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Is Polish an easy language to learn and is there a way of learning it easily?


FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
25 Oct 2013 #61
If you managed to learn the grammar in four years then that's amazing.

hey thanks :)

Of course, one or two aspects are 'difficult'. However, if you were to take (say) a Japanese person who knew nothing of either language, I feel confident he or she would learn English far quicker than Polish because of its comparative simplicity.

absolutely. i don't see how anyone could effectively argue that this is untrue. polish is a language that fights you the whole way, as if its main objective is to keep you saying things incorrectly, like a carnival game. english has no declinations, no gender, and regarding verbs, hell once you learn I, they, he/she/it, we, you're pretty much done. throw a new polish verb even at an intermediate polish learner and they literally have to "study" it in order to get comfortable using it in all its forms.
Wills 1 | 3
25 Oct 2013 #62
Well, Mandarin Chinese is an 'easy' language to your standards then, given that its grammar is even simpler than in English.

Seriously, if Polish was the language of business, a worldwide culture, with famous rock-ski music bands and Hollywoodski movies widespread in the entire World, anyone would find it easy to learn.

There is not such thing as an 'hard' language, it's just a matter of your own backgrounds and influence.
szczecinianin 4 | 345
25 Oct 2013 #63
Well, Mandarin Chinese is an 'easy' language to your standards then, given that its grammar is even simpler than in English.

It has its own difficulties. Tones. An alphabet of 20k characters.

Seriously, if Polish was the language of business, a worldwide culture, with famous rock-ski music bands and Hollywoodski movies widespread in the entire World, anyone would find it easy to learn.
There is not such thing as an 'hard' language, it's just a matter of your own backgrounds and influence.

Polish isn't so difficult for speakers of other Slavic languages. Welsh isn't exactly a world language, but can be learned far quicker than Polish because its grammar is far less complex.

Some languages are more difficult than others.
Sparks11 - | 335
25 Oct 2013 #64
Wills is spot on. It's is all in context. People whose native tongue is from the same language group as the one they are trying to learn will quite likely have an easier time learning the language. Of course, all languages have more or less complex aspects but if they are in the same group, these aspects are familiar to the learner.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
26 Oct 2013 #65
"Well, Mandarin Chinese is an 'easy' language to your standards then, given that its grammar is even simpler than in English. "

I knew an American that lived in China for about 7-8 months and thought Chinese was quite easy to learn to speak. He moved to Poland right after and completely gave up on Polish almost immediately. Sucked for him because his wife was Polish and he thought once they moved from China to Poland he'd pick it up just the same but like most people, it was an epic fail. He used to tell me all the time how much easier Chinese was and although i've never studied Chinese, i believe him.
alexpetrov 2 | 8
26 Oct 2013 #66
Is Polish an easy or not to learn would very much depend on which language is your native language. For example my native language is Ukrainian and I find Polish extremely easy to learn :) I think if your first language is one of Slavic languages then Polish will be quite easy for you. In other cases, most likely it won't be easy, but still doable. I know several native-English speakers who speak perfect Polish. Of course they have some kind of accent, but they mastered grammar and vocabulary and they pronounce words more or less correctly.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
26 Oct 2013 #67
Szczecianin, what seems verbose to you, is actually just being descriptive and refuses to conform to the millisecond sound byte-style of information to which most people nowadays have long since become accustomed:-)

If only to keep flogging a dead horse, English just SEEMS easy because general expectations worldwide for level of usage have declined so abysmally, that's all. Surely language "changes", but there's a difference between additions to a language which come over centuries of gradual acceptance and sheer brain-dead laziness which has led to such utter flabbiness in vocabulary that I recently read (to my delight!!!) that certain law firms in New York will in fact put employees on notice for both dressing, above all speaking, too casually, i.e using "like", "cool", "awesome", "yeah-uh" and other filler words, not to mention the f-curse.

So you see, I'm not the only oneLOL
szczecinianin 4 | 345
26 Oct 2013 #68
Well, you're the only one here. Obviously, in a legal practice, formal register is required. Here, it is not.

This isn't a convention for aspiring nineteenth century literary critics.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
26 Oct 2013 #69
Hmm, can't say as I quite blame your reaction. Anyway, let's hopefully learn from one another, in whatever the language:-)
That is after all the whole point of an open "forum", isn't it?

Back on course, the way that yours truly eventually learned Polish was through Polish movie watching WITHOUT English subtitles, employing instead POLISH-language closed captions and working my way chronologically from the late 40's through post-War Cinema up to the early 2000's! After attempting to master the language at the "organic" level of a child learning their mother tongue, I then took actual language classes for a little over four years prior to visiting Poland for the first (and unfortunately only) time in 1996. I read as much as possible and had many Polish acquaintances/clientele who preferred Polish to English:-)

That's basically it!
szczecinianin 4 | 345
26 Oct 2013 #70
That's a pretty good way to learn the language. Watch (good) films, and the news in Polish. I'd recommend watching with English subtitles first, however.

Films I'd recommend would be: Rejs, Seksmisja, Miś (classics). The new film 'Ambassada' is also good, though it got panned by the critics.

I thought you were Polish, with your name and writing style.
denwaw - | 1
27 Oct 2013 #71
I have been travelling to Polen a lot and have tried to learn some basic Words but has totally given up now. It is very difficult for a Danish to learn it. I was also thinking of taking some clases but when I am in Polen I Work during the day and are of Work late in the evening. Then I came up with the idea of having a kind of a friend in Polen that I could practice with and actually posted a thread here about it. The first response I got was some guy talking about prostitues and have now realized that a lot of Polish people are very unfriendly - In Denmark where I am from I would gladly show the city of Copenhagen to a person that visit Copenhagen but in Polen when I ask if anybody could show me the city all they can think of is that I am just some old man that just want's to find a Young girl. I think that this is very rude and that Polish people are very unfriendly.

So I agree that the best way to learn Polish is to take a class - it's not that easy to talk to people in Polen - they just think that you will ask them for the way the red light district. So good luck with the language.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
27 Oct 2013 #72
Davs, Denwaw!

First off, it's "Poland", furthermore, many Poles find Danish even harder to master than English:-)

That's my perspective.
dhrynio 5 | 97
27 Oct 2013 #73
Polish is very difficult. With time it can be picked up. I doubt I will ever master it but I don't really care to. I have lived here for 11 years and took a few courses in Warsaw in the first few years but the rest is just daily speaking, a lot of "please forgive me I speak Polish poorly" and just trying. My in laws don't speak English and my husband just could not be with me every minute. So I HAD to just do my best. Most people are very understanding. Hell they are usually nicer to me that they are to other Poles.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
28 Oct 2013 #74
I have lived here for 11 years and took a few courses in Warsaw in the first few years but the rest is just daily speaking, a lot of "please forgive me I speak Polish poorly" and just trying.

and here's the facts: if you had a French husband and lived in France, an Italian husband and lived in Italy, a Spanish husband and lived in Spain, Portuguese, German, on and on.....you'd be fluent. Poland? Yeah, 11 years and you're not even intermediate? Expected, because Polish is WAY harder. Period.
Space Cadet 1 | 19
28 Oct 2013 #75
I read somewhere, that, out of all Indo-European languages in Europe, Baltic languages are the most complex and difficult to learn. Slavic languages are just a notch below.

The easiest way to learn Polish? Rosetta Stone.
szczecinianin 4 | 345
28 Oct 2013 #76
and here's the facts: if you had a French husband and lived in France, an Italian husband and lived in Italy, a Spanish husband and lived in Spain, Portuguese, German, on and on.....you'd be fluent. Poland? Yeah, 11 years and you're not even intermediate? Expected, because Polish is WAY harder. Period.

Agreed. Those who say otherwise have made no serious effort to learn it.
Steveramsfan 2 | 306
28 Oct 2013 #77
I read somewhere, that, out of all Indo-European languages in Europe, Baltic languages are the most complex and difficult to learn. Slavic languages are just a notch below.The easiest way to learn Polish? Rosetta Stone.

Rosetta Stone on it's own is not the easiest or best way.
You will only get very basic Polish from Rosetta Stone as it only goes to level 3 in Polish.

I use vocabulary cards and I have a Grammar Text book too.

I have been learning for 5 years and I still can't hold a full conversation in Polish.
I now live in Lodz so I hope immersion in the language helps me learn faster.
kj99 8 | 54
28 Oct 2013 #78
polish is NOT way harder than other languages - in actual fact , i find polish easier than german and french ... but then again ive studied russian in the past - so the transistion to polish isnt so big.

best advice for learning a language - dump the roseatta stone and all the other gimmicks - purchase a good dictionary , or these use google translate and learn to translate by yourself polish texts into english text -

keep reading polish articles and flick to the english translation ( using google chrome of course)

keep this up for a couple of years - say 20 mins a day ,,, and soon enough , youll be able to read polish articles unaided.

sure , you wont be able to write properly , but from reading , its only a short step to listening -

when you know that you can read unaided to a large degree , anything on wp.pl/wyborcha etc ,,, then its time to start listening to the radio

some months and you "picture " the words as they are spoken - then you are on your way ...

i started this process with russian - now i know longer translate into english , i "see " the russian word as if it is printed - i dont put it into english anymore i just get a sense of its meaning - this is when you know youve got somewhere ...

from reading/listening- speaking will come easily ...

self learning this way is very enjoyable - and far less constrained than any rosetta offering -

it will take time ... but it will come
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
28 Oct 2013 #79
Agreed. Those who say otherwise have made no serious effort to learn it.

another point worth making.

i'd venture to say that a lot of those that say "Polish isn't any harder than any other language" or "it's all relative" or whatever else, it's because they don't know how complex the language really is. if you knew polish, meaning all the in's and out's of the grammar and all its complexities, and spoke it without butchering it, you'd have a different perspective. most polish language learners go through a similar experience. in the beginning, they think it's like any other language just with really funny sounding words with lots of sh's and ch's, and then 4 weeks later when the teacher starts throwing kogo/czego and kim/czym into the lesson, they give up soon after.

just to list some examples:

you only use infinitive forms when making future tense, such as "bede isc", "bedziemy brac", etc.

your numerical conjugations are all wrong. for example: "dwa kobiety", "dwa mezczyzni", "nie mam jeden samochod", etc.

no concept of komu/czemu. for example, "powiedzialem moj przyjaciol".

if that's your Polish, you don't speak Polish and have no concept of the language and how difficult it really is.
Steveramsfan 2 | 306
28 Oct 2013 #80
self learning this way is very enjoyable - and far less constrained than any rosetta offering -

Rosetta Stone is not a gimmick, it works. Like I said earlier, it should not be used alone.
Google translate is rubbish, I wouldn't rely on it at all.

A good book on grammar helps far more than google translate.
kj99 8 | 54
28 Oct 2013 #81
google is not rubbish - just using google and listening to the radio , i can easily watch a russian movie , listen to the news read a newspaper - thats mainly down to google.

where google does have its weak points is translating to the language you want to learn.

but then its easier enough to simplify your english - then have google translate that to polish... translating some idioms without any simplification isnt going to work of course...

but then ... watching some boring pictures and associating / memorising the words that pertain thereto - aint going to work for me either - dull doesnt even begin to cover it.

i find it hard to believe that google doesnt translate polish very well - since it definately translates russian back to english well enough - since i can judge the translation myself... and its not bad.

i dont see why polish should be so different - sure its not going to be spot on- but with plenty of time ,,,, youll make your own polish-to english translation ,,, google is just the steppping stone... and a wonderful one at that

rosseta is overpriced rubbish - and an incredibly boring way to learn.
InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
28 Oct 2013 #82
Last time I used Google translate, someone told me it had written my words as if I were a female writing them.

Ever since then, I've started to want to wear flowery dresses.
Steveramsfan 2 | 306
28 Oct 2013 #83
Its only boring at the start, when you get to level 2 it is not boring and everything you learnt in level 1 is used but the language becomes second nature.

Google translate cannot distinguish Polish future tense and ALWAYS gets it wrong.
If you want to learn "Pigeon Polish" go ahead and use your method but you will not be learning how to talk properly in Polish.

Like Fuzzywickets said, if you think Polish is easy you cannot speak it well and don't understand it.

A Polish Grammar textbook like amazon.com/Polish-An-Essential-Grammar-Grammars/dp/0415164052#reader_0415164052
will show you how difficult it is to get right.

Rosetta stone is not over priced, it gives you a very good grounding in the language. Then you need to increase your vocabulary and how to say each word in all it's different variations.

If you want to learn Polish you must put in effort, there is no easy way to learn Polish to speak it well.
Google translate is useless if you want to speak Polish like the Polish.
szczecinianin 4 | 345
28 Oct 2013 #84
Google translate is rubbish, I wouldn't rely on it at all.

I do. It's quicker than using a dictionary. And whenever I translate texts I'm getting paid for doing so.

Of course, you have to know how to use it.
Steveramsfan 2 | 306
28 Oct 2013 #85
It doesn't do future tense and doesn't do declinations correctly.

I learn faster reading my book on grammar and chatting with Polish people.

Every time I use google translate my friends have to correct me.

I live in Poland and want to pass for native Polish, google translate is useless to get to this standard.
InWroclaw 89 | 1,914
28 Oct 2013 #86
I live in Poland and want to pass for native Polish, google translate is useless to get to this standard.

Why, are you hoping to be recruited by a foreign secret service? I'd hate to lose my native accent and identity. I'd not want to be mistaken for anything other than my native self for all the sushi in Partynice.
Steveramsfan 2 | 306
28 Oct 2013 #87
I'm not interested in keeping my English identity, I would like to integrate into Polish socjety.

My family is the only reason I will even visit the UK now I live in £ódź.
jon357 71 | 20,418
28 Oct 2013 #88
I'm not interested in keeping my English identity,

Living permanently abroad changes you anyway, whether you like it or not. Your identity will change less than you expect though.

You'll find though that when you become fluent and maybe suddenly realise you have spoken only Polish for a few months then something about you will change. You'll still have some of your English identity though.

Out of interest, why are you so keen to lose it?
Steveramsfan 2 | 306
28 Oct 2013 #89
I don't like Britain and anything it stands for any more.

I believe in an integrated Europe. I don't agree with interfering in the Middle East, Britain shouldn't be interfering as the middle East cannot live with western democracy. The politicians are all idiots and the Jeremy Kyle Generation make me sick and embarassed that I am British.
jon357 71 | 20,418
28 Oct 2013 #90
I understand pretty well what you feel.

Apart from the Middle East bit, you'll find much the same in Poland. Especially the politicians which are far worse than in the UK. They have Jeremy Kyle chavs too - it's just that they tend to live in very small towns and villages so are are less visible. Nevertheless, in PL I find the things I dislike easier to ignore and hope you will too.

Just don't set your expectations too high - remember, there are less of the things you dislike about 'home', but other bad things instead.


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