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Beginning to learn Polish- help?

Rudy5 13 | 36
25 May 2013 #1
I am finally starting to learn Polish after planning to for awhile, but don't know where to start after learning the alphabet. I bought the book Basic Polish A Grammar and Workbook by Dana Bielec, but it's not as thorough as I'd thought. Is there a more in depth version that has nearl every grammatical aspect used in speaking(such as the Hammer's grammar book for German)? And where can you find a good dictionary with a lot of words that have been recently updated?
jackmark 1 | 26
26 May 2013 #2
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
26 May 2013 #3
You sound like you're trying to run before you can walk with this.
Start with a basic book and then move onto Intermediate.
Polish in 4 weeks by Marzena Kowalska is very good, and there is also an Intermediate version available.
Believe me, you won't finish it in anything like 4 weeks, but it will give you a very good grounding in Polish Language.
It comes with a CD so you can listen to pronunciation.
OP Rudy5 13 | 36
26 May 2013 #4
Thank you very much, is Iwona Sadowska's book the most comprehensive and thorough grammar book that you know of? Do you know if it contains all the grammar that is needed to speak?
26 May 2013 #5
is Iwona Sadowska's book the most comprehensive and thorough grammar book that you know of?

I haven't looked at it, but it's not a book for beginners. Look at the other thread you started, Grammar Books, there is a reply about this book there.
jackmark 1 | 26
27 May 2013 #6
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 :)
Apprentice 2 | 4
31 May 2013 #7
Hi I have been learning Polish for a few years. I have many Polish friends and do think the best way to learn is by talking to native Poles. I have a very very good book 'PoPolsku 1'. Unfortunately this book is entirely in Polish, but does a very good job in taking you through the 7 cases. I have had to ask my mates to give me more than enough help using this book, and does take perserverance.

Last year I decided to take GCSE Polish, but unfortunately got a grade D. :-( In my writing part the majority of my nouns and adjectives were written in the nominative!!!!!! oh dear!

Having said that, perservere with learning this rich and wonderful language. Powodzenia! (Good luck).

23 Feb 2016 #8
Learning foreign languages is best at great schools like polish course. You can count on the best support from teachers who are focused on your progress. At home you can watch Polish films, listen to Polish radio. This is the most natural way to learn a foreign language. It's really hilarious to watch popular English movies with Polish dubbing.
Graceland11 - | 1
8 Apr 2016 #9
Merged: Looking for help with Polish language

Hi all!
I am looking to visit Poland soon and I really would like to improve my polish skills. I can speak at a basic level but I am looking for someone to possibly email with to help improve these skills.

Dziękuje bardzo!
Lyzko 37 | 8,696
8 Apr 2016 #10
Graceland11, I'd begin with perhaps a Polish language course at the local Polish Consulate/Mission in your home city! If you're lucky enough to be in New York, L.A., Washington DC, Boston or some similar-size metropolis, then you've any number of options to choose from, particularly New York:-)

From my experience, it's better to learn at least some of the language on-site aka at home, before going to Poland. Always a smart idea to have the basics under your belt before embarking on a trip to another country.

This is only an observation, but I found it helpful when I first visited Poland during the 90's, and realized that knowing some of the language made daily contact SOOOOO much more rewarding.

Powodzenia oraz szczęśliwej drogi do Polski!! Ale dokąd pójdziesz?

(Best of luck and happy trails on your trip to Poland!! Where will you be going though?)
Dougpol1 32 | 2,673
8 Apr 2016 #11
a Polish language course at the local Polish Consulate/Mission in your home city

Poppycock. I've been on one of those courses.

They are a lecture in culture, and never graded according to the Common European Framework. Or at least, they weren't when I handed over my hard-earned many moons ago.

Get yourself a private tutor. Of the same sex. Otherwise you'll be bored stiff.
Lyzko 37 | 8,696
8 Apr 2016 #12
I suppose that was your own experience, Dougpol!

Other American friends/acquantances of mine said that they benefited immensely from language courses offered either through the Consulate on 38th Street in Manhattan as well as the Kościuszko Foundation, along with the Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences:-) Speakers were trained, native-born and educated, young Poles who seemed to enjoy teaching.

Those whom I know claimed that it prepared them for their trip to Poland.
Dougpol1 32 | 2,673
8 Apr 2016 #13
Excellent! I was quoting from my classes at a certain Polish university, so not exactly related. I stand corrected, and if as you say, it's a dynamic language immersion then I am happy to backtrack and apologise.
Lyzko 37 | 8,696
8 Apr 2016 #14
Not Jagiełłoń Uniwersytet in Kraków which has a special program "Polish for Foreigners" sponsored in part through Kościuszko, by any chance?
Dougpol1 32 | 2,673
8 Apr 2016 #15
Similar - don't want to name them. I was not a model student:(
Lyzko 37 | 8,696
8 Apr 2016 #16
Neither was I particularly! Surprising as it may seem, my teacher had to prod me constantly to study:-)

Then again, I was taking private classes, quite apart from any "degree" program or other. My first instructor was from Łódź, the second, from Lwów, and neither could really speak English too well.

Fortunately, they both spoke and understood fluent German, so subtleties were more easily explained in their second language instead of having to resort to English with which they were basically unfamiliar.

As I remember, we did lots of listening plus spot dictations in the beginning, later moving on to short, easy readings from some dinosaur of a dusty old Communist Era primer entitled "Pracowita Matka" or "The Industrious Mother" and narrated with pictures the daily life of the Nowakowski family, as they went through their humdrum lives in WarsawLOL

Eventually, we slowly graduated to watching Polish classics (first with, later without close captions) such as "Nóż we wodzie" (1958), right on up through "Kret" in the 2000's about the rancor between family members brought on by the Solidarity Movement following martial law in Poland.
Dougpol1 32 | 2,673
8 Apr 2016 #17
As I remember, we did lots of listening plus spot dictations in the beginning, later moving on to short, easy readings from some dinosaur of a dusty old Communist Era primer...

Yes - very similar to my story. You co-operated and learnt. I didn't. My bad:)
Lyzko 37 | 8,696
9 Apr 2016 #18
Eventually, though, but not without some knock-down, drag-out arguments with Jacek (my last or prior teacher) regarding the most optimal method for a working American adult learner!!!! Being a slightly older European academic (about 60-ish at the time), he insisted that grammar translation was THE way, upon which yours truly gently took issue, thereupon almost starting World War III:-)

Luckily for both of us, my knowledge of German salvaged our lessons and we eventually did get back on track, as you implied. Though not without a few mutual hissy fits.


If you or any one else are interested, I once ran across a text pushed by the Kościuszko people called "Wśród Polaków", published in the US, I recall:-) It was a CD series with workbook and lots of exercises, albeit a bit pedestrian. The individual chapter units didn't follow any particular story as with the "Pracowita Matka", but contained an answer key for self study and considerable cultural information, e.g. what to say when someone sneezes at the table, how to send a condolence card etc...
11 Apr 2016 #19
There is a Doulingo Polish course, did you try it. It is not the greatest, but if you know some basics, it can help you.
kadamus 1 | 6
14 Apr 2016 #20
If anybody need learn polish language i can help tchem, you can help me instead learn English language.
Dreamergirl 4 | 273
14 Apr 2016 #21
I'd like to learn polish. At the moment I only know bad words
Atch 17 | 3,704
14 Apr 2016 #22
Which you learned from your hugely endowed Polish boyfriends. Troll, trolly, trollykins, troglodyte, how does thee troll, let me count the ways.......I'm willing to bet Dreamergirl is a bored twelve year old boy. Obviously he can only manage short sentences even in English so the prospect of managing anything better in Polish is unlikely.
Dreamergirl 4 | 273
14 Apr 2016 #23
I'm 30 years old female! I looked through this forum before joining and I thought I could get advice on a sensitive issue and also maybe someone to teach me polish? What did I do wrong?
jon357 71 | 20,789
14 Apr 2016 #24
I'm willing to bet Dreamergirl is a bored twelve year old boy.

Almost certainly something similar however if she/he really does want to learn Polish, the best way is real life lessons and a lot of conversation practice.
Dreamergirl 4 | 273
14 Apr 2016 #25
I'd love to learn that's why I'm posting on this thread! Maybe via Skype?
jon357 71 | 20,789
14 Apr 2016 #26
Maybe via Skype?

Skype lessons aren't much good - usually a waste of money.
kadamus 1 | 6
14 Apr 2016 #28
If anybody need learn polish language i can help them, you can help me instead learn English languageIf anybody would like try learn with me via skype. I give e-mail:

Im 39 years old, male, engineer electric. Im native Poland.

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