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Why do people want to study Polish?


gosiaczek 1 | 85  
4 Dec 2007 /  #1
A couple of days ago I talked with my uncle who asked me why people want to (and do) study Polish language. We could name but a few reasons:

1. descendants of Poles who emigrated to other counties want to speak the language of their fathers

2. Europeans (esp. Brits) want to speak Polish to be able to communicate with Poles who settle in their countries (?)

3. Polish is randomly chosen by people who want to study any foreign language (but it would be rather odd because Polish grammar is so difficult that they could choose less complicated language to study:D)

Any other ideas, reasons? What about you? I'd like to have some opinions not only from Europeans:)
osiol 55 | 3,922  
4 Dec 2007 /  #2
1. descendants of Poles who emigrated to other counties want to speak the language of their fathers

Not here.

2. Europeans (esp. Brits) want to speak Polish to be able to communicate with Poles who settle in their countries (?)

Partly.

3. Polish is randomly chosen by people who want to study any foreign language (but it would be rather odd because Polish grammar is so difficult that they could choose less complicated language to study:D)

I just like learning stuff. Everyone should be able to speak more than one language.
Who said anything should be easy?

4. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
OP gosiaczek 1 | 85  
4 Dec 2007 /  #3
Not here.

meaning where?
telefonitika  
4 Dec 2007 /  #4
he doesnt have polish descendants

:D

1. polish family line discovered
2. communiate with friends
3. moving to poland in next 2 years when daughter has finished primary school
4. like challenges .. keep me on my toes

they are my reasons.
porta 18 | 297  
4 Dec 2007 /  #5
Having polish friends, girlfriend is a good reason i think :)
PolskaDoll 28 | 2,105  
4 Dec 2007 /  #6
2. Europeans (esp. Brits) want to speak Polish to be able to communicate with Poles who settle in their countries (?)

Yes this is probably my reason. I've made a couple of good Polish friends in the last couple of years but I know many more. It makes more sense to me to learn Polish than any other language. However, I'm forgetting more than I am learning at the moment...
Polson 5 | 1,771  
4 Dec 2007 /  #7
Everyone should be able to speak more than one language

I totally agree.

Having polish friends, girlfriend is a good reason i think :)

I guess so :)

1. descendants of Poles who emigrated to other counties want to speak the language of their fathers

Not really, my mother came to France when she was a student. There she met my father, and then you know the story...No emigration for me. But Polish is the language of part of my fathers anyway ;)
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
4 Dec 2007 /  #8
I want to learn Polish so when i go into my shop i can ask them for stuff instead of doing impressions....Chicken was easy enough , but my impression of a leek almost got me arrested......
Shawn_H  
4 Dec 2007 /  #9
Communicate with moj żona's family and friends? To truly understand the significance of drinking wodka with them!
krysia 23 | 3,057  
4 Dec 2007 /  #10
I had no choice. Got sucked into it ever since I was born.
But I teach Polish, and it's because:
1. their grandparents or parents were from Poland
2. they spoke it when young and want to get back into learning the language
3. because they want to travel to Poland some day
4. because they want to learn another language as it expands your brain cells which in turn helps from getting alzheimer's disease in old age.
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
4 Dec 2007 /  #11
some hobbies/tasks are like climbing a mountain: because it's there.
beckski 12 | 1,617  
4 Dec 2007 /  #12
Why do people want to study Polish?

So I can order my food properly at the Polish Bazaars.
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
4 Dec 2007 /  #13
For that one uses a finger. The index finger is safe ;)
OP gosiaczek 1 | 85  
5 Dec 2007 /  #14
To truly understand the significance of drinking wodka with them!

you know, I'm Polish and I can't understand it :D maybe it's because I don't like vodka
Xian 1 | 3  
5 Dec 2007 /  #15
My reason for starting to learn Polish is that I am dating a Polish girl and I am serious about her. I also like to learn new languages, but I have to say this is more challenging than I thought.

Cheers,
Christian
Marek 4 | 867  
5 Dec 2007 /  #16
As one of the largest countries inside Europe, third only to France and Spain, having more physical mass, if not population worldwide than even neigboring Germany, Poland is a nation to contend with....it is also a member of the EU!

Similar to Spain, it has a large number of inhabitants who do not speak other languages fluently or even at all, certainly not English on the level of, say, most Scandinavians.

It is therefore, in my mind, a language worthy of study, if for no other reason, than in order to dispel the myth of Polish as a frightfully unpronouncable language spoken by a stupid, technologically backward people.

Polish is/was/ the mother tongue of Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowiacki, Joseph Conrad, Frederic Chopin as well as countless other noble benefactors to world civilzation and culture.

In addition, if lastly, Polish is simply a beautiful language!!
OP gosiaczek 1 | 85  
5 Dec 2007 /  #17
Similar to Spain, it has a large number of inhabitants who do not speak other languages fluently or even at all

true. according to a recent survey, over 50 per cent of Poles don't speak any foreign language
Polson 5 | 1,771  
5 Dec 2007 /  #18
Similar to Spain, it has a large number of inhabitants who do not speak other languages fluently or even at all, certainly not English on the level of, say, most Scandinavians

Young Polish people in general learn English at school...
In Skandi, kids start learning English at the age of 6, and their TV (movies...) are usually in English subtitled in their language...Plus Scandinavian languages are quite close to English, it helps... ;)

I don't know if the French speak more English than the Poles...

:)
osiol 55 | 3,922  
5 Dec 2007 /  #19
Quoting: osiol
Not here.

meaning where?

Not me.

because it's there

I could have chosen French - there's a lot of it about in the world, and opportunities for learning it are quite easily available, but no thanks.

Portuguese (this is the one I go on about more) - listening to a lot of Brazilian music, I want to know what they're going on about. So I could have tried, but...

Finnish - all the words are too long and I don't know any Finns (any more).
German - not my cup of tea. I have friends who do speak German though. I'll leave it to them.
Polish - plenty of Polish people around these days, whether I go to work, the pub or wherever. With people being there to be amazed or amused or just to provide some help along the way.
Marek 4 | 867  
5 Dec 2007 /  #20
Polson,

......Aye, here's the rub!! Unlike the Spanish, for instance, the French, at least the Parisians, in fact DO speak and understand English....they simply choose not to out of linguistic stubbornness and historical pride (After all, was it not Voltaire who once quipped as to why he never bothered learning English to visit Lord Chesterton, "But my dear, what is English anyway, but French spoken badly?" - and that's how it all started!)

The case of Poland in my own experience is rather that, like Spain, the average citizen never had to learn English, (forgetting momentarily learning German and Russian under the Communists) and so remained at a disadvantage when traveling or emigrating abroad.

When Iwas last in Poland during the mid-90's, not a soul spoke or understood English or German (in Szczecin/Stettin where I was staying). Older people understood a little of the latter, but I was reliant exclusively on my still fairly fluent Polish. Our customs' officer for instance spoke only Polish and it was a good thing I could understand his rapid-fire questions!
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
5 Dec 2007 /  #21
I don't know if the French speak more English than the Poles

I would say so, never met a french person that cant speak english
Michal - | 1,865  
5 Dec 2007 /  #22
I can not really think of any reason why learning Polish is in itself worth while. It is a dying subject. However, it can be a key and a good clue to learning other languages such as Croasan, should you ever wish to visit these countries on holiday. Otherwise, the learning of this subkect is barmy, better to learn Spanish and visit South America any day of the week!
szkotja2007 27 | 1,499  
5 Dec 2007 /  #23
2. Europeans (esp. Brits) want to speak Polish to be able to communicate with Poles who settle in their countries (?)

Yes.

who want to study any foreign language

Plenty of free tutors due to above.

Also because I intend to visit Poland a lot.
Polson 5 | 1,771  
5 Dec 2007 /  #24
Marek, i am a Parisian, and i know that French pupils are not that good at English. At least, we learn it, as in Poland, but there are not many French who are really good and can really both understand AND speak, except for those who work and have to speak English...Plus, you should hear French TV/radio, people really suck, even for pronouncing American or English music bands names...sometimes it makes me laugh, but it's a bit scary ;P We are not going to talk about football commentators... :)

Today's Poland is different than the Poland you visit in the mid'90s. English is taught at school, as well as another language (French, German, Russian, Spanish...). My whole family there speaks at least one language (apart from Polish). My grandma spoke a little German, my grandpa was fluent in German (older generations, i know...), my uncle speaks at least English, if not German too...my cousins speak French and English...i know a friend i see sometimes when i go to the Baltic sea coast, he speaks English, and a bit German, and he's only 14...i speak with Polish people on the Internet in English ;)

Of course, it doesn't mean that all Poles speak another language, but...

I also think we cannot compare western Poland and eastern Poland (except Warsaw)...

:)
Marek 4 | 867  
5 Dec 2007 /  #25
You're surely correct, Polson, that times have indeed changed, owing much to globalization I'm sure, since my last visit to Poland.

Again though, even if most Eastern European staters are learning English with a vengeance, in order to keep pace, so to speak, with the French, the Germans, Dutch and certainly the Nordic countries, the level of the Pole's English remains often wanting in fluency, frequently exhibiting extremes in bold vocabulary knowledge paired with faulty grammar and an atrocious accent.

Many non-native English speakers battle for years to reduce their foreign accent(s) in English. The present-day Poles must also do the same!
slick77 - | 127  
5 Dec 2007 /  #26
Older generation in the rural areas of Poland is less likely to speak any other language but Polish. In big cities such as Warszawa, Wroclaw, Gdansk or Krakow people are better educated and are more likely to speak at least one more language beside Polish.
Polson 5 | 1,771  
5 Dec 2007 /  #27
with the French, the Germans, Dutch and certainly the Nordic countries, the level of the Pole's English remains often wanting in fluency, frequently exhibiting extremes in bold vocabulary knowledge paired with faulty grammar and an atrocious accent.

Once again, the accent of many French sucks ;) LoL

Back to what you just said, I think it's logical, many words in English come from French, so it makes the language easier for French people. About the Germans, Dutch and Skandis, they have all Germanic languages, quite close to English, making it easier for them to learn too. Polish language has almost nothing to do with English, so it's, in my opinion, much more difficult for them...

But let's see in maybe 10-15 years, their level, now that English is taught in every school.

:)
slick77 - | 127  
5 Dec 2007 /  #28
But let's see in maybe 10-15 years, their level, now that English is taught in every school.

I agree. It will probably take several years for English to become widely spoken in Poland (if the current language teaching trend continues).
Marek 4 | 867  
5 Dec 2007 /  #29
Polson,

Agree absolutely! As somebody with a German tongue, Polish was a conundrum of verbal tongue twisters and death-defying consonant clusters.

A lot of our preconceptions however about what is acceptable pronunciation have much to do with the context in which we hear these heavily- accented speakers.

To my mind, the nationality with the toughest time attaining basic, let alone high-level, fluency in English, are the Spanish (by which I naturally include all Hispanic speakers too).

In Spain, as in Poland, I ONLY spoke the language of the country! Yet, when some younger Poles attempted to speak a few sentences in English, it was almost comprehensible. In Spain or Mexico? I often didn't know one word of what was being said in English, having to restrain myself from laughing!!:

Du ju know uuat minss '****'? = Do you know what 'peace' means?

And there were numerous other examples. At least in Polish, EVERY consonant, and most vowels, have the same equivalent to English ones, cf. Spanish 'b'/'v' (Basco or Vasco etc.), 'ee'/'i' (peace or **** etc.)......

Slick's right.

Similar in fact to the US, most Poles of any age have yet to witness one of their own leaders, the face of Poland to the rest of the world, from Gomułka though Gierek, Beirut, up through premiers and presidents Wałęsa, Kwaśniewski or the Kaczyński twins, who speaks fluent or even passable English in public.

Compare them with Germany's chancellor Schmidt, fluent in French and German, the present Angela Merkel, English and Russian etc.

When I heard Goran Persson of Sweden several years ago, I could have sworn I was listening to a British Member of Parliament! When I finally realized it was Persson, I was truly speechless.
slick77 - | 127  
5 Dec 2007 /  #30
When I heard Goran Persson of Sweden several years ago, I could have sworn I was listening to a British Member of Parliament! When I finally realized it was Persson, I was truly speechless.

Yes, English is widely spoken in Scandinavia (especially Sweden and Denmark). As far as I know, even some TV stations broadcast in English there.

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