The BEST Guide to POLAND
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Posts by jackmark  

Joined: 9 May 2013 / Male ♂
Last Post: 2 Jun 2013
Threads: 1
Posts: 26
From: New York
Speaks Polish?: yes
Interests: People, history, politics and technology

Displayed posts: 27
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2 Jun 2013
Travel / First Time Visit To Poland (travelling from England) [14]

I hope Poland finds it's feet in Europe and can somehow still retain the Poland i saw on our travels and doesn't succumb too much to lures of globalisation.

So what did you like about "the Poland you saw"?
30 May 2013
UK, Ireland / I think Poles in the UK are COOL PEOPLE [17]

Well there's plenty of reasons... from the nominal GDP ranking falling every year (now officially ranked 7th, behind Brazil)...

Well it isn't falling, it's just that the rest of the pack is advancing by leaps and bounds:

There were times when Britain was the richest and most powerful nation on earth, and to look at where we are now in comparison to then... damn right we've become a dump.

Ah, the good old colonial times...At least Australia is doing something right. And they do have plenty of immigrants, don't they?

So it must be something else. Hey, let's ask them: any Australian out here? Can someone explain what exactly is going on Down Under?
29 May 2013
UK, Ireland / I think Poles in the UK are COOL PEOPLE [17]

I'm British, English born and bred, soon I'm hoping to escape the UK and the dump it has become, to live somewhere cool like Sweden, Norway.. Germany/France/Spain etc etc.

So what exactly, in your opinion, made UK "into a dump it has become" ? And what do you mean by that?
27 May 2013
Language / Beginning to learn Polish- help? [29]

Yes Rudy5, to my limited knowledge, Sadowska's "Polish: A comprehensive grammar" really looks like the most comprehensive grammar resource available in English language at the moment. But I do not have the book just yet, I only glanced through it and ordered it myself, and I am currently waiting for it to be delivered.

Disclosure: I am a Polish native speaker teaching family members, hence my interest in such books. Of course, there is a wealth of grammar books available in Polish which you could make use of once you get to advanced level of language proficiency :)
26 May 2013
Language / Beginning to learn Polish- help? [29]

I am not sure why are you starting to learn Polish armed just with a grammar book (I'd start at least with "Colloquial Polish" by Bolesław Mazur" or Oscar Swan's "First Year Polish", but since you are asking:

Dana Bielec Grammar books are meant as exercises for practicing various aspects of grammar, but they come as a 3-pack:

- Master Book: "Polish: An Essential Grammar" by Dana Bielec:
- Companion Book 1: "Basic Polish: A Grammar and a Workbook" by Dana Bielec
- Companion Book 2: "Intermediate Polish: A Grammar and a Workbook" by Dana Bielec

However , there is one more book available, which seems exactly what you are asking for: "Polish: A Comprehensive Grammar" by Iwona Sadowska
24 May 2013
Language / Having difficulties to speak in Polish... how to improve my speaking? [19]

The movies are good, but recently some/most movie dialogs seem to have limited vocabulary and a lot of obscenities. Start reading polish books (not newspapers, these have a specific language) even if you initially understand every third word. It will get better. You can even get some polish books for Kindle or in an ePub format format (for example, here: There are also some free books (usually old ones) from public domain available here:

If you do not mind reading Andersen, Defoe, Kipling or Sienkiewicz, that is.

The other good news is that Amazon has just released and international version of Kindle fire:
23 May 2013
Language / Polski. Bez Problemu! - Polish language course (levels 1,2,3) - reviews and comments. [13]

Hi Hannusia,

Thank you for your feedback. Coming from a "double pro", it means a lot to me. (I meant "Pro" as a Polish teacher to foreigners and a mummy teaching your own kids).

Actually, I am very interested to hear more details about your experiences and conclusions stemming from your work of teaching Polish to foreigners. Email/PM me if you wish.

Agreed, this 'role-changing" is somewhat of a problem, but since my kids are older (12 1/2 and 10 1/2) they are more used to schooling rigors already. For me and them the issue isn't really "changing the role", but the fact that this "polish lesson" eats away at their time to have fun playing MMO games with their friends over the Internet ;). Believe me, my kids do not really object about the lesson itself, it is just "getting to that lesson" seems a hassle. So I had little choice but to make our sessions "mandatory" as in "it is your duty to learn your ancestral language". I have a feeling they would love to be able to speak to their grandfather, but it is the effort that stands in their way. Just like it is the case for most of the kids anyway.

The way I see it, this situation is similar to teaching kids music - 99% of the kids do not want to do it and have to be literally forced to practice every day. They learn to appreciate it only after a few years time, providing that they managed to achieve some instrument proficiency and that their parents have had enough determination in pursuing this goal as well.

So in my case, "mandatory it is" but it would certainly help if the lessons are interesting and not dull. I have briefly looked at your suggestion, I just do not think I have enough time at my disposal to translate English teaching material into Polish. I'd rather use something ready "out-of-the-box".

Come to think about it, it is really a shame that more than 20 years after the fall of the iron curtain and with more than what some say is 10 million strong Polish diaspora, there are so little "Polish as a Foreign language" sources for kids and teenagers available. Well, I could say more about this particular issue, but let's just leave it at that for now.
12 May 2013
Language / How do Poles feel about foreigners learning their language? [105]

Like I said - happy, happy :)

I am quite sure that with this attitude, you will. As long as you keep on trying to learn (even just a tiny bit) every day. The elephant in the room (or should I say, "in one's head" :)) is motivation and commitment.

Ty też możesz mówić po polsku!
12 May 2013
Language / Polski. Bez Problemu! - Polish language course (levels 1,2,3) - reviews and comments. [13]

That is why you should leave the teaching to a teacher :)

Well, I am not so convinced the effectiveness of a teacher/language course in my situation. It's just that this is way different than for a motivated adult like you. Also, it's hard to find a teacher for 10 and 12 years olds. There aren't many Polish courses intended for children (I actually think there are none in where I live).The only other option would be a private tutor, and most of the ones I can find here are as good in teaching as I would be (or simply put, Polish nationals w/o much teaching experience just looking for a job), or they are insanely expensive here.

Do you have kids? If you do, you'd know that children during class will just zone out and the progress would be minimal. Now being a father I know I can get some of their attention for about 1-hour long lesson. I think with a good course to follow I could do same, or possibly even better than a pro. I learned few languages myself, so I do have some clue what works and what does not. Nevertheless, in the end, the time will tell if this would (or wouldn't) work :)
12 May 2013
Language / Polski. Bez Problemu! - Polish language course (levels 1,2,3) - reviews and comments. [13]

Of course. But......I am the "teacher" (sort of) and certainly certainly not the "professional" :).

I am a Polish native speaker without prior teaching experience so I need to select a couple of good courses to follow. Now I am looking for well organized material. Courses which do not teach too much too quickly (leaving learners confused w/o feeling that they are actually learning something, or jumping around w/o a sound method) or too little (I am looking for rich vocabulary, some grammar exercises). Courses that are, in some way, "fun" and have at least some computer aided software (my kids perceive learning anything from a computer as a sort of game, so a course having a PC component would hold their attention for much longer.

Since I am Polish speaker, I have a hard time forming an unbiased opinion of my own, and hence my questions to Polish learners. Hope that explains it :)
12 May 2013
Language / How do Poles feel about foreigners learning their language? [105]

Yes, but in the worst case, you speak English with a strong accent. That's not possible with Polish tho ;)

This guy: speaks an excellent Polish. (I heard him on tv giving interviews a few times). His slight accent can be only heard only in a few words, however most words he pronounces just perfectly.

See for yourself here:

Polish is easy only if you speak another language that is very close to it. Otherwise it's not.

Not sure how long it took him to learn it so well, but his native language certainly is not even remotely close to Polish.

IMHO learning language well may be easy or hard (depending on various circumstances) but it is possible. It is just a matter of motivation. In other words: if you keep telling yourself "it is so hard" it will be. Try telling yourself "it's not so hard, I can do it" and results will be startling :)

A further point, Jackmark, one has the feeling throughout much of urban America that ENGLISH, not Cantonese, is the real "dying" languageLOL

That might be. In a few hundred years, we will have 'Spanglish' mixed with 'Ebonics' here ;)

Just joking, who knows how the language will evolve

Poles tend also to be less "inclusive".

With Polish, I do not think this is the "inclusive" versus "exclusive" attitude that is taking place here. Since following WWII Poland was for 45+ years cut off from the rest of the world behind the "Iron Curtain", few visited it, let alone learned Polish. Even now, admittedly, few outsiders speak Polish, hence any foreigner speaking it will be met with either with awe or surprised attitude, and not because he/she is mispronouncing words or making grammar errors but because he/she is speaking Polish at all!

Of course, Slavic languages are very closely related.

Admittedly, Polish noun declension and adjective inflection is confusing even to Poles (we learn it in school and make mistakes too). But you will be understood even when making horrible errors in that regard - just don't worry about it. I had similar issues with German (similar, yet simpler) but I cared less as the most important was to communicate. After a while (and watching enough German TV) the rate of errors in my German subsided. But that was a long time ago; now I have forgotten most of my German as I haven't been in contact with the language for quite some time.

Here is another commentary to "Polish is very hard, impossible to learn for non-Slavs" discussion:

Now this guy impresses me a lot!
10 May 2013
Language / How do Poles feel about foreigners learning their language? [105]

Ah, these "experiments" can be vain because language can be considered a living entity with great ability to morph.

Yet to give you a contrary example, there is one that could overshadow any other attempts, current or historical soon: contemporary Chinese authorities are way more aggressive (and resourceful) now against Cantonese or other dialects/languages (whichever is the right term). They simply trying to kill it:

The image portrayed by Bejjing is that Mandarin is "Official Chinese" whereas Cantonese nothing more than a slang, not worth preserving. And, Mandarin is "the language of business" versus Cantonese "language of history, poetry and the past". Clever and dangerous.

So much that even many Cantonese speaking people (in America) are considering it a "dying language" already.

Chinese government has already "half-killed" the "Shanghainese" (less that 50% of residents of Shanghai speak it), they are on a good road to exterminate Cantonese. I know this because I have a small personal stake in this Cantonese/Mandarin struggle myself.

Now I do not think Cantonese will actually die for another 100 years, but beyond that, who knows, it is possible. Nobody speaks Latin or Arameic (in real life that is) for that matter anymore...
10 May 2013
Language / How do Poles feel about foreigners learning their language? [105]


From the little I know about Bulgarian, there seem to be many similarities with Russian. Your friend's story sounds just right because:

- Bulgarian uses Cyrrilic just like Russian does,
- Bulgarian and Russian share a lot of vocabulary,
- Don't forget about the influence of Orthodox Church,
- During Cold War, as in every country in USSR sphere of influence, Russian was taught in all schools as "lingua franca" of the Eastern Bloc.

- Hearing your friend speaking Russian (which they can relate to and understand probably far better than English), Bulgarian people must have been naturally charmed.

And lastly, to quote some other source: "Bulgarian is a direct descendant of Church Slavonic (or something very close to it, anyway), while Russian is a kind of nephew to it. Church Slavonic is the primary liturgical language of the Orthodox Church in Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Belarus. It is also used in the Serbian Orthodox Church and Polish Orthodox Church, and it occasionally appears in the services of the American and the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church. It is the most widely used liturgical language in the Orthodox Church. That is why Russian and Bulgarian have a *lot* of common vocabulary but are very different grammatically. Also, in the 19th century Bulgarian would start to borrow back from Russian, in a national revival campain to eliminate Turkish influence."
10 May 2013
History / What nation do Poles feel closer to? [74]

i am really glad that Poles are such a great friends with Hungarians!& i am not talking about replacing them - only about becoming friends.

Ok, I can be your friend now too, if you wish ....and please forgive me it is almost two years after your post....

But the whole talk about nations-best-friends, IMHO is a bit stereotypical. Everybody likes whover they feel closer to on a personal level.
10 May 2013
Language / How do Poles feel about foreigners learning their language? [105]

Your English seem reasonably good, which one would expect after a longer sojourn in an English-speaking country:-)

Thank you for the good word; thinking back on it wasn't easy. When came to US I spoke very basic English (I guess I was at beginner's level back then). When I tried to speak English, German words would pop up in my head all the time. But I still do need a spellchecker, as I would always write words like "almost" with double "l", "maybe" with double "e" etc. :)

Am curious, Jackmark, as to whether you consider German on the same level of difficulty.

Yes, I do. German is "partially flexed" language like Polish, and I never remember the correct gender of nouns, as you must use them with "der"(masculine) die (feminine) or "das" (neutral). In regard to pronunciation, it was easy for me because it just reads and sounds very similar to Polish. Also, due to long common history and the shared border, there obviously are many words with German origin that incorporated into everyday Polish.

On a positive side, I can assure you that you already possibly know of the bat possibly hundreds of Polish words - those that came from Latin - just change the endings: "-tion" to "cja" - so "nation" becomes "nacja" in Polish, "information" becomes "informacja" etc. :)

Russian for a fellow Slav is scarcely a stretch, I would think.

Not quite so. While the pronunciation is similar as Polish (yet much softer and melodic), it is a completely different language. It has its own alphabet (Cyrilic) versus Polish "Latin-based". It shares some similarly (but distinctly) pronounced words like "bread" for example (Polish "chleb", Russian "хлеб "). I cannot tell for sure, because I am impartial, as I started learning Russian back in elementary school and I understand it on an intermediate/advanced level. But many Russians I encountered here are at total loss when I try to speak Polish to them. Therefore, I am not that sure about Russian-Polish similarities. If I had to compare, I would draw on Spanish/Italian ancestry and similarity, but I do not know either one of them to tell.

Keep in mind that Polish is considered West Slavic language with heavy influences from western language groups, and so it changed greatly drifting away form Slavic "mother tongue" whatever it was.

I hope that explains it a bit
9 May 2013
Language / How do Poles feel about foreigners learning their language? [105]

I am a native Pole living in US for 22 years, (almost half of my life); I can't even fathom who did you hear these comments from, but judging by their "content" I think none of them actually ever were in Poland. Come to think of it, I am surprised that you heard so many such comments, and wonder why.

Poles generally consider their language "one of the hardest ones to learn" (I personally think the hard part is only because it is a fully "inflected language" (look up Wikipedia). Anything else I consider easy, like: it writes phonetically, it has a flexible word order, and it only has some small degree of ortographical difficulty related to the usage of "u" versus "ó", "rz" versus "ż", and "h" versus "ch". Other than that, it is no harder than any other language. I think it is on par with Russian and German, which I also know)) and if you only attempted to speak even a few words, they will be simply delighted (and embarrased at the same time that Polish is such a hard language to learn). Like I would be, if someone would try to communicate with me in my native language :)

Rain33: I have mixed feelings about going to Poland after listening to the above comments. After all, if I don't go, I feel that I will be missing a huge opportunity. Besides, when I am ever going to get the opportunity to study nuclear physics in Warsaw again? Or when will I ever get the chance to visit Wawel castle in Krakow? I don't know now....

I hope you didn't miss this oportunity, since it would be a shame. Allow me to give you some other advice - never, and I mean never, and for the world, miss a chance to do something in life, just because of some prejudice or preconceived notions of your peers. Always go ahead and find out for yourself, just like any physicist (or scientist) would do!
9 May 2013
Language / How do Poles feel about foreigners learning their language? [105]

I've had a couple (i.e. two) of experiences in small towns with young people who were a bit grumpy that I spoke to them in Polish instead of English.

Maybe they were grumpy for other reasons, and not because you spoke Polish..
9 May 2013
Language / Polski. Bez Problemu! - Polish language course (levels 1,2,3) - reviews and comments. [13]

Hello all,

I started this thread as I could not find any reliable first user accounts on its quality and content.
If you have used it beyond first few lessons of this course (published by SuperMemo World sp.z.o.o.), you are welcome to share your feedback here.

Let me know your thoughts and experiences with it.

Hi, me again - has anybody seen it or used it?
9 May 2013
Language / Recommended for learners: Michel Thomas Method Polish Audiobook [60]

Merged: 2012 edition of Michel Thomas Method (Start Polish, Total Polish, Perfect Polish)

Hello all,

I started this thread as I could not find any reliable first user accounts on its quality and content. If you have used it beyond first few lessons, I'd like to hear about your experience.

Most of all, do you think is it worth the money for beginners? If you have also used Pimsleur, how does it stack up to it? Does it complement or replace Pimsleur?

Please keep in mind I am specifically interested in 2012 (and are they really new when compared to 2009 versions?) editions of these courses.

Is anybody on this forum currently learning Polish?

So has anybody used Michel Thomas course for Polish or any other language? What are your thoughts on it?