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Should I just learn German?


ScoobySnacks 2 | 10
19 Jun 2012  #1
Hi I'm living in the states so we have 0 polish courses here in high schools which sucks since I would love to learn Polish, but you really can't do it over the internet. I've already learned some of the basics but that won't get me far. I'm learning on Livemocha so they have an Active German course which is actually pretty good, but for polish they just have words and phrases, no grammar, cases, and all the stuff you need to learn. :( Should I just learn German?

edit - I don't mean I will be talking to poles with german, I'm interested in both languages. I also might be going to Poland for an exchange program within a couple years but my odds are not that high since my parents are closed minded
Udo
20 Jun 2012  #2
The choice between studying German or French in American high school is an an interesting quandry for a young Polonian. No one can discount the weight of German learning and the acheivements of the greatest German literateurs, but, before you choose, think about the hospitality of the Hotel Lambert and think about the year 1812:

"Memorable year! Happy is he who beheld thee in our land! The folk still call thee the year of harvest, but the soldiers the year of war; old men still love to tell tales of thee and poets still dream of thee."
Lyzko
20 Jun 2012  #3
I can only second Udo's comment. Furthermore, as a German speaker myself, learning French alone without German would be a mistake. My opinion is not based upon individual language preference or fluency alone, but rather on the sheer geopolitical importance of the German language in Europe today! While most French, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, Scandinavians, even Russians and Italians (after French) have studied German intensively at university, the opposite cannot be said:-) Hence, the significance of German Europe wide cannot be disputed.

Asian countries too, notably Japan well up through the '90's, were learning German (after English) with a vengeance.

Sag mal, Udo. Woher kommst du denn? Do you also know any Polish? Many Poles on this forum have a fairly solid grasp of German, though not, it must be said, as solid as a lot of Germans' knowledge of English.
Zman
20 Jun 2012  #4
About 10-15% of Polish population under 65 know any German. Lyzko, you are now daydreaming? English rules here as a second language.
TheOther 5 | 3,717
20 Jun 2012  #5
About 10-15% of Polish population under 65 know any German. ... English rules here as a second language.

That's true. The other 85-90% are already in Germany (or Britain)... :)
MarcinD 4 | 135
20 Jun 2012  #6
ScoobySnacks,

I took Spanish, French & German in high school (learned/remembered nothing).

Born in Polska, I am a European Union member so I have the possibility of returning to Europe for work. Which I hope to do once I finish my degree. The choice for me was easy, German > Spanish. Not even close. French? That language is being fazed out especially as Germany continues to become the Economic power in Europe & global player.

- Do you plan on going to college?
- Do you plan on living/working ONLY in the US?
- Why are you learning Polish? (Heritage, interest?)

Respond back & I'll give you an answer. Really depends on those 3 questions
Udo
20 Jun 2012  #7
I can only second Udo's comment.

Lyzko, you really should have read my comment more closely before you claimed to be seconding it. I told the OP to seriously consider studying French because of Polish history. The Hotel Lambert in Paris is where many Polish patriots lived during the partitions because the partitioning powers, two of whom were Germanic, would've imprisoned or executed them had they caught them in Poland. The year 1812 is when Poland briefly emerged into independance, because Napoleon had brought her the freedom of the Revolution, and the year that Polish armies marched with him to destroy the scourge of tsarism. The English verses I quoted are from Pan Tadeusz, Poland's national poem. Poles are far closer to Frenchman in demeanor, style and joi de vivre than they are to any German clodhoppers. You need to learn more about Poland before you assume that the German language is the obvious choice for a Polonian to study.

French? That language is being fazed out especially as Germany continues to become the Economic power in Europe & global player.

"Fazed out" by whom? People who cannot recognize the fact that French culture will always be more suave and cool than that of the Germans and that Poles, real Poles that is, will always feel more of an affinity for the French than for the Germans because real Poles also have style and they know that Frenchman are their brothers while Germans are just their neighbors.
4 eigner 2 | 831
20 Jun 2012  #8
Should I just learn German?

yep. German is a pretty useful language, especially in Europe.
Lyzko
20 Jun 2012  #9
Udo, it is possible too that I might have misunderstood your English. This is however only a possibilty:-)

Zman, statistically you may be accurate, but I'll betcha dollars to donuts those over 65 speak German a damm sight better than those under speak EnglishLOL

This was my experience some years back while visiting Prague. The students all wanted to chat with us in Englsh, yet when I heard them speak German, it was far superior. Only thing was, German didn't seem to have the same cache as English at the time^^

You're correct about Poland's historical affinity with the French Court. The Russian had the same affinity, pre-Czarist, of course. Yet, I've encountered more Germans who claimed to know German than French, as I was explaining to another poster:-)
Trevek 26 | 1,702
20 Jun 2012  #10
- I don't mean I will be talking to poles with german,

You might find that to be quite possible in some areas of Poland. I was in mazury recently and even tho' I spoke to the waitress in Polish (and she'd heard us speaking English) she kept on talking to me in german. I've also found older people in many areas speak German 9often as a first language)
TheOther 5 | 3,717
20 Jun 2012  #11
that Poles, real Poles that is, will always feel more of an affinity for the French than for the Germans because real Poles also have style.

Now I understand why the French are always dissed on PF for their "betrayal" in 1939. Brothers, "real Poles"... LOL!
OP ScoobySnacks 2 | 10
20 Jun 2012  #12
Respond back & I'll give you an answer. Really depends on those 3 questions

I planned on learning because my grandma was polish and the language is pretty cool/I have an interest in poland. And yes I plan on going to college and I want to live in Europe (germany or poland, poland preferably) And what sucks is my HS doesn't offer German..
Lyzko
20 Jun 2012  #13
Chopin, resp. Szopen, cemented the relationship between France and Poland! The French consider him French, the Poles Polish, since he was born IN Poland (Zelazowa Wola, near Warszawa) to a French father and a Polish mother:-)
Natasa 1 | 580
20 Jun 2012  #14
The French consider him French, the Poles Polish

Far better than - French consider him Polish, and Poles French ;)

Slavic sentiments I can hear, perhaps it is just me.
Lyzko
20 Jun 2012  #15
Considering historic cultural rivalries/animosities, Natasa, can't say I blame either:-))
OP ScoobySnacks 2 | 10
21 Jun 2012  #16
why are people talking about french?
jon357 63 | 14,122
21 Jun 2012  #17
Try a teach-yourself book. They're always better than the Internet anyway.
Udo
21 Jun 2012  #18
You're correct about Poland's historical affinity with the French Court.

yes I am.

The Russian had the same affinity, pre-Czarist, of course.

You are very wrong. Russian rulers began using the title tsar/czar in 1472 and there was no affinity between the Russians and the French before this time. Centuries later, during tsarist times, the Russian aristocracy, like so many other aristocracies, did begin learning the French language and appropriating French cultural acheivements.

Now I understand why the French are always dissed on PF for their "betrayal" in 1939.

Really? The French are "always dissed" upon this forum? Can you cite any examples of this supposed "dissing" upon this forum? Perhaps you should read this forum more closely, because I haven't seen any such "dissing" which seems to disprove your assertion that it's "always" happening.

Brothers, "real Poles"... LOL!

Wow, you even edited your post and this is the level of discourse you decided upon! You are very clearly a brilliant addition to this forum....

Scooby Snacks, please remember that this is an internet forum and that the people offering you advice may not necessarily have the slightest clue about that which they are claiming to know.

You're correct about Poland's historical affinity with the French Court.

yes I am.

The Russian had the same affinity, pre-Czarist, of course.

You are very wrong. Russian rulers began using the title tsar/czar in 1472 and there was no affinity between the Russians and the French before this time. Centuries later, during tsarist times, the Russian aristocracy, like so many other aristocracies, did begin learning the French language and appropriating French cultural acheivements.

Now I understand why the French are always dissed on PF for their "betrayal" in 1939.

Really? The French are "always dissed" upon this forum? Can you cite any examples of this supposed "dissing" upon this forum? Perhaps you should read this forum more closely, because I haven't seen any such "dissing" which seems to disprove your assertion that it's "always" happening.

Brothers, "real Poles"... LOL!

Wow, you even edited your post and this is the level of discourse you decided upon! You are very clearly a brilliant addition to this forum....

Scooby Snacks, please remember that this is an internet forum and that the people offering you advice may not necessarily have the slightest clue about that which they are claiming to know.
TheOther 5 | 3,717
21 Jun 2012  #19
You are very clearly a brilliant addition to this forum....

Yeah, since 2009, to be exact... :)
And you?
OP ScoobySnacks 2 | 10
21 Jun 2012  #20
Why the hell is everybody talking about the history now? I just asked a simple question :( nie dobrze!
TheOther 5 | 3,717
21 Jun 2012  #21
What do you want to do immediately after high school? Spend a year in Europe? Study in Germany as many Americans do these days? Finish college and get a job overseas? If you plan to end up over the pond as you say, I would suggest you learn the language of Europe's most important economy - German. It's widely spoken, including Poland and parts of France, and your job prospects in Germany (or even the US after your return) would be quite good.
Udo
21 Jun 2012  #22
my HS doesn't offer German.

You should've included the latter fact in your OP. I was under the impression that you were deciding which language to learn in HS. You're asking if you should try to learn German online rather than Polish online....Whatever man. I was under the impression that German was offered in in every public HS in the USA along with Spanish and French. Assuming you do have a choice between the latter two I still suggest you learn French, although Spanish is also a beautiful language. As for your internet language studies.... Bon chance.
MarcinD 4 | 135
21 Jun 2012  #23
It's not about having style, it's about getting a job & French is 3rd in line (behind English & German)

I planned on learning because my grandma was polish and the language is pretty cool/I have an interest in poland. And yes I plan on going to college and I want to live in Europe (germany or poland, poland preferably) And what sucks is my HS doesn't offer German..

Alright the few points I'll give you

- Polish is much harder than German

- Your college will almost certainty have a German department. So if you take German you will have a classroom, school tutor, structure etc. If you take Polish you will be learning it on your own but that may not necessary be a bad thing, it just depends on the kind of student you are. Can you handle learning it on your own in order to take a Final Exam at the end of the semester? My sister graded the Polish ''Exit Exam'' for the local University here. She said it's rather easy. If you do this, I recommend a program like Rosetta Stone

- In terms of work, German is DEFINITELY the way to go. But seems like you have personal agenda for taking Polish & more power to you for that! French, I wouldn't waste my time with unless you plan on living/working in France specifically.

- Germans know English very well, probably the best on the planet other than native English speakers. Poland is improving but they still waste their time with French in school. So if you wanted to work/live in Poland, Polish would be crucial although that is continuing to change
OP ScoobySnacks 2 | 10
21 Jun 2012  #24
Thanks for the answers everybody, I was surprised myself to not see German on the learning list either for my school, it was latin (that's what I'll be taking) spanish and french.
Lyzko
21 Jun 2012  #25
Udo, I am very RIGHT!! I mentioned Russia's long, pre-Czarist affection for both the French Court and language. The 15th century would certainly qualifyLOL "Pre-Czarist" = Vor der Zarenzeit:-))

Understand now?

My research has suggested that the Bolshevik era in Russia signaled an end to Russia's pre-Revolution fascination with French culture as too bourgeoise in character, this is true. I was referring precisely to this period of time. I see I didn't make myself plain on that point^^

There was on old joke around the time of Napoleon that Russians spoke French in the Royal Court, German at the university (half of all St. Petersburg physicians during the mid-19th century were German, by the way!) and Russian with their dog.

German had and continues to have a certain appeal as the one language that for centuries held Eastern and Western Europe together, before English gained dominance:-)
Lyzko
22 Jun 2012  #26
A former student of mine from Warsaw said recently that after passing her BEC, the next language she wanted to brush up on was her high school German. She even said her professors encouraged her to do so, over say, French or Spanish:-)

Thought I add a note of encouragement to the original thread!
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
22 Jun 2012  #27
French? That language is being fazed out especially as Germany continues to become the Economic power in Europe & global player.

LOL, you really don't get it, do you? This is why so many people criticise Americans, because your "superior" country and education system doesn't appear to teach you to look at the global scheme of things.

Germany is indeed a major economic power, but the language is not an official language anywhere outside Europe. It's a language I'd consider learning, though; but only for holidays, as I am unlikely to ever need it at work. My main interest is within the Slavic world, so it makes no difference to me whether Czech/Slovak/Russian etc. is considered by many to be a waste of time learning; for me, they will always be useful languages. But if you are looking at a global business perspective, you need to concentrate on the languages below.

You may dislike or look down upon French, but you also need to face the facts. French is still a language of significant value in several non-European continents.

If you know the following languages, you can communicate with virtually everyone in the world, or at least everyone you are ever likely to need to speak to: English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Mandarin and possibly Russian. That's just 6-7 languages, and you can get by almost anywhere. German doesn't even come close to making this list, as many of the German speakers you may come into contact with are likely to know either English or French.
peterweg 36 | 2,316
22 Jun 2012  #28
I'd learn French rather than German.
Germans use English for business and are very good at it. The French don't like using English so learning the language would enhance your employment prospects - in French speaking countries.
Lyzko
22 Jun 2012  #29
As a German speaker, here I must politely disagree. The Germans use more English than the French, not owing to any advanced skill, but merely because the French are more honest with themselves regarding their overall level than most Germans, that's all. It's a pride thing. Frankly, I've usually found fault with most German's English. Not that the Poles are much better, only the Germans are typically more adept at hiding itLOL

A utopian international language? Sounds too good to be true, probably because it IS^^
MarcinD 4 | 135
23 Jun 2012  #30
Okay but original poster stated he plans on working/living in Europe. Not Africa

Back to my point....French is being fazed out. The younger generations view French as a hobby not a language that will help you in business. Unless you are an artist, there is no way French will help you more with your job than German

I'd learn French rather than German.

''French speaking countries''

Except for Switzerland, they are all African countries....thus useless


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