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 1 of 3
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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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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).
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.
31 Jan 2014
Life / Does Poland have any particular artistic style in regard to paintings/drawings? [2]

It's really an interesting question. I've been thinking for a while and can't give you one defined answer. Polish art is really diverse, although there are a few different styles that are quite characteristic for Poland or begun here.

One is a style emerged from the "Ruch" ("Movement") art group, inspired by the traditional Slavic folklore art (I believe it's sometimes called "naive"?), especially from the Podhale region. Artists were simplyfying the shapes and using geometrical forms.

Władysław Skoczylas:

Pejzaż Podhalański

Zofia Stryjeńska:


The artists Tamara £empicka, who emmigrated to USA, was very close with some members of that movement and that could be seen in her art:

Green Dress

The fantastic artist Stanisław Szukalskiwas also inspired by folklore art:

Other than that, the surreal and/or symbolical movements became pretty popular here, at first thanks to the Young Poland (Młoda Polska) movement and then mostly thanks to the so-called Polish School of Posters (Polska szkoła plakatu) - google them for hundreds of examples.

Here's a great article about the Polish School of Posters, full of examples:

The Legacy Of Polish Poster Design

My personal favourites are those leaning towards the more "realistic"/soft style of drawing (by that I mean - less geometrical), for example:

Wiesław Wałkuski:


Franciszek Starowieyski:

Those surreal, sometimes disturbing tendencies were very common, just look at the more modern artists like:

Zdzisław Beksiński:


Tomasz Alen Kopera:

Dariusz Zawadzki:

Daniel Pielucha:


But going a bit back in time, I just have to mention the very popular scenes with horses - either with riders or harnessed to carriages. The dynamics of lines and shapes was very important in them, regardless of the style!!!

Zygmunt Ajdukiewicz:


Józef Chełmoński:


Stanisław Kaczor-Batowski:

szarża husarii

Wojciech Kossak:


Tadeusz Rybkowski:

napad wilków

Czesław Wasilewski (Zygmuntowicz):


Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski:


I could think of a few other typologies, if you're interested (I was studying art), but it's hard to focus on the drawing style only. Maybe some other users noticed any other interesting tendencies.
31 Jan 2014
Genealogy / Was my moms family (Kowalsky) Russian or Polish? [33]

Oh, I didn't know the context before these topics were merged-_-
It's almost certain that they were Polish Jews then. It's quite clear when I look at the spelling. Russified would be e.g. Kovalsky (Poland is quite unique as it comes to using "w"). Similar with Manischewitz. The "y" at the end of Kowalsky was probably changed from "i" by the American officials when your family arrived in States - it was quite common because Polish people wanted to make their names easier to spell for the Americans.

Also: you wrote that they converted to Roman Catholicism [main religion in Poland] - while main religion of Russia is [Russian] Orthodox. This is another point in favor of their Polish ancestry.
31 Jan 2014
Genealogy / Poles born under Russian control - are we Russian? [29]

Ah, this question is always so silly.
I always give the example of Tibet - officially it belongs to the territory of China (as Tibet Autonomous Region), but no Tibetan would call him/herself Chinese. Tibetans have their own history, culture, traditions, religion, etc. etc. etc. It was basically the same with Poland under the partitions.
31 Jan 2014
Language / -ski/-ska, -scy/ski, -wicz - Polish surnames help [182]

Polish ending is '-ski'; '-sky' is Russian or Ukrainian, not Polish

Nope. The endings "-ski", "-cki" or "-dzki" were traditionally given to Polish noblemen since early middle ages, first example of it was written down in 1282. It was later used by Ukrainian or Latvian people who were polonizing their surnames.

"-ski" and the others above are equivalent of German "von" or French "de"
31 Jan 2014
Genealogy / Poles born under Russian control - are we Russian? [29]

Well, you're forgetting that Poland was a real melting pot back then, full of different cultures living next to each other. Your personalancestors could be mixed, it wasn't that uncommon. Your "Russian" ancestor could be indeed Russian or russified. "Poland" before partitions was actually Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, people were moving/travelling freely, so it's completely normal that you could have Lithuanian ancestry that was living in the Polish territory under partitions. etc. etc.

To simplify - there were Polish people callingand feelingthemselves Polish, there were Lithuanian people following their Lithuanian traditions, there were Ukrainians cherishing their Ukrainian legacy, same with Jews, Belarusians, Armenians, Lemkos, Tatars and tens of other cultures - all were living here under the partitions.

If there's a question particularly about Poles born under Russian control - the natural answer is: they were Polish.
31 Jan 2014
Genealogy / Andruszkiewicz, Judycki surnames [20]

I doubt it.

It might be true though! Szlachta was very diverse as it comes to their origins - people tend to foget that Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth was full of different nationalities, all were equally likely to gain the title for their deeds or wartime merits, Polish was "only" the official language. BTW szlachta was quite often poor [szlachta zaściankowa, szlachta czynszowa], and they didn't resemble the western "nobles" so the concept of szlachta shouldn't be compared to it, just reminding the facts.

I found an official list of szlachta that lived in Vilinius region here: [in Polish but it's a list only - there are both Andruszkiewicz and Judycki surnames]
31 Jan 2014
Genealogy / Poles born under Russian control - are we Russian? [29]

After 1831, there was no such thing as a Polish territory.

Territory that was Polish before the partitions or: territories that were ethnically Polish. Also: just reminding you that there was for example such thing like Kingdom of Poland also known as Congress Poland (or informally Vistula Land) under the partitions - a puppet state of Russia - the russification of it was strenghtened only after the uprisings. "Polish territory under partitions" is a correct term widely used by historians in the meaning of ethnicity.
31 Jan 2014
Genealogy / Poles born under Russian control - are we Russian? [29]

Guess why I wrote 'after 1831' ... :)

What about the January Uprising?:) Polish territory (ethnically) was never a fully integrated part of Russia. There were completely separated civil laws established for the provinces of the Kingdom of Poland, an example could be that book from 1896:
31 Jan 2014
Travel / Palm trees in Poland [19]

In huge pots and they are moved to glasshouses for the colder months;) In nature - they don't.
31 Jan 2014
Genealogy / Poles born under Russian control - are we Russian? [29]

So, are you able to answer my question regarding the participation of ethnic Poles in the uprisings? :)

Why are you so interested in that so much? And BTW if you'd read more about the partitions, you'd understand that after the uprisings plenty of people had to hide the fact of fighting or even change their identities / escape abroad in order to avoid the repercussions from Russia - the collection of data wasn't as easy as e.g. during the wars of 20th century, especially because all the communication was strictly controlled by Russians. There were better or worse organized groups of volunteers - soldiers - that were not only of Polish ethnicity. If you're interested, here's for example scan of a book which author was tryingto collect surnames (with short bios) of the people that died during the years 1861-1866 only (during the uprising and further repercussions):

Souvenir for Polish families: short messages biographical lost on scaffolding, shot, killed on the battlefield and died in prisons, tułactwie and Siberian exile since 1861-1866: from official sources, journals Polish, however, as with oral administrations of credible and comrades.
I can look for other data tomorrow if you're interested.

Poland didn't exist back then in the modern meaning of a "country", but it was a separated part of Russian Empire. Funnily, if you'll ever have the occasion to have a talk with a Russian historian, you'll notice that they sometimes have a tendency of naming that part of their history: an "union" with Poland. Most of Russian documents of that time were using the term Tsarstvo Pol'skoye (Kingdom of Poland) when describing the (ethnically) Polish territory. Russian wiki site is quite interesting.

Why are you so interested in that so much?

Ah, repetition, an obvious sign that I should go to sleep already. I'm sorry if there are any grammar mistakes (still improving my English and it's late here).

I found an official list of generals and soldiers of the 1930 uprising:

Book memorial in the 50-year anniversary of the 1830 Uprising containing the list of names of commanders and headquarters officers-, indeed officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the Polish Army in the same year decorated with the Military Cross "Military Virtue"

Forgot to add: that book from 1930 has a full list of generals & officials and then a list of those soldiers who were awarded with the Virtuti Military order (not all soldiers).
1 Feb 2014
Language / Letter 'ą' and 'ę' pronounciation before 'z', 's', 'ś', 'ź', 'ż [21]

1. "ą" and "ę" should be always pronounced as they are. Turning it to "on" or "en" occur in some dialects only. As it comes to "rz" after a consonant (like in "przemysł" or "krzesło") - its pronounciation softens. If it's easier to pronounce to you, you could indeed say "pszemysł" or "kszesło".

2. Are they all in mianownik? If yes:
305,589,627 mężczyzn -> trzysta pięć milionów pięćset osiemdziesiąt dziewięć tysięcy sześćset dwudziestu siedmiu mężczyzn.
156-ty człowiek -> sto pięćdziesiąty szósty człowiek
109-ty człowiek -> sto dziewiąty człowiek
2006-ty rok -> dwa tysiące szósty rok
1105-ty rok -> tysiąc sto piąty rok
1000,001-szy rok. -> milion pierwszy rok

3. It's an exception - singular masculine nouns that are non-viable take the mianownik form in dopełniacz: "Mam nowy dom.", "Mam nowy komputer.", "Mam nowy rower." but "Mam nowego mężczyznę.", "Mam nowego kolegę.", "Mam nowego kuzyna.". Is it more clear now?

4. "Tę rzecz mi dano" would be gramatically correct.

mianownik form in dopełniacz

Should be: in biernik, sorry. This article (in Polish) is a good explanation of the gender forms in Polish: (three types of masculine forms: męskoosobowy, męskożywotny, męskonieżywotny)
1 Feb 2014
Language / Is there a traditional expression used as a welcome? [18]

As Paulina explained, it's always "Gość w dom, Bóg w dom" (not domu*) and it's only an old-Polish proverb.
There are plenty of traditional forms of greeting/naming guests or the hosts (e.g. the form "mości gospodarzu" as a polite form to refer to the host). In some situations people were even expected to make religious or poetical references, sometimes people were using short rhymed sentences like "Uszanowanie, witam i o zdrowie pytam!" in a semi-humorous way. "Moje uszanowanie" was a courteous way of saying "I'm honored [to meet you]". Religious people were usually greeting each other with "Niech będzie pochwalony" or "Szczęść Boże".
1 Feb 2014
Language / Letter 'ą' and 'ę' pronounciation before 'z', 's', 'ś', 'ź', 'ż [21]

I still have to puzzle over the gender of certain nouns.

A clearly defined list of all the exceptions should be created (or maybe it exist somewhere already?), it would be so much of a help, just like the list of english irregular verbs for example.

I found texts in English in the meantime: (there's a useful graph showing types of the grammar "genders" in Polish) and
1 Feb 2014
Language / "My heart has no nation." - How would I say/spell this in Polish? [13]

not always literal translation is the best one:)

Literal translation is the definition of google translate;)
"Moje serce nie ma narodowości, moja dusza nie zna granic" - that sounds very good to me and keeps the original meaning.
2 Feb 2014
Genealogy / Bernatowicz surname? (I am starting to wonder if anyone in my family was American?) [80]

Yes, seems that the origins of that name are Armenian. Here's one text in English according to which the original form was Peŕnat'enc: (on p.4)

I only found other sources in Polish (but I suppose you could write to any Polish-Armenian community for more documents if you're interested).

Here's a bulletin from 1998, a whole page there is dedicated to the Bernatowicz coat of arms:[/url] (on p.18)

Besides that I stumbled across an article (two-part) from a "Kurier Galicyjski" newspaper, where Bernatowicz surname is mentioned among funders of some Armenian churches in Lviv/Lwów:

part 1:
part 2: (there's an old inscription with Bernatowicz surname in the stone!)

edit: the inscription in better quality: