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


Olaf 6 | 956
24 Feb 2010 #451
I agree with the above - this "disease" is somewhat make-believe or rather overused. You have problems with orthography or with putting neat letters in your handwriting (disgraphia) or with numbers (discalculia)? - Then you must study more! That is how it used to be back in the days and now every child can go with their parents to get such a 'cerificate'. It is too common! Sure, there are such people who have this impairment, but these terms are abused.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
24 Feb 2010 #452
it's THAT easy to make a grammatically incorrect sentence in Polish, especially with numbers.

Before you carry on in this vein, please be advised that BOTH these forms are acceptable in Polish - "dwoma" + Fem is archaic, but not wrong.

Also, Polish is not the only Slavonic language to use different forms in this case - Slovak springs to mind (check the Wiki entry on dual forms for more info).

Additionally, Czech has both
dvema lahvema (informal) and
dvemi lahvemi (formal), and that's just an example, as the formal / informal divide goes right through the language, on the level of vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammatical forms - how easy do you think that is for a learner?

Ty haranty jsou spatne vychovany, potrebujou dostat facku
Tyto deti jsou spatne vychovane, potrebuji dostat pohlavek

To make things worse, the choice of formal vs informal is not always clear, as e.g. a highly educated person might use informal words or forms in their formal speech to lighten the mood, or someone might, while speaking in full informal mode, use a formal phrase or form to create a comic effect, or to inform the listener that they are being serious at that precise moment, etc. etc.

Plus other fun extras like the imperfective verb forms:
Kdyz jsem tam sel, zastekal na mne pes (perfective)
Kdyz jsem tam chodil, stekal na mne pes (in the past, each time)
Kdyz jsem tam chodival, stekaval na mne pes (repeatedly, and some time ago)
Kdyz jsem tam chodivaval, stekavaval na mne pes (a long time ago, several times)

which is the equivalent of roughly "When I went there, a dog used to bark at me".

I agree that Polish is one of the more complicated languages. But I insist it is one of many, and definitely not the most difficult one. Please read up on other Slavonic languages. And that's just for starters.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,359
24 Feb 2010 #453
There is a school of thought in English that dyslexia doesn't actually exist - the problem is that the dyslexia lobby is quite powerful - combined with many schools pushing the 'dyslexia' label onto virtually any person who has poor spelling abilities and you have one big mess. I believe it exists, but nowhere near on the scale that apparently exists.

Polish is no different - it's being used as an excuse to cover up failings in children. After all, if you don't meet the norms, then something must be wrong with you - and this is where the attitude problem lies.

Apparently one of the biggest social problems in schools in the UK nowadays is the fact that many "dys-something" children are in the bottom classes in school. Fine - but these children take up all the attention of the educators, meaning that genuinely poor learners are being ignored and left to rot - which is wrong!
Olaf 6 | 956
24 Feb 2010 #454
Very accurate insight, Delphiandomine. What schools did you mean? A linguistic approach or just schools where children learn?
poen - | 3
24 Feb 2010 #455
Polish people think Polish is difficult too?
Olaf 6 | 956
24 Feb 2010 #457
poen:
Polish people think Polish is difficult too?

Yes.

I would say no. It doesn't matter which language you speak - mother tongue is mastered by two processes: learning (e.g. at school, from grammar books, like foreign languages) but also acquired (from the very begining babies listen to the language and acquire it later by being exposed to it and are naturally immensed in language). You rather don't have to think which case or gender or tense to use, you do it naturally.
Spirals90
24 Feb 2010 #458
I would say yes, polish is very very hard even for polish natives. The fact that there are 2 other insanely hard languages estonian and hungarian (alltogether they have about 8 million native speakers only though), doesn't destroy or cover the fact that 99.5% of world languages are much easier, normal and clearer and more joyful to speak than polish language.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,359
24 Feb 2010 #459
What schools did you mean?

Schools in general, particularly those in wealthier areas.

I had a discusson once with someone involved with student support in a university - who told me that she personally detested all the dyslexia claims, but because they were backed with medical 'evidence' (which just so happened to be provided by a specialist dyslexia unit that had a vested interest in diagnosing as many people as possible) - she could do nothing but give them what they were entitled to.

(our favourite spammer is back, I see - wonder why he bothered to learn Polish and has a Polish wife if it's so dreadful?)
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
24 Feb 2010 #460
Polish people think Polish is difficult too?

Absolutely not ;-p
Olaf 6 | 956
24 Feb 2010 #461
alltogether they have about 8 million native speakers only though

I think there's at least 14-16 million Hungarian speakers. I don't think Hungarians would say it is hard for them to speak their mother tongue. Is it hard for you to speak your language? It's fairly similar with other languages if you are brought up in this language.

@delphiandomine: Ok, thanks. I think it's exactly as you wrote. And who's the spammer?
Lyzko
24 Feb 2010 #462
Difficulty is usually measured by degree of unfamiliarity. Polish will be compeltely unfamiliar to a native speaker of Mandarin, for example, hence, the former will have a considerably greater challenge learning it, than say, a Russian or a Bulgar!

I was once a newby to Polish, and though to a large extent am still clearly in the more advanced 'learning' phase, surmounted the usual obstacles through sheer force of will and application.

To paraphrase the great Mark Twain, rumors of the unlearnable difficulties of Polish have been exaggerated:-)

LOL
Olaf 6 | 956
24 Feb 2010 #463
Difficulty is usually measured by degree of unfamiliarity. Polish will be compeltely unfamiliar to a native speaker of Mandarin, for example, hence, the former will have a considerably greater challenge learning it, than say, a Russian or a Bulgar!

I wouldn't say that the difficulty is measured like this mainly because languages become popular because of economy, politics and social reasons rather than just being easier to learn (if so why English is far more popular than easier languages?). It is true that languages from the same language group are easier to master because of their common features and native speakers of languages that don't have that much in common have it harder to learn.

I'd say that difficulty of language can rather be measured by its complexity, forms, exceotions, conjugation, number of tenses, genders, inflexion and generally grammar and lexis richness/complexity.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
24 Feb 2010 #464
Mark Twain didn't speak Polish, therefore, I disregard his comment.

Lyzko wrote:

Difficulty is usually measured by degree of unfamiliarity.

i can't go along with this argument. of course, someone who speaks a romance language is going to have an easier time learning another romance language, but when looking at languages as a whole, some are simply less complex than others.

Lyzko wrote:

I don't think Hungarians would say it is hard for them to speak their mother tongue.

again, i gotta disagree. do you know how many times I've asked Polish people "how do you say, "______", and they simply had no clue? I'm not talking about something complicated or a difficult English/Polish equivalent, but the simplest things. Or better yet, getting 3 different answers from 3 different Poles. OR, the countless Polish people living abroad that left Poland in their late adolescent years or early teens, and now, when in their 20's and 30's have lost their touch and cannot decline their words properly anymore. Again, not making this up, but I speak from experience with meeting people that match that exact description.

For example, I recently asked a native Pole, "so if the name of the town is Szewce, how do I say 'I'm going to Szewce' and 'I'm in Szewce'"? That question to a speaker of nearly any other language would look at you and say, "That's the dumbest question I've ever heard, you simply say (in whatever language) "I'm going to/I'm in Szewce!!!" BUT, when I asked it, the native Pole looked at me, chuckled and said, "I don't know! I gotta think about it....hmmm....." And to me, that's absurd po prostu.

Basically, Polish in my opinion is utterly inefficient. I would never make a claim like that without being thoroughly convinced and after hitting the books and seeing countless instances where Poles are struggling to say the most basic thing but can't because they're getting hung up on the grammar....but I see it all the time.

Whether it's a Spaniard or an Irish guy or an Indian woman or a Puerto Rican or a Korean man or Dutch woman or an Italian man.....every single one of them after studying Polish for a few months is going to come to the same conclusion: Polish grammar is utterly ridiculous.

I've never studied Hungarian, Finnish, Czech, etc., but I don't really think it matters. I'm simply talking about Polish, and I think I'm pretty on point with what I'm saying about it, at least most Polish people seem to agree.
Olaf 6 | 956
24 Feb 2010 #465
Lyzko wrote:

I don't think Hungarians would say it is hard for them to speak their mother tongue.

I wrote that.

they simply had no clue

- you must've been talking to people not well educated probably or you've been talking to average people. I can ask any average Englishman about some language aspect like you and I'd get a similar answer: "It's just like that" or "That's how you say it".

I don't see a question in this topic I could not answer at least with some basic explanation. I am not saying I know everything about Polish but I feel educated enough in my mother tongue to answer your questions. And to speak correctly. And every emmigrant's first language deteriorates after 20 yrs of not using it, don't you think? But it also depends what age they left their countries.

Basically, Polish in my opinion is utterly inefficient. I would never make a claim like that without being thoroughly convinced and after hitting the books and seeing countless instances where Poles are struggling to say the most basic thing but can't because they're getting hung up on the grammar....but I see it all the time.

Well, it is richer than English for example. I know this is a controversial statement, but rich means also more difficult to learn, as e.g. word formation and grammar are not so simple as in English.

"I don't know! I gotta think about it....hmmm....." And to me, that's absurd po prostu.

What's absurd? That you found a tough language question? Yes every language has them.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,359
24 Feb 2010 #466
I can ask any average Englishman about some language aspect like you and I'd get a similar answer: "It's just like that" or "That's how you say it".

You could ask many well educated English speakers and they wouldn't have a clue. I can't talk for the rest of the world, but grammar isn't taught in British schools. I'm struggling to believe that the Aussie and Kiwi systems are different in this respect.

And as for the way that Americans use English - please, the vast majority of them can't even use tenses correctly!

For example, I recently asked a native Pole

I'd say that the native Pole was frankly an idiot. I've just asked two native Poles the same question and they both gave me the answer without a moment's hesitation.

Basically, Polish in my opinion is utterly inefficient.

There are quite a few examples where a Polish word can change slightly and convey quite a lot of meaning, whereas the equal in English would take a whole sentence. Most natural languages are quite inefficient in their own way - heck, look at the way that there is no such thing as Standard English as defined by academics - how inefficient is that?!

Polish grammar is utterly ridiculous.

It's difficult, but hardly ridiculous. English grammar is far more ridiculous - the lack of standards is a great example as to why, when most languages have accepted authorities on the language.

Let's not forget that all those English grammar books are all based on an interpretation of what they think English is - it's not based on any standards whatsoever. I find the American habit of barely using grammar and mixing tenses appalling; an American might very well find my use of "outwith" to be horrific. Some language!

at least most Polish people seem to agree.

Most native speakers of languages will find their own grammar ridiculous when they're forced to think about it - nothing new there!
Lyzko
24 Feb 2010 #467
In addition, Olaf at al., it always depends on the generation about whom one is speaking. Americans from almost every walk of life in the period after WWII wrote, read and spoke a far higher level of English than most Ivy League graduates today! Perhaps foreign languages were not learned as readily during the decade of America's golden era, but the mother tongue was indeed learned with far greater precision. Spelling is a prime example. Sure, today's Americans are terrible spellers. Their parents though aren't.

I'd bet dollars to donuts (sorry, doughnuts!:) that the same hold true in other countries.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
24 Feb 2010 #468
Of everyone on this forum, I would be willing to bet not one of you, excluding the Poles of course, even comes close to FCE level in Polish, regardless of how long you've been here.

There. I win.

Next thread.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,359
24 Feb 2010 #469
There. I win.

How old are you, 7?

Do you even have the B2 certificate from the approved Polish State examination in the Polish language? If not, then you're clearly not at B2 level either and therefore not qualified to comment by your own criteria ;)
Olaf 6 | 956
25 Feb 2010 #470
And as for the way that Americans use English - please, the vast majority of them can't even use tenses correctly!

That's very true, and that is what I meant.
jonni 16 | 2,485
25 Feb 2010 #471
Of everyone on this forum, I would be willing to bet not one of you, excluding the Poles of course, even comes close to FCE level in Polish, regardless of how long you've been here.

Apparently (after ten years of speaking it, and a LOT of lessons) I'm at advanced level (about C1) and I suspect one or two others here are as well.
DuzaDupa - | 2
25 Feb 2010 #472
I learned Polish in the Army (U.S.). To master the intricicies of the language (as well as for fun) we would conjucate such American terms such as "Cola-Cola".
Rikad
25 Feb 2010 #473
do you know how many times I've asked Polish people "how do you say, "______", and they simply had no clue?

I feel exactly the same, and I made your little experiment to four of my university Polish colleagues: they started fighting over the 3 versions that they proposed they sound correctly in Polish, for the same small simple sentence :)))
mafketis 23 | 8,612
25 Feb 2010 #474
Of everyone on this forum, I would be willing to bet not one of you, excluding the Poles of course, even comes close to FCE level in Polish, regardless of how long you've been here.

I'll take that bet. How much?
Olaf 6 | 956
25 Feb 2010 #475
Hi,

Out of curiosity - could you give us this question, what was it?
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
25 Feb 2010 #476
Rikad wrote:

I feel exactly the same, and I made your little experiment to four of my university polish colleagues: they started fighting over the 3 versions that they proposed tey sound correctly in polish, for the same small simple sentence :)))

and this, as you have just seen Rikad, simply should not happen in language. imagine if you were to tell your friend what just happened, that a gaggle of poles were standing around arguing how to say, "I'm going to Szewce/I'm in Szewce". Those exact situations I have seen soooo many times.

if you are writing things like this Olaf:

I can ask any average Englishman about some language aspect like you and I'd get a similar answer: "It's just like that" or "That's how you say it".

...than you are simply missing my point.

I am not talking about asking an average Englishman something like, "could you give me a quick and concise explanation of when to use past simple and when to use present perfect?"....I am talking about simple, silly stuff that a 5 year old should have command of, yet adults often times do not because of no other reason but the inefficiency of their language.

and for those of you touting B2 and above proficiency levels in Polish, puff your chest out all you want, but rest assured, if native speaking Poles are getting stumped on silly meaningless sentences, you can be most confident that you are subject to this happening to you 100 fold.

Out of curiosity - could you give us this question, what was it?

we already discussed "Szewce", but for the hell of it, I'll give you another one, just for $hit$ and giggles:

One of my first experiences with the absurdity of Polish grammar was when I asked random Poles throughout the course of 2-3 days, how do you say "5 ears"?

I received 4 different answers to that question from I'd say 7-8 Poles. Yuck it up all you want about how they "probably weren't educated" or some crap like that, but every one of those people had the infamous Polish "master's degree" and were over the age of 25. Besides, even if they were 14 year old kids, something that basic has nothing to do with education level. Just pure common sense in your own language.

Inefficient folks.
Torq 32 | 2,999
25 Feb 2010 #477
I asked random Poles throughout the course of 2-3 days, how do you say "5 ears"?

The correct form would be "pięcioro uszu".

There's a very good book, Fuzzy, that you should try to get if you're serious
about improving your Polish. Here's the link...

merlin.pl/Formy-i-normy-czyli-poprawna-polszczyzna-w-praktyce_Katarzyna-Mosiolek-Klosinska/browse/product/1,287779.html#fullinfo

I received 4 different answers to that question from I'd say 7-8 Poles (...)
every one of those people had the infamous Polish "master's degree"

Typical. Don't mind the "master's degree" - 90% of those are completely worthless nowadays.

Polish, as you have already noticed, is a difficult language to learn and extremely
difficult to master. It takes a lot of effort, even for native speakers, to speak it
properly. There is a positive side to it though - it is usually enough for me to have
a short 3-5 minutes conversation with anybody in Polish to establish their social
background, education (and I mean proper education or lack of it) and upbringing.
It's useful to know who you're dealing with just by the language they use :-)
tonywob 6 | 43
25 Feb 2010 #478
Although I think Polish is difficult, I would argue it is the "HARDEST LANGUAGE" in the world. As a native English speaker, when I started learning Polish, I discovered just how strange some of the things are in English, and I take it for granted that I just know what to say. Think of all the tenses and helper verbs :P.

I've spent far too much time studying Polish grammar, and although I understand it, I can't think fast enough when I'm speaking. I'm guessing that I need to just be happy that I can get my point across in Polish without being grammatically perfect. After all, I only want to communicate, not write a novel.

I'm fairly sure if I said "piec uszy" I would be understood, even if it is grammatically incorrect. When I need to think about grammar all the time, my speech becomes so slow and full of long pauses and "errrrrrrrrrmmm", that it isn't worth it, until I get more practice and start to get used to what sounds right. But on the plus side, things I used to have to think hard about are starting to come naturally.
Guest
25 Feb 2010 #479
Inefficient folks.

I appreciate your input, because as you are not a native speaker of Polish (?) you can be more objective. Yet every language has it's difficulties and unfortunate forms etc. As an advantage to it I can say that when you master the language then you have a rich and wide variety of linguistic forms, phraseology, idioms etc. I agree it can be often problematic, but a rich language can't be simple. English is quite simple though, hence it's one of the most popular languages in the world.
tonywob 6 | 43
25 Feb 2010 #480
I know a few Poles who would completely disagree with this statement. English is difficult because of the many different tenses, amongst other things. Things we take for granted. I'm sure it's exactly the same case with Polish.

At first, I was surprised how Polish people could speak so fast and get all the cases correct, but whenever I ask a Pole a question about "Why did you say that?", they don't know. It's exactly the same case with most English people, who can't answer grammar questions.

I only know one person who could speak English perfectly and he was a highly qualified English teacher.


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