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The Polish language - it's bloody hard!


Seanus 15 | 19,706
31 May 2008 #61
Aren't u being a trifle disingenuous Marek? ;)
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
31 May 2008 #62
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.

I am only sorry that you have obviously decided to not take the time to read what I had written or to respond logically / intelligently.

What you have done, on the other hand, is attack me, my professional qualifications, and my level of English.
I find it immature at best.
Congratulations on your blissful and extremely self-satisfied bilingualism.
Marek 4 | 867
31 May 2008 #63
Magda!

Please, be my guest. Impress me. I'd honestly look forward to being proven wrong. I'm at panlech31@yahoo. I'll be happy to e-mail back my corrections for practice too! Incidentally, I'd use you to translate into Polish, your mother tongue, noooo problem.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
31 May 2008 #64
Hello the Marek,

will u learn me what mean 'fortnight'?
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
31 May 2008 #65
Please, be my guest. Impress me.

I'd rather you answered the questions and issues I raised in my post above. This is not about my English skills. Even if my English IS atrocious, I still managed to string together a few sentences about the subject we had been discussing - translation. You, on the other hand, cling to the illusion that this is some giant ego fest.

I'll be happy to e-mail back my corrections for practice too! Incidentally, I'd use you to translate into Polish, your mother tongue, noooo problem.

Incidentally, I have quite a busy business going, so I have very little time for fun and silliness these days. My clients will stop coming back if what you say is true. I think there is no better test.

Thanks for the generous offer.
Marek 4 | 867
31 May 2008 #66
Seanus,

A 'fortnight' means two weeks, from 'fourteen nights', used exclusively in British English.

Magdalena!

Don't mean to be rude still, but if your clients are resp, Finns, Bulgarians, Germans or other Poles, how would they know if your English skills are what you claim? Therefore, not such a good test. -:) LOL

Oh ,yes. Pardon me, there was the great Polish-born exception to everything: Joseph Conrad, who learned English while in his twenties, yet was perhaps the master prose stylist in the 19th century English novel, along with Thomas Hardy. And English was NOT his first language. A true genius. Rest in peace, Panie Joźiu!!

I could give so many instances of mangled English done in the name of pluralism.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
31 May 2008 #67
Don't mean to be rude still, but if your clients are resp, Finns, Bulgarians, Germans or other Poles, how would they know if your English skills are what you claim? Therefore, not such a good test. -:) LOL

I live and work in London, UK.
Marek 4 | 867
31 May 2008 #68
...and I in New York, congrats! -:)
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
31 May 2008 #69
Nothing very special about it, except the minor fact that I would have been out of business very soon if my language skills were so very much below par. I would never say my English is perfect, but then despite being Czech/Polish bilingual I would never say my Polish or Czech were "perfect" either. You either learn a given language every day, or you regress at an alarming rate.

I have spoken.
Marek 4 | 867
31 May 2008 #70
....and quite satisfactorily indeed! Jestem zadowalony z twoim zdaniem a zgadzam się z wieloma innymi rczeczami, które mówiłas!!
Seanus 15 | 19,706
31 May 2008 #71
Hehehe, I knew that as I am British. Just testing u. Translation is hard work, I respect u guys. I can give loose translations but would cringe at the prospect of working for a large corporation. The nuances have to be understood, a couple of levels above me
JustysiaS 13 | 2,240
31 May 2008 #72
Jestem zadowalony z twoim zdaniem a zgadzam się z wieloma innymi rczeczami, które mówiłas!!

more like: Jestem zadowolony, że takie jest twoje zdanie i zgadzam się z wieloma innymi rzeczami, o których mówiłaś.

Tell you what, if i was a client, I'd rather have Magda translate for me :)
z_darius 14 | 3,968
31 May 2008 #73
A 'fortnight' means two weeks, from 'fourteen nights', used exclusively in British English.

Nope, that ain't correct.

Jestem zadowalony z twoim zdaniem a zgadzam się z wieloma innymi rczeczami, które mówiłas!!

Neither is this.

Now, (anybody) how about the meaning of Polish "kokcielić pardwę" ?
Seanus 15 | 19,706
31 May 2008 #74
Canadians use fortnight?

The vocal sound produced by a deer?
z_darius 14 | 3,968
31 May 2008 #75
Canadians use fortnight?

Americans, Canadians and Aussies all use the word, although in the US it is fairly infrequent.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
31 May 2008 #76
So, British English then! ;)
Seanus 15 | 19,706
31 May 2008 #78
U were never with me ;) Australia and Canada, Commonwealth countries hence British English ;)
z_darius 14 | 3,968
31 May 2008 #79
Australia and Canada, Commonwealth countries hence British English ;)

Nah, politics and linguistics do not overlap in this respect too much. There ain't no British English but in Britain.

Spelling here is kinda British but Canadian English is slowly becoming less colourful and becomes colorful instead. Vocabulary and pronunciation is more American than British.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
31 May 2008 #80
I know, I was just kidding.
z_darius 14 | 3,968
31 May 2008 #81
cool, just making sure.

As for the translations, I don't think I can agree with Marek. Not across the board.

There are circumstances when a foreign to native translation should be done by a native rather than by a foreigner. Still, there are plenty of circumstances when this is not necessarily so. My daughter's English and Polish are both at native levels. She would not be able to translate Introduction to ADA Programming from/into either language. I could not translate it into Polish myself, actually, but I would have no issues translating computer literature into the English language. Sure, you' stumble upon a few grammatical errors but it would be clear and precise - as technical texts should be.

Years ago I would do some translations, a couple movies and some academic texts. Many were a failure. I could not translate (on my own) anything about, for instance, cheese processing for someone from an Agricultural Academy. She had to sit there with me and be available for me to ask her questions.
Piorun - | 658
31 May 2008 #82
Now, (anybody) how about the meaning of Polish "kokcielić pardwę" ?

Kokcielić means wydawać głos so I’m not really sure but is it dać głos prawdzie czyli mówić prawdę?Kokcielić is as much in use in polish as Ochędorzyć these days.

I must admit I have never heard this expression before "kokcielić pardwę" and I’m a native speaker.
z_darius 14 | 3,968
31 May 2008 #83
"kokcielić pardwę"

You're good.
It's a part of hunter's vocabulary. Translates simply as "to call (a grouse)"
Marek 4 | 867
1 Jun 2008 #84
(paraphrasing Chruchill)...If you were my client, I'd let you have 'er! -:) LOL

Darius,

I'm afraid you're flat wrong! A 'fortnight' IS two weeks! Ask Seanus. -:)-:)

I might agree, Darius, that there are instances in which someone, take your daughter, is so highly gifted that they can in fact translate into a second language, not their bilingual 'second' mother tongue, such as I with German.

Teaching though, is another matter entirely. Perhaps the reason why almost every non-native English speaker has such a lifelong accent in English, is that their first English instructor, without exception, was probably a native of their mother country, not the UK, US or Canada. Here in the States, to be a state-certified German, Spanish or French teacher, native fluency is required. Sufficient pull however, could smooth the way in any employment situation, so naturally, some non-native French, German or Spanish instructors at the pre-college level do slip through the cracks! -:)

I might also add here that therefore the standards of junior and high-school foreign language instruction in the US are on a higher level than most English study in Europe, as our insistance on native language quality assurance is frequently a matter of law! Not every Tom, Dick and Harry who imagines themselves supremely talented in languages, despite degrees and studies, is allowed to, for my part, even capable, of teaching a second language on all but the most rudimentary level!
z_darius 14 | 3,968
2 Jun 2008 #85
Perhaps the reason why almost every non-native English speaker has such a lifelong accent in English, is that their first English instructor, without exception, was probably a native of their mother country, not the UK, US or Canada. Here in the States

The real reason might be elsewhere. Perfect pronunciation becomes increasingly hard to achieve with age. It is a part of the so called "linguistic competence" and generally accepted border line is somewhere between 12 and 14 years of age (give or take in respect to individual circumstances).

The non native teachers you have in mind were often people who started learning their second language late in their lives - after they turned 14. Many though, had native teachers of English in Polish universities. The language of instruction was actually English and (at least in my case) a vast majority of teachers were Americans and Brits. Poles were usually junior faculty members.

The curriculum included pretty extensive courses in phonology and phonetics - 2 years in all. Without going into details - it was very thorough. Various students achieved various results. Some maintained very thick accents to this day, others are considered native speakers by ... true native speakers of English.

to be a state-certified German, Spanish or French teacher, native fluency is required. Sufficient pull however, could smooth the way in any employment situation, so naturally, some non-native French, German or Spanish instructors at the pre-college level do slip through the cracks! -:)

One of my English phonetics teachers was a Pole (University of Wroclaw). Since I remember, he had been always thought of by Americans and Brits as a native speaker of English. He now leads English Language Centre (elc.uni.wroc.pl)and neither Cambridge University nor British Council found any problems with him being more than capable of fulfilling his mandate in regards to some of the top lever English Language certifications. All his staff are Poles.
Marek 4 | 867
2 Jun 2008 #86
Again, there will continue to be those gifted exceptions. They are however, NOT the rule, I can assure you!

When I was first starting out years ago as a translator/simultaneous interpreter, I was of course asked my 'native' tongue(s). I replied quite naturally, English and German. I was then put through a ferocious (or 'grueling', if you wish LOL) battery of verbal as well as written tests, arrogant chap as I was perceived, to be able to translate INTO the source, rather than the target, language!! Shame on me for lying!, was the thinking there.

When I passed with flying colors, I was ruefully permitted to slowly join the ranks of the office staff......only because I was able to successfully prove my bilingualism. When I then asked innocently if I might translate a short, but vital document INTO Swedish, a language for which I couldn't prove mother tongue abilities, the boss sneered "Please, Mr. Pajdo, don't make us laugh!!"
z_darius 14 | 3,968
2 Jun 2008 #87
Again, there will continue to be those gifted exceptions. They are however, NOT the rule, I can assure you!

Agreed, but those gifted exceptions had exactly the same teachers. Wouldn't that point towards the student then?

Btw. the fella I mentioned was taught English by a Pole. A know a few people (while I studied things other than English philology) who were taught by a native British lady. Terrible results. She was a great teacher and all. But they slacked.

Eventually though, after you have reached a certain level of proficiency, there is no substitute for actually living in a foreign country. I remember when I first arrived in NYC - I could debate superiority of Ben Jonson over Shakespeare, and the much too obvious metaphors used by Cotton Mather, but... I didn't know how to buy a loaf of bread in a corner store. I also had a big problem in understanding what a vacuum cleaner had to to with the plot of the movie I watched - I had no idea it was a commercial :)
Marek 4 | 867
2 Jun 2008 #88
Darius, the 'unofficial' language of NYC has been broken English for more decades than I care to admit! I often don't understand the corner grocer either, and English IS my first language, more or less. Unfortunately for me, my Pashto, Punjabi and Bangla are rather rusty.-:)-:) LOL

My last time in the UK, mid-nineties or something, I remember a sign over a London dry-cleaner "BROKEN ENGLISH SPOKEN PERFECTLY!" I still have a snapshot of it. I just had to go inside and enquire as to how fluent the chap running the shop was in 'broken English'. Not only didn't he get my question, his quite native-born Anglo-Brit shop assistant was highly unamused and so much as told me to go to blazes.

Funny, eh? (he-he)
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
3 Jun 2008 #89
Not every Tom, Dick and Harry who imagines themselves supremely talented in languages, despite degrees and studies, is allowed to, for my part, even capable, of teaching a second language on all but the most rudimentary level!

In other words, the Anglophone world should do nothing all day but churn out huge masses of English teachers for the entire world? And the rest of us poor disadvantaged souls should just sit around and wait to be taught?

"Perfect" English is not the goal of TEFL, and never was, especially as there is no such thing outside the realm of Plato's ideals.

The ability to speak, understand speech, write, and read - the ability to COMMUNICATE effectively in a foreign tongue - is what counts here.
I have personally taught English using Oxford-published materials including tapes with dialogues recorded by English speakers from Canada, the States, Australia, the East End of London, the West Indies... The idea is that the student should be able to understand all these different varieties of English, and even if their own accent is not RP or General American - that they should speak clearly enough to be understood. Slight vagaries of accent are not the end of the world, nor should they be. I have had students afraid to open their mouths because some jobsworth teacher in their past had repeatedly shamed them for not conforming strictly to the pronunciation patterns of English. These people will never really speak English, the psychological damage done to them was too great. :-(
Marek 4 | 867
3 Jun 2008 #90
"Perfect English is not the goal......"

Guess what, Magda, I couldn't agree with you more!!! So why then, at least in my extensive experience both at home and abroad, do soooo many foreign tourists as well as English-speaking natives of European countries, even from Spain, whose inhabitants are notoriously poor in learning foreign languages, adamantly, often arrogantly, resist even the most unobtrusive of corrections whenever I've endeavored to 'level the playing field'?? Is it really always a guest/host relationship or something else I'm missing?

The response I've usually gotten has been "Oh, my English is good enough, I think! But your ___________ needs a lot of work!"

A more helpful answer would be: "Oh, I know my English will never be as good as yours, but I enjoy practicing my skills. Appreciate when you correct me sometimes. We're always grateful when foreigners speak our language well ...!" or words to that effect.

Indeed, what are we all doing in this forum, but honing our respective languages?


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