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Why is the Polish language so difficult?


skysoulmate 13 | 1,275
8 Jul 2011 #31
I suggest that we all haul a*s to the Polish-language threads to separate the wheat from the chaff. I'm the chaff :)

Serdecznie witamy! :)

Polska jest dyktaturą?

Search - Polski
PennBoy 76 | 2,432
8 Jul 2011 #32
PennBoy, I guarantee you that even you would have problems with high-end Polish given your natural inclination to think in English. For example, z Tobą and u Ciebie. Without a double take, I'd've said z Tobą also. Pgtx agreed with you, which just goes to show that you have been out of regular contact with flowing Polish for a while.

Believe me I knew that u ciebie is that proper way to say it, most of the time one must flip words around when translating from Polish-English and vice versa since they don't sound right in that order. I wrote it that way so that the already frustrated girl wouldn't get even more frustrated asking "why is it the other way around?" kept it simple.

I've had a Polish professor from Politechnika Świętokrzyska be a guest at a friend of mine's house a few years back. It was a pleasure just to sit and listen to him talk.
Seanus 15 | 19,669
8 Jul 2011 #33
PennBoy, please type 'dyktaturą' into the search box and it will direct you to the 'rozmowy po polsku' section. Worth using :) Polish is pretty difficult as I see when I try and write. I had some speaking practice in formal lessons but the bare minimum of writing. I know quite a few tricks but I need to think about it a bit :)
pawian 224 | 24,500
8 Jul 2011 #34
Anyway, I am driving myself crazy with this Polish language. It is going to be the death of me.

Someone wise, in another thread, said: The Polish language is a nightmare at the beginning, but gradually becomes easy to learn. English is the opposite.
Lexie0987 1 | 4
8 Jul 2011 #35
Much of the complexity and subtlety of Polish comes from its grammatical structure

Your post reminds me of an American literature class I took in graduate school. We had to read William Faulkner's "The Bear" and "The Jail," two "short" stories that will make your mind spin. If you ever get a chance to read "The Bear," you will notice that there is one sentence that takes up five pages and is the longest sentence in American literature. (He will later top his own record in "The Jail," written three years after "Go Down Moses.") I think Faulkner is an exception because the subtlety of his work comes from his narrow usage of vocabulary and the complexity of his sentences. So, it can be done in English.

I just think Polish grammar is very, very tricky to the non-Polish speaking world. I would love to learn Polish, but I just don't understand the word order. There has to be some books out there on Polish sentence word order, there has to be.
ShortHairThug - | 1,101
8 Jul 2011 #36
Polish + zen is how to approach it.

Good philosophy.

Oni jestą -> They are

Are you sure?

I would love to learn Polish, but…………

What’s stopping you? Dla chcącego nic trudnego.
skysoulmate 13 | 1,275
8 Jul 2011 #37
skysoulmate: Oni jestą -> They are

Are you sure?

Ooops! LOL

Oni !

There you have it, Polish IS more complicated. (or maybe I'm too slow :)
Lyzko
8 Jul 2011 #38
Polish though is still way more close in its spelling to pronunciation, phoneme to grapheme, as compared with English which is utter chaos!
legend 3 | 659
8 Jul 2011 #39
English is a Germanic language which heavily uses 'Romantic' words as well. Thats part of the reason languages like English and especially Spanish are easier to learn for those people.

Its very rare to encounter a slavic word in English.

The higher the IQ the more difficult the language.

I laughed :)
Lyzko
8 Jul 2011 #40
Actually, the "harder" the language, the more speakers of that language could protect themselves from foreign absorption, since their language became the code noone but they could ever crack. And at the risk of repeating myself, if there is such a thing as The Guiness Book of The World's Hardest Language, Polish would lose handily to Navajo, a language SOOOooooo tough, even the best code crackers during WWII were stymied!
boletus 30 | 1,361
8 Jul 2011 #41
There you have it, Polish IS more complicated.

Conjugations in Polish are no more complicated than they are in Spanish. And no one complains about the latter. See for example the two forms of "TO BE" (ser, estar) and phonetic similarities with their Polish equivalents.

SER = to be, but describing faculties, as in "I am tall", "You are clever"
Yo soy= I am = Ja jestem
Tú eres=You are = Ty jesteś
Él es= He is = On jest
Ella es= She is = Ona jest
Nosotros somos= We are = my jesteśmy
Vosotros sois= You-all are = wy jesteście
Ellos son= They are = Oni są
Ellas son = They are ( female gender) = One są

ESTAR = to be, but describing a state or location, as in "I am tired, happy", "I am at home".

Yo estoy= I am = Ja jestem
Tú estas= You are = Ty jesteś
Él está= He is = On jest
Ella está= She is = Ona jest
Nosotros estamos= we are = My jesteśmy
Vosotros estáis= you-all are = Wy jesteście
Ellos estan= They are = Oni są
Ellas estan=They are ( female gender) = One są
Lyzko
8 Jul 2011 #42
Polish has two forms for the verb "to be" as well: "ser" (być) vs. "estar" (bywać)

)))))
strzyga 2 | 993
8 Jul 2011 #43
Polish would lose handily to Navajo, a language SOOOooooo tough, even the best code crackers during WWII were stymied!

I'm not sure if it's true but I've heard that Israeli pilots were using Polish as a code language during the Israeli-Egypt 7-day-war. Sounds probable as many, if not most, people in Israel at that time could speak Polish. The Arabs, on the other hand, could not understand a word and that was one of the main reasons they later started sending students to Poland on government grants.
PennBoy 76 | 2,432
8 Jul 2011 #44
One more reason to learn Polish ;)
ShortHairThug - | 1,101
8 Jul 2011 #45
Polish though is still way more close in its spelling to pronunciation, phoneme to grapheme, as compared with English which is utter chaos!

Less to worry about when learning the language, yet some on this very forum insist on reforming Polish spelling because they have trouble with “u” and “ó” etc. I guess it comes from ignorance as to where the root of any given word lies. It would be wrong of me to propose the same reforms in English language just to make it easier for me as a foreigner to spell. Love it or hate it but if you have the need to learn any language then by all means learn it. In the end all the hard work you put in it over the years is its own reward.

Actually, the "harder" the language, the more speakers of that language could protect themselves from foreign absorption

Actually, I would say the more alien the concept to the learner……….

if there is such a thing as The Guiness Book of The World's Hardest Language, Polish would lose handily to Navajo, a language SOOOooooo tough, even the best code crackers during WWII were stymied!

They were simply stumped because there were only a few speakers of that particular language, besides the code crackers looked at what was the standard ways of decoding the massages at the time. They had no idea that in reality it was a real language they were dealing with but given enough time I’m sure they would most likely figure it out eventually so the legend grew. Even today most sophisticated computer programs have trouble with translations but that’s the beauty of it all. No such thing as one language being harder than any other once you have the understanding of how the grammar works.

In my opinion it all boils down to the understanding and ease of pronunciation for each individual learner who has his own pace of learning to achieve the degree of fluency he needs. Besides what is fluency anyway? If I’m fluent in street talk I’ll be considered as an uneducated moron by some academic but to my street buddies I’ll be a fvcken Genius even if the academic and I spoke only one and often enough the very same language. We all set the bar only as high as our social circles require of us making this whole argument pointless in the process.
alexw68
8 Jul 2011 #46
@ShortHairThug
Word. Respect to the suedeheaded fella!
PennBoy 76 | 2,432
9 Jul 2011 #47
These Brits learned quite a bit of Polish
...
dtaylor5632 18 | 1,999
9 Jul 2011 #48
These Brits learned quite a bit of Polish

MY TOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wroclaw 44 | 5,366
9 Jul 2011 #49
These Brits learned quite a bit of Polish

the bad language in that vid shows the type of Poles in the uk.

the bad language used here is not so extreme. it can be, but usually isn't.
dtaylor5632 18 | 1,999
9 Jul 2011 #50
Probably more tells you what the local Scots ask to be translated ;)
David_18 66 | 968
9 Jul 2011 #51
I often wonder why the Polish language is so difficult

Because the Poles are smarter?
catsoldier 58 | 579
9 Jul 2011 #52
the bad language in that vid shows the type of Poles in the uk

Probably more tells you what the local Scots ask to be translated ;)

Your both wrong! Everyone is just practicing rolling their RRRRRRRRRRs. :-)
OP Rain33 14 | 19
9 Jul 2011 #53
Re: word order - Polish word order is not random, but constructed according to emphasis, topicality, etc. Because English word order is fixed, we have to resort to other tricks.

Thank you so very much. I often wonder why Polish sentences are constructed like this. I guess I have to step away from my English and read the sentences word-for-word.

By the way, Does anyone know where I can type in Polish phrases and have them recited by a native Polish speaker? I want to know if I am saying the phrases correctly or not. The maid down the hall was going to do this for me, but she speaks very fast. I discovered that she is Kashubian, so she is probably not the best person to ask to recite something in Polish. Is there a website out there that will allow me to hear the pronunciation?
PennBoy 76 | 2,432
9 Jul 2011 #54
MY TOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!

My boss is of Scottish descent (Stewart) and keeps telling me how beautiful it was when he visited. Claiming it's definitely worth a visit.
urszula 1 | 253
9 Jul 2011 #55
I never had a problem with them learning that. Letters represent different sounds in different languages - not much to learn there

You must had smart students. No matter how much you tell them to say "ing", they always say "ink"
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,879
9 Jul 2011 #56
Magdalena wrote:

All grammar is ridiculous. Or none is.

you're arguing something that for an English speaker, is more or less indisputable. English speaker A goes to Poland, English speaker B goes to Spain/France/Portugal/Italy. After 3 years, ESB is already a great speaker in his/her language while ESA is still struggling to order a coffee without screwing up the declensions. Run that experiment 100 times, you'll get the same result 100 times.

Magdalena wrote:

???

what could possibly be confusing about what I wrote. nearly every infinitive form of every verb in Polish ends with a "ch" sound. it adds to the difficulty of the language becuase it's hard for an English speaker to pronounce and is just another reason to make the "ch" sound in an already completely "ch" ridden language. like I said, Polish for most English speakers sounds like a "shoosing" contest, where every word sounds like the last one. it's a uni-dimensional language.

Magdalena wrote:

How can a living, thriving language be "outdated"?

as an example.....ever study russian? inarguably a far more popular slavic language than Polish and the reason why the language is easier is because they decided to start integrating it and simplifying it. i've had many Polish vs Russian conversations with native Russians and they're always surprised at what I say when we discuss grammar, especially verb conjugation. Russian used to be much more complicated but they started "dumbing it down" to make it easier and more simplified. Polish has managed to preserve a lot more of it's "ancient" grammar. Another thing that makes Polish more difficult regarding this is the fact that foreign words fit into Polish like a square peg in a round hole. The grammar is very difficult to start with and when an English speaker needs to take an English word and put a Polish ending on it, I mean.....we've all had our share of laughs over this stuff.

Rain33 asked the questions, I simply answered them and for other English speakers reading this post, I'm sure many will agree. Nothin' for nothin'.
strzyga 2 | 993
9 Jul 2011 #57
Does anyone know where I can type in Polish phrases and have them recited by a native Polish speaker?

ivona.com

No matter how much you tell them to say "ing", they always say "ink"

It's not enough to tell them. You need to teach them how to produce the sound.
Lyzko
9 Jul 2011 #58
Many languages have long since attempted adopting "simplification reforms"! The first major world language to have done so is Chinese, and this easily more than two HUNDRED years ago!!! The Mandarin tongue allegedly has a "simplified writing" which essentially was successful in eliminating unwanted or out moded characters in which their language is so numerous (hundreds of thousands for an educated speaker is a conservative estimate-:)) Even English underwent an attempt at simplification at the behest of none other than Sir Winston Churchill himself, who some years before his death proposed a sort of simplified World English, later termed 'Globish'. German has undergone a crack at unifying and streamlining contradictory spellings, without actually solving the difficulty of establishing why any mortal should care about whether for example 'Baengel" is spelled with an umlaut or "Bengel" with an 'e' and PRONOUNCED THE SAME WAY!!

Another fascinating excursion thread at PF-:)

Oh, and let's not please forget Cymraeg, possibly even more irregular than any extant Indo-European languages (excluding for a moment the Uralic tongues!) with it's quixotic consonant mutations of often unrelated sounds and letters. Welsh makes Polish almost look predictable, or, horrors, "regular LOL)))
delphiandomine 87 | 18,070
9 Jul 2011 #59
Another thing that makes Polish more difficult regarding this is the fact that foreign words fit into Polish like a square peg in a round hole.

It's a common problem - what's interesting is how different Slavic languages have done it. Serbian seems to be particularly appalling for this - some of the spellings are truly insane - they've got a street in Belgrade called "Džordža Vašingtona" for instance! Croatian seems to have avoided it by simply inventing words, like French - which seems to make more sense than simply taking an English word and localising it.
Lyzko
9 Jul 2011 #60
Still, Russian is way more conservative than Polish in its adopting of productive Latin-based verbal prefixes of the 'konstruktować', 'telefonować' variety. Contemporary Polish for instance knows only the Latinate 'literatura', 'restauracja' etc.. whereas Russian employs its own Slavic word base from which to form words that Polish more often than not derives from Latin or Greek. Here though, the influence of Catholicism is evident-:))


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