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What do foreigners find the hardest part of Polish?


Lyzko 20 | 6,177    
15 Apr 2019  #1
We've read about what Poles think is the hardest aspect of learning English.
I'm wondering what non-Slavs here on PF find is the most difficult part of learning Polish.
PolishGirlThief 3 | 11    
15 Apr 2019  #2
For me it's the alphabet pronunciation especially the two letters alphabet.
OP Lyzko 20 | 6,177    
15 Apr 2019  #3
Thanks, PolishGirlThief!

For me, it was the number "quirks", also wrapping my brain around the concept of "perfective" vs. "imperfective, and always trying to remember at the very beginning NOT

to think of them in terms of English tenses or I'd mess up for sure:-)

Looking forward to lots more hits and even more posts.
PolishGirlThief 3 | 11    
15 Apr 2019  #4
I'm still trying to master the alphabets then I can move on to how to pronounce words and numbers and also spell them. The simplest way to learning a language is to use an algorithm I think.
OP Lyzko 20 | 6,177    
16 Apr 2019  #5
You have a point there.

Only, compared with, say, English or French, Polish for me is so darned phonetic, pronouncing the stuff was the least of my worries way back when I

was still studying with Pani Jola:-) One sound to every consonant cluster, and if you see a vowel, you say it.
What could be easier when compared with English "pflegm", "straight", "cough", "bough", "dough", UUGGHHH, don't even want to think about it or I'll start having nightmaresLOL

In Polish, "PRZYjsc" (psheeshch), "WIE" (vyeh) etc., and from then on, you're practically home free.
Rich Mazur 5 | 3,014    
16 Apr 2019  #6
The simplest way to learn a language is to ...

...join the army or go to prison. Both give the participants the motivation that is second to none.
PolishGirlThief 3 | 11    
16 Apr 2019  #7
Lol foreigners are not allowed to join the Polish Army and Polish prison doesn't sound like fun. I heard prisons in Norway and Holland are the ish though.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,654    
16 Apr 2019  #8
I'm wondering what non-Slavs here on PF find is the most difficult part of learning Polish.

For me, the hardest part is still not being excessively polite in speech because it's not needed, but is rather implied in the choice of words. At the same time, the concept of "being on first name terms" with someone is still exceptionally odd to me, even though it's really English that's the odd one out.
Chemikiem 5 | 1,480    
16 Apr 2019  #9
wrapping my brain around the concept of "perfective" vs. "imperfective,

I struggled with this in the beginning.

it's the alphabet pronunciatio

That surprises me with it being a phonetic alphabet, once you know how the letters sound, you can more or less guess how to pronounce any word, even if you haven't heard it before. Most people struggle with the cases to be honest.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,308    
16 Apr 2019  #10
the alphabet pronunciation especially the two letters alphabet

It's not unique to Polish. You have, for example, the 'ch' or the 'sh' in English. In German, you have three letters for writing down a single sound as in 'sch'.
jon357 64 | 14,382    
16 Apr 2019  #11
For me, it used to be the distinction between cz & ć/ci, and sz & ś/si. It took a lot of practice. Szcz was never a problem since it occurs in English.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,654    
16 Apr 2019  #12
cz & ć/ci, and sz & ś/si.

Speaking of this, I discovered a whole world of "hora curka" spelling out there.
Vlad1234 14 | 536    
16 Apr 2019  #13
Szcz was never a problem since it occurs in English.

In which words?
jon357 64 | 14,382    
16 Apr 2019  #14
The best known example is pushchair.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,308    
16 Apr 2019  #15
pushchair

It is almost like the Polish "puszcza".
jon357 64 | 14,382    
16 Apr 2019  #16
It is a bit.

For ages, I used to mix puszcza and puszka, with amusing consequences while shopping...
Lri 4 | 38    
16 Apr 2019  #17
Sorry for weird question but is there ever czsz in Polish spelling? Or ć(ś or si)? Or dż(rz or ż)? Or dź(ź or zi)? I've only seen szcz, ś(ć or ci), żdż, and [(ź or z)(dź or dzi)]
Looker - | 1,007    
16 Apr 2019  #18
czsz

Not together, eg. "czaszka" - but noting with "czsz".
However you could find some words with "czcz" together - oni "czczą", na "czczo"
Lri 4 | 38    
16 Apr 2019  #19
but noting with "czsz"

I've actually seen some unexpected letter combinations like ćs (due to Polish suffix -set) and dźż (Polish suffix -ż, added onto certain participles & verb tenses)
Ziemowit 12 | 3,308    
16 Apr 2019  #20
Or ć(ś or si)?

Idźcie (spelled the way as you can see it, but pronounced 'ićće').

Or dż(rz or ż)

Dżdżownica. Dżdżu (genetive of 'deżdż', the archaic form of 'deszcz')

Or dź(ź or zi)?

Does 'źdźbło' fit into your question?

Some other words that contain a surplus of bizzare consonants in them: zrzeszenie, zrzeszotnienie, przerzedzony, paździerz, zdziecińniały.
OP Lyzko 20 | 6,177    
16 Apr 2019  #21
Occasionally, I'll still trip over "dziedzictwo" or "przyjazn", although these are fairly everyday words:-)
However unlike English, there's a certain degree of predictability in Polish spelling/pronunciation.

Seems also that our 'schwa-sound' is non-existent in the Polish language, making it more demanding perhaps for native Anglophones to learn to
pronounce EVERY vowel as a separate sound and never to "swallow" or "eat" our wordsLOL
Lri 4 | 38    
16 Apr 2019  #22
Does 'źdźbło' fit in your question?

I've never seen zdź, źdź, zdzi, and ździ in reverse order (I've never seen dźz, dźź, or dźzi), I've also never seen żdż in reverse order (dżż). I don't think I've ever seen rzdż either. I've only seen źdz before letter i, and never reverse order (dzź)
OP Lyzko 20 | 6,177    
16 Apr 2019  #23
For example,"jezdzic", I believe, contains an identical combination, no?
Lri 4 | 38    
16 Apr 2019  #24
Or ć(ś or si)?
Idźcie

Or dż(rz or ż)
Dżdżownica. Dżdżu

I was saying there seems to be no such thing as the reverse-order version of those - no such things as:
ćś, ćź, ćsi, ćzi, dźś, dźź, dźsi, dźzi, dższ, and dżż...plus no rzdż / dżrz.

But some accented consonants can be right before -ż suffix (specifically, certain participles + -ż suffix. For example, "idźż")
Bagel    
16 Apr 2019  #25
I find it hard to remember my first memory... It seems like important :S
Lri 4 | 38    
16 Apr 2019  #26
Another thing I've noticed about Polish spelling, very few consonants are written before letter j, none of which have accent marks on them. So far I've seen only cj, dj, sj, and zj
Looker - | 1,007    
16 Apr 2019  #27
But you've missed one: "wj" - guess the word.
Lri 4 | 38    
17 Apr 2019  #28
Well I'm still at beginner stage of Polish language skills (and my lack of). Please give hints, for example is wj at the start of the word you're referring to? (I'm pretty sure wj is never at the very end of any Polish word) Is the word a noun, adjective, infinitive, participle etc? If noun, then is it considered a proper noun (having first letter capitalized at all times)? Is the letter w used as a prefix? Or letter j at the beginning of a suffix? Etc

But some accented consonants can be right before -ż suffix (specifically, certain participles + -ż suffix. For example, "idźż")

Oops my bad, I actually meant -że suffix, I mistakenly said -ż suffix. (So the correct example is "idźże", and not "idźż")

And so, certain participles ending with ć, cz, dź, dż, rz, ś, sz, ź, and ż can all be suffixed with -że (But I think only one verb tense uses the -że suffix. So for example, only the verb tense "idź" can be suffixed)
Rich Mazur 5 | 3,014    
17 Apr 2019  #29
And so, certain participles ending with ć, cz, dź, dż, rz, ś, sz, ź, and ż can all be suffixed with -że

Why are you torturing yourself? Just speak English. Most do. If they don't, tough. Or show them twenty bucks. That works every time.
Lri 4 | 38    
17 Apr 2019  #30
@ Rich Mazur LOL I just like to learn about complex letter patterns and pronunciation patterns. Such as: Which letter(s) go with (or don't go with) which letter(s)? Which pronunciation(s) go with (or don't go with) which pronunciation(s)? Which letter(s) and pronunciation(s) are used/not used? Plus some conversational basics along the way...


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