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Poles in Poland: How did you learn your English?

Kasz 1 | 76  
28 Feb 2008 /  #32
Well i start when i was 7-8 yr old in school, in next schools i have some lessons too, but i belive the bigest progres was from tv,books,songs,internet, specialy from mmo games, and here im still trying to upgrade it =)
weruh - | 4  
3 May 2009 /  #33
basically the same situation here, [...] Must say i learnt more English since ive been over here than when i was at school.

huh, same here... i don't live in the uk actually, but i was several times and opportunities like those are much much better than any classes in poland might be offered, imo

having pen pals that you can correspond with is pretty helpful as well, guess so
gumishu 11 | 5,335  
3 May 2009 /  #34
i was very lucky to have an excellent resourceful teacher in high school. Thank you Mrs. Micek :)
we also had 6 hour of English a week for nearly four years (the double or triple of the normal amount in high schools)

i started learning at the age of 13 thanks to my dad (English was not nearly as popular as now) - I had a great luck to be able to get private lessons where I lived. It was just about half a year but it served me quite well. so when in high school I already had some background.

and when I first came to London in 2002 I could not understand much what was spoken to me
sometimes I could not understand a word heheh :)

now I'm quite used to English accents (English English) (but more exotic ones like Northern Irish, Scottish are unintelligible to me)

btw colloquial English and phrasal verbs are still my weak spot
well I haven't actually put any significant effort to develope my skills for quite some time.
it's just what stays with me from reading

did I state that American accents are easier to get grasp of??? ;)

oh and I have some serious liking for some good Irish English accents (it has a pleasant melody) English English accents tend to get on my nerves :P
Nizzy - | 2  
5 May 2009 /  #35
I am not Polish, and English is not my native neither. When I came to Poland 2 years ago, i lived in Wroclaw and as Polish people say, Wroclaw is the city for international students, so lots of ppl speak English.

Last year, when I moved to Warsaw, it was much different. Even in school, or university, where almost of them did learn English, but they never try to practice their English.

Some reasons are:
1. Why does a Polish have to speak English in Poland ? No touchy, but it seems Polish people are too proud of their language, and they consider the other should speak Polish, not they should speak English.

2. In university or school, the way they learn English is trying to pass the exam. After exam, it's done with English. They still can understand a text, or have a simple conversation. Boys are usually better than girls, cos boys play game, which is in English. Sounds funny, rite ?
6 May 2009 /  #36
Hey everybody!
I have just found this forum so it's my first post :) and I've found this funny thread...

I'm 24 years polish studnet, but now I live in Moscow. Anyway what made me laugh is that I had the same discussion about russians who dont speak english AT ALL!! even a "taxi-driver-english"... thats true, polish speak poor english, which usually we have picked up from movies, books, songs or games.. but cmon, give us some more time! we had over 50 years of socialism!! ;) and I think its getting a bit better with our language skills now...
Lori 4 | 118  
11 May 2009 /  #37
This summer I will be in Poland doing three language camps. One camp is with high school students who have studied a good bit of English. What is the best way a native speaker can help students such as this? This is my third time of doing this, so I'm not a novice, but I become a better teacher.
Makdaam - | 30  
11 May 2009 /  #38
The ultimate answer: Cartoon Network
Back when it was in English only :) I've been watching Jetsons, Flintstones, Scooby Doo and other classics at least 3-4h a day when I was in the 5th and 6th grade (12-13yo). Not only did I watch cartoons but also played computer games (I still prefer English versions to Polish ones, due to unbelievably low quality of voice-overs and translations). My favourites were the Fallout and The Monkey Island series, mostly due to Player-NPC interaction.

That being said I have to say that English classes in public schools (and even universities) while being better than nothing (see Italy), are extremely bad. Teachers just going through the motions, repeating grammar and so called "proper" English using outdated articles from the 80s and even 70s (in an English book for teaching IT related English... from 30 years ago). As Nizzy said, the classes in schools are considered only as something that everyone has to pass (I suppose because there's no teacher grading programme) and not something that lets one learn useful things.
JustysiaS 13 | 2,240  
12 May 2009 /  #39
The ultimate answer: Cartoon Network
Back when it was in English only

lol i remember, i was glued to it for hours each day myself ;D
polakita - | 10  
12 May 2009 /  #40
When I was a teenager, I took courses for several years (maybe 5) but what gave me real practice, was my first job. I was working with a British girl for a year in the same office space. The first weeks, I did not understand what she was speaking to me because I was not used to her British accent (she spoke very good Queen's English btw) but after some time... I stopped asking her "can you repeat please" and after a year I started building sentences the way she did, and speaking like she did... she told me how much my English improved, and I was so happy. But now, I really don't speak to any native speakers and my English is being forgotten each day more and more...
christy1991 4 | 37  
30 Jun 2009 /  #41
Jun 30, 09, 17:33 - Thread attached on merging:
How do Poles study English?

I'm a chinese,so you know,english is my second language.although i studied english for about 9,i still don't communicate fluently with foreign people :(

For poles,english isn't the first language too,why there are so many people can understand it and express themselves clear?how you learn english?

How about talking some good ideas? he he he......
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
30 Jun 2009 /  #42
I taught them everything they know ;) ;)

Just kidding, it looks like some here have immersed themselves in the language through contact with native speakers, watching films and listening to music.

They also have extensive schooling in English. There are so many private schools here to supplement their learning.
Torq 32 | 2,897  
30 Jun 2009 /  #43
how you learn english?

Joining an internet forum and interacting with native speakers is usually a good idea,
but you already know that. I guess it's all about practise and, as Seanus said,
immersion in the language (books, films, music).

For a native Chinese speaker, you're doing very well. I imagine it must be hard for
you to learn a language which is completely different from your native one.

Keep up the good work, Christy! *thumbs up*
McCoy 27 | 1,275  
30 Jun 2009 /  #44
I taught them everything they know ;) ;)

just stick with teaching them english seanus. it wouldnt do any good to have more experts with infinite knowledge of every possible matter like yourself (;
frd 7 | 1,399  
30 Jun 2009 /  #45
how you learn english?

I played a lot of old computer games, lots of text to read and translate, always had a dictionary by my side while playing ; ) Right now I've got an xbox console with a built in microphone headset system so I can talk to or "try to talk to" anyone from nearly any country I want to.. but if you don't like games that's probably not an option for you. Of course I also had additional english lessons at different english schools...
lukham - | 11  
30 Jun 2009 /  #46
I played a lot of old computer games, lots of text to read and translate, always had a dictionary by my side while playing ; )

I did it exactly the same way! Played good, old text/graphic adventure games from Infocom, Lucasarts etc. Great way to learn; maybe you should downl.. err.. I mean buy some Polish games and play them, if you like playing games of course. :)
Moonlighting 31 | 233  
30 Jun 2009 /  #47
I think the problem Christy mentions is mainly the spoken language. It's the difference of sounds. Our ears aren't used to identifying the same sounds in different cultures.

I've been learning Polish for two years in evening classes. I can express myself quite spontaneously by mail, but spoken language still lacks spontaneity. And I still understand almost nothing of what people tell me in Polish, even simple phrases. I'm a native French speaker and Slavic languages rely on sequences of sounds we're not used to, therefore it's very difficult for us to catch what somebody says and identiy the words, especially with all those declensions which we have to recognize. Not to mention the order of words which may vary.

Probably the other way round is easier, for English looks simpler from a Slavic point of view. Now for an Asian person, perhaps the fundamental language differences really add to the difficulty...
lukham - | 11  
30 Jun 2009 /  #48

You are right there. I myself had been learning Hebrew on my own for a few years, with the help of a few friends from Israel. Due to the fact that this was all done in writing, my speaking ability is much worse than my writing skills. I can understand songs and movies (with subtitles) pretty well, but still every-day talk is hard to decipher.

I think it is essential to have a native-speaker at hand (especially if someone is learning on their own).
Ziemowit 13 | 4,101  
30 Jun 2009 /  #49
This is a very interesting question! In my view it is essential that you combine practice and study. When I started at the age of 15, I acquired good basics of English from a BBC television course, fairly good British pronounciation included (they did exercises in phonetics all the time). At the grammar school I slowed down; since I was the best in class, I thought my English was sufficient. Then I happened to spent half a year in the North of England, surrounded only by locals and not communicating in Polish as there were no Polish people that could be seen in the north of England at that time.

Just as my English progressed much in that period and I was becoming increasingly fluent, I was again forgetting to study it in the "depths" of my own soul. You should do that by all means; reflecting on language peculiarities and typical features (which is even more difficult!) on your own is important as ordinary native speakers cannot point your attention to them.

This time again, I lack oral practice in English but my vocabulary is undoubtedely broader. My French which I study "en autodidacte" cannot go up beyond a certain level; it is the "lack of speaking practice" factor, I suppose, which is to be blamed. Thus, as I said before, combining practice and stydy is essential.
christy1991 4 | 37  
3 Jul 2009 /  #50
Thanks for all of you gave me advices! ^_^

The biggest problem for me is my listening comprehension and oral.i guess it is also a difficulty for most of Chinese :(

Do you know? i have some foreign friends ( their mother language is english) complain,many chinese students take them as tools to improve english! when they stay in China,there are many students want to talk with them,but they aren't willing to be disturbed at all!

I've been learning Polish for two years in evening classes

Hi!moonlighting,nice to meet you! are you from Belguim? at the beginning of this year,because of our business with Bulgium,my boss asked me to call Fortis bank!my god! understanding through the phone,i didn't dare to!!! after being scolded by my boss,i called,you Belgian are very nice and patient,when i got through for about 30 minutes,we got their help! i still remember the receptionist of Fortis bank,whose name is Miss (maybe Ms) Paulette claerhout,she gave me her biggest help,thank her forever......

Keep up the good work, Christy! *thumbs up*

Thank you!i will! he he he......
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
3 Jul 2009 /  #51
You will generally find that help is forthcoming with oral :) Advice, in its pluralised form, is pieces of advice or words of advice, not advices.
bunia 1 | 134  
3 Jul 2009 /  #52
My story:
Private lessons since i was about 7. My mum made me attend it.
Then cartoon network lol
After that school, films, music, books
But truth to be told i only gained full comfidence in speaking after coming to England:)
I think everyone had that barrier in actually speaking. Our schools are very good at giving us gramma & ability to write foreign language but not as good in just normal, every day conversations.

I also can speak itallian (well sadly i got out of practise on that one a bit :(
Ziemowit 13 | 4,101  
3 Jul 2009 /  #53
Advice, in its pluralised form, is pieces of advice or words of advice, not advices.

Wow, not only Polish people use "advices" ! Dzięki Seanus, dobre rady ... zawsze w cenie!
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
3 Jul 2009 /  #54
I was surprised. I think many foreigners would see it as the logical plural of advice, just like knowledge, information or furniture among others. It's an understandable mistake!
Ziemowit 13 | 4,101  
3 Jul 2009 /  #55
I think many foreigners would see it as the logical plural of advice ...

Only "knowledge" will meet the English pattern in Polish (never such a form as "wiedze" for the plural). For the rest : rada - rady, informacja - informacje, mebel - meble.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
3 Jul 2009 /  #56
Exactly, it just must be learned but sometimes we follow the same patterns :)
chinczyk - | 32  
3 Jul 2009 /  #57
as for how to learn English,in my opinion,the best way is to go to a english-speaking country and live there for some time.i have been learning english for 7 years,however,my english is still far from being satisfactory whereas one of my classmates went to canada just for one year and came back with his English spoken fluently,and you know,before he went there,his english was much poorer than mine
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
3 Jul 2009 /  #58
chinczyk, just living in an English speaking country is not good enough. I have known Italians and Poles who have lived in the US and Canada for 30 years. They still can't communicate in English even on a basic level. My wife is a nurse and she managed to learn more Italian in a week (in order to communicate with a patient) than that patient managed to learn English since 1955 when she came to Canada.

Also, a lot depends on what you understand by "fluent". About half the university students in the city where I live are Asians. Some speak really good English, but most... well they are not fluent at all and their English is an objects of daily jokes among English speaking students.

I managed to get a relative fluency in English before I set foot in an English speaking country. Living here helps for sure, but you still need to work on language skills.
King Sobieski 2 | 716  
3 Jul 2009 /  #59
chinczyk, just living in an English speaking country is not good enough. I have known Italians and Poles who have lived in the US and Canada for 30 years.

my ex's (of italian heritge) grandad has been in australia since the end of ww2, his english was okay but at times incomprehensible.

it really depends on the individual, my dad was born o/s and came to australia when he was 6 or 7 and apart from a few mudder (mother) and ledder (leather) he could pass as an aussie no doubt.
christy1991 4 | 37  
8 Jul 2009 /  #60
my ex's (of italian heritge) grandad has been in australia since the end of ww2, his english was okay but at times incomprehensible.

However studying,workin or living abroad isn't a easy thing for common chinese people,if we cost so much to stay at second country but can't learn and handle their language,then what is the good way to study english in this world? :(

it really depends on the individual

Yes,i also agree,but which is the degree to judge our english is good or poor? i think my english is poor,i don't dare to communicate with foreigner,i don't find enough words to express myself,i don't speak english names of many things around me.but many clients would say:"christy,your english is really good!"of course,it is on the MSN or they read my english emails.when they meet me or call me,wow~~~,it is awful!!!

Anyway,i guess i'm not a genius in studying language,then,no way,remember the words and view english news one step by step! A slow sparrow should make an early start! christy has to become a slow sparrow......

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