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Polish was chosen the HARDEST LANGUAGE in the world to learn... :D


joland 4 | 86
11 Apr 2009  #1
What is the hardest language to learn?

Extremely Hard: The hardest language to learn is: Polish
-Seven Cases, Seven Genders and very difficult pronunciation.
Average English speaker is fluent at about the age 12;
the average Polish speaker is fluent in their language not until age 16. .

I know a Chinese language teacher that says people pick up Chinese very easy, but he speaks several languages and could not learn Polish.

hubpages.com/hub/Most_Difficult_Languages_-_Polish

I did have the opportunity to learn one of the hardest, and supposedly the most grammatically-complex Slavic language, Polish. It is certainly harder than Croatian, which I already knew when I started to learn Polish.

Here's one (somewhat trivial, but illustrative) example of the relative complexity of languages: the number 2.

English, Spanish, Dutch: 1 form (two, dos, twee)

Portuguese: 2 forms (dois/duas) - depending on gender (2 - masculine & feminine)

Croatian: 7 forms (dva, dvije, dvoje, dvojica, dvojice, dvojici, dvojicu) - depending on gender (3 - masculine, feminine, and neuter) and case in one specific form. There were other variants historically but they're not used anymore.

Polish: 17 forms. Depends on gender (3), case for all forms. Pretty much all these forms occur in regular speech (6-11 less often than the others)

17 grammatical forms for the number 2

1. dwa
2. dwie
3. dwoje
4. dwóch (or dwu)
5. dwaj
6. dwiema
7. dwom (or dwóm)
8. dwoma
9. dwojga
10. dwojgu
11. dwojgiem
12. dwójka
13. dwójki
14. dwójkę
15. dwójką
16. dwójce
17. dwójko
newgrange - | 6
11 Apr 2009  #2
For somebody coming from an English speaking background, it's all the cases that make it difficult. The verbs are not so bad. There are new sounds of course and the gender complication but all the cases really make it difficult.

I think it's a language that it is not so difficult to make yourself understood in, but difficult to be grammatically correct. I don't think Polish people are used to adults speaking bad Polish and sometimes some of them are not as patient as they could be.

I'm most comfortable with children aged about 5 or 6 as they speak nice and slowly and don't use many words.
mafketis 19 | 6,899
11 Apr 2009  #3
Hot damn! That means I'm like an effin' GENIUS! Eat it average intelligence fools!
Torq 26 | 2,369
11 Apr 2009  #4
If you're a foreigner and you managed to achieve even a basic fluency in Polish
then you must be some kind of a linguistic genius (unless you come from a Slavic
country).
Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
11 Apr 2009  #5
this is going on my c.v.
Wroclaw Boy
11 Apr 2009  #6
Yeh you Poles sure like to complicate things.

I'll stick with dwa piwa prozse.
berni23 7 | 379
11 Apr 2009  #7
LOL
I know that phrase in 9 different languages.
dtaylor 9 | 823
11 Apr 2009  #8
I know it in every language, two (using my fingers) beers (pointing at the beer, or making drinking gesture) please (pretending to beg). :P
koziolek 2 | 31
11 Apr 2009  #9
If only it were as simple as x number of cases, y number of genders, z number of grammatical moods and so on. It's the daunting array of different forms within each case, gender and mood. Something as simple as forming a plural or a genitive is complicated by there not being one rule and a small handful of irregular formations - there are quite often two or three rules into which a word can fit. Masculine singular genitives - you need to know whether to finish the word the -a or -u when you learn the nominative because I'm fairly sure there's no consistency in determining which is to be used.

But at least Polish did away with the dual number (although it seems it has many traces left behind in words like drzwi meaning door(s) or forms of the word ręka. Slovenian has kept the dual number but has made up for this by ditching another pointless grammatical gender.

you Poles sure like to complicate things.

Polish people like to complicate things.

Polish cow: Mu
English cow: Moo

Instant conversation.
osiol 55 | 3,922
11 Apr 2009  #10
BB, how easily can you tell the gender of a noun in German? In Polish, it's not usually too difficult to know whether a noun is masculine, feminine or neuter. There are exceptions (the masculine -a, the feminine non -a nouns for example) but by and large this is a relatively easy part of the language.

I've never tried learning German, but a mate of mine who's married to a German has not got very far with his learning in the last six or seven years, whereas I've learnt a lot more Polish in the last three years, and that's supposed to be more difficult.

I'm still tempted to give up Polish and learn Portuguese, Swedish or Fang instead.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,998
11 Apr 2009  #11
BB, how easily can you tell the gender of a noun in German? I

DER Mann (man) - male

DIE Frau (woman) - female

DAS Kind (child) - neuter (because we do not know yet what it will be)

See? All easy and logical! :)

Okay...but I have no idea why it is

DER Junge (boy) male

but

DAS Mädchen (girl) neuter
osiol 55 | 3,922
11 Apr 2009  #12
and Krankenwagen, Bahnhof, Schmetterling or Fussborden?

The examples you gave are all the same gender as they would be in Polish! (Shock! Horror!)

Having said that, I have read about the word dziewczę, meaning girl. It is neuter, apparently, but I've been told that no-one uses it these days.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,998
11 Apr 2009  #13
The examples you gave are all the same gender as they would be in Polish! (Shock! Horror!)

We have definitely more vowels!
For me the lack of it would make it a harder language as I would never have the chance to speak it is it would be right...that would suck! :(

Having said that, I have read about the word dziewczę, meaning girl.

With german it's the same...
osiol 55 | 3,922
11 Apr 2009  #14
With german it's the same...

Is that madchen that's neuter? Where's the logic in that?

Grammatical gender, especially for an English speaker, is all nonsensical other than when talking about actual gender. Even then, I don't suppose it is a necessity in language, just as some languages (I am led to believe) don't have different forms for plurals.
benszymanski 8 | 465
11 Apr 2009  #15
Where's the logic in that?

Because -chen (where the proceding vowel has an umlaut) is a diminutive ending that is neuter in gender. Thus all words ending with umlaut + chen are neuter.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,998
11 Apr 2009  #16
Is that madchen that's neuter? Where's the logic in that?

crossmyt.com/hc/linghebr/awfgrmlg.html

Every noun has a gender, and there is no sense or system in the distribution; so the gender of each must be learned separately and by heart. There is no other way. To do this one has to have a memory like a memorandum-book.

gumishu 11 | 4,955
11 Apr 2009  #17
you don't get it Bratwurst - in polish one can most often tell a gender of a noun when seeing it's basic form (nominative) in German you cannot get the idea of which article you should put before many many words (der oder das Artikel - you can't figure it out very often - you have to memorize it)

but in general Polish is much more complicated than German (although those sentences where two parts of a verb are at opposite sites of a sentence can really make you suffer ;P)
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,998
11 Apr 2009  #18
Thus all words ending with umlaut + chen are neuter.

Coool!

He is so right:

DAS Stühl-chen
DAS Windel-chen
DAS Hünd-chen
DAS Mäd-chen
DAS Jüngel-chen (diminuitive boy)
DAS Flugzeug-chen (okay...I made this one up)

DAS Bratwürst-chen
osiol 55 | 3,922
11 Apr 2009  #19
But Hausmeerschweinchen is umlautless, so I wouldn't know if it's masculine, feminine or neuter. Świnka morska is quite clearly feminine. Guinea pig is quite clearly genderless because it's English, so it will either be it or have gender based on its actual biological gender. I'm never really sure what to do when talking about a male guinea pig in Polish.

where two parts of a verb are at opposite sites of a sentence

Do you mean when się, for example, is nowhere near the verb it's qualifying or is there something even more difficult and awkward going on?
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,998
11 Apr 2009  #20
But Hausmeerschweinchen is umlautless, so I wouldn't know if it's masculine, feminine or neuter.

Well...it has a "chen" and you don't know if it's a boy or a girl so using neuter is a good guess!

If you like to speak about an explicit male guinea pig you would say:
"Das männliche Meerschweinchen"

(In german the name of a male pig is "Eber"...so you could try "Der Meereber (fully male)"...but I'm not so sure about that...

It's also DAS Merkelchen...you know? Even as Mrs. Merkel is a female...
chinczyk - | 32
11 Apr 2009  #21
the average Polish speaker is fluent in their language not until age 16

I doubt these guys' IQ,:D,no offence:D
freebird 3 | 532
11 Apr 2009  #22
hmmm, many ways to interpret that one
osiol 55 | 3,922
11 Apr 2009  #23
Not only do children have to be corrected with the mistakes they make in language, adults also make mistakes. A lot of children find th sounds difficult. Some perpetuate these mistakes into adulthood. My Polish ladyfriend sometimes corrects her children when they get something wrong, usually in one of those curious dark corners of the Polish language such as collective numbers. Then she texts me with spelling mistakes that even I can spot. Actually, I don't see any text messages coming this way any more.
benszymanski 8 | 465
11 Apr 2009  #24
Just to through my two grosze in, German is/was my second language (haven't spoken it for a while) and Polish I only started a few years ago as my 3rd.

It's true that in German you have to learn the gender when you learn the word, because in general you can't tell what gender it is from looking at it (apart from the -chen ones I mentioned).

In Polish you can correctly guess the gender 95% of the time, but you still need to learn the word's various grammatical forms because lots are irregular. For example you learn the word for hand - ręka, but then you have to know that it changes to different forms such as ręce, rąk etc..

Personally I think that German is MUCH easier for an English speaker to learn because it is much more closely related to English, the rules aren't as complicated (e.g. no perfective, imperfective, frequentive, determinate, inderterminate, no funny number stuff etc.. etc..) and in general there are fewer irregularities.

Also German makes strong use of compound nouns, so when you see a long word you don't know it's normally just comprised of 2 or 3 simpler words and you can guess the meaning - e.g. "autobahnbruecke" is made up of car, way (as in motorway or railway) and bridge - thus you can guess it means a fly-over.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,998
11 Apr 2009  #25
Genau!

As in "Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän"

Which gender? Easy... "....kapitän" is male:
"DER Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän"

But what about

"Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmütze"?

also easy because "...mütze" is female:
"DIE Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmütze"

but the diminuitive form would mean

"DAS Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmützchen"

See!
niejestemcapita 2 | 561
11 Apr 2009  #26
basic fluency in Polish

what on earth is "basic fluency"? I can say TAK, DOBRZE, sliczne, prawda, no, etc etc....at convincing places in the conversation...does this make me fluent then?...:)
benszymanski 8 | 465
11 Apr 2009  #27
We should set up a polishforums.com German language appreciation society. It's already got 2 members :-)
niejestemcapita 2 | 561
11 Apr 2009  #28
because in general you can't tell what gender it is from looking at it

I just try and talk in plurals so it is always DIE!! German is great for English speaking learners, much much simpler than Polish!
3 members!
Wroclaw Boy
11 Apr 2009  #29
Just to through my two grosze in

That'll be throw then, language language my dear fellow.
freebird 3 | 532
11 Apr 2009  #30
3 members!

add me to it, it makes it 4 :-)


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