The BEST Guide to POLAND
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Posts by lunacy  

Joined: 3 Jan 2014 / Female ♀
Last Post: 19 May 2014
Threads: -
Posts: 73
From: Poland
Speaks Polish?: yes
Interests: arts, music, history, cultures

Displayed posts: 73 / page 3 of 3
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30 Jan 2014
Genealogy / Was my moms family (Kowalsky) Russian or Polish? [33]

Ah well, it's really simple. Poland was under occupation then, but people were cultivating the language and traditions of their ancestors. Russian was forced as official language, Polish and languages of other minorities were banned and discriminated, but people were still using their mother tongue at home. You have to remember that the territory of Poland was a real melting pot back then, full of different cultures and minorities. All have somehow survived.

In your case, you have to think whether your family was using Polish on a daily basis? Did they pass down Polish traditions, habits, cuisine etc.? Did they define themselves as Polish?

Look at Tibet (I don't know - is it a good example?). It officially belongs to the territory of China (as Tibet Autonomous Region), but no Tibetan would call him/herself Chinese.
27 Jan 2014
Genealogy / Bernatowicz surname? (I am starting to wonder if anyone in my family was American?) [80]

Well - sources?
It could be "Czech" if some of them moved to Bohemia at some point.

Most reliable sources show that Bernatowicz was the surname of one of the oldest merchant clans that lived in the area that is western Ukraine now - they moved there from Armenia in the medieval times and "polonized" their surname with time. The source I found before dates it back even to the year 1400 (when two brothers of Bernatowicz surname funded a chapel in Lviv).
25 Jan 2014
Language / do these sentences make sense - mieć ciasteczko...Wyglądasz nieszczęśliwy? [2]

Some are really confusing. Also - based on your name - are you a female? It makes difference in Polish.

- Mieć ciasteczko is an infinitive form, literally to have a cookie. If you want to say I have a cookie it will be: mam ciasteczko. If you want to have a cookie or anything else, just ask with the common phrase: mogę się poczęstować? (can I have [this]?).

- If talking to a male: wyglądasz na nieszczęśliwego, if to a female: wyglądasz na nieszczęśliwą.
- Similar to the previous one - to a male: wyglądasz na szczęśliwego, to a female: wyglądasz na szczęśliwą.
+ £adnie wyglądasz.
+ Twoja sukienka jest ładna. Could be shorter, simply: ładna sukienka.
- If you are in the shop and want to buy bread, it's enough to say: poproszę chleb, or: proszę o chleb. If you enter a shop and want to ask if they sell bread: czy mogę tutaj kupić chleb? (can I buy bread here?)

+ Mam starszą siostrę.
- If you want to say that you wish you had a cat and you're female: chciałabym mieć kota, if you're male: chciałbym mieć kota.

- If you're in a restaruant ordering a meal: proszę o wegetariański posiłek. Polish cuisine is very meaty, so (unless you're in a vegetarian restaurant) it's better to ask first: czy macie wegetariańskie posiłki? (do you have vegetarian meals?)

+ Nie jestem biegła w języku polskim. Could be also: nie mówię biegle po polsku (I don't speak Polish fluently), or: dopiero uczę się polskiego (I'm only learning Polish).

- If you're female: jestem głodna, if you're male: jestem głodny.
- If you're female: czuję się szczęśliwa or jestem szczęśliwa. Male: same but using szczęśliwy
- If you're female: jestem podekscytowana. Male: jestem podekscytowany.
+ Chcesz ciasto? Perfectly correct, but usually you'd say for example: chcesz kawałek ciasta? (do you want a piece of cake?) or chcesz trochę ciasta? (do you want some cake?)

- Chcesz czekoladę?
- Mam siostrzenicę.
+ Mam siostrzeńca.
+ Lubię malarstwo.
+ Lubię czytać.
+ Jestem z Anglii.

I hope I didn't miss anything. Ask if something is unclear.
20 Jan 2014
Food / Perfect Pierogi? (keen to perfect the recipe) [12]

The proportions Guest wrote are quite good! Try them. Here's a video of how to make it, the order and "technique" might be important too: - as he's saying, warm water is a must!
17 Jan 2014
USA, Canada / Why are Polish restaurants not successful in the USA? [698]

There were inns of various kinds [karczma, zajazd, oberża, wyszynek, gospoda, etc.] since the early middle ages, so I'd end the "concept of eating out" topic with that.

Again: the reason why Polish food isn't popular now is that it was literally impoverished over the decades of wars&occupation, like communism [when not many products were available in the shops, learn the history].

Real Polish cuisine consist of tons of fresh or cooked local vegetables, fruits [and many kinds of products like dżemy, marmolady, konfitury, powidła], many delicious soups, various kinds of venison [served with for example wine sauces], it was also famous for its large variety of fish dishes [and how many Polish fish dishes can you recall right now?], and has ones of the best desserts in the world, like my personal favorite cheesecake [which has NOTHING to do with the American cheesecake made from the liquid cream], I could go on and on, just look into real cookbooks or old Polish literature.

The reason why Polish dishes in modern restaurants are so bland is purely the ignorance of the cooks - but, thankfully, it's changing slowly.
16 Jan 2014
USA, Canada / Why are Polish restaurants not successful in the USA? [698]

50polish - that might be partially correct. Besides a lot of the most-known Polish dishes focus on the amazing taste of different vegetables - and here I see one problem. All of my family members or friends who moved to USA are always complaining that the veggies or fruits there are tastless! My cousin is a vegetarian and especially loves the authentic flavors, so when she visits Poland from time to time she seriously binge on e.g. simple tomatoes or apples - because apparently the American ones "don't even smell like real tomatoes" [or apples], at least those are her words.

But most of you [from what I read in this thread so far] are forgetting about the most important historical influences. First of all: it's a historical fact that great majority of Polish immigrants coming to USA were poor farmers, who most likely themselves didn't know many dishes apart from the simple ones they were able to cook from a few ingredients available around their homes - back then it was all about survival and not everyone cared about taste or variety anymore. The years of partitions, wars, struggle, hunger seriously led to impoverishment of the cuisine, then the decades of communism made it even worse and more bland [my mother remembers times when she couldn't even get enough salt or pepper, things just weren't available in shops e.g. during the Martial Law in the beginning of 1980s]. Only in the recent years the real Polish cuisine is being slowly rediscovered, for example thanks to the old cookbooks [like by Lucyna Ćwierczakiewiczowa from XIX century or Danuta Wyrybkowska from the 30s]. Things are much more complicated than just that and I agree with a few opinions here - even in Poland we still have restaurants that serve garbage [really tastless] food - I believe that it 1) of course always depends on the cook and 2) is just a post-communistic habit of people being used to pierogi, barszcz, żurek and other, which are in fact some of the most simple and cheap dishes from old-Polish cuisine.
14 Jan 2014
Genealogy / Bernatowicz surname? (I am starting to wonder if anyone in my family was American?) [80]

Well, I made just a quick research and there might be a sudden twist. Bernatowicz was a surname of one of the oldest merchant families of Armenian roots, who primarily were living in the Red Ruthenia region wiki - they were nobilitated for some kind of wartime achievements(?), it is described in this bulletin on p.18: [in Polish - how well do you know the language?]

Here's the coat of arms they received, in color [bulletin has only b&w version]:
And for example another coat of arms, given in 1768 to Jakub Bernatowicz who, according to the bulletin, was a mayor and the last director of the Armenian courts in Lviv/Lwów:

There's never a 100% certainty but I thought this might be interesting to you - the surname might have some mixed Armenian/Ukrainian origins, of course Polonized.
3 Jan 2014
Language / What is the Polish word for "friend"? [13]

Well, I hope it will clarify a little:

Use przyjaciel/przyjaciółka when talking about a close friend you like in general AND you know each other's secrets, have a lot in common, spend (or spent in the past) a lot of time together.

Najlepszy przyjaciel/najlepsza przyjaciółka is of course translated as BFF, so basically a soulmate.

Kolega/koleżanka is always acceptable, has rather neutral towards positive meaning. It can be someone we know since the childhood, from school, from work - definitely it's a person with whom you could hang out from time to time because you have some things in common. It could be also a person you simply see very often. Like the mentioned above: kolega z pracy - colleague [from work] that you like or is just okay.

Znajomy/znajoma is a person we don't know well (yet), we can maybe tell where he/she lives, studies, works, we could know the "outer" personality but we don't know his/her secrets, worries, the inner self. It's rather a person you don't see often and can't say much about. It COULD be also a person you don't like OR don't want to talk about. Saying: znajomy z pracy means that you either don't know the person well or he/she got on your nerves but you don't want to go into details - it always depends on the CONTEXT so you shouldn't be afraid of using that word!

We have a lot of other words like the mentioned kumoter:) It's rather an old word, not used on a daily basis anymore. It was used to describe a person that is your good companion, comrade, ally, also a blood-related person. In some parts of Poland it was also a word for the godfather of your children.
3 Jan 2014
Language / Does this paragraph make sense? I am learning Polish [11]

Here's my proposition:

Nie jestem biegła w języku polskim. Mam niebieskie oczy. Lubię czekoladę - uwielbiam herbatniki!
Lubię słuchać jak pada deszcz; czytać poezję i literaturę.
Chciałabym zawsze pisać i pojechać do Denver w Kolorado.

Side info:
- język polski -> all adjectives (polski in this case) always start with lowercase letter! it's a grammar rule.
- forget for now about piśmiennictwo, it's used in academic/scientific resources only:) literatura is correct and used on a daily basis
- uwielbiam = bardzo lubię:) we use uwielbiam very often!
- instead of "lubię słuchać jak pada deszcz" you could say "lubię wsłuchiwać się w deszcz" - wsłuchiwać się means that you're listetning to sth intently, more or less thoughtfully (it sounds more poetic:))

Hope it helps. Greetings from Poland and good luck learning Polish!