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Polish opinions on foreign languages?


Zlatko
3 Jul 2020 #1
Dear Polish speakers here,
I'd like to ask you do you think Polish or German has the longer words? See, no matter how hard a grammar or new words, my mind totally goes blank when I see the long words in any German site or form.

Polish has some long words, but looking more into it, it's usually caused by orthography (szch, prz, ie etc.) and not many compound words.

Let's use some example documents from the EU. The word that makes my mind go blank is "przeciwdrobnoustrojowych", phew: eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/PL/TXT/PDF/?CELEX:52015XC0911(01)&from=EN

Being Slavic I can more or less see the separate words in it. But most other words in the PL doc are normal length and I can read them more or less fine. Meanwhile here's the German version: eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/DE/TXT/HTML/?CELEX:52015XC0911(01)&from=EN

To me German looks more difficult to read than Polish, despite the simpler orthography due to the longer, compound words. Swedish seems to have compound words but still they're more easily read. I know many Poles lean German. Do you find it harder than Swedish?

The Swedish version: eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/SV/TXT/PDF/?CELEX:52015XC0911(01)&from=EN
Except for "Innehallsförteckning" the other words seem fine to me. Where German uses "Regulierungsrahmen" they use the simple "Regelverk" and Poles use two words that look totally readable to me: "Ramy regulacyjne". Now I know Germany is next door and is the strongest EU economy and many Poles know German. But be honest, don't you find their words more complicated compared to your own long words? Heck, to me Finnish and Hungarian compound words seem easier to read as at least they use lots of vowels compared to German.
pawian 175 | 13,563
3 Jul 2020 #2
I'd like to ask you do you think Polish or German has the longer words?

I never thought about it. Why is it important? The German language has long words, which are mostly several words packed together into one (compounds/ composites). And the system is very logical. Like a Lego construction - put a few words together to create a new one .

I know many Poles lean German. Do you find it harder than Swedish?

I am afraid you won`t find too many members who can tell you that.
OP Zlatko
3 Jul 2020 #3
It is important for me as I am deciding between Poland, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Finland for expat life. ;)

Swedish looks the easiest but I'd like to learn at least 2 - the local of the country I will go to work in + another one. I know English and a bit French, lived in Belgium but also in Slovakia. I tried studying German but my mind goes off when I see the compound words, I'm a bit dislexic or sth as my eyes basically glance over German words and I always see Panarema instead of Panamera (the Porsche model). Even Finish and Hungarian long words make more sense as they use more vowels. Polish uses lots of consonants but as I said it's Slavic so kinda less overwhelming.
pawian 175 | 13,563
3 Jul 2020 #4
It is important for me as I am deciding between Poland, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Finland for expat life. ;)

You should stay in your native country and try to make a good career there. As an expat, you will feel estranged among locals.
OP Zlatko
3 Jul 2020 #5
You can't make a career here without nepotism. I felt right at home in Hungary.
dolnoslask 6 | 3,065
3 Jul 2020 #6
As an expat, you will feel estranged among locals.

As you know there are plenty of expats in Poland and on this forum (mainly brits) Polish cities are full of foreign students , tourists , english teachers etc, not hard to find a place here where he could fit in. (Or are you worried about competition for your job?)
OP Zlatko
3 Jul 2020 #7
Btw I also want to learn a language of a culture I actually like so I can read in it. I don't really like modern Anglo/American or French cultures. I'm really fed up I always look up English, French or Bulgarian language things online, that's a limited view of the world!

I've always preferred those I listed plus Italy (but their summers are too hot for me to live there full time so not going to bother learning Italian).
pawian 175 | 13,563
3 Jul 2020 #8
I felt right at home in Hungary.

When I visited Hungary in communist times, I used German to communicate. A lot of Hungarians could speak it as they watched Austrian TV. You can research German vocabulary system in Hungary. :)

As you know there are plenty of expats in Poland and on this forum (mainly brits)

Yes, and what do they get from their interlocutors? Abuse and derision, most often.

Or are you worried about competition for your job?)

Never have I feared competition. Whenever a foreign teacher came to my workplaces, I welcomed him/her with open arms and heart.
OP Zlatko
3 Jul 2020 #9
Ok I will shorten my OP question- Is Polish easier for people with dyslexia and ADD than German or is it harder?
pawian 175 | 13,563
3 Jul 2020 #10
Neither harder not easier - just the same, depending on what type of dyslexia one has and how it affects their cognitive development, working memory capacity and reading performance. I have met a few dozen dyslexic students so far and each of them possessed different strengths and weaknesses and required a different handling coz the approach used on one student doesn`t produce the same results with another.
OP Zlatko
3 Jul 2020 #11
Well apart from some rare things like seeing PanaReMa instead of PanaMeRa my mind totally blocks when seeing long compound words with too many consonants as in German like Regulierungsrahmen. They even add "s" in them increasing the number of consonants and Polish Ś, SZ look better to me than Sch. My intuition is to read that as two sounds as in Italian (sk). I don't get the same block from Swedish "Regelverk" or Polish "Ramy regulacyjne". With Finish and Hungarian at least compound words use more vowels so they look easier.
pawian 175 | 13,563
3 Jul 2020 #12
my mind totally blocks

I have never thought of you having dyslexia. :)
OP Zlatko
4 Jul 2020 #13
Oh I might know English the best of any foreign language but I dread having to speak or listen to it (I only like how it sounds in songs). I'd rather start learning a different language before going so I can avoid the English-speaking expat bubble. Heck, I'd rather learn 3 more languages so I can avoid English and speak to Poles, Italians and Swedes in their languages (Hungarian might be too difficult, and the areas in Finland I love also speak Swedish). With Croats we can understand each other more or less...
pawian 175 | 13,563
11 Jul 2020 #14
Oh I might know English the best of any foreign language but I dread having to speak or listen to it

You should work on it to overcome those blockades. Practice is the best solution. In my youth, I was also terribly embarassed to speak English, but after some time I broke the curse.
OP Zlatko
12 Jul 2020 #15
No, I dread it because American clients (worked at a call center) were so angry and rude. I didn't know they treat workers there like they're nothing. American clients were the worst. Now when Louise Hay spoke, English sounded wonderful and warm. I just want to experience new cultures like Polish and Swedish but they're not fully accessible without knowing the languages.
pawian 175 | 13,563
12 Jul 2020 #16
Yes, I am afraid you will still have to use English when in Poland or Sweden.

No, I dread it because American clients (worked at a call center) were so angry and rude.

I read that Americans are easy-going and friendly. Either I read sth wrong or you had bad luck running into those evil ones.
mafketis 24 | 8,939
12 Jul 2020 #17
I read that Americans are easy-going and friendly

Most of the time, yeah. But if they're calling up a call center because of a tech problem they're upset and on edge and tend to take their frustration out on the person dealing with them. I've gotten frustrated during such calls but I do what I can to reassure the person I'm talking with that I realize the problem isn't their fault and any terseness if my problem (and I'm very thankful when the problem is resolved).

English is okay as a temporary bridge language for short term visitors or tourists in Poland or Sweden but locals tend to take dim view of those who live for years in the country without learning the local language... I've seen the process happen in Poland were a new arrival is amazed at how helpful people are in the beginning... and how they begin to lose patience....
pawian 175 | 13,563
12 Jul 2020 #18
But if they're calling up a call center because of a tech problem they're upset and on edge

Aaah, thanks for this psychological elucidation, I will put it in my books.

at how helpful people are in the beginning... and how they begin to lose patience....

Yes, I can imagine. Nobody likes lazies who refuse to learn.
OP Zlatko
12 Jul 2020 #19
We were not customer care though, but hotel reservations. I think Anyway I get so many Polish words, even some similar-looking false friends, i.e. dynia meaning pumpkin but here "dinja/диня" it means watermelon.
pawian 175 | 13,563
12 Jul 2020 #20
Because it is the same group. Dyniowate means the gourd family.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,204
12 Jul 2020 #21
It is important for me as I am deciding between Poland, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Finland for expat life. ;)

The Hungarian language comes out of this world, that is out of the Indoeuropean world. So is Finnish. It's impossible to compare them to Polish, Swedish or German as they are another league (you will be comparing apples to oranges).

German is very specific. Not only compound nouns make it peculiar, but also the fact that a considerable part of its vocabularly came to it from a pre-Indoeuropean language, the so-called Old European substrate. Theoretically, the best choice for you would be Polish, but then you should judge if you really like the language and at least make a modest attempt to learn a little bit of it.

Compound nouns in Polish are rare. You will find many words of German origin in Polish even if they seem to look like vernacular words (for example, 'Gemeinde --> gmina' is one of such words).
mafketis 24 | 8,939
12 Jul 2020 #22
German is very specific.

What a teacher with decades of experience with both told me.... Poles learn the basic of English faster but rarely achieve true mastery, while the first years of German are far more difficult but then a much higher percentage achieve a much higher level of proficiency.... centuries of interaction help Polish learners do well in German just when the supposed ease of English gives way to greater difficulty.
pawian 175 | 13,563
12 Jul 2020 #23
My parents forced me to learn German at 6. I struggled with it for 14 years of private tutoring and German class at primary school. . At 12 they sent me to an English evening course, later supplemented with English at high school and extensive private tutoring in the last year before the uni entrance exam. I was in a cleft stick which language to choose for my life career. . I drew straws and eventually chose English.
OP Zlatko
13 Jul 2020 #24
I've since decided to drop Hungary as an expatriate option due to language and too many summer heatwaves and go just for tourism there. As for Finland, I'm mostly interested in the Swedish-speaking areas. Still even Finnish seems more readable than German. All in all I'm now doing Polish & Swedish on Duolingo. I have some German exposure and an A1 course but is Germany that good of a place to live? I'm not so certain anymore, it's way denser than Poland & Sweden. And small Swedish towns are safer than small German ones. Less "diversity" in Skellefteå than in Ansbach (so less potential terrorists) etc. Bulgaria is of lower density so UK & the BeNeLux countries were shockingly dense for me. Germany seems only marginally better.
OP Zlatko
14 Jul 2020 #25
pawian, I can see why you chose English. Even a simple book title in German has a qurky word order:

English: You can heal your life
Swedish: Du kan hela ditt liv
German: Du kannst dein Leben heilen
Polish: Możesz uzdrowić swoje życie
Bulgarian: Излекувай живота си, lit. Heal your life
In German the important verb is in the end, weird language indeed. Glad I chose Polish and Swedish.
pawian 175 | 13,563
14 Jul 2020 #26
In German the important verb is in the end,

Well, for me it`s normal after I learnt German since 6. I think I treated it as an amusing variety compared to other languages.
mafketis 24 | 8,939
14 Jul 2020 #27
normal after I learnt German

I learned German before Polish (the first time I was in Poland was in the PRL and it was often very handy especially among older people).

The second time after 1989 I had neglected my German (purposefully) to make myself use more Polish - but the two were somehow linked in my brain and for years I tended to impose German word order in Polish (especially moving infinitives to the end of the sentence "Chcę jutro do Warszawy pojechać" (Ich will morgen nach Warschau fahren) or even "Myślę, że do Warszawy pojechać chciał." (Ich denke, dass er nach Warschau fahren wollte.

There was also English influence as early on I might say things like "Nie myślę, że pójdę" (instead of Myślę, że nie pójdę)...
pawian 175 | 13,563
14 Jul 2020 #28
I tended to impose German word order in Polish

So you sounded like Yoda. It must have been funny to hear it.
delphiandomine 86 | 18,269
14 Jul 2020 #29
for years I tended to impose German word order in Polish

I have a kind-of similar problem in Catalan: I'm dropping articles constantly and I can't seem to get my brain to accept that a foreign language does have articles. It's logical in some phrases like "jo vaig a l'ajuntament" (I'm going to the town hall), but then something like "la meva terra és el mar" (my land is the sea) - I just can't accept the need for two articles in there when it seems perfectly fine to say "meva terra és mar".

As for what it's done to the small amount of Spanish I know: it's a total disaster. Telling an Andalusian waiter "moltes gràcies" was not my finest hour.
OP Zlatko
15 Jul 2020 #30
I just think why bother with German when I have found making friends with Poles easier (same for Sweden and Finland believe it or not).


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