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Do all Polish newcomers to the UK speak some English?


Stuart 2 | 4  
2 Nov 2007 /  #1
Do all Polish newcomers to the UK speak some English?
Do they learn English before they come to the UK?
Are there many new Polish immigrants that do not speak any English at all?
telefonitika  
2 Nov 2007 /  #2
Do all Polish newcomers to the UK speak some English?

Yes

Do they learn English before they come to the UK?

Yes they do many learn english several years before hand

Are there many new Polish immigrants that do not speak any English at all?

Probably not as English is being taught in schools it would only be the older generation of polish people that would have english language problem ... as they only learnt russian at school i believe ... :)
OP Stuart 2 | 4  
2 Nov 2007 /  #4
Telefonitika...hi....

By 'older generation of Poles' what age group are you refering to? Are any of these people part of the new UK immigration wave? Thanks.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
2 Nov 2007 /  #5
I used to teach English in Poland - for years. Most schools, colleges, and all universities offer English courses, plus there's lots of private schools on top of that.

Surprisingly enough, now in London I work as a community interpreter, and most of the people I assist are young, or very young (early twenties, barely out of school), and they have either very little English or no English at all.

This really baffles me.
The only explanation I can think of is that I come across people who:
a) were extremely lazy at school or
b) had the bad luck to have German/French/Russian but no English teacher or
c) were and are totally indifferent to the fact that English is the official language of the UK, so they did not even bother to learn a bit before coming over, or

d) all of the above.
I might sound jaded, but I must say I am really shocked by the fact that these people are unable to answer the simplest yes/no questions or even give their own age or address. I really wonder what schools they attended...

This coupled with the fact that I spent about 10 years trying to encourage students to use the language - not just solve tests and learn rules by heart, but actually speak and write - and the general reaction was "come on, give us a break, who needs this silliness?"

And here they are now.
End of rant.
Debianco 19 | 111  
3 Nov 2007 /  #6
For how many years has english been compulsory in polish schools?
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
3 Nov 2007 /  #7
In secondary schools (most of them) - for as long as I can remember. And I'm 39. Some schools in smaller towns would not have access to English teachers, but they would still offer at least one other European language apart from Russian. Since the early nineties English became omnipresent, with schools snapping up even people with FCE as English teachers - I kid you not!

Sure, the farther away from large cities, the less qualifications teachers would tend to have. But it still beggars belief that young people would not have even learnt enough to say a few simple phrases.

English is now introduced in primary schools since 2 or 3 grade, I don't remember exactly.
So I would say it's predominantly a question of students not caring about studying English as opposed to the chance to learn not being there.
Michal - | 1,865  
3 Nov 2007 /  #8
Are there many new Polish immigrants that do not speak any English at all?

Yes, I am working with one at the moment so we always use him to go outside and do the boring jobs as he only talks in Polish and it is always about his money and how much he earns! The Poles are everywhere and even fill our local leisure centre with employees working in cleaning and serving food ect. Some of the new generation of poles try to hid their polish origins but the accents always give them away.
Liza 3 | 111  
3 Nov 2007 /  #9
Some of the new generation of poles try to hid their polish origins but the accents always give them away.

Thats sad and a little heartbreaking... I think its important to have pride in your nationality (as long as its coupled with some humility as well).
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
3 Nov 2007 /  #10
Oh Liza, don't take this half brained polonophobiac seriously. Had it been up to him he would claim that the only reason Poles walk in upright position is because russians taught them :)
Eurola 4 | 1,906  
3 Nov 2007 /  #11
Some of the new generation of poles try to hid their polish origins but the accents always give them away.

That would be you too even tough you are no longer considered the new generation...
askaninja  
12 Nov 2007 /  #12
Stuart, well, You've asked about "older generation". Till 1989 Russian was 1st second language in Polish school, but I know many people bore in 70's or 80's and many of them know English too, so I'd say most of Poles between 18 and 30 SHOULD know English well (at at least FCE level). But many of them were to lazy to learn, public schooling system sucks.
lazybones 2 | 52  
12 Nov 2007 /  #13
... as they only learnt russian at school i believe ... :)

This is me! No English courses at all. Now I have to struggle with the language every day.
I was really happy when I came across this forum the other day.

btw, I'm not very old :)
JustysiaS 13 | 2,240  
12 Nov 2007 /  #14
I learnt English since i was 6 (private lessons), but when i went to primary school, and then high school, a lot of people in my year either learnt German, French or Russian instead of English or couldnt be bothered to get on with English and they PAID to the brainier students to do their homework... People in my class in high school had difficulties saying what their name was and how old they were after THREE years of English class! The teacher was very laid back and forgiving so they somehow got away with it, but the level was so low i was always bored... I didnt learn anything new in about 6 years untill i came to England and had to learn to SPEAK English all over again because my teachers didnt bother getting us to actually have normal every day conversations. I wish Magdalena was my teacher! Lol. Anyhow, i know a lot of Polish people who came to Britain with very little or no English, and surprisingly this was the 'young' generation. Even though they picked up quite a lot of the language since they came here, they dont speak it very much becaue they live with their Polish friends and families so they dont need to, which i find very arrogant at times. I work with a guy who used to be an English teacher in Poland, and his spoken English is dreadful! I mean, i have to help him out cos' he gets stuck so much, its embarassing... He loves to get back at me for his lack of conversational English by making an idiot out of me in Polish when i don't remember an 'obvious' fact from history or geography, but hey, whatever makes him feel better! :P

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