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My Learning Polish Woes...


LondonChick 31 | 1,134  
16 Oct 2008 /  #1
Ok, I know that I've only just started in recent weeks, but I am finding it difficult :(

For instance, I really can't hear the difference between "hi" (czesc) and the number six (szes) :(

I carry my books everywhere so that I can learn on the go - on a 20 min train ride, or over a quick coffee. But I just can't seem to retain the vocab. I am also surounding myself with the sounds of the language - well, as best as I can in London.

I thought that I had some kind of aptitude towards languages - I am bilingual in German, and also speak several other European languages fairly fluently - even managed to study Russian for a while. But Polish just doesn't seem to stick :(

Tell me it's going to get better and all fall into place....
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
16 Oct 2008 /  #2
difference between "hi" (czesc) and the number six (szes) :(

plosive (stop)vs. fricative

But I just can't seem to retain the vocab

Reading is not good enough. You need to read aloud and repeat. Repetition is king in learning languages (or queen, if you prefer)

But Polish just doesn't seem to stick :(

yeah, it's a pretty slippery language

Tell me it's going to get better and all fall into place....

If you keep at it a lot of it will.
sausage 19 | 777  
16 Oct 2008 /  #3
Hang on in there LC!
I have had a similar experience. I put it down to my age!
I have to hear words five or six times before they stick in my brain. The action of writing things down helps you to remember things too...

Tell me it's going to get better and all fall into place....

It WILL get better and it WILL fall into place (so long as you don't give up first!)
szarlotka 8 | 2,209  
16 Oct 2008 /  #4
Stick at it LC. Unlike me but there again Jestem Glupi
OP LondonChick 31 | 1,134  
16 Oct 2008 /  #5
Cheers for the support guys :)

plosive (stop)vs. fricative

Ha! See, I know what you're talking about.... in fact I can even draw a mouth diagram to highlight the difference between the two. But I'm still buggered if I can hear the difference. Maybe I'm going deaf in my old age.

Reading is not good enough. You need to read aloud and repeat. Repetition is king in learning languages (or queen, if you prefer)

Very true. I guess I should go for it and start muttering to myself on the train. I might end up with a carriage to myself :)

(so long as you don't give up first!)

At a risk of sounding like one of those twats on The Apprentice, giving up really isn't an option. I NEED to be able to master Polish.

Jestem Glupi

translation please :)
szarlotka 8 | 2,209  
16 Oct 2008 /  #6
translation please :)

Calling my bluff eh? The polite meaning is I am a fool
sausage 19 | 777  
16 Oct 2008 /  #7
I find that all this learning can get a bit tiresome. I like to watch DVDs with Polish soundtracks/subtitles. Passive learning. Have a look through your dvd collection you may well find that some of your films have Polish subtitles.
OP LondonChick 31 | 1,134  
16 Oct 2008 /  #8
That's not a bad idea.

I also travel there quite regularly and try to make connections with words.... Ryba at a fish restaurant, Winda in a hotel etc...

I listen to online Polish radio when I'm working.

Flick through free mags like Panorama and Polish express.
sausage 19 | 777  
16 Oct 2008 /  #9
I listen to online Polish radio when I'm working

I find it too distracting. Us men can't multitask...
If you search youtube for napisy, you should come up with some subtitled material
OP LondonChick 31 | 1,134  
16 Oct 2008 /  #10
If you search youtube for napisy, you should come up with some subtitled material

Cool - thanks :)
Lil_Red - | 1  
16 Oct 2008 /  #11
Hello,
I've just started polish classes and made everybody laugh coz I couldn't get czesc and szesc. I'm trying to remember it as cz, as in CHAIR, 'chesch' and sz as in shed 'shesch'

hope this helps
PolskaDoll 28 | 2,105  
16 Oct 2008 /  #12
Hang in there LC. Do you have Polish friends here that can help you in any way? I find the help of my Polish friends invaluable. :)

You probably already checked out these videos but it doesn't hurt to watch them again.

polishforums.com/language-17/lessons-units-10526/ - Januszs Lessons on PF :)
OP LondonChick 31 | 1,134  
16 Oct 2008 /  #13
Hang in there LC. Do you have Polish friends here that can help you in any way? I find the help of my Polish friends invaluable. :)

Yes - have recently developed some Polish friendships. Trouble is that we usually revert to English.

And yes - Januszs lessons are fab!!
sausage 19 | 777  
16 Oct 2008 /  #14
czesc

smile when you say cz, pout when you end on ć
Marek 4 | 867  
16 Oct 2008 /  #15
Tell me, LondonChick, which did you find harder, Polish or German? I'm a native German-English speaker and first studied Polish at the ripe 'young' age of thirty, having already mastered several European languages like Dutch, Spanish (survival level), Swedish and Danish.

Just curious-:)
osiol 55 | 3,922  
16 Oct 2008 /  #16
I have to hear words five or six times before they stick in my brain.

For me it takes three times to actually hear it, preferably for two different speakers. I can't learn a written word very easily if I don't hear it spoken as well even though I know how it's supposed to sound. Finally, I either guess the grammatical endings, leave them off wherever possible, or even in extreme cases, accidentally invent my own grammar.

Trouble is that we usually revert to English.

Get some Polish friends who can't speak any English. Then this problem will be solved.
polishgirltx  
16 Oct 2008 /  #17
Tell me it's going to get better and all fall into place....

of course it's going to get better... the best for you would be hanging out with Poles as much as you can, and talk talk talk...

:)
osiol 55 | 3,922  
16 Oct 2008 /  #18
the best for you would be hanging out with Poles as much as you can, and talk talk talk...

Yes and no.

It's all too easy to revert to the easiest course with language. In England, being an English person speaking to Polish people who can speak English, English tends to win. This doesn't help learning.

I have noticed that when I'm at work, I ask Jurek what time it is or to pass the secateurs in Polish, and if he can, he responds in the English he's learnt by hearing us speak. I'm still better at his language than he is at mine (shouldn't get complacent though - where's my latest thread - I have some learning to do).

of course it's going to get better

You didn't tell her that it's all going to fall into place. I wonder why!
polishgirltx  
16 Oct 2008 /  #19
Yes and no.

well, that's how i've learned everyday English, away from the books... Americans used to ask me frequently 'did you start thinking in English already?'....

:)
Keith 2 | 14  
16 Oct 2008 /  #20
It definitely does get better. Try not to worry too much about getting everything precisely correct. Context helps. for example if you walk into a room, people will know you are saying 'Hi', and are not likely to think you are saying 'six' to them...

I like to practice as much as I can, and love it when I find someone Polish to talk to. The problem I find is that they usually want to practice their english, so I don't get the chance to test my skills.

I never thought of the DVD subtitles thing though, I'm going to have a good look through my collection now.
PolskaDoll 28 | 2,105  
16 Oct 2008 /  #21
well, that's how i've learned everyday English, away from the books.

From the few Polish people I have asked this is how they explain their learning of English, not from books but from being constantly around English speakers. Their only problem is the writing of the language but they are getting there.

Doing a course in Polish (or any language) is, of course, the best way to learn it properly but being around native speakers often and speaking the language with them is a huge bonus in your learning experience. :)
osiol 55 | 3,922  
16 Oct 2008 /  #22
well, that's how i've learned everyday English, away from the books... Americans used to ask me

In America, I assume. The difference here is probably that it's easier for Polish people to communicate to an English person in English than it is for them to do so in Polish, and that in Texas, there are even fewer people able to speak Polish. Language, like lightning, nearly always takes the path of least resistance. Unlike lightning, it is slow!
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
16 Oct 2008 /  #23
if you walk into a room, people will know you are saying 'Hi', and are not likely to think you are saying 'six' to them...

actually, Poles will sometimes jokingly use "sześć" (6) instead of "cześć"
polishgirltx  
16 Oct 2008 /  #24
or:
-Cześć!
-Siedem!

;)
osiol 55 | 3,922  
16 Oct 2008 /  #25
DVD subtitles

I learnt the word pamiętam from subtitles. I could almost say that's the only word I ever learnt from Polish subtitles, but you could add to that: pamiętasz, pamiętać... I might even have learnt a word or two from a Polish sat-nav machine.

sześć

Siedem

Osioł!
EraAtlantia 2 | 106  
16 Oct 2008 /  #26
I find with language you have to make a point of immersing yourself in it somehow, with polish people, etc, try have a polish person with you talking to you, it registers a lot better, its stimulates the brain more causing more retention of what your learning.
osiol 55 | 3,922  
16 Oct 2008 /  #27
Immerse yourself in language - have a bath in a bowl of Alphabetti Spaghetti (looks more like pretend Italian though).
OP LondonChick 31 | 1,134  
17 Oct 2008 /  #28
Tell me, LondonChick, which did you find harder, Polish or German?

I find German waaaay easier, but then again I've been speaking it since I was 12... went on a German exchange at school and ended up studying German at uni, where I won an award for accuracy in speaking it. Have lived in Germany off and on over the years.

I'm a native German-English speaker and first studied Polish at the ripe 'young' age of thirty,

Ahhh, see I'm 33 and just getting started in Polish. I guess age plays a bit part... youngsters seem to pick up languages much easier.

Swedish

Jag pratar också Svenska!!
Marek 4 | 867  
17 Oct 2008 /  #29
Rock on, LondonChick!

In the end, as always, sheer persistance'll win out and you'll learn to speak FAAARRR better Polish than most of the average Poles will speak English, I guarantee it!!-:)

Du pratar svenska?? Va' kul, daa!! Jag bodde en hela sommar i Sverige. Kanner du Goteborg, Boraas och detta omraad?

Chat with ya 'gin soon!
Julekcg 1 | 35  
17 Oct 2008 /  #30
In the end, as always, sheer persistance'll win out and you'll learn to speak FAAARRR better Polish than most of the average Poles will speak English, I guarantee it!!-:)

He is so cool :) Isn't he ?

Marek what is your nationality ?

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