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How to lead conversations with older people? (Polish course participant)

annemb 3 | 10    
30 Dec 2010  #1

I would like to visit Poland during summer holidays and participate in a Polish course, but before I go there I want to ask people who know Polish language: how to lead a converstation with an older person? Is it similar to the conversation you lead with a person your age?

What does the conversation with your teachers look like? I don't want to be perceived as rude or too straighforward during my first contact with teachers at the course I'm going to take up.

Thanks for every answer!

Seanus 15 | 19,748    
30 Dec 2010  #2

This is a good question. You should use formal register with them but I am of the belief that respect is earned and they shouldn't have their profile elevated automatically. They have to be modest too as we are all just people. In Japan, they have keigo (respect language) but a teacher should be modest and say kyoushi instead of sensei. Your being foreign is a good cover for you but try and stick with the formal way unless told otherwise, e.g my father in law is 60 and he insisted on me using the Ty form with him (będziesz, jadłeś, potrzebujesz itd). It took a bit of getting used to but he prefers it.
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,086    
31 Dec 2010  #3

What does the conversation with your teachers look like?

I bet they are prepared and don't expect Pan/Pani
malwinaflower 1 | 11    
3 Jan 2011  #4

At first, you have to be polite and use Pan/Pani, but I think that sooner or later your Polish course teacher would offer you to call him/her by their name.

In many language schools the atmosphere is quite relaxed and teachers treat students as equals - it is easier to focus and learn things when everyone is friendly.

In shops / buses / restaurants you should definitely use Pan/Pani to people older than you.
Have fun in Poland!
OP annemb 3 | 10    
6 Jan 2011  #5

Thank you very much for all your answers.

I should be extra careful, because in English it is less complicated, you speak to everyone "you" or by their names.

I'm looking forward to visiting Poland and I cannot wait to speak Polish fluently :-)

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