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Need some Polish language help.....with a twist!


ShadyMarkus 4 | 18
20 Feb 2012 #1
Hi there,

I'm wanting to learn Polish like so many people on here. My wife is Polish, and I would love to be able to have a proper conversation with her family, her friends, and even my wife in her own language. I'd also like to move to Poland one day, something which will be nearly impossible if I can't speak the lingo as I won't be able to get a job doing what I do now (Project Manager).

I've been trying on and off for around 4 years or so now and so far I've only managed to pick up basic Polish and by basic, I mean basic. Let me give you a quick overview of what I've tried so far:

1) Books (Polish in 4 weeks, Polish Grammer)
2) Rosetta Stone
3) Class room based training (didn't complete course due to work commitments)
4) Private 1 to 1 training
5) Speaking to my wife in Polish

If I'm honest I found the 1 to 1 / classroom training the most effective. I'm currently looking for some more classroom based training but finding this difficult as I'm UK based (near to Leicester). I know the best way to learn it would be to just move to Poland and immerse myself in it. Afterall, everytime I spend time over there I pick up new stuff but this isn't practical as I obviously have to work here in the UK. Moving isn't an option yet.

Now I know historically us Brits are useless at learning languages (and lazy for the most part) but what I want to know is how other people learnt the language? Surely there must be others who have been in a similar situation to me? How did you learn it. How did you pick it up?

I was speaking to a Polish guy recently who's English was amazing. He understood my slang and everything. When I asked him where he learnt it he told me from cartoons (Simpsons etc.). That's damn amazing if its true. Anybody else do this. Might sound stupid but can anyone recommend any kids books, cartoons that may help. I'm 29 at present and willing to try pretty much anything at the moment.

So there we go.........anyone have any suggestions at all?
jasondmzk
20 Feb 2012 #2
Practice, man, practice. Seriously, there's no pill you can take. I'll tell you a little trick that's helped me in pronunciation: using the voice recognition on my phone. If you have a smartphone, download a Polish keyboard app and it should have a VR built in. Oh, and what's the "twist" you mentioned?
pip 10 | 1,659
20 Feb 2012 #3
there must be some sort of group course around you? I think I learned the most this way. There must be something organized through a Dom Polonia or Polish church in your area?
gumishu 11 | 5,859
20 Feb 2012 #4
Might sound stupid but can anyone recommend any kids books, cartoons that may help.

actually, I think this is a very good idea - perhaps you can start with teletubbies in Polish (Teletubisie)- while not much is spoken at all you get accustomed to the sound of the language - after all you need to start from simple things:



there are links to Polish alphabet entries somewhere in the stickies here in the forum

another cartoon from youtube - an old Polish children's story
Kot Filemon - a nice children's cartoon
OP ShadyMarkus 4 | 18
20 Feb 2012 #5
Jasondmzk: Not after a Polish pill as such. I'm just aware that people learn in different ways and the way that seems to work best for me is by being around Polish people. Hard to practice with the wife because although she speaks Polish as her native language we work different shifts and so we don't get all that much time together these days. Sort of figured I could go to night school while she was at work :) Oh and the twist is that I think I've tried most of what is out there to try. Kind of like a fat dieter who claims to have tried all the diets but still can't do it. So not your typical......"I want to speak Polish name a good book" thread And if that isn't a twist enough for you then would you believe that I'm actually half Polish on my mums side? Trouble is, I didn't realise my mum could speak Polish until 7 months before she died. She was chatting away to who would be my future mother-in-law and I was just :O OMG!!!

pip: You'd think so. Seriously struggling to find anything though. Hadn't thought about going to a Polish Church to check. Didn't really occur to me as I thought they can all speak Polish :p

Hey Gumishi......thanks for all the links. Will check them out over the comming days although I do despise the teletubbies :p Willing to give it a go though haha :) Thanks again for the links.
a.k.
20 Feb 2012 #6
ShadyMarkus

Maybe try to contact the user named catsoldier. He is Irish and learnt Polish to a level that he can watch YouTube videos with good understanding. I believe he might also advice you about intresting cartoons. "Pitu pitu" is good but you must be a bit more advanced to understand anything:

youtube. com/ watch?v=s5Ozmgzcbwo

...a new slang word fot you is "żul" (a lush :)
JonnyM 11 | 2,620
20 Feb 2012 #7
Practice, man, practice.

This is the only way. A little every day. Absolutely the best way is to be in Poland where you have to use the language to get by.

"żul" (a lush :)

It doesn't mean 'a lush' ;-)
pip 10 | 1,659
20 Feb 2012 #8
Typically, Polonia will have courses for their children or grandkids as a way of keeping up with the culture- it is worth a look anyway.
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
20 Feb 2012 #9
Oh and the twist is that I think I've tried most of what is out there to try.

There were ups and downs. You don't want to know how many years I have been learning English for.
Sometimes I think there is a twirl in my brain ;)
catsoldier 62 | 595
20 Feb 2012 #10
Maybe try to contact the user named catsoldier. He is Irish and learnt Polish to a level that he can watch YouTube videos with good understanding.

I struggle the same or worse than ShadyMarkus to be honest.

I started learning Polish after I got a FTA satellite dish and started recording programs from it to my PC.

My first Polish teachers were from phone in competitions on TV, they write down the words and say them, I used to google the words in google image and save the pictures. I made my own flash cards for byki including sound from these videos but it was very labour intensive. I think that some channels still have phone competitions but you would have to check.

Now I know what klops looks like.

I also used to watch Randka and Rendezvous on Viva Polska and a little bit of M Jak Miłość. I didn't understand much of these but I listened anyway which was good because some of the same words used to pop up again and I would check them. This still happens, I watch something and don't understand it all but later I will hear the same words again and I will check them. I watch far too much stuff on you tube.

Then I got some help from a Polish woman who wanted to practice her English also.
Then I got lessons from a man who spoke Polish but wasn't a fluent speaker.
Now I am getting lessons from a teacher on skype.
I am thinking about doing an intensive Polish course in the summer.
I have learnt something from all the different ways/teachers that I have had, all of them have been helpful.
I have also picked up some grammar from Polishforums, there is good information to be had at times.
I was thinking about getting lessons from this guy:



I generally pick stuff up from everywhere.

I try to read a good bit also. I generally watch, learn and do what interests me though because otherwise it is only hard work.
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
27 Feb 2012 #11
I like to watch this guy's videos. He speaks very clearly.

youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IHPvy5q3Ew4

as distinct from that guy ;)

youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nfI1CF_gmjw
musicwriter 5 | 87
29 Feb 2012 #12
Polish language is case-sensitive (there are 7 cases) Try to get a concept of declension of nouns, congugation of verbs, gender specific adjectives, action complete or incomplete.

Buy 'Langenscheidt Pocket Dictionary - Polish'*. The first ten pages are a must read. Another good book is '301 Polish Verbs'** by Klara Janecki - published by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

*ISBN 978-1-58573-415-3 (English edition)
** ISBN 0-7641-1020-9

Najlepszego
(Good luck)
OP ShadyMarkus 4 | 18
19 Mar 2012 #13
Hey everybody. Just wanted to say thanks to you all for all your replies. I've been working late for too many weeks now and I don't really get much chance to be on here as much as I'd like. However, I will have a study of the above and take on board the suggestions put forward. Really appreciate your help everyone :)
Chleb 1 | 25
21 Mar 2012 #14
Yeah, I'm trying to learn Polish too. I'm hoping to buy a book or something to aid myself.

Let me tell you about my Chinese friend who came to England about four years ago and can now speak it perfectly. He got an A in our English exam this year, beating most of the school. : 0 He says that all he did was read English books and watch English TV, and it slowly came to him.

As for me, I'm ever so slowly getting there. Ja chcę mieć chleb
Pushbike 2 | 58
21 Mar 2012 #15
Go to a summer camp for a couple of weeks. It is easy to work as a project manager here without Polish. My friend does it in warsaw but his salary is 3,500zl net.
catsoldier 62 | 595
1 Apr 2012 #16
Visual learners and auditory learners etc. I came across these interesting articles, it seems that some people can remember/understand things that they have seen/readmost easily while others remember/understand things that they have heardmost easily.

spanish.about.com/cs/forbeginners/a/learning_styles.htm

helium.com/items/227384-approaches-to-foreign-language-study-for-visual-learners

I think that the Chinese friend, Peter_Olsztyn and the person shady Markus is talking about are visual learners. I think that I am a visual learner also.

These people are auditory learners I think: Markus, Pip and Pam. I can't find Pam's thread where she says that she learns Polish from her lokator

I'm just aware that people learn in different ways and the way that seems to work best for me is by being around Polish people.

there must be some sort of group course around you? I think I learned the most this way. There must be something organized through a Dom Polonia or Polish church in your area?

Tests to see what kind of a learner you are:

quizilla.teennick.com/quizzes/7073446/what-type-of-learner-are-you-extreamly-accurate-results-will-help-you-learn-in-life

ldpride.net/learning-style-test.html
pam
3 Apr 2012 #17
These people are auditory learners I think: Markus, Pip and Pam. I

i am definitely an auditory learner, but last time i was in poland i did buy an illustrated dictionary. easy as it is to learn new words, it did help me remember to loook at pictures also. maybe i am a bit of both. unfortunately new words are easy, constructing sentences is a tad harder!! dont give up shady, if you want to learn it badly enough, you will succeed. you have a polish wife and therefore you have an advantage. try to talk more often to her in polish. i know its difficult, believe me!!!good luck!
Lyzko
4 Apr 2012 #18
Pictire dictionaries with monolingual explanations are GREAT for all levels of foreign language learners especially!! They help one visualize, i..e conceptualize, what is being learned/taught so that a particular lesson can the be incorporated into hands-on practice, learning by doing in the truest sense of the phrase.

Learning for example Polish this way helped me too, and I join the above company in being an auditory learner, constantly needing living stimuli around me all but twenty-four seven in order to pick up stuff:-) When I teach German, say, or English, I use the same technique.

I should have added, it helps the learner learn to think in the language they're learning, NOT to translate from their mother tongue which impedes the acquisition process immeasurably.
pam
4 Apr 2012 #19
it helps the learner learn to think in the language they're learning, NOT to translate from their mother tongue which impedes the acquisition process immeasurably

this is the problem i have , although it is getting better because i speak polish every day. i will never understand it because some things just dont translate from polish to english. its going to take me a long time..hehe!!
Lyzko
4 Apr 2012 #20
Exactly, Pam! Try then NOT to ask "Why?" something isn't so, i.e. the same or even similar to English, ask rather "How?" is it in the target/new language being acquired, in this case, Polish:-))))
pam
4 Apr 2012 #21
lzyko, i rarely ask why anymore, because there is no point. polish language is as natural to a pole as the english language is to me. the problem i have with learning, is i dont know anyone with good english and polish. for me its a bit of a guessing game all the time. sometimes sentences are said backwards, and sometimes forwards.for example, ja patsze na ciebie, this is almost spoken as an english person would say it. then you would get e.g jest mi zimno (backwards). probably not making myself too clear here!!
Lyzko
4 Apr 2012 #22
Pam,

Word order issues are rarely transparent from one language to the other! Surely "Patrzę na Ciebie." would sound compeltely natural to a Pole. Remember though, what we native Anglophones typically do with voice pitch, many languages do with sentence structure, i.e. placing information wishing to be emphasized at various points in the sentence and having the recipient pick up it meaning solely from context. Polish, German especially, does this alot:-)

I sort of see your quandry. Often too, Poles are reluctant to offer too much language assistance as many figure you'll never probably need to get to a much higher level than you already are, or, they simply don't have the English knowledge to be able to tell you whether your Polish is correct or not, much less the reason(s) for it being wrongLOL
pam
4 Apr 2012 #23
this is the problem.i started to learn about 2 and half years ago from a pole that spoke no english. because he didnt understand my language, it was impossible for him to explain how the polish language worked. have never seen a grammar book. i have 3 dictionaries, all different, but helpful. i have lots of polish friends now, but none of them speak english too well.they cant translate the grammar because they dont understand the english language. i also have a polish lodger, and a polish boyfriend, so i do get to speak polish every day.just a small example of my problem about translating the english language into polish. in english, you would say i am cold. i would automatically say jestem zimno. wrong!!that means i am basically dead and not moving. that is how i interpreted it to start off with. it should be jest mi zimno. i am learning at a snails pace....
a.k.
4 Apr 2012 #24
i am basically dead and not moving.

I wouldn't say that "Jestem zimna" means "I'm dead". It merely means "My body is cold". It's weird statement from a Polish point of view. It's definately not a grammar issue but more about how differently people perceive the world.

The closest translation of "jest mi zimno" is "I feel cold". As you see the observation of that statement is that the surrounding is cold, not the body of the observer. It's contrary to the English, where you refer to a temperature of your body not to what your senses feel.

By the way, a question to Lyzko - how would you translate into English the following:
Jak ci jest? Jest mi dobrze.
I know it's without a context but I just want to know if there is an English equivalent of such constructions.
Lyzko
4 Apr 2012 #25
Pam,

Always best in your position to have learned the basics of Polish from a fluent Polish-speaking Yank, preferrably NOT of Polish-American descent as they tend to speak the absolute worst and roughest countryside Polish imaginable (..even to actual countryside Poles)! Another thought would be to try one of the bigger colleges, universities etc.. If you're in the Midwest, then Chicago, Polonia, USA, is the logical choice where Poles there outnumber most any other group to this day.

a.k.,

Jak ci jest? = How's by you?
Jest mi dobrze. = I'm good/fine.

Context is unimportant here! It's so obvious, even the structure need little to no translation. Polish, by the way, shares the "Jest mi zimno." idea with most other European tongues:\

German - Mir ist's kalt. = I'm cold. vs."Ich bin kalt." = I'm frigid (can't have sex).
Spanish - Hace frio. = (lit. "It makes cold.")
Vincent 9 | 864 Moderator
4 Apr 2012 #26
How's by you?

Is this some kind of gangsta rap speak?
Youknowwho
4 Apr 2012 #27
Always best in your position to have learned the basics of Polish from a fluent Polish-speaking Yank, preferrably NOT of Polish-American descent as they tend to speak the absolute worst and roughest countryside Polish imaginable (..even to actual countryside Poles)!

First of all Pam lives in the UK so you know where you can stick your dumb advice (I can tell you if you don't!).

Second, you need to get rid of your prejudices żydku and stop talking about Poles as if we were some kind of sub humans not capable of speaking fluent English.Let me tell you parchu,for every Yank speaking broken Polish I can find 100 Poles speaking fluent English.
pam
5 Apr 2012 #28
Jak ci jest? Jest mi dobrze.

it basically means how are things with you, and the reply is everything is good with me.jak sie masz?wszystko jest dobrze.expect the grammar is wrong, but no doubt some kind soul will correct me. lyzko, i am english, not american. i learned from a pole that came from a rural area about 2 hours drive outside krakow. he has never been to america, and none of my polish friends have been there either :)
Lyzko
5 Apr 2012 #29
My dear Wincent,

The mere fact that Pam presently resides in Britain, in NO way detracts from the the fact that any native English-speaking person fluent in Polish would nonethless be of considerable help in learning to communicate in Polish! Furthermore, my experience in Poland and with Poles, has been that far too often their English is simply NOT good enough to explain the finer points of their own grammar, difficult at best for anybody. Why so hostile to my advice?

Lastly, noone on PF ever suggested Poles are some sort of "subhumans" etc... YOU said it, not weLOL

Mokrego Śmygusa Dynguśa, Wincentku:-)
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,846
5 Apr 2012 #30
seems Pam is doing pretty well learning Polish with her friends......
grammar explanations do not really help with everyday talk.


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