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Will Germans be able to understand Polish enough?


mochadot18 13 | 238    
20 Nov 2018  #1
Hello, Ill be in Germany in 3 days while on my way to Georgia and again on my way back to the u.s. If I speak polish will they be able to understand me enough??

Thank you
Lyzko 18 | 5,319    
20 Nov 2018  #2
Outside of Poland, of course, possibly Ukraine and the Northern Carpathians, can't really see Polish being that helpful.
With German, you will get by in parts of urban Poland, however I'd find it impossible to believe that Germans will understand enough PolishLOL

The minority will usually understand some of the majority language, though rarely if ever in the reverse!
Spike31 1 | 378    
20 Nov 2018  #3
They'll understand you in parts of Lithuania, in Slovakia and Western Bialorus but not in Germany.

I'm afraid that if you want to be understood in Germany you'll have to learn German and Turkish
Lyzko 18 | 5,319    
20 Nov 2018  #4
No debate here. The relationship between the two neighbors has been anything but either easy or pleasant. Each tolerates the other, but it's far from on an equal footing, and both realize this, I'm sure..

Apropos Turkish, in Berlin, it has become in certain sections of town nearly like Spanish in certain "barrios" of New York especially, and to be sure, Turkish will get one by to a degree in the German capital. Outside of Berlin, forget about it, especially in the former East Zone, as ethnic/racial tensions are running particularly high at the moment.
gregy741 3 | 1,122    
20 Nov 2018  #5
german language is very different..no way ,would german understand polish language without learning it.
polish outside Poland,czech ,slovakia and western ukraine. those are countries that would understand polish language to some degree.i found Ukrainian quite easily understandable,tho i use to be fluent in russian..maybe thats why
Tacitus 1 | 766    
20 Nov 2018  #6
The German school system simply favours other languages. English is nowadays a pretty safe bet if you are in cities. French is a possibility if youbare in Western/South Western Germany. There are some who still learn Russian in school (even in West Germany), but you would be hard-pressed to find any. Meeting people who speak Polish highly unlikely.
Nathans    
20 Nov 2018  #7
Polish-Germans will, some people from the former Soviet union will too, the rest most likely not (or they won't care either way ; )
delphiandomine 87 | 16,885    
20 Nov 2018  #8
Meeting people who speak Polish highly unlikely.

Hey now, plenty of Poles/Czechs/Slovaks working in Germany. It came in useful once in a restaurant when I didn't have a clue what was written on the menu and the waitress looked suspiciously non-German. A question in Polish about whether she understood Polish was met with "Ano, rozumiem po polsky" (Slovak), and that was that :) It turned out that she was from Eastern Slovakia, so even easier to understand.
Tacitus 1 | 766    
20 Nov 2018  #9
Well, if you speak Korean you will also be able speak to people in Korean restaurants which habe become quite popular.

But aside from those very specific situations, it is very unlikely. The plan should not be to rely Polish languagr skills for vital information.
Spike31 1 | 378    
20 Nov 2018  #10
and the waitress looked suspiciously non-German

So simply put she was pretty. You can use just one word to describe it instead of using full sentence :-)

But aside from those very specific situations, it is very unlikely.

There're around 2 million Poles in Germany who work there on semi-permanent/temporary basis. All of them speaks Polish. And also lets not forget about Polish minority in Germany.

Lukas Podolski, a German footballer of Polish background who feels more Polish than German.



youtu.be/oomunrDsrXk
OP mochadot18 13 | 238    
20 Nov 2018  #11
Alright what about when I'm in Russia right above Georgia area??
Atch 16 | 2,646    
20 Nov 2018  #12
Poles can usually get the gist of what Russians are saying, so I imagine it works the other way round also. They're both Slavic languages. Some words are very similar, almost identical, some completely different. German has no relationship whatsoever to Polish so no German person will understand you if you speak to them in Polish. Can't imagine why you would want to use Polish in Germany when you speak English. In Western Europe, you will be able to get by with English in most basic situations like shopping, buying a train ticket etc. Polish will be of zero use to you unless you encounter a Pole who happens to be working in the shop, train station etc.
OP mochadot18 13 | 238    
20 Nov 2018  #13
Can't imagine why you would want to use Polish in Germany when you speak English

Would be fun to try to use and practice my polish, and I haven't been to Europe since I was a kid so not sure about who speaks what. Wasn't sure if a lot of people speak English there.
Atch 16 | 2,646    
20 Nov 2018  #14
It's a pity you can't manage a day or two in Poland during your trip. Will you be near to the Polish border at all? Maybe you could manage a day trip.
OP mochadot18 13 | 238    
20 Nov 2018  #15
I wish, its just 2 12 hour layovers. And we'll be in Munich. And Georgia is way to far haha

also we'll be driving a diplomatic car, anyone know if this is better and safer??
Atch 16 | 2,646    
20 Nov 2018  #16
Well, if you're going to spend some time in the airport, then you could look for an area where people are waiting to check in for a flight to Poland and you could sit down there and just hear the language spoken and see how it feels, what you can understand etc. :) If there are young kids around,you'll find that it's often very easy to understand them as they use very simple language and talk about ordinary, simple things. You might even be able to strike up a casual conversation with somebody but I wouldn't bank on it. Poles are not the most approachable people, not casually friendly with strangers but you never know. If you see a girl of about your age, she might not object if you wanted to chat her up a bit :))
Lyzko 18 | 5,319    
20 Nov 2018  #17
There are so many false friends Russian to Polish, and even reverse, that maybe only with the most basic, everyday vocabulary, could a Russian understand a Pole or the other way round. Often though, simply grasping a word here and there, is scarcely the same as understanding either the entire conversation as well as the gist of what is being said. An example I enjoy quoting is the Russian verb "pukat" vs. its Polish sound-alike evil "identical" twin "pukac"...similar pronunciation, but HARDLY the same meaning:-) lol

The list of such troublesome pairs is quite extensive, I can assure you!

Concerning using Polish in Germany, one has a far better chance of being understood using German in Poland. English naturally is taught everywhere, however, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's used or understood with equal precision.
Rich Mazur 5 | 2,237    
20 Nov 2018  #18
Well, if you're going to spend some time in the airport, then you could ....hear the language spoken

If you do that, you not hear Polish. In fact, you will not hear anything since massaging smartphones generates no sound whatsoever. You will feel like in a bad zombie movie except that it will be real.
Lyzko 18 | 5,319    
21 Nov 2018  #19
Yep, spot on matey!
OP mochadot18 13 | 238    
25 Nov 2018  #20
English naturally is taught everywhere, however, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's used or understood with equal precision.

Yea germans can barely get by with their english. But we still enjoyed our time and a friend helped us on the phone telling us where to go. I feel like they know english about as well as taking a course of it in high school maybe and almost never using it since.
TheOther 5 | 3,588    
25 Nov 2018  #21
Yea germans can barely get by with their english.

How's your German, mate? Yeah, that's what I thought... :)
Ironside 47 | 9,261    
25 Nov 2018  #22
How's your German, mate?

Hey pal, be nice she is my PF friend.

By the way Germans in general know English for sh.. and are rude about it.
TheOther 5 | 3,588    
25 Nov 2018  #23
Hey pal, be nice she is my PF friend.

Oh, sorry. Didn't mean to be "mean". Was just hinting at the fact that us Anglos should learn a foreign language ourselves first before criticizing others for their (supposedly) mediocre English skills.

Germans in general know English for sh

Don't know about that. The ones I've met were all fluent in English, albeit with a heavy accent.
Lyzko 18 | 5,319    
25 Nov 2018  #24
Germans are a mixed bag.

Sure, there are plenty who know really fluent English and can negotiate effortlessly in nearly any everyday situation. The trouble often comes when one scratches ever so slightly beneath the highly polished veneer of many a yuppified urbanite in any of the major centers, only to hit a stone wall; their English started out solid and rarely, if ever, moves beyond that point in terms of learning either more deeply the idiom of Standard English, or (HORRORS!!) recognizing there's till a great deal which they don't know and admitting it either publically or privately:-)

On the other hand, most Germans well over senior age, tend to know next to zero English, and if anything, WWII catch phrases such as "Lucky Strike", "See you later alligator" or the like, always rattled off with a thick native accent.
TheOther 5 | 3,588    
25 Nov 2018  #25
when one scratches ever so slightly beneath the highly polished veneer...

Pure Anglo arrogance (not talking about you personally here!). Come back when you have managed to speak a foreign language on the same level as a native.
Lyzko 18 | 5,319    
26 Nov 2018  #26
But I do, TheOther, you know that, so quit "messing" with me, as you like to say.
:-)
TheOther 5 | 3,588    
26 Nov 2018  #27
But I do

No, you don't. It's impossible to master a language at native speaker level if you didn't grow up in that country.
Lyzko 18 | 5,319    
26 Nov 2018  #28
Not if one is a "native bilingual", grown up abroad until college, yet raised for the first five or so years in the source language.

As you've never heard me speak, how can you honestly judge?

Uh-huh, sir! I still stand by my scratches beneath the polished veneer analogy, any day, any time.
TheOther 5 | 3,588    
26 Nov 2018  #29
"native bilingual"

Use it or lose it. Applies to languages, too.. :)
Lyzko 18 | 5,319    
26 Nov 2018  #30
Absolutely.


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