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Why do people want to study Polish?


Marek 4 | 867  
5 Dec 2007 /  #31
....this is not to say that all Swedes speak as Persson or Hans Blix, the former weapons' inspector for the UN in Iraq!

Certain actors, Rutger Hauer from the Netherlands and mannnny years in the US along with Max von Sydow the Swedish star, speak English basically indistinguishable from an educated native speaker of English. (The Flemish-speaking Belgian Van Dam though, is an exception! His accent can be cut with a knife....with a blunt blade :)LOL)

When I was in Sweden, although a speaker of the language, a number of people, learning I'm American, immediately switched to English. Only after dissuading them gently in Swedish, did they finally desist and return to speaking their native language.

That was way back in 1984.

Slick,

About the broadcasting units in English you're correct. I'm not sure however if the announcers are Brits or Swedes!
Polson 5 | 1,770  
5 Dec 2007 /  #32
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.

True, but once again, it's much easier for them as English belongs to the same "family language" as their mother tongues (German or Swedish). I studied both languages, so i know what i'm talking about.

About TV, in Sweden (Norway too), movies on TV are subtitled, so even kids can listen to the English language...and, as i already said, they start to learn English at school at the age of 6.

You're talking about German and Swedish politicians, i'm not sure you could give me many examples of French politicians...

By the way, why should everyone speak a perfect English, that's not fair :) LoL
osiol 55 | 3,922  
5 Dec 2007 /  #33
If English is already the first foreign language many people around the world choose to learn and English is your mother tongue, what language do you decide to learn. People speak of Mandarin as a good choice due to its number of speakers and rising power. But I'm not going to need Mandarin. I'm not about to start dealing with or trading with China - I live in a small town in England and I grow plants for a living. Poland is pretty much the furthest away I expect to ever go on holiday.

French? Could be useful, but having learnt some at school and for the purposes I can imagine I might need it, a tourist phrasebook is probably the most I will need. Similarly with German (although I learnt next to nothing at school).

So if I'm not going abroad much, why not learn a commonly used language in the British Isles. Welsh would be fun to learn, but as there are no monolingual Welsh speakers, that would be merely an exercise in finding out what the locals are saying about me in shops and pubs when I visit remote parts of Wales.

So non-native languages spoken in Britain. I'd say the most useful one these days has to be Polish. There are so many Polish people here and I've worked with quite a few. The people working here from other parts of the EU are not just Polish, but as there is some mutual intelligibility with Czech and Slovakian (speakers of which are in much smaller numbers), Polish is the winner.
Michal - | 1,865  
5 Dec 2007 /  #34
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.

I find that very hard to believe. If someone foreign is trying to impersonate an Englishman, I would know after seven or eight words that he was really foreign.
Marek 4 | 867  
5 Dec 2007 /  #35
Osiol,

You just hit the nail on the head! English may in fact be the first 'foreign' language throughout the world, i.e. by definition logically NOT the first native or 'mother' tongue. Otherwise, we'd all be English speakers!

Thus, a language such as Polish, French, German, Mandarin Chinese etc. is useful in penetrating what the target language speaker is actually saying in the new global meta-tongue of choice, filtered as the message usually is through the vale of the speaker's language.

A Swede speaks excellent English. Does he/she/ necessarily think in the English idiom? Or, more to the point, is he/she/ probably little more than an unusually skillful mimic, able to artfully imitate a language deceptively close to his own.

This though, technically isn't speaking, it's imitiation! For that matter, when I speak Swedish, surely I can't speak it or any language "better" or more naturallly than my first language. The difference is I don't pretend it's not important for a foreigner in my country to use my language. Abroad, you often hear "Oh, please! We all speak English! Don't try to struggle....."

Some things in life are worth the struggle. One of them is understanding.
The Codfather 1 | 6  
5 Dec 2007 /  #36
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.

I echo Christians reply.At first we thought it was fun playing charades in order to communicate with eachother.But that soon led to frustration when we tried a "meaningful" dialogue.

We play a game now where we take turns in pointing at something,and learning what it is called in eachothers language.
This is great for everyday objects,but I,especially,have a long way to go before I graduate to full sentences.
OP gosiaczek 1 | 85  
5 Dec 2007 /  #37
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!

The main problem which makes it so difficult for poles to acquire truely english accent is that english has dynamic stress while polish is a tonic laguage. it means that in an english word only one or two vowels are stressed while in a polish word we stress all vowels (and even if you do not stress a syllable, a vowel is "fully" pronounced). it's a great difficulty for poles to produce an unstressed vowel (technically called "schwa") because we simply do not have such a vowel in polish. I suppose a native speaker of english also has problems with polish pronunciation.

another problem is the "th" sound, poles are so ignorant when it comes to pronunciation of "th" (they tend to replace it with t/f/s or d/w/z). we don't have this sound in polish, but it's much easier to produce "th" than any english vowel.

and finally, everyone who wants to get rid of a foreign accent should talk with (and listen to!) native speakers and learn from them.
Polson 5 | 1,770  
5 Dec 2007 /  #38
and finally, everyone who wants to get rid of a foreign accent should talk with (and listen to!) native speakers and learn from them

Yes, the best way ;)
annab3 1 | 16  
5 Dec 2007 /  #39
When I was in Hungary about 15 years ago (ancient trip), I was stunned to learn that they were studying Polish language in grammar schools, just like we had to study Russian back then.

So the answer would be: .....because they are made to...
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
5 Dec 2007 /  #40
in a polish word we stress all vowels (and even if you do not stress a syllable, a vowel is "fully" pronounced).

Don't you think that you say here is funny :)
The fact is that in Polish the stress is on syllable only. That fact that all vowels within syllable may (but not always are) pronounced doesn;t mean they are stressed, as stress is a relative, not an absolute quality of a sound.

much easier to produce "th" than any english vowel

I guess you meant a consonant.
tomekcatkins 8 | 130  
6 Dec 2007 /  #41
What about you?

I like the girls and the culture. When you speak the language I think you better can get along with people (- you are less seen as a tourist). Especially when you visit someone's family. I know from my own parents that they speak reasonably English, but (of course) not as easy as their mother tongue. :-P
vair  
6 Dec 2007 /  #42
I want to learn polish and i am from Brazil happen to be living in NY,and i find it fascinating the look of Polish woman and i believe speaking polish could increase my chances of dating one.
OP gosiaczek 1 | 85  
6 Dec 2007 /  #43
Don't you think that you say here is funny :)
The fact is that in Polish the stress is on syllable only. That fact that all vowels within syllable may (but not always are) pronounced doesn;t mean they are stressed, as stress is a relative, not an absolute quality of a sound.

I meant that every vowel is "fully" pronounced, not reduced to schwa as in english. You're right, I should't have used the word "stressed". And I don't think it's funny, I just expressed it in wrong words. sorry, I didn't want to mislead anyone.

I guess you meant a consonant.

No I didn't. "Th" is the most difficult consonant for poles to pronounce, but it's still easier to produce TH than some of the vowels. you just have to put your tounge between you teeth:)

in case of vowels, in polish there is no distinction between short and long vowels (that's why poles often mispronounce "peace", "beach" etc) so poles have difficulties in grasping the significance of such distinction.

another vowel, called "ash" (like in "cat"), is also hard to produce, as there is no such sound in polish.

and finally, "schwa", the unaccented vowel, poses many problems, because the phonetic value of polish vowels doesn't significantly change even if fast speech (try to say the word KOLORADO in polish, and you'll see that even if you say it fast, you have no doubts there are three "o" and one "a" within the word)

that is why I think TH is simpler to pronounce than english vowels.
Michal - | 1,865  
6 Dec 2007 /  #44
and finally, everyone who wants to get rid of a foreign accent should talk with (and listen to!) native speakers and learn fro

Why do they need to do that in the first place. Is it because they feel that they get a higher level of social acceptance? I ask because I know a few Poles with good jobs who really try to hide their Polishness. In fact it is quite funny as they phone sometimes to my house and they are in pain trying to emulate the Queen! They are what they are, Eastern Europeans and there are millions of them. I am used to them and have nothing against them as long as they appreciate their past and do not try and inflict on me their 'new found freedom' by forming a new upper class.
Marek 4 | 867  
6 Dec 2007 /  #45
Michał,

You might not know they were foreign if they were reading from a prepared script.
Michal - | 1,865  
6 Dec 2007 /  #46
Is this the same question as to why people want to learn Polish?

ou might not know they were foreign of they were reading from a prepared script.

I would always know a Pole from listening, it is my speciality!
Marek 4 | 867  
6 Dec 2007 /  #47
Correct, Gosiaczek!

Poles speak English much as they speak Polish, i.e. deliberately, rarely if ever slurring syllables, in normal standard speech.

"I'm from Poland." with it's reduced and elided vowels comes out as
"Aijj omm frrrawm PoLAND." when spoken by the all but the most
linguistically-adept Polish native speaker.

Michał,

A Pole is not a Swede!!
Michal - | 1,865  
6 Dec 2007 /  #48
A Pole is not a Swede!!

No, that is true. Are we only discussing swedes, then?
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
6 Dec 2007 /  #49
it is my speciality!

We all can see what your speciality is......
Marek 4 | 867  
6 Dec 2007 /  #50
Swedes can imitate English more easily than Poles, this is the point here I think!!
karkuwka  
6 Dec 2007 /  #51
I am learning because my boyfriend is Polish. His mother doesn't speak English. They stayed with us for three weeks this year, and it would have been a nightmare had I not at least known the basics. Also, it made his friends more comfortable with me when we stayed in Poland last Christmas.

If we make it that far together, we want to raise our children with only Polish in the house, the children going to Saturday school and maybe even staying with the grandparents for a school year when they're older. That way, they can truly know both cultures.
Polson 5 | 1,770  
6 Dec 2007 /  #52
Swedes can imitate English more easily than Poles, this is the point here I think!!

Is there anything surprising here ?...
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
6 Dec 2007 /  #53
No I didn't. "Th" is the most difficult consonant for poles to pronounce, but it's still easier to produce TH than some of the vowels.

My bad. Sorry.

you just have to put your tounge between you teeth:)

And just keep it there? :)
osiol 55 | 3,922  
6 Dec 2007 /  #54
I do quite a good demonstration of the 'th' sound.
If you pull your bottom lip out of the way with your fingers, the placement of the tongue becomes a lot easier to see. It also helps to show that it is not, as far too many English people fink, the same as 'F'. It does make you look a bit weird.

Describe it as an 'S' with a lithp inthtead.
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
6 Dec 2007 /  #55
Describe it as an 'S' with a lithp inthtead.

That's what I used to tell those I taught. Worked like a charm.
Michal - | 1,865  
7 Dec 2007 /  #56
I do quite a good demonstration of the 'th' sound.

Yes, but which 'th' do you mean because there are more than one in the English language. The 'th' in the word 'this' is different from the 'th' sound in the word 'that'. The tongue is places in a quite different place in the mouth either on the ridge of your front teeth, when saying the word 'that' or behind the front teeth when saying the word 'this'. Try saying it for yourself and you will feel the difference.
Marek 4 | 867  
7 Dec 2007 /  #57
Polson,
Clearly not! I was merely responding to my forum colleague'sremarkconcerning his ability to detect a non-English native Pole speaking/reading in/ English.

I also never stated that this Swedish chap SPOKE English like a British-born native, merely that his pronunciation momentarily made me unaware that he was not a native English speaker, educated in an English environment.

Indeed, catching foreigners 'on the fly', i.e. off guard, as it were, almost invariably lays bare their inevitable weaknesses in the English language!
Michal - | 1,865  
8 Dec 2007 /  #58
ndeed, catching foreigners 'on the fly', i

Is there such an expression as 'on the fly' in English? It sounds very strange to me indeed.
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
8 Dec 2007 /  #59
Is there such an expression as 'on the fly' in English?

Yes, there is. It is often used in computing, but I also hear it in everyday speech.
Curtis 3 | 73  
8 Dec 2007 /  #60
Many people in england look down on having to learn polish because polish people are coming to the UK. They think that polish people shouldn't be allowed into the UK without being able to speak english.

Personally make an effort for my bird.

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