remarked in "Straszny jezyk niemiecki" (Die schreckliche deutsche Sprache - The Awful German Language) that he'd rather decline two drinks than one German adjective, apropos:

Meine schoenen neuen Schuhe (Moje piekne nowe buty) etc.

Marek (To be continued, I'm sure)
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
22 Aug 2007 /  #46
Marek (To be continued, I'm sure)

Honoured, I'm sure :-)
Puzzler 9 | 1,089  
23 Aug 2007 /  #47
re: Yes, that's right!

- Do you mean, Marek, that you corrected the English of a Polish person or persons and they were angry about it, whereas you've been always grateful to the Poles for correcting your Polish? Is that what you mean?

Wow, your ready acceptance of the critcism of your Polish makes you superior to the Poles, doesn't it?

Especially today you Americans need lots of such boost to lift up your sagging self-esteem, don't ya?

It's good there are at least the Poles in this world to be used by you for this purpose.

Are you able to give specific facts re your correcting the Poles and their alleged angry replies?
Marek 4 | 867  
23 Aug 2007 /  #48
Puzzler,

For instance, a younger Pole, approximately 25, remarked recently (apparently keen on practicing his English, and he needed to, believe me!!) "Hey, I just got buzzed, ya know?", to which I politely responded in English, although Polish would have been easier, just to humor him now, "Oh, drinking too much?" To which he insisted (explitives deleted@$#^##&!!! etc.), "buzzed" means to have gotten a haircut. "You mean 'clipped', I believe!" He refused to accept it.

A Pole once asked if the US has great authors, like Mickiewicz and Slowacki in Poland. I replied, "Mamy poetów, n.pr. Dunbara, Whitmana, Emilii Dickensona itd.." She, a university student, claimed to have heard of none of them.

I rest my case!
Marek
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
23 Aug 2007 /  #49
She, a university student, claimed to have heard of none of them.

But what was she studying? 'cause that does make a difference. Was she a bright mathematician with no interest in literature, or a reeeally dumb linguist? ;-)
Marek 4 | 867  
23 Aug 2007 /  #50
Magda,
Presumably, she was a generalist ( The Catholic University of Lublin), her university is considered the best in Poland (she said so herself!) and so I can only attribute her educational lapse to plain ignorance!

"Dumb linguist"??--:) Are you "sparing" with me again Magdo, or kidding as per usual?

Marek

Chwileczke! Nie, ona nie studiowala matymatyke, lecz rolnictwo, przepraszam!

That makes a big difference, agriculture or mathematics. Know what the difference is here in the States? About $50, 000.00 bucks!! he-he!
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
23 Aug 2007 /  #51
But the KUL as you say is a university, i.e. it has lots of different faculties; I would be much more inclined to forgive such ignorance if this lady was not a student of English or Polish literature, for example... On the other hand, if she was, she probably flunked her exams anyway... ;-) So then you couldn't really call her educated, half-educated would be the word!

I'm not sparring or kidding, just curious.

And by the way - KUL is not the best in Poland. I would say it is in a group of 4 or 5 very good universities, but UJ, UW and UAM would have to be tops. In my humble opinion at least.

Well, if she studied agriculture I wouldn't in the least mind that she was ignorant about American literature. I'm rather ignorant about milk production and species of sheep myself... ;-)
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,161  
23 Aug 2007 /  #52
She, a university student, claimed to have heard of none of them.

So... ?

her university is considered the best in Poland

No. It's quite good but definately not the best.
Marek 4 | 867  
24 Aug 2007 /  #53
Grzegorz.

Bylem zly, bo jak umiesz znac jezyka, bez kultury w tej ten jezyk mowiony?
How can you claim to know a language without knowing the literature in which that language is written?

Marek
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
24 Aug 2007 /  #54
How can you claim to know a language without knowing the literature in which that language is written?

Lots of people who are native speakers of English know very little about English literature. Lots of people who are native speakers of German know very little about German literature. Lots of people... you get my drift. Not everyone even likes literature. But this does not mean they cannot speak a given language, I hope?
_Sofi_  
24 Aug 2007 /  #55
Perhaps it limits their knowledge (and command) of the language though...
telefonitika  
24 Aug 2007 /  #56
Lots of people who are native speakers of English know very little about English literature.

True it wasnt something that i was like thrilled at doing at school <YAWN>

I am learning Polish with no knowledge of polish literature ... from next month i will be learning a few other languages alongside year two of polish as well.
bookratt 6 | 85  
24 Aug 2007 /  #57
Learning and liking English lit only (only!?) teaches you how to think about the world and the people around you. To make connections between cultures and philosophies. To investigate history, to try and understand the writers and the social movements behind the works you read.

But you're right. Many native born Americans who speak English well do not read literature of any kind at all and do not discuss it or think about it. Many don't even read the daily local newspaper.

Makes them no less proficient at speaking the language, in and of itself, if they don't, but it certainly does limit them in other ways.

You can mimic, copy and internalize correct grammar forms simply by listening to someone speak a language, if you are observant enough and you do it long enough.

But that process is not truly "thinking" or "learning". That's mimicry. Or, more accurately, rote memorization.

I will try and read the literature of Poland in English first, while I am learning Polish. Then try to reread the lit in Polish later on, when I understand the language better.

I am hoping I am capable of doing that.

We'll see in September.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
24 Aug 2007 /  #58
But that process is not truly "thinking" or "learning". That's mimicry. Or, more accurately, rote memorization.

That's how children learn their first language :-)
Of course the deeper you go, the more you immerse yourself in the culture (literature, history etc) of a country, the better your overall command of a language will be. Nevertheless, an interest in literature is not a prerequisite for acquiring foreign language skills. Just sayin'.
Marek 4 | 867  
25 Aug 2007 /  #59
Sofi,

Absolutely correct! It limits and dilutes their impressions of the new language. If people at least admitted their lack of familiarity with literature as preventing a deeper and more rewarding, i.e. accurate, level of understanding,....no problem.

To say though, "Oh, come on Marek! I've never read Twain, Hemingway etc.. and I understand EVRYTHING!" is plain false. This becomes most apparent when an educated native speaker of a language uses a pithy, elegant phrase from a play, poem or novel to highlight a point and the other person, the foreigner, is left annoyed and clueless!

Whose fault is that? I't not the native speaker's job to "dumb down" their level of language for non-natives who haven't taken the time or love to really absorb the target culture!!

Marek

Recently. I was conversing with a German colleague. At first, we began (of course!) in German. Later, at her insistance, I switched to English, just to be social. So far so good. I proceeded, drawing upon famous American expressions, i.e. "until you see the whites of their eyes." etc., quotes familiar to the average educated US-native speaker, to stress what I was trying to say. My colleague then proceeded to say, my quote was incorrect English, and that it should be "by the time you see the whites in their eyes" which is of course nonsense. Firstly, it's not the original quote, secondly, here's another instance of a foreigner pretending to know more about English than an educated native speaker, instead of freely admitting, "Say, Marek. Ya know, I'm not sure I know what you mean!"

And such happens with dramatic regularity.

Marek

Bookratt,

My advice to you is to start with simple short stories, preferrably from the modern era, e.g. Orzeszkowa, Rozewicz, Andrzejewski etc. just to get your feet wet. Poetry can be immensely difficult and frustrating, even in one's native language. Therefore, I would avoid it if I can.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
29 Aug 2007 /  #60
How about contemporary literature? Orzeszkowa is ancient by now, her Polish has dated rather badly, and Różewicz and Andrzejewski are authors from the mid-twentieth century... How about some really fresh blood? Since you think a sound knowledge of literature is so important to the foreign language student, can you name at least two young Polish writers who are popular right now? And I mean young! (Under or about 40) ;-) And what have you read from them? Did you like it or not?

Archives - 2005-2009 / Language / Should I learn both Polish and GermanArchived