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The Value of Movies in Learning Polish


Pawel  
14 Jun 2006 /  #1
So you've been told by your girlfriend that you've got one year to learn passable Polish, since that is the amount of time which will elapse until you go on that all-important trip to central Europe and meet her extended family. It will last 4 months, this trip of yours, and you'll be traveling to little godforsaken places where people have never seen a foreigner, much less one who came from across the ocean. What are you going to do? You've got a few options.

You can hire a private teacher at $xx per hour, which teacher will do all her/his best to make you feel like you're learning a lot, but who will, for the sake of extending their gainful employment, try to draw out the teaching process for as long as they can. You will study your three words a day, study your meager pronunciation, learn whatever minuscule grammar the teacher decided to teach you, and feel super happy that you are doing the best you can. When the year is up you will find yourself on Polish soil and attempting to use whatever Polish you've learned, only to find that what your teacher taught you was next to nil, and that you can't really string one coherent sentence together. You will blame it on the Polish language, that it's so "damn near-impossible to learn" and slave through the four months in Poland with the idea that Polish is not your cup of tea, and that you simply can't learn it. This feeling will probably stay with you for the rest of your life, thus shutting Polish and the benefits it can give you forever out of your mind forever.

Another idea you might come up with is to teach yourself Polish from language textbooks and dictionaries. Feeling like you're "the man" you will blow a month's pay on a meter-high stack of textbooks at your local bookstore, and will get to work. Assuming that you will actually stick through pages and pages of explanations of why the word "budynek" changes depending on whether you are inside it, walking beside it, or if there are more than two of them ("why to bloody hell do Nouns change when some action is done to them?"), and you will do the little exercises in the book and read the little excerpts on the margins explaining the significance of this and that, you will end up learning some Polish, and will feel intensely proud of it. In fact, you will take half the books to Poland with you, with the idea that you will go on learning once you're there, that is how well you will be thinking of the textbooks. Once in Poland you will not hesitate to be the the first to strike up a conversation with a random person, only to find out that the person is laughing uncontrollably, and that you really have no idea what he is saying to you. Why? Simple. Nearly all textbooks are garbage, and the Polish they teach is never used/has been used years ago/sounds so strange that people have no idea what you're talking about.

The problem is that textbooks do not teach "natural" language, that is, language that everyday Jan and Piotr use to communicate. Polish is full of slang, local dialects, little additions which are crucial in everyday speech. These things cannot be learned from textbooks, they have to be "felt" by a student of Polish. There is really only one way to learn that, and that is to live in Poland for some time. If that is not an option, then as close a substitute must be found as possible - and there truly is only one: Movies.

Here are the benefits: 1) Movies offer natural language. The sort of conversations you will hear in movies really do happen in real life (more or less). 2) Action which complements natural language. You will find what people say in what sort of situations - what to say to elder people, what to say to young people, etc, all with nice and numerous visual examples. 3) You will learn much about Poland even before coming to it (some of it will be fantasy, of course, so you have to be a selective viewer). Finally, show me any other way you can learn something for two hours and pay as much attention to it at the beginning as at the end.

Movies are unparalleled in learning languages, and Polish is no exception. In one year you could watch over 600 movies, which is over 1200 hours of pure Polish language coming at you. Assuming that you paid your teacher $20 an hour, that would be, well, too much money. And if you tell yourself that you will put in 1200 hours of textbook time, you are lying to yourself. Happy viewing.

Pawel
gooone  
15 Jun 2006 /  #2
yep, there are many good Polish movies. if you are bored, you can always watch the Polish Parliament to have some laugh... lol
Wujek_Dobra_Rada  
15 Jun 2006 /  #3
Watching movies is a very good way to learn foreign languages. I`ve learned English mainly that way.
Guest  
15 Jun 2006 /  #4
Yep, whenever I go to Poland and watch a movie (cracked from the Internet), it's good there is the original English version included so that I can watch and learn English even more. :)
FISZ 24 | 2,116  
15 Jun 2006 /  #5
I enjoy TV in PL. It's funny when there's a monopoly(seems like it anyway) on the dubbing. The same man doing evryone elses voice over with no excitement in his voice.

For those that live in PL...Is it the same guy? :)
Guest  
15 Jun 2006 /  #6
Its funny you noticed that. I was in Poland after having been in the US for 8 years -- but when I came back and listened to the radio and watched TV - it's like the world stopped; there were the same songs like 8 years ago on the radio, the same movies and actors on TV :).
Wujek_Dobra_Rada  
15 Jun 2006 /  #7
^^^ bullshi*t
Guest  
15 Jun 2006 /  #8
what do you mean? I maybe exagerrated the TV - but try to listen to the most popular radio station (Program I) - the same presenters, songs, all over again. Maybe it was only my impression though. Of course, Radio Zet or Rmffm play the current music, but my family has been listening to the Public program I.
ola - | 18  
15 Jun 2006 /  #9
there were the same songs like 8 years ago on the radio, the same movies and actors on TV

I have to disagree, too.
FISZ 24 | 2,116  
15 Jun 2006 /  #10
Me too. I think it would depend on the station. When I was there I thought that's how it was... from rumors. I though wrong :) When I was there I heard the same music that I heard where I live (near NYC) and we play everything here. I do think that there are more pop and club songs played in PL because it's popular all over europe. It probably also depends on the radio station where you're located. While driving across PL I've noticed a few stations that played old pop and 80's but the majority werre up to date. I did find it funny when I heard a few songs that were american but never played there and some Pl ppl knew the words.
Wujek_Dobra_Rada  
15 Jun 2006 /  #11
what do you mean? I maybe exagerrated the TV - but try to listen to the most popular radio station (Program I) - the same presenters, songs, all over again. Maybe it was only my impression though. Of course, Radio Zet or Rmffm play the current music, but my family has been listening to the Public program I.

There are hundreds of radiochannels - and Public Program I certainly isn`t the most popular one.

When it comes to TV - it`s basicly the same. Everything depends what you are subscribing. You might have only TVP1, TVP2 and TVP3 but you might also subscribe a full package of Cyfra+ digital Tv. There are perhaps something like 100 Polish or Polish language channels.
Guest  
15 Jun 2006 /  #12
There are perhaps something like 100 Polish or Polish language channels.

Yes, but it's tiring for me to watch translated stuff from American TV - I like Polish original programs (but sadly there are few original concepts -- most of them are just the Polish versions, eg. American Idol, Extreme Makover etc..). It's sometimes too funny because these American programs have been created for American people with American culture and attitude. I once watched the Polish version of "American Idol" -- on this show all Poles vere so stressed and tense as if it was a school exam while American participants are more relaxed and seem to actually enjoy singing ;).
FISZ 24 | 2,116  
15 Jun 2006 /  #13
I really like your Information channel..train times etc. Really helpful :)
Wujek_Dobra_Rada  
15 Jun 2006 /  #14
I enjoy TV in PL. It's funny when there's a monopoly(seems like it anyway) on the dubbing. The same man doing evryone elses voice over with no excitement in his voice.

For those that live in PL...Is it the same guy?

No there are many such lectors - and some channels have full dubbing.

The lector is actually a very good thing cose it makes possible to learn a foreign language by simply watching Tv.

.train times

train times ?

Well when it comes to information channels I`m only watching TVN24, though it`s a liberal-centrist channel and they often do make very biased comments about both the conservatives and the social democrates - but we don`t have anything better right now.
FISZ 24 | 2,116  
15 Jun 2006 /  #15
train times ?

Yeah. It wasn't a channel with any talking. It looked almost like an old black w/ green type computer screen. had the weather, train times, and airport information. it was in Poznan. maybe it's not available elsewhere.
Wujek_Dobra_Rada  
15 Jun 2006 /  #16
Do you mean "Telegazeta" / "Teletext" ?


FISZ 24 | 2,116  
15 Jun 2006 /  #17
Not sure wht it was called. But, if I were to name it...."Teletext" would be perfect. So, maybe that was it.
We don't have anything similar. Very handy!
Wujek_Dobra_Rada  
15 Jun 2006 /  #18
It`s not a tv channel :) Many Tv channels transmit teletext transmissions along with them.
It`s something like a newspaper - but it`s available via the tv. There`s usually allso a buton on a tv remote which allows you to swich to teletext.
FISZ 24 | 2,116  
15 Jun 2006 /  #19
It`s not a tv channel

Oh!! LOL I thought it was. Everything here is a channel. I like the convenience.
monkeyboy  
22 Sep 2006 /  #20
Hey where can you get some polish movies from???? Any ideas??
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384  
22 Sep 2006 /  #21
monkeyboy,

Try: Amazon.com
FISZ 24 | 2,116  
22 Sep 2006 /  #22
or Tesco
monkeyboy  
22 Sep 2006 /  #23
ha...cheers lads

oooh...which one would you recommend??? I thought I'd try watch some movies to help me out with my Polish. :)
FISZ 24 | 2,116  
22 Sep 2006 /  #24
or here: mge.tv

Chlopaki Nie Placza (boys don't cry).

Dzień Świra (Nut`s Day, Freak`s Day)

Duże zwierze (big Animal)
monkeyboy  
22 Sep 2006 /  #25
Cool. cheers mate, I'll have a look
FISZ 24 | 2,116  
22 Sep 2006 /  #26
Proszę
wozzy 8 | 206  
22 Sep 2006 /  #27
HI Monkeyboy!

Alot depends on where you live , America and Canada there is tons of polish dvd and video available on ebay good products at good prices.. in england polish film are quite scarse, got one last week from the music store , it was the only one in there.

I find them great, dont care much about the film content. If you get them with subtitles, watch the film without the titles on for first two or three times, see how mutch you can understand then use the subtiles to fill in the gaps.

Watch and listen over and over again learn just as you did when you learned you mother tongue, watching and listening, subtitles are your mother ...there to explain when you were baffled.
monkeyboy  
22 Sep 2006 /  #28
Yeah I'm from England mate :) That's exactly what I need the movie for...your spot on there! Thats a good point you make though! I was in Cyprus not too long ago. I found it amazing how many people could speak English....O.K, so its the international language and Cyprus is a British colony too, BUT when I was flicking through the T.V channels I noticed that there were English and American channels, Movies etc....No wonder people seem to pick up English so quickly!!! It emerged to me that T.V had become a god! Everyone watches it and learns something new! In fact everyone who watches T.V treats it like a god! People sit round a box to watch, read and listen to different apsects of culture and follow some of that culture themselves. If you see what I mean. Its like watching a foriegn film...you keep watching it until you interpret the language and culture and then take in that culture, which in this case would be the language, sooner enough you'll find yourself being able to speak some of the langauge. T.V is a god as well as a tool....unfortunetely.....bollox I've waffled on again, I don't even know what the point was now
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384  
22 Sep 2006 /  #29
monkeyboy,

The box set DVD of: Czterej Pancerni i Pies. About 21 episodes with English subtitles.

Check first: Some versions of movies have English subtitles, others don't.
wozzy 8 | 206  
23 Sep 2006 /  #30
I've just been on the blockbuster site, and just couldn't find one polish title in 30.000.
So I rang the local blockbuster store....answer was we have foriegn language films but don't know what language they are. They asked for titles to search, I gave them six they found none.

Seems to me there is an opening for someone here.

Wroclaw... where can we obtain the sugested title?

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