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Admin Administrator  
8 Feb 2006
Language / Polish Swear Words [1176]

You may check a commercial site providing voice-over and recording services into Polish at Speak Polish
Admin Administrator  
8 Aug 2006
Law / Hiring a Polish Worker - Pros and Cons [106]

"wat does the administator mean by poles prefering a foreign boss over a polish one?"

Administrator didn't mean anything; he only posted the article written by "Ted" :).
Admin Administrator  
26 Jan 2006
Life / Is grumbling a Polish attribute? [24]

Fashionable Complaining in Poland

A joke from my school years:

A boy comes to his father telling about his notes at school.

- Daddy, daddy, I've got "C"!
- Why not "B", my son?
- Daddy, daddy, I've got "A"!
- Why not "A+", my son?

That father only seemingly tried to encourage his child to study harder and get better grades. In fact he was dissatisfied with the good notes the kid received and he didn't mean the education at all. The joke above quite truly describes Poles and their national flaw - grumbling. It is obvious for a stranger that especially older generation cannot be pleased whatever the situation is.

Let's consider winter, beautiful Polish winter with plenty of snow, starry nights, skiing, sleighing, skating. I do understand people who have no place to go, who freeze because of not working heating and so on. They are perfectly right to complain. But grumbling just for grumbling that there is snow, the wind blows, it's cold or the streets are slippery, when it's so natural in winter, is quite annoying and makes you think Poles are really displeased with everything. Luckily there are some who consider winter as yet another chance to take fun. They use to bath and swim in freezing cold lakes and sea. We call them "morsy" - the walruses.

Continuing the topic of weather there is spring after winter. Spring means of course melting snow and heavy rains, which is the next reason to complain. Poor people have to wear raincoats and umbrellas and everything is wet and could we smile? But when someone smiles at you in the bus it's like if sun shines! Sellers are chatting as usual and from time to time we can feel as if the rain wasn't that bad. After the rainy spring comes hot and sunny summer and gives yet another reason to complain. Suddenly it's too hot! You can be burnt by the sun, you sweat all the time and when you need a drink there is no place in the garden restaurants. What a life! Fall again means rain and cold wind and days are becoming shorter... Why not complain?

But the weather is kind of a substitute when we don't complain about something else. Like the government. This is a never-ending story. First we grumble that we cannot make a choice because every politician is corrupted or will be as soon as she/he gains the power. Then there is a big problem with going to the polling station. The result naturally is not what we would expect. But that gives us an opportunity to quote that we have the worst government that have ever existed on this planet. From a certain point of view it is a reason to be proud. Those who complain most are usually the people who didn't vote at all. They think, that their vote is so insignificant that it's not worth troubling themselves to go to the elections. This is our attribute: we are proud but have no self-confidence. Only young people are able to think that even one person can change the course of the future.

Gentlemen don't talk about money. But in Poland they do. At least the so - called "new money" do. Driving the newest models of expensive cars, spending vacations abroad and swanking as hard as they can. And of course they are those who constantly complain about being penniless. No comments.

Sometimes we could think that complaining is sort of fashion in Poland. That you are "trendy" when you are not pleased with your life and surroundings. Or that it is a Polish attribute to make a big problem from a very small thing. Maybe it is so. Maybe we mix an incredible pride and a deep humbleness that don't allow us to appreciate small joys of everyday life.

At least we learned one thing: when someone asks us how we are doing, we answer: "Fine, thank you...".

Written by Urszula
Admin Administrator  
10 Jan 2006
Law / Hiring a Polish Worker - Pros and Cons [106]

The world has suddenly become very small. Fifty years ago or so, hardly a few Poles were ever allowed to go abroad. The "iron curtain" remained perfectly closed and a couple of generations of Poles have never been able to set their foot outside the country.

The times have changed. A steady flow of Polish hopefuls on their way to the West are looking for a job and an income that is higher than what they are being offered in their homeland. Add to that that the unemployment in Poland is soaring and reaching now 20% of the population and you get a predictable equation. The Poles are going West.

But, and there is always a but. Although formally the borders are open, in reality all of the EU countries, except Great Britain, do no accept foreign work seekers. Many try the US, which is another viable option, but it is not easy. The land of the free does not want free immigration of labor. They have enough problems as Is with the illegal migrants coming to the US searching for gold.

But, for the sake of argument, let's assume that you are an employer, be it in the UK or the US. There is a knock on your door. A man comes in talking to you in broken English. He or she is looking for a job. He explains that he is Polish. You ponder: Hiring a Polish worker, hmmm? What are the pros and cons?

The Pros

Although the Poles speak a language that sounds strange and funny in the ears of the Westerner, they are real Europeans. Poland, being situated in the Eastern Europe, but next to Germany, is in fact the most westernized country in the East. The country has had a queen from Italy, a king from Sweden, and France, been under German and Austrian rule, and has been catholic for a thousand years. Latin and later French had been the languages of choice of the Polish nobles, and the most famous Polish composer, Chopin, was actually French. What it means is that if you talk to a Pole or socialize with one you should not have a difficulty to understand their way of thinking. Basically the Poles adhere to the same basic values that are understood and respected in the West. Come on time to work, respect the boss, do what you are told - within a reason. Do a good job, try do climb the ladder.

Hey, Poles are not much different than the rest of us. Add to that, most Poles have a pretty good basic education and are willing to adjust to the life in the West and you'll get a hard to beat combination. True, they are not world champions when it comes to mastering English, but they are willing, and that counts.

After a while, you will have an employee, who not only has adjusted well, but who will be able, on most occasions, to understand what you are driving at. Add a few months and he will talk (and swear) like a native.

The Cons

The Poles have been too long under the rules of the Soviet Union and the working morale might need some improvement. The Poles are also very observant and inventive, thus, you need to have some control over what is going on. Given an opportunity, your new driver might take his whole family on a weekend trip in your limousine.

But these are just minor things and, as a boss, it is your duty to supervise your men, Poles or not. Remember, the Pole will do the job. The Poles know how to work hard and I have always been surprised that their hard work, taking into account the situation of the average Pole, does not pay better off.

In addition, I think Polish people prefer to have a foreign boss; it seems they respect him/her more than they would respect their "Polish boss".

And remember in these uncertain times you know where you have the Poles. A Pole you can rely on, after all we are on the same side.


Contributed by Ted
Admin Administrator  
6 Dec 2005
Language / Polish Swear Words [1176]

Ah, swear words, what an underestimated subject. Considered rude, but, really, a true necessity of life. Don't leave your home without them.

When it comes to Polish translation, in certain contexts, the swear words (curse words) have their both prominent and well-deserved role to play. True, English is not completely toothless in this respect, but still there is no comparison. The Poles lead by far.

Sex related swear words are most useful and, thus, most common. Let's see, the so called four letter word, or to be explicit, "fuck" - no need to be prudish here - after all it is a linguistic exercise we are involved in corresponds rather well to its Polish counterpart, although, already from the beginning Polish has an advantage here - with a whole eight letter-word. There are certain similarities regarding the use of the word in both languages, a few examples:

To fuck - pierdolić

To fuck off - odpierdolić (się)

To fuck up - spierdolić

The Polish word, however, is much more flexible than its English counterpart and has many more uses, which can make it a bit hard to translate. There are so many verbs can be replaced by the "p"-word!

To beat up - napierdolić

To break - rozpierdolić

To run - spierdolić

To steal - podpierdolić

To throw away - wypierdolić

and so on...

The flexibility of the "p"-word makes me often wonder why they do not start teaching Polish starting with it. I promise you, it will take you far in some places. (I call the "p"-word a crutch word, since it is used to replace other words and, thus, belongs, in the first place, in an uneducated man's limited vocabulary).

The translation of the speech of a street lout could look something like that (the Polish version is left out, in order as not to hurt the sensitive readers' feelings (if they happen to read this):

"I fucked up. It was a fucking day. I had a fucking drink and then I was fucked. And then this fuck comes up"

- You get the drift.

Another "nice" Polish swear-word is "kurwa" literally a "whore", although in some contexts translated as a "bitch", or even as "shit", a very useful word indeed. As a matter of fact the above translation from Polish could use a few "kurwas" in the proper place to further strengthen the argument. Please, note that although the "k"-word is also a crutch word, it is often used instead of a "comma" in the speech, thus giving the speaker a chance to recover, before continuing the argument. Thus, the above utterance, to sound more like a Polish slang, should be liberally sprinkled with several "kurwa's in the right places. Here is a possible translation the way it could be spoken between the "real" Poles (a joke). In this context, though, I would not use the literal translation, since this would not convey its true meaning and beauty.

In this context I'd rather go for "shit" which in English can play similar role as a "comma" to the "k"-word.

"Shit, I fucked up. It was a fucking day. I had a fucking drink and then, shit, I was fucked. And then, shit, this fuck comes up"

And so on...

Of course, the "kurwa" words still can be used as a regular swear word describing the quality of the person in question. "Ty kurwo," meaning literally "you whore", works well, but I'd rather translated it as "you bitch", unless it has to do with the profession of the person concerned. It should be also taken into account that, as I understand, the use of 'whore' has been lately discontinued and replaced but a more respectable "sex-worker". Although, the new form is usable under respectable circumstances, I can't envision how you can swear at someone by calling them "sex-worker". Back to the drawing board.

A nice variation on the "k"-word is a "genealogical"-swearword: "skurwysyn", i.e. in the literal translation "the son of a whore", although translated frequently as "the son of a bitch", which comes close. It is yet another widely used Polish expletive that is a must in anyone's Polish vocabulary. Although, it does not have a direct correspondence in Queen's English, the American "mother-fucker" comes close and could be used in some contexts to translate it. But the Polish "s" word is much more flexible than that; it can denote someone we dislike, someone that played a nasty trick on us, even a person we admire - all depending on the context and the way to pronounce it (which is hard to convey in translation.) Please note that the incest word that is used to translate the Polish "skurwysyn" is more or less a taboo in Polish. Funnily enough the Russians, with their ubiquitous expression "job Tvoju mat", do not have anything against expletives involving incestual sexual relations, which only shows that, after all, the Poles and Russians do not have all that much in common (at least in this respect)".

The subject of swearwords is huge and thus a suitable subject for a number of doctoral dissertations, at least. I haven't even touched the surface: what about calling someone świnia - a "pig", which can mean many different things, besides denoting the proper animal, "diabeł" the devil (go to the devil, that translates as "go to Hell" is a frequently used swearword), cholera the name of the disease, i.e kolera, yet another crutch word, but also a way to abuse a person as well (similar in the function to the English "bastard") and many, many more. In this context let us not forget about the sexual organs that are frequently used in Polish and less frequently in English (I told you that the Poles are in the lead) to abuse the members of respective sex.

I won't go on here, since as an introduction to the intricacies of the Polish swear words, the above should give you a good idea about the subject. Time to run... (Please see the proper Polish translation for this expression above).


Contributed by: Steven B, Australia 2005
Admin Administrator  
10 Nov 2005
Off-Topic / Random Chat Poland [2177]

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