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How hard is it to learn Polish?

6 Jan 2013 #151
I think you're not quite getting what I wrote

nah, i got what you wrote just fine.

they may be in the same language family but not on the same sub-branch)

i'm assuming you couldn't keep a straight face even as you typed that.

According to what you said, I assume you know Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian as well as Czech and other Slavic languages

no need to speak all those languages and you know it. I used to sit down and watch 'Nova' and catch maybe 25% of the spoken words, over 50% if it's subtitled, and I'm not even a native slavic speaker. Rumor has it that the Slovakian language is even closer to Polish than Czech. My wife can understand at least 50% of spoken words in Czech and when I went to Prague with my Polish friends, they spoke Polish to the Czechs and did just fine. My brother in law is straight from Moscow, we talk about Polish vs. Russian all the time, I'm well aware of the similarities/differences.

Don't make the mistake in thinking I'm one of those dime a dozen jack ass americans that went to Poland to chase tail, spent 9 months teaching in some garbage callan school coming in every morning stinking like Zywiec and gave Polish the ole' college try and failed miserably, only now to come on here and tell everyone how impossible it is. I studied my pants off to learn Polish (yes, I LEARNED Polish) and know just how difficult it is compared to other languages I've studied. So for everyone shopping the bookstores for 'Hurra! Po Polsku' or 'Isc czy chodzic?' or '301 Polish Verbs' or 'Colloquial Polish', to answer your question, yes, Polish is a b!tch to learn.
titania - | 3
6 Jan 2013 #152
Well done you then, glad you enjoyed learning Polish. Why dont we switch to Pl then? :P

as for the knowledge of other languages you like to brag about - bear in mind there's a difference between understanding a language like every 5th word being said in a conversation (passive knowledge) and the actual ability to speak it for real (active knowledge) that is being able to speak, understand, listen and write as well as form correct sentences using grammatical rules at a natural flowing speed. Are you able to do it, not in Pl, but in other slavic languages?

I'm a Slavic native speaker. I know my language and its linguistic nature. I'm a linguist too, specialised in the English morphology and I've learnt English and I can assure you it was easier for me to learn English than for you to learn Polish, which confirms what I've said earlier in my 1st post ;) Switching between the case systems in languages can be problematic.

Aren't we Poles lucky?, got the complex declension system! yay!:P
Ironside 51 | 12,473
7 Jan 2013 #153
So any native English speaker should be able to learn German language in a flash - according to your logic¬!
berni23 7 | 379
7 Jan 2013 #155
So any native English speaker should be able to learn German language in a flash - according to your logic¬!

Certainly faster than a Slavic language, even though its easier the other way round, since German is more complex.
Lets take you for example, you have been studying English for years and you still fail to comprehend the concept of definite and indefinite articles.

Thats because:
a) You have a completely different linguistic background
b) You are intellectually challenged
17 Jun 2013 #156
As I always say, since the expectations among foreigners that most Poles, for instance, know English are high, therefore, the standard for "good" English is relatively low. Since the expecations however for most non-Poles knowing fluent Polish are low, the standard for "good" Polish is relatively high, hence, far less of a margin for acceptable error in that language as compared with English.

The same double standard applies to any language perceived as exceedingly difficult, e.g. Polish, German, Icelandic, etc...
Interestingly enough, here in New York, as Spanish has long since become the unofficial "second language" of our city (even of parts of the US as a whole!), the standard for high-level Spanish (compare with English abroad) is fairly poor, since so, so many New Yorkers (included under-educated Hispanics!!!) claim to have a working knowledge of it. Furthermore, like English, Spanish is frequently perceived as an "easy" language, requiring little arsenal of grammar with which to express oneself comfortably.

Perception is reality:-)
29 Mar 2014 #157
I'm sure if I had a Polish girlfriend and/or lived in Poland I could learn it fluently within one year!
But not allpPeople are as tallented as me in learning languages. Maybe some people'couldn't learn Polish, if they would have 100 years time therefore.

But a solution for all Polish learners: Polish is less difficult than Czech and really "nothing" compared to Lithuanian. This is save to say
Wlodzimierz 4 | 539
29 Mar 2014 #158
Trust some out there will remember the old quip by Mark Twain: "To learn English takes thirty days, French, thirty weeks, and German.....thirty years!" Add to that, "...Polish, thirty lifetimes."


I'm only kidding, folks. Then again, as I've repeated ad nauseum, language ease vs. difficulty is such a relative matter.
7 Nov 2015 #159
Ye.Ye. NocyMrok. The Undertaker. But... Even with pronouncation and those pesky tenses English is much easier than ANY Slavic language. Period. I am self-taught of English. In more than 12 years i have used the English Language Book TWICE or max THREE TIMES (if i remember correctly it was New Cambridge "whatever"). It's nowhere sufficient to do so in Polish. ENGLISH IS EASY AND PRONOUNCATION IS NOT "THAT" IMPORTANT.
Lyzko 45 | 9,513
7 Nov 2015 #160
I then repeat my query from when I originally posted on this thread. If English is deemed so much "easier" than "any Slavic language", why do those who claim such usually speak English so poorly??

The double standard remains; Europeans, for instance, can merrily poke fun at our Yankee accents/ faulty grammar etc. in their respective languages, while we Yanks must politely endure often the most egregious infractions against our (equally) beloved mother tongue, silently putting up with the sneers and snickers from many Europeans, not daring to say a word, lest risking a backlash!!

As far as Polish being a proverbially "hard" language, I maintain that English spelling is at least twice as complicated as Polish morphology... or at any rate, nearly on a par:-))
Tanya81272 - | 3
15 Dec 2015 #161
I have been listening to youtube, the Pimsleur approach and there are many useful sites on the internet which have audio. I will also be contacting some members where we can teach one another via skype.

I have been one to pick on languages quite easily. I have LIMITED knowledge of Polish. My dad was 100% speaker but he passed away.

I found that constantly listening will help. Also, I am one to write things down and say them to myself over and over again. Then it will be easier. I believe setting a goal of say learning 10-15 words a day will help. But what I have learned with learning languages, you MUST practice every day.
Lyzko 45 | 9,513
15 Dec 2015 #162
Above all, learn to THINK in the target language!!! Half of all second aka foreign language errors are due to first language interference, i.e. translating from one's mother tongue into whatever language the person in question is trying to acquire:-)

A lot of the problem too is the sheer exposure to the target language required to develop any kind of comfortable fluency.
I just finished watching the movie "Kret" (The Mole) from several years back. I watched without English or even German subtitles. When I found a Polish-caption option, I clicked and began listening to and watching what the actors were saying.

My comprehension increased by leaps and bounds!
terri 1 | 1,663
15 Dec 2015 #163

By your reasoning, all women are women, so the differences between them are also not THAT important.
Atch 20 | 4,155
15 Dec 2015 #164

As a native English speaker and learner of Polish, I would agree with that. Basic English in my view is more straightforward than basic Polish. The problem with Polish for me anyway, is the constant changing of the noun cases so that even the simplest sentence requires grammatical acrobatics. In English you learn a noun and that's it, you can use it any time, any place, anywhere. In Polish you have the basic noun form, you use it - it's wrong! Even the way in which people's names follow this rule, for God's sake, it's a minefield!

And then there's the 'endings'. My husband is constantly on my case about this. 'Your endings must be clear'. His advice is to choose an ending and say it clearly, even if it's wrong it will sound better than a weird, mumbled nothing! He says indistinct endings sound dreadful to a Polish ear.

However I have heard some appalling pronuncation from Poles speaking English that render the words almost unintelligible to a native English speaker.
Lyzko 45 | 9,513
15 Dec 2015 #165
..and Basic English is (usually) basically awful! Pronunciation etc. is INDEED important, as important as in Polish, French, German or any other language. Leave us not quibble over double standards:-)
x_mala_myszka - | 5
15 Dec 2015 #166
Afternoon 😊 I wanted to ask if anyone has a similar experience to myself......I was attending weekly lessons for learning polish but circumstances have been that i havent had a lesson now in well over a year. If I start agai n do you think I would pick it up quicker than the first time of learning? Anyone similar? 😊
Lyzko 45 | 9,513
15 Dec 2015 #167
I'd say it's never too late to pick up any language after a certain hiatus, Polish no exception! What's your level? Który jest poziom? Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced?

My Polish is surely no more than maybe beginning advanced, which is not to say I don't still make numerous errors, some typographic, others merely due to negligence:-)

If English is your native language, you'll find Polish challenging, even beginning Polish.
x_mala_myszka - | 5
15 Dec 2015 #168
Well....dificult to say.....looking back over my three years of learning i would say the penny was just about starting to drop....but theother day i was driving along and couldnt remember what door was in polish.....i have had two family members diagnosed with cancer within the last year so my brain shut 'polish' down....and now i want to start again 😊
Lyzko 45 | 9,513
15 Dec 2015 #169
While no time is the only "right" time, it is not a truism that the older we become, naturally the more cluttered our brains get. This merely slows the learning process a bit:-)
x_mala_myszka - | 5
15 Dec 2015 #170
I know 😊 just hoping a few things may have stopped in my to find a teacher 😊
Lyzko 45 | 9,513
15 Dec 2015 #171
Well, PF has loads of infinitely capable native, bilingual Polish tutors (or tutor-wannabes), so go for it, girl, you came to the right place!
Wroclaw1010 3 | 91
15 Dec 2015 #172
Duolingo has started Polish course for English speakers few days ago. You could give it a try. I personally find it very helpful.
x_mala_myszka - | 5
15 Dec 2015 #173
😊 lyzko thanks...and wroclaw...i will have a look 😊
Lyzko 45 | 9,513
15 Dec 2015 #174
Z przyjemnością! With pleasure!
12 Dec 2016 #175
Merged: Is it hard to learn polish?

I'm 15 years old and I'm native Georgian speaker. I also am fluent in English. I want to learn Polish. How hard is it to learn Polish for English and Georgian speaker? Also I am planning to learn myself. So where should I start? Thank you!
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,095
12 Dec 2016 #176
I want to learn Polish. How hard is it to learn Polish

They say its hard to learn. Hard to choose proper words in sentence. Hard to pronounce.

So where should I start?

Listen to the radio or watch yt. Learn by heart basic sentences.

Jestem Hagrida. Mam 15 lat. Mieszkam w Londynie. Mówię płynnie po angielsku. Chciałabym uczyć się polskiego. Od czego zacząć?
Lyzko 45 | 9,513
12 Dec 2016 #177

While encouraging you to learn Polish, I also must caution you into thinking that a knowledge of English (however fluent) and Russian necessarily is an easy entree to learning Polish:-)

Polish is considered to be the most challenging of Slavic languages, more than Russian (with an "extra" case - Vocative/Wołacz) and even Czech, owing to the added pronunciation feature of Polish, the "ś"-sound, which is almost unique to Polish.

Lyzko 45 | 9,513
12 Dec 2016 #178
My apologies for before, Hagrida!

You stated that Georgian, not Russian, is your mother tongue.

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