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"Hilarious" Mistakes? (Esp. Across Polish and other Slavic Languages)


hythorn 3 | 580
7 Dec 2011 #31
oh yes

and I have to say the chick in the shop found it highly amusing

I manage to keep my clothes on in this version of the story
Sasha 2 | 1,083
7 Dec 2011 #32
Has "suka" two meaning in Polish?
Seanus 15 | 19,706
7 Dec 2011 #33
Female dog and nasty woman, much like bi*ch in English.
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
7 Dec 2011 #34
You should try to use Pan and Pani sometimes as it is more polite.

True, but native/fluent speakers will forgive you if it is obvious that you are still learning. But the rule is: be too polite until told otherwise.

You no longer have to mutually agree to sacrifice your first-born children to the Slavic gods before you are allowed to call each other "Ty", but there still has to be agreement ;) **

I couldn't get away with it, for example (not that I would even try to, but it usually takes quite some time for people to work out that I wasn't born in Poland).

think i will give up now.

Don't!! It's not the easiest language, but if you can make yourself understood (even with mistakes), you're halfway there. ;)

At least you won't have to learn all the different Cantonese tones like I had to - that makes Polish sound like a dialect of your first language. Far more potential for embarrassing errors! :D

na pociągu as when travelling is incorrect it should be w pociągu

Which is why a literal translation isn't always the correct one.

"I'm on the train" in English suggests that you are a passenger inside a train. Literally translated into Polish, it implies that you really are on the train (i.e., on the roof, lol), not travelling inside. A worker fixing the roof of the train could be na pociągu, but a passenger will be w pociągu (inside the train).

To be honest, I can't understand why this isn't the case in English - it's only in Jackie Chan and cowboy films that people travel "on the train" haha.

** jk ;)
Sasha 2 | 1,083
7 Dec 2011 #35
Female dog and nasty woman, much like bi*ch in English.

Ok, same in Russian but how can one address by a mistake to a woman in such a way?
Seanus 15 | 19,706
7 Dec 2011 #36
You'd have to say, 'o, Ty suko!' in this way. Does Russian change in such a way?
gumishu 11 | 5,494
7 Dec 2011 #37
You no longer have to mutually agree to sacrifice your first-born children to the Slavic gods before you are allowed to call each other "Ty", but there still has to be agreement ;) **

the thing Sidliste you are not living here and can perhaps miss out on certain 'feelings' -

the reasons why I discourage people from starting with pan/panis from the very beginning are - a) it is counterintuitive for a speaker of English which is just another way of saying that the natural form for an English speaking person is to address people in the 2nd person b) it alters a lot in a sentence - you need to used different forms of verbs - pff confusing c) people like Pam who learned Polish from speaking with their Polish friends are familiar with the regular 2nd person address ('możesz mi pomóc') and are not familiar with the formal mode of address d) other more or less significant reasons e) you have to be consistent when you start out with the formal register - shifting between the registers during a conversation can be cofusing and unpleasant for a Polish interlocutor f) in most cases if you engage a person face to face (this is not really the case with most ticket offices in Poland mind you) the person will not get offended seeing that you are a foreigner

so eventually untill you are actually well versed in Pan/Pani mode and feel natural with it I'd say don't even start out with it, just speak the way it comes natural to you (for speakers of some languages other than English (continental Spanish? Japanese?) the pan/pani address can be more natural from the beginning)
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
7 Dec 2011 #38
the thing Sidliste you are not living here and can perhaps miss out on certain 'feelings' -

I don't see how that makes any difference, considering that I have spoken Polish for four decades, and there are a million Polish people over here - I encounter them daily. You know as well as I do that certain things had to be done before you could start calling each other "Ty" in the past; moer to do with drinking rather than human sacrifice (hence "just kidding" note at the bottom ;) ) - things are changing though, and I know that the rules aren't as strict as they used to be (especially amongst the young).

so eventually until you are actually well versed in Pan/Pani mode and feel natural with it I'd say don't even start out with it, just speak the way it comes natural to you (for speakers of some languages other than English (continental Spanish? Japanese?) the pan/pani address can be more natural from the beginning)

I understand what you're getting at.

However, educated speakers of English will understand (but rarely use) the English equivalents. There are clearly class differences over here (it's really only the upper class or some of the upper-middle class who would speak like this), but use of "Sir and "Madam" (e.g., "would Sir/Madam like a cup of tea?") can be used; as I've already mentioned, it is considered very formal (or even too formal) for the vast majority of speakers. People who speak like this do not refer to themselves in the first person ("I"), either but use "One" instead (i.e., "One really must learn Polish before travelling to Poland").

But as I also mentioned, well-educated English speakers will understand this usage, even if they do not use it, so there is no reason why they cannot understand why something similar is used in Polish. Every native speaker or teacher of Polish I have ever met has emphasised the need for formality unless mutually agreed otherwise.
gumishu 11 | 5,494
7 Dec 2011 #39
Every native speaker or teacher of Polish I have ever met has emphasised the need for formality unless mutually agreed otherwise.

while this is the case among the native speakers of Polish (a lot of distance when people are not familiar with each other) foreigners are in practice generally excused for not conforming unless they turn to really elderly people who are not really accustomed to being addressed in the second person and are much less tolerant often (or they happen upon a really haughty person which is quite rare) - I think my mum's generation (60 year olds) is already quite tollerant to being addressed in the second person save for certain environs (ticket offices, some public officers)
cinek 2 | 345
7 Dec 2011 #40
e) you have to be consistent when you start out with the formal register - shifting between the registers during a conversation can be cofusing and unpleasant for a Polish interlocutor

I don't agree. If you mix both forms (Pan/ty) it'll be obvious for everyone that you're trying to be polite but you have just a language problem. But if you just use 'ty' then most people will assume that that's your intention, so some may feel offended.

Cinek
gumishu 11 | 5,494
7 Dec 2011 #41
it'll be obvious for everyone that you're trying to be polite

politeness or rather respect, well-meaning, gratitude can all be expressed in other ways than polite language forms
Teffle 22 | 1,321
7 Dec 2011 #42
Exactly. V narrow minded of anyone to take offence at an obvious foreigner making errors in terms of address.
a.k.
7 Dec 2011 #43
Ok, same in Russian but how can one address by a mistake to a woman in such a way?

He didn't want to call her like that. He just mistaken word suka for słuchawki (headphones).
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
7 Dec 2011 #44
she probably thought i was a complete debil

We can spot in no time a non native speaker as exactly as you can. What do you think then? 8)
pam
7 Dec 2011 #45
Why are you feeling so disheartened because one person politely corrected you about pan/pani?

i am not disheartened over the use of pan/pani, it was the fact that everything else i said was wrong as well....i welcome people on this site correcting me, its nice that posters take the trouble to try and help, but i feel now that my polish is truly appalling...:(

It was, here's more or less what I imagined:

strzyga
yes at least i can laugh today..very funny strzyga..yeah,this was definitely my spider...

I'm on the train" in English suggests that you are a passenger inside a train. Literally translated into Polish, it implies that you really are on the train (i.e., on the roof, lol), not travelling inside

i think this equates to i am travelling on the spiders head now ...boze
gumishu 11 | 5,494
7 Dec 2011 #46
Sidliste_Chodov:
I'm on the train" in English suggests that you are a passenger inside a train. Literally translated into Polish, it implies that you really are on the train (i.e., on the roof, lol), not travelling inside

i think this equates to i am travelling on the spiders head now ...boze

actually it's the best place to travel on a spider :) I bet you wouldn't want to tranvel IN a spider, would you?? :)

look how beautifully green eyes it has - I know they are a couple too many ;) (click on the image to enlarge it)
catsoldier 62 | 596
7 Dec 2011 #47
treat myself to gold membership as xmas present

Hi Pam, I don't want to insult you or anyone on Polish forums but I think that you would get more value if you bought yourself some Polish lessons from a good Polish teacher, someone who teaches Polish as a profession, who has materials and a course ready.
pam
7 Dec 2011 #48
look how beautifully green eyes it has

i have a really big problem with spiders. they frighten me so much. i can look at pictures now, but they make me shudder. gumishu, your english is excellent but i will correct you now ( hoping you dont mind ). what you should have said was..look at the beautiful green eyes the spider has. its a small mistake and not too important.

Hi Pam, I don't want to insult you or anyone on Polish forums but I think that you would get more value if you bought yourself some Polish lessons from a good Polish teacher, someone who teaches Polish as a profession, who has materials and a course ready.

hi catsoldier, thanks for advice. i will try to explain this. i live in an average size seaside town. i have tried before to find a teacher who might be willing to teach me polish. there is no-one where i live. i found out about courses in bristol (20 miles away ), but i think i explained this before. spoke to teacher,and although my polish is not great, it is too advanced for their course, which soon will be discontinnued because of drop out rate. my polish friends think i am very unusual. they dont know any english people that speak(or try to speak)polish. thanks for trying to help :)
Lyzko
7 Dec 2011 #49
But, Pam, let me just chime in again, by saying that PF should always be used as a helpful and invaluable back-up for checking stuff you've learned with an actual (vs. 'virtual' ) teacher/instructor-:)

Dobrej zabawy (a dobrego wyniku)!!
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
7 Dec 2011 #50
actually it's the best place to travel on a spider :) I bet you wouldn't want to tranvel IN a spider, would you?? :)

lol :)

no :D
pam
8 Dec 2011 #51
I think that if you are going to speak any foreign language embarrassing yourself is a given. I suppose it is a good way to develop a thick skin and learn to laugh at yourself.

went to bed and got up again. i dont have a thick skin, i have grown a hide :)
Marynka11 4 | 675
8 Dec 2011 #52
I speak Polish to my kids and I use a lot diminutives. My husband picks up this kind of Polish and then when he goes to polski sklep he uses the kiddie language, so his conversations with sklepowa, who is laughing all the time, are usually more or less like that:

H: Pani, chlebek, prosze.
S: Ktory chlebek?
H: Ten chlebek. I jeszcze kielbaska.
S: Ktora kielbaske podac?
H: Ta, kielbaska (pointing with the finger)
S: Ile tej kielbaski?
H: Troszeczke (showing the length)

and so on...
pam
8 Dec 2011 #53
My husband picks up this kind of Polish and then when he goes to polski sklep he uses the kiddie language

at least i know my polish is better than this...you need to educate him...lol!!
Peter Cracow
8 Dec 2011 #54
Marynkowy11 at the gas station would be great:

- Pan, benzynka, prosze.
- Jaka benzynka?
- Dziewiedziesiatka osemeczka.
- A ile nalac?
- Cale autko.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,386
8 Dec 2011 #55
he uses the kiddie language,

i still do that (at home) and can't shake it off. my youngest was laughing at me only yesterday because of it.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
8 Dec 2011 #56
'Suka poprosze'

was 'suka' supposed to mean 'słuchawki'? :P

Sukę poproszę is the new 'golden standard' expression. Haha :)
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
8 Dec 2011 #57
I bet he asks for a torebka instead of a reklamówka as well :)
catsoldier 62 | 596
8 Dec 2011 #58
i have grown a hide :)

:-), that's a good one!

My husband picks up this kind of Polish

Kids Polish is embarrassing but what if a man used the same language that a woman would use?! :-( If you told her that she spoke good english, she might say nie słódź mi, sometime later you meet a stranger(a man), they say that you speak good Polish, trying to keep up the pretence of speaking good Polish and being stuck for another answer except the one you remember you say..................... :-(, tragedia i wstyd.
Chrzaszcz 12 | 103
8 Dec 2011 #59
This is the sort trouble you will find when you learn without a good grammar book

Hi pam et al

Don't be disheartened. It sounds as though you know quite a bit of the language already.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I use three books:

1. Hurra!!! Po Polsku - Malgorzata Małolepsza and Aneta Szymkiewicz.
2. Polish Verbs & Essentials of Grammar - Oscar E. Swan.
3. Basic Polish - Dana Bielec.

They are excellent books - the third is a bit heavy and there is quite a lot of grammar rules, but unforutunately is just boils down the learning it. In the book by Oscar Swan, he has compiled very useful lists of vocabulary - i am learning roughly 10 words a day... at the minute adverbs...
gumishu 11 | 5,494
8 Dec 2011 #60
Kids Polish is embarrassing

no, it isn't

I bet he asks for a torebka instead of a reklamówka as well :)

torebka can well be used instead of reklamówka - it's not that torebka is only purse and that's it - a small paper bag is also torebka


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