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Cultural disparities shown through Polish and English languages


Sylvio 18 | 139
22 Mar 2020 #31
The only bad part of English is that every sucker knows it, the world over.
Rich Mazur 4 | 3,528
22 Mar 2020 #32
Nope.

Name the one that is superior to English.
OP pawian 171 | 12,080
22 Mar 2020 #33
Another disparity with dogs.

In English:you can`t teach an old dog new tricks. In Polish: you shouldn`t move/replant old trees.

Why so? Coz Poland abounded in forests while England had to import wood, also from Poland?
OP pawian 171 | 12,080
23 Mar 2020 #34
Another one:

In English it is required to use titles with surnames: Ms Shufflebottom, Mrs Crankshaw, Mr Haggard. etc. In Polish it is also normal but after some time, when the relation lasts longer time but it is still formal, they can switch to a title with the first name: Ms Dżesika, Mrs Grażyna, Mr Janusz. It sounds nicer and creates warmer atmosphere. A boss to the secretary: Mr Janusz, can you stay a few extra hours coz I need you to handle this new correspondence?

Does it mean the English are/were more formal while Poles casual?
Paulwiz 1 | 70
23 Mar 2020 #35
The title+first name is (or at least was) used in the Southeast US, especially when children were talking to adult friends of the family. I kind of like the practice as it shows respect but allows a child to avoid struggling with difficult-to-pronounce surnames.

I had an elderly black neighbor who grew up in the South. She didn't get around well so I'd help her do stuff. She always called me Mr. Paul. So I guess the practice extended to adults in some cases as well.
OP pawian 171 | 12,080
23 Mar 2020 #36
She always called me Mr. Paul

Wasn`t it a sign/symbol of extreme respect she wanted to show? Like those British titles of Sir? Sir Francis (Drake).
Paulwiz 1 | 70
24 Mar 2020 #37
Don't know. Her background was so different from mine that I just accepted it. It didn't feel comfortable for me to call her Ms. Mable so I just went with Mable. I don't know how many people were Mr. or Ms. besides me. I know she didn't have much good to say about some of her family so she just called them by their first name. But when she got a cat she named it Ms. Kitty. I kind of got the impression that the title was used for people she liked more than anything.

A friend (from the North) moved to Georgia for work and his children were born there. He taught them to call adults with title+first name as well. I think it was pretty common to do that.
mafketis 23 | 8,543
24 Mar 2020 #38
Wasn`t it a sign/symbol of extreme respect she wanted to show?

More like common courtesy (US southern style which is more like Poland than either is to mainstream US norms). IME I'd say adding "miss" (pronounced 'mizz') before first names was more common than adding mr before first names..

Similarly, in a lot of the south you'd never answer a question with just "yes" or "no" (unless you were common) the correct forms were

"yes sir" "no sir" "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am" (no comma because there's no pause)

For more well off families (which liked to name kids after elders) 'young' or 'old' might be added before mr or miss...
Paulwiz 1 | 70
24 Mar 2020 #39
I find the Polish use of diminutive names intriguing. I don't know all the "rules" for diminutives but it seems like a person receives a diminutive name almost immediately. But there is never a diminutive last name. In the US it takes a little while longer to get a "nickname" but it can be either name or a completely new name unrelated to a person's real name.
OP pawian 171 | 12,080
1 Apr 2020 #40
Another one but I am not sure about it so let me ask this question first:

Do English speakers say open the door when they mean unlocking it? Coming back from shopping yesterday I texted my wife to unlock the door so that I could enter with shopping bags in my hands, pushing the door handle down with my elbow. And I wrote: otwórz drzwi - literally open the door. but it was obvious I meant unlocking.
mafketis 23 | 8,543
1 Apr 2020 #41
Do English speakers say open the door when they mean unlocking it?

I'd be surprised if you could find speakers of a language that didn't do that... I'd only say 'unlock the door' if the door was meant to stay closed.... and even then I'd more likely say 'just leave the door unlocked' (as I used to say to an office mate before we both had to change offices)
OP pawian 171 | 12,080
1 Apr 2020 #42
I'd only say 'unlock the door' if the door was meant to stay closed..

Yes, that`s what I meant. The door was to stay closed and I was supposed to push the handle down with my elbow, as I just said. Would any English speaker say: Open the door? in such a situation?
mafketis 23 | 8,543
1 Apr 2020 #43
Why wouldn't they?

In your situation the door was locked and you wanted it unlocked, so 'open' makes sense. In the situation I described it was already unlocked and I was saying there's no need to lock it and take the key since I'll be back very quickly....
OP pawian 171 | 12,080
2 Apr 2020 #44
In your situation the door was locked and you wanted it unlocked, so 'open' makes sense.

I see, thanks. Pity coz I thought it would be different in English, giving us an opportunity to invent another cultural disparity. :):)
mafketis 23 | 8,543
3 Apr 2020 #45
Well the disparity is in the imperative.... "otwórz drzwi" is fine in Polish while a plain "open the door" is not so.... nice in English (at least where I'm from I'm not sure about rude people from other places).

I probably wouldn't write "open the door" and certainly wouldn't say it (unless I'm feeling a bit confrontational). I'm more likely to ask "could you get the door, please?" texting I might write a question "door open?" counting on the addressee to fill in the blanks.
OP pawian 171 | 12,080
3 Apr 2020 #46
Of course, I texted it so I needed to be succinct.
mafketis 23 | 8,543
3 Apr 2020 #47
just as "door open?" is succint... the main point is that there are fewer restrictions on using imperatives in Polish than in English (esp NAmerican)
OP pawian 171 | 12,080
13 Jul 2020 #48
Sth interesting occured to me. Today I heard a Pole say: zniszczony telefon - destroyed phone. When you hear such an expression, you imagine the phone is completely destroyed, like burned or crushed into pieces.

However, that Polish guy meant only a cracked screen. The phone was still working and the crack was more an easthetic flaw than serious damage.

Hence, a conclusion: Poles like to overuse the word destroyed meaning just damaged.

I have been thinking why but can`t reach any plausible explanation. Can anybody help with socio-historical psychology?
dolnoslask 5 | 2,878
14 Jul 2020 #49
Can anybody help with socio-historical psychology?

In Poland the cup tends to be half empty and not half full, hence the over dramatisation and focus on the negative.

Just my own observation
Zlatko
14 Jul 2020 #50
So they need Louise Hay's teachings more than others.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,038
14 Jul 2020 #51
Can anybody help with socio-historical psychology?

This is not socio-psychology, but common usage referring to garments. For me, it would be typical to hear.from my wife: "Chodzisz w zniszczonej kurtce. Musisz kupić sobie nową". It doesn't mean my coat is destroyed in the sense I can no longer wear it, but only means it is used-up. So the Polish verb has a wider meaning than the English verb here. The guy has transfered this 'garment' usage onto a technical device which is not strictly correct, but is acceptable in speech, though ambiguous.

Many people would still say "mam porysowany ekran (w telefonie)" or "mam porysowany telefon".
OP pawian 171 | 12,080
14 Jul 2020 #52
hence the over dramatisation and focus on the negative.

Yes, quite possible.

This is not socio-psychology, but common usage referring to garments

Common reference to garment is also based on socio psychology. )

So the Polish verb has a wider meaning than the English verb here

Yes, but WHY?? :)

The guy has transfered this 'garment' usage onto a technical device which is not strictly correct, but is acceptable in speech, though ambiguous.

Not really. A lot of my students, when they write mock exam emails of complaint about a delivery of a damaged product, they use destroyed translated directly from Polish.


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