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The Polish language - it's bloody hard!


michals girl
11 Apr 2007 #31
I am trying to learn Polish, also. I've basically got the pronunciation down, and trying hard to work on vocabulary. I'm going to tackle grammar soon. I'm learning it for my boyfriend, and he keeps wanting me to talk to him in Polish, use some of the phrases I know, but I'm sorta embarrassed, I feel like he'll think it's cute, but I'm butchering it!
xXlisaXx 8 | 182
11 Apr 2007 #32
I'd like to learn Polish and have found a free download website called 'Before You Know It' It gives you flash cards with common words and phrases and also sound (which i have found very usefull) but it only covers a little bit and i would like to learn more. Has any one got any ideas as to were i can get audio tapes that will help me but not tell me how to book a hotel room or which way to the airport. Thats not really any use to me i want to learn everyday words and phrases and how to pronounce them properly. ta X
Ska
17 Apr 2007 #33
You can buy programs like rosetta stone, if you want to fork out that kind of money.. I'm trying to find cheaper ways to learn it myself :)
telefonitika
17 Apr 2007 #34
Thats not really any use to me i want to learn everyday words and phrases and how to pronounce them properly

i only have what i have handed to me at college by the tutor Angelika i could photocopy you some of it and send onto you lisa if you wished we've covered different areas etc

Polski jest bardzo trudny

polish is very hard! would i be right?
sophie1080
21 Apr 2007 #35
I would like to learn some Polish words? How do you say hello?
telefonitika
22 Apr 2007 #36
How do you say hello

it is cześć
pronounced as cheshch

sophie1080 invest in a good phrasebook (lonely planets) has all the phonetic soundings in it and all the greetings etc

good morning/afternoon is dzień dobry (djen do-bri)
good evening is dobry wieczór (do-bri vye-choor)

goodbye is do widzenia (do vee-dze-nya)
good night is dobranoc (do-bra-nots)
see you later is do zobaczenia (do zo-ba-che-nya)

excuse me is przepraszam (pshe-pra-sham)
please is proszę (pro-she)
thank you is dziękuje (djen-koo-ye)
thank you very much is dziękuje bardzo (djen-koo-ye bar-dzo)

how are you is Jak się masz? (yak she mash)
pleased to meet you is Bardzo miło mi (bar-dzo mee-wo me)

i guess that should help you somewhat! :)
Jagienka
24 Apr 2007 #37
Try : polish.slavic.pitt.edu/
If not the course the phrase book should be of some use.
Powodzenia!
plg 17 | 263
24 Apr 2007 #38
then i've got to get my head around the Polish grammar...but one step at a time

WHO RATTLED MY CAGE ? that would had been you mate.
glad to see your spelling has improved.

i have tried watching Roman Polanski's Knife in Water but they talk really fast!I know how to say hello and good afternoon-but my knowledge is very basic-the pronunciation of words is difficult for me to get the hang of-i can write things in polish as opposed to saying them!

what about the spelling of English words Saffron like PRONUNCIATION ....
Hueg - | 320
24 Apr 2007 #39
what about the spelling of English words Saffron like PRONUNCIATION ....

Don't worry about him Saff. He's just angry because he thinks that it's ok to say 'yous'.
Then again, I think they do that in Scotland apparently.

No no it's Iron Brew. They just won't listen.
telefonitika
24 Apr 2007 #40
Iron Brew

made from something .. not had that in ages hueg!
(now gone off topic)
Hueg - | 320
24 Apr 2007 #41
Made in Scotland by Girders iirc. Ahh the old Orange nectar. :)
Anjelkake 1 | 9
24 Apr 2007 #42
Very cool Telefonitika! Thank you very much. I just don't know why my mother didn't use more Polish in the house when we were growing up. It was like her secret language when she didn't want us kids to know what the adults were talking about. Is that just messed up or what?

I just wanted to extend a big THANK YOU to everyone who posted links (that work) and contributed like Telefonitika did. Bravo!
Jagna - | 26
25 Apr 2007 #43
guests can't share links so you need to add those www or http to them
pol444
26 Jan 2008 #44
ah i know polish but desperately want to learn german fluently, any suggestions? teach me!!!!
southern 75 | 7,096
27 Jan 2008 #45
One basic advice is to avoid german teachers.They are the worst possible teachers since they do not take your needs and abilities into account.Moreover Germans take many things for granted that are not known to foreigners and do not bother explaining them to the latter.For example

1.German language has a specific word for every thing opposite to english where one word can mean a lot of things(eg run has 20 different meanings,rennen has only one meaning).So you have to learn the specific word that is used for the specific thing and not confuse it with another specific word used for another specific thing

2.German syntax is very complicated.You need to learn which verbs need dativ,which accusativ,how to use verben mit prepositionalem objekt etc.Germans will never teach you syntax,they teach only grammar because they take it for granted that foreigners know german syntax, ,since Germans have been taught only grammar in school.

So my advice would be sth like
1.Memorize about 2000-4000 words for casual conversation
2.Memorize 100-200 verben mit prepositionalem objekt to be able to build sentences without mistakes(they are the equivalents of phrasal verbs in english very important in speech but Germans do not care to teach them as English do)

3.Memorize 100-200 funktionsverben to make good impression that you have grasp of the language(you gain some german flavour in speech by that)
4.Learn syntax very well by memorizing categories of verbs needing accusativ,etc
5.Learn grammar.

Of all the above the Germans will teach you only grammar and some vocabulary.They are not supposed to teach you syntax,verben mit prepositionalem objekt,funktionsverben.

If you ask them what should I do to improve my german and not make so many mistakes they will answer to you,read newspapers and books in german.They think you have to try yourself as well to be motivated,not wanting everything ready in advance.
Guest
19 Apr 2008 #46
Most people I've met have found Polish to be the hardest language they've ever encountered.

To southern: What the hell are you talking about? German is not that complicated. Polish is definitely a lot harder.
Marek 4 | 867
20 Apr 2008 #47
Southern,
Ennt ze tschairm'nss ssink zey shpeek maatsch better in Inglisch zenn zey duu!

Poles seem far less arrogant to me regarding the level of English they speak than do most German or Dutch speakers. Listen carefully, especially to a very young Dutchman, speaking English, and one'd think one were hearing a bad version of a grade B film noir: lots of misused slang, slurred speech and vulgarity.

Guest, I 'd say that both German and Polish are equally difficult in somewhat different ways. German has article declensions along with the adjective endings, which Polish doesn't have (nor does Russian!), but Polish has a seemingly chaotic counting system, almost quixotic in its capriciousness after the number '5'. On the other hand, German counting is as boringly regular and predictable as English, yet the separable vs. inseparable verbal prefixes in German drive most foreign students of mine up a bloody wall!!

In the end, I'd say that it's tough to generalize about each language's respective difficulties. One thing's for sure, though; their respective beauty is undeniable.
z_darius 14 | 3,968
21 Apr 2008 #48
German language has a specific word for every thing opposite to english where one word can mean a lot of things(eg run has 20 different meanings,rennen has only one meaning)

Polen - Poland
polen - to polarize

der Lauf : barrel, course, current, heat (in sport), muzzle, operation, running, trend, way
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510
21 Apr 2008 #49
Ausfahrt - motorway exit

ausfahrt - to break wind
Marek 4 | 867
21 Apr 2008 #50
'German language has a specific word for everything....'

Polish has more specificity, that's true, but there are exceptions, e.g. "ćma" = shadow, death's head moth, skull and cross bones etc..

Although Bubba Woo's example of "Ausfahrt" (exit) vs. "ausfahrt" (to break wind) is plain wrong! Our good 'ol Anglo-Saxon word "fart" comes from German "furzen", no connection at all to "ausfahrt", anyway, a conjugated verb form, rather than a noun.

Trust though the latter was intended as a "double entendre"! -:) -:)

I misswrote my last post! What I meant was that, in fact, Polish is LESS specific than German!! -:) sorry, guys.
z_darius 14 | 3,968
23 Apr 2008 #51
Polish is LESS specific than German!!

I dunno how this can be established. There must be some numbers to support that statement. Simple listing from dictionaries won't do either as this issue would likely be subject to the study of semantic field in regards to every meaning of the word. IMO that kind of research would be hard to automate using a computer. Lotsa work.
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510
23 Apr 2008 #52
ABubba Woo's example of "Ausfahrt" (exit) vs. "ausfahrt" (to break wind) is plain wrong!

but proves conclusively that i have a sense of humus and therefore cannot be a piece of shredded cabbage
Marek 4 | 867
23 Apr 2008 #53
Cute one, bubba. HA!! LOL
Overclocked - | 3
26 May 2008 #54
My English is very well developed. In fact, I've had several of my stories published in local newspapers. I would think that for an English-speaker, Polish would be more difficult to learn because Polish belongs to the Slavic class of languages while German is a Germanic language just like English. The sounds of German would be more closely-related to English. Reading and writing is more difficult in Polish. Many would agree that Polish text looks a lot more intimidating than German text. I do not speak German fluently so I can't say for sure that it's more specific than Polish, however, I know Polish can definitely be very specific in some aspects. For example, in English we have the word "word" which can refer to a written word or a spoken word. In Polish we have "wyraz," which refers to a word written on paper but we also have "słowo," which refers to a word that is spoken.
Marek 4 | 867
31 May 2008 #55
'wyraz' is also related to 'wyrazenie', meaning 'expression'. As a fellow "Anglophone", but in my case bilingual with German, I can clearly understand your point of view with regard to Polish. I began learning Polish, my first Slavic language, at around age thirty. Somehow, I seemed to absorb this fascinating and immensely beautiful, tongue fairly quickly. I'm still occasionally challenged by the aspect system, haven't quite developed the ear for natural-sounding idiom and slang either, but consider myself as having the fluency of a solid intermediate.

Polish, like German, is of course, like any language, incredibly practical! Finding a Pole or a German with my level of English, even my level in their language, especially German, is rather like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack!

Many European companies too have typically used non-native English speakers to edit their English texts which they send internationally to clients all over the world, hence further reeinforcing the mistakes made respectively by German, Polish native speakers etc. who doggedly insist on writing in English instead of their mother language.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
31 May 2008 #56
who doggedly insist

Who are using their foreign language skills to communicate with other people around the world, you mean.
English is a lingua franca, like it or not.
Not everyone has to know it to super-advanced level. This is where translators and interpreters come into the picture. ;-)
Marek 4 | 867
31 May 2008 #57
Witaj, Magdo!

True enough what you say re: translators. I am one. Unfortunately, often times Poles and other Europeans use native translators INTO English, rather than hiring a native English speaker such as myself for the same job because they're simply too darn cheap to pay the extra expense on a quality job! That's the bottom line, I'm afraid.

However, do they really 'communicate' or actually 'miscommunicate' with the rest of the continent by using faulty English??
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
31 May 2008 #58
Hey hey hey! Easy there! I do a lot of translating INTO English myself, you see, and I'm no native! It's not a question of being cheap IMHO. It's other things.

1) Most texts, excluding literature, are not that complicated or linguistically challenging to merit looking for a "native" translator;
2) availability - if every Polish text generated in Poland and translated into English/German/French etc. were to go via a native speaker of those languages, where would you find all those translators? Remember, literally thousands of pages are being commissioned for translation every day! There would have to be thousands of willing native translators on call to cope with this demand;

3) with language pairs like Polish/English, where one is much more widely taught than the other, what guarantee can you give that a Polish translator who has studied English since primary school would be a worse translator into English, i.e., would have a worse understanding of the finer points of English, than an English translator who (with luck) started learning Polish in his/her late teens would have of the finer points of Polish? (What a sentence! Am I making sense?) In other words, translation is two-way. Your perfect ability to express yourself in English does not by itself mean you will understand the Polish well enough to be able to fully utilize this ability (or at all). In other words, you need to know the two languages equally well. In other words, both the Polish and the English translator are at a certain disadvantage and have to work equally hard. In other words, what's the problem if I do translate into English?

4) why are interpreters required to go back and forth between two or more languages if it's such a crime for translators? I am an interpreter as well - do I forget my English the instant I start typing?
Marek 4 | 867
31 May 2008 #59
Magda,

I haven't read the quality of your translations into English or heard the quality of your interpreting into English, but based on your posts, I wouldn't let you translate for me into English for free, much less for pay! -:) Sorry.

By the way, I translate INTO German, but only because I grew up bilingual. You didn't, obviously.
JustysiaS 13 | 2,240
31 May 2008 #60
Finding a Pole or a German with my level of English, even my level in their language, especially German, is rather like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack!

that is a rather brave thing to say! lol. im gutted that even though i've learnt German for 3 years and was quite good at it, 5 years on (4 spent in UK) i can't remember anything...


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