The BEST Guide to POLAND
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Polish was chosen the HARDEST LANGUAGE in the world to learn... :D


Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
26 Nov 2013 #1,201
Wulkan et al.

"Just don't learn Polish." = Nie uczy się (języka) polskiego., could be translated both ways into German, as stated in my previous post, the ONLY difference being that one is grammatically acceptable, while the other could mean either one of TWO things; either the other person(s) shouldn't even bother to learn the Polish language, or Polish is a language with which one may do many things, only (for pity's sake) don't bother to learn it. A subtle, yet important distinction.

Other several examples: "Ich spreche nicht Englisch." vs. "Ich spreche kein Englisch." = Nie mówię po angielsku. (In Polish, only one known way to state the identical idea). The first sentence means "I don't/can't SPEAK English. (..though - perhaps - I'm able to WRITE it!), whereas the second means "I don't speak English.", the understanding being that spoken communication in the German language is something of which I have zero competence.

See the distinction? While I never pretend to be a bilingual native speaker of Polish (and doubtless never will!), I grew up with both German as well as English at home, consider myself as "bilingual" in both languages as practically any European in English and their native language!
TheOther 5 | 3,762
27 Nov 2013 #1,202
FWIW... :)
You can argue as much as you want, Wlodzimierz, but "Lernt ihr Polnisch nicht!" is still wrong. Also, although grammatically possible, no native speaker would use "Ich spreche nicht Englisch" to imply that (s)he cannot speak but is able to write the language. The correct way would be "Ich kann Englisch nicht sprechen" (aber ich kann es schreiben) or "Ich spreche kein Englisch" (aber ich bin in der Lage, es zu schreiben). "Ich spreche nicht Englisch" means that you refuse to speak English.
Wulkan - | 3,251
27 Nov 2013 #1,203
You can argue as much as you want, Wlodzimierz, but "Lernt ihr Polnisch nicht!" is still wrong.

Wlodzimierz (Lyzko) often does that in English aswell. For example: "I too like it" instead of "I like it too", maybe it's just his sense of humor, I don't know...
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
27 Nov 2013 #1,204
The Other, you're absolutely right. Obviously, both of us know German as well as anybody. This is not the issue.

@Wulkan,
Partially it can be used humorously, but my examples further demonstrate that word play within language leads to almost infinite possibilties. Only you, a native speaker of Polish, could pick up the subtle humor of certain cabaret routines. SImilarly, in German, I can detect subtle shifts of register through seemingly "wrong" grammar, because it's basically my mother tongue:-)

Incidentally, permit me to own up to a (not so minor) orthographical typo in a post from yesterday apropos tongue twisters, Zungenbrecher, łamie językowe:

"Cesio czeSZY się czeSZać się." LOL
Proszę mi wybaczyć:-)
JanMovie
30 Nov 2013 #1,205
To the fact that the people who think Polish to be the hardest lnguage in world say, that most Poles speak their mothertongue not fluetly before the Age of 16 and other say that most Poles doesn't even speak it perfect in adult Age: Also many Germans/Austrians don't speak really perfect German in adult Age. For example the famous former Austrian football star Toni Polster only speaks really fluently in Viennese dialect. When he speaks high- German (Hochdeutsch), he speaks worse than many foreigners, and in school many children with German mother- tongue get bad marks in the subject "German" even in the highschool (Gymnasium). In a threat in the Internet where it was asked what the hardest language in world for People with German mother- tongue is, there wrote someone following sacastic answer: "For most Germans is German alreay the hardest language in world." And Children indee get bad marks in the subject German because the make bad grammar mistake and write in a primitive language and not only becuse of a lack of knoledge about literature. I'm petty sure most woking class People wouldn't pass a script German final- examination (Matura).
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
1 Dec 2013 #1,206
The same may be said for English:-)

Nice message, JanMovie!
JanMovie
1 Dec 2013 #1,207
The same may be said for English:-)
Yes, also former US- President George W. Bush was said to have made grammar mistakes in his mothertongue.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
2 Dec 2013 #1,208
Believe too that your Helmut Kohl was known to have coined (or at least popularized) an especially questionable grammatical usage in German "Dieses unsere Vaterland..." (This our...), something mimicked to death by cabaret comics over the decades:-)

When last in Germany, a twenty-something year-old chap confronted me and asked why I bother speaking to him in German. After throwing a few verses of Christian Morgenstern at him, I then asked the astounded fellow whether he'd ever even heard of W.S Gilbert of the "dynamic duo" of Gilbert & Sullivan. After much hemming and hawing he confessed he hadn't.

So much for his EnglishLOL
TheOther 5 | 3,762
2 Dec 2013 #1,209
When last in Germany, a twenty-something year-old chap confronted me and asked why I bother speaking to him in German. After throwing a few verses of Christian Morgenstern at him, I then asked the astounded fellow whether he'd ever even heard of W.S Gilbert of the "dynamic duo" of Gilbert & Sullivan. After much hemming and hawing he confessed he hadn't. So much for his English LOL

Why do you have to brag about your supposedly superior German language skills all the time, dude?

Speaking of...

an especially questionable grammatical usage in German "Dieses unsere Vaterland..."

... the statement he made in 1975 was "dieses unser Vaterland". There's a slight, but important difference... :)
TheOther 5 | 3,762
3 Dec 2013 #1,211
as well

As well? I know that they made fun of Kohl because he used "dieses unser Vaterland" on various occasions, but I've never seen your version of "Dieses unsere Vaterland". The latter sounds like Turkish-German, to be honest, and I really wonder where you dug that up. Any source?
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
3 Dec 2013 #1,212
The point is, that Kohlisms, much like supposed "Bushisms", reflect a degree of questionable usage in both languages:-)
Turkish-German?? The only such lapse with which I'm even vaguely familiar apropos this topic is the phrase "Ich habe fertig!" allegedly uttered by a well-known Italian soccer star playing against Germany during the World Cup in or around 1970-something.

The grammar's wrong, although clearly "foreign".

Not exactly analogous, but, anyway....
TheOther 5 | 3,762
4 Dec 2013 #1,213
"Ich habe fertig!"

Nope, that came from the former coach of Bayern Munich, Trappatoni.

youtube.com/watch?v=OCFj9lf8IQE
JanMovie
24 Dec 2013 #1,215
My personal List how difficult the languages are for German/English Speakers (For example fora Russian it probably would completely different) in a Scala from 1/10 to 10/10. 1 is the easiest, 10 the hardest.

Italian: 4/10
Spanish: 4/10
French: 5/10
Portuguese: 5/10
Greek: 6/10
Croatian: 6/10
Polish: 7/10
Czech: 7/10
Russian: 7/10 (without the kyrillic script it would be just 6/10)
Finnish: 8/10
Hungarian: 8/10
Basque: 8,5/10
Georgian: 9/10
Chinese (Mandarin): 10/10

Chinese is probably the hardest language in world not only because of it's phonolohy and morphology, but because of it's script with more than 3000 signs, which indeed should be damned difficult.
native1231
24 Dec 2013 #1,216
I find german much hardest language to learn. Polish isn't complicated. You can say words without grammatical sense and people will still understand you. In english or german, there will be problems, in polish - don't.
Polson 5 | 1,771
24 Dec 2013 #1,217
Polish isn't complicated. You can say words without grammatical sense and people will still understand you. In english or german, there will be problems, in polish - don't.

Not sure.

I -- (to) WANT -- TEA

--> I want tea
--> (Ja) chcieć herbata?

Erm... ;) (and that's an easy one)
Wulkan - | 3,251
24 Dec 2013 #1,218
In english or german, there will be problems, in polish - don't.

not really
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
24 Dec 2013 #1,219
Poulson, "Proszę o herbatę!" sounds more polite:-)
Polson 5 | 1,771
25 Dec 2013 #1,220
"Proszę o herbatę!" sounds more polite

If you know something about Polish grammar, yes ;) Ale to nie proste!

Poulson

And Polson sounds more correct :P
maniak677 1 | 14
25 Dec 2013 #1,221
I know a lot of British Chinese and they speak fluent Mandarin or Cantonese and can only write basic sentences by hand. They can recognise the characters well enough when they use a computer they can write pretty well. I learn some basic Chinese much more quickly than basic Polish. I think Russian enough with Cyrillic is easier than Polish due to the fact more foreigners attempt to speak it so Russian people are more patient with foreigners so you have more chance to speak it.

I have to disagree with the fact in basic Polish you can make yourself understood. If you use the wrong conjugation or wrong case system people haven't got a clue. I speak intermediate Polish and tried to order a piece of bacon and made a mistake with the ending and the shop worker didn't have a clue. I pronounced everything 100%. I then had the ignominy of having to point to the bacon. I said 'kawałek boczka' instead of 'kawałek boczku' . The noun endings in genitive depend on the last consonant e.g. 'kawałek sera'- if I said kawałek seru - I don't think they'd have a clue. - both masculine nouns different endings in the genitive. Then what if I want 1,2,3,4,5 pieces of bacon - piece can change - kawalek / kawelki /kawelkow ... I'd probably get away with it by saying the numbers correctly. I know there are Polish people reading this that would think they'd understand these mistakes but I get this said to me many times and when I'm speaking to these people in normal conversation in Polish they can't tolerate these mistakes.

So I sometimes struggle just to order basic food items at the deli counter.But can read an article in Newsweek... The verbs can be OK to learn it's just the case system.

I've learnt German, French, Italian to a basic level and not had problems ordering basic things.
Norwester
25 Dec 2013 #1,222
Speaking polish properly is in practice only reserved for those schooled there from zero. I have lived away from my small town in wielkopolska for 3o years, havin left at 20. Not much polish accent left. When i go there visit the local outfits i get really funny looks, the moment i open my mouth all go quiet to suss me out. So i get a kick from speaking their local patter really well as theyall smile suddenly turning friendly. My point being if I had learned polish from a book there is no way of faking that you are a local. BTW all you claiming poles are nasty, its exactly the same in every otherEuropean country. North east of England like so.
szczecinianin 4 | 345
25 Dec 2013 #1,223
when I'm speaking to these people in normal conversation in Polish they can't tolerate these mistakes.

I completely disagree. I go to the shops practically everyday, and don't have the slightest problem with being misunderstood. Sometimes I get funny looks. Sometimes people correct what I have said to them. But I always get what I want without necessarily getting the grammar right.

It's possible to speak a language with terrible grammar and still be understandable.

What usually throws people is poor pronunciation. In that case, the person on the receiving end genuinely won't know what the hell you are asking for.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
27 Dec 2013 #1,224
Often, Poles simply aren't used to foreigners either speaking their language, namely Polish, correctly. The converse is that many are even LESS used to it being mangled. We English native speakers are so used to our language being merrily mutilated by self-assured, yet less than competent, foreign native speakers, that we both don't really mind it any longer, make an effort to understand their broken English, or (most often the case!), pretend that we understand when in fact we don't because we really don't care.

In Poland, if a Pole honestly can't make heads or tales of what you're saying (and they don't know English or know it adequately), they'll pursue the discussion until they've arrived at reasonable clarity. The Germans will frequently do the same, often breaking into a chorus of fractured English in an attempt to get to the bottom of what is really meant.

Americans especially, will usually shrug their shoulders as if to say "Forget about it!"
:-)
JanMovie
1 Jan 2014 #1,225
I became basically fluent in Spanish within 1 year. My ambition for Polish is to become basically fluent within 2 years. This would be till Summer 2015. If I had a Polish girlfriend I'm sure I could take Polish in one year too, but I don't have one.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
2 Jan 2014 #1,226
While Polish is indeed similar in many respects to German as I've stated before, fluency will take time, much as it did for me.

I learned Polish too as a first-language German speaker, learning it in fact using German as the source language. While the concept of gender as well as declension were already a given, the counting quirks and phonological shifts etc.. took me for a loop! Moreover, learning to think in a foreign language is always a stumbling block, much as you must have struggled to learn to think in English having German as your mother tongue. Occasionally, I even see faint traces of first-language influence in many of your English posts:-) No offence meant.
JanMovie
4 Jan 2014 #1,227
Native 1231: I find german much hardest language to learn. Polish isn't complicated.

It depends what your mother tongue is. If you are a native speaker of a slavic- language, Polish is easier than German for you.
So you see, it is very subjective which languages are easy and which are the difficult ones. But such as Basque and Georgian are deffinetely among the hardest in world, because they are in no relation with any other group.

Wlodzimierz: Occasionally, I even see faint traces of first-language influence in many of your English posts:-)

An advatage of Polish is it's free word order. Under "basically fluent" I understand, to can communicate in a language without great Problems. Of course I will make grammar mistakes , but for someone, who have learned it as a foreign language this should be quite usual.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
4 Jan 2014 #1,228
Interesting that you find German above all to be the "hardest" language to acquire. Is German not your mother tongue? To me as a bilingual German-English native speaker, German is much more precise than English as a rule, if not exactly always "logical"LOL German therefore should be easier for your than either Polish or particularly English, no?

Oder vielleicht weiss ich nicht, worauf du hinaus willst.
:-)
JanMovie
13 Jan 2014 #1,229
The " I found German much hardest to learn, Polish isn't complicated" isn't from me. I wrote to a member called "native 1231" who gave this commend and answered, that this is logical if he/she speaks another slavic language as his/her mothertongue. She wrothe this, after I had made a list of the difficulties of languages (on page 43).
Gaucho 2 | 49
14 Jan 2014 #1,230
I can indeed understand a lot of Portuguese just by knowing Spanish. I noticed they have a lot of "sh" and "ch" sounds so it sounds like Polish sometimes :-)

They use it quite often as it's present in many words, but actually only have 2 different "ch/sh sounds". Stronger for when the T is followed by an "i", or "e" at end of word, and softer one for D and "e" sound at end of word.

PS: Poles might take "J" as another "Ch" sound as in "Jogo/Janela" being originally an "i/e" sound for them


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