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How can I perfect my Polish grammar?

Jan Romanczuk 1 | 1
11 Dec 2013 #1
Hi I'm a polish american teenager and while I always speak Polish at home my parents never really practiced the grammar with me since I was very little so I am constantly being corrected when I speak polish lol Most of the time I actually knew the way to say something but I forgot at that moment and well I want to become as fluent a person living in poland. Where could I go about doing this? if I had to guess i'd say I'm 4th or 5th grade level with grammar.

Also a side question, I have a weird heavy accent when I speak polish thats not even american I don't know what it is it might be something close to ukranian (my father was half ukranian) And I'd like to work on fixing that because I'm very embarrassed whenever I visit my family in Poland and sometimes they don't understand what I'm saying because of the accent. My parents were from Warszawa
Wlodzimierz 4 | 543
12 Dec 2013 #2
Jan, many US-born and raised kids of immigrant parents will tend to speak their parents' mother tongue based upon the dialect or slangy pronunciation which they heard growing up. Typically, and this goes for nearly every ethnic group that came to this country, the average immigrant came from the poor classes, often illiterate, even in their own language (let alone in English). The language which they then usually passed on to their children was grammatically lower standard, this evident in pronunciation too. It is/was the ever so rare newcomer to America who had anything resembling a university background. My point is that learning Polish, Spanish, German, Ukrainian, Italian etcl solely from one's family will scarcely prepare you for authentically up-to-date, educated language used by contemporary urban speakers of those languages!

When I taught German, soooo many of my beginning students would end up dropping out after the first quarter of the term. The reason was that they were now learning 'High German', and had to break ten or more years of bad habits built up from growing up listening to their grandparents speak to them, usually with a backwoods, albeit charming, "countrified" language, inappropriate for use in school or business.

My Italian colleague complained similarly that most of his students were of Sicilian, sometimes Calabrian, parents and were brought up speaking those languages, yet not prepared for standard 'Florentine' Italian:-)
ShortHairThug - | 1,101
12 Dec 2013 #3
Wow! What a load of old bollocks, pure nonsense. Illiterate immigrants - indeed.
Are Yanks so far up their own arse they won't even bother to think before putting something like this in writing? After all it just shows your own ignorance of the world around you. Time to wake up and smell the coffee.
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
12 Dec 2013 #4
Most of the time I actually knew the way to say something but I forgot at that moment and well I want to become as fluent a person living in poland.

Listen to the radio :)

play location in WinAmp
Wlodzimierz 4 | 543
12 Dec 2013 #5
ShortHair, my own grandparents worked their fingers and brains to the bone to learn English, having only limited schooling in the shtetl in which they were born. Highly intelligent as they were, they knew their native language was poor, and so insisted on speaking ONLY in English to their son, my father.

The educated worldwide tended and tend to have the money they need to remain in their country, not emigrate in order to seek a better life elsewhere:-)

YOU wake up and smell the coffee, fella! I only hope it's fresh brewedLOL
ShortHairThug - | 1,101
12 Dec 2013 #6
The educated worldwide tended and tend to have the money they need to remain in their country, not emigrate in order to seek a better life elsewhere:-)

Just tell me, when was the last time you came across an illiterate immigrant? Your grandparents story touching as it is, does not reflect the reality of the world now and not even back then. Your stereotypical immigrant from Poland was not poor but immigrated for political reasons. In the past 20 or so years an average immigrant even though looking for a job is still more likely to have more education under his belt then you. Lacking the language of the country one immigrates to does not make him/her illiterate.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 543
12 Dec 2013 #7
Read ANY history, Short-Hair, and the "classic" immigrant, rags-to-riches scenario involved those who were functionally, if ONLY semi-literate!!! Indeed, my grandparents' saga was typical, not in any way exceptional. Respectfully, you're referring to post-Ellis Island populations, those within the last fifty years, not the last ONE-HUNDRED and fifty years:-)

Jan, I'd try reading short, graded stories from a Polish reader. Don't translate them into English at first, but attempt initially to understand the meaning of the words from their context. Movies are always full of embedded meaning, slang, vernacular and can be more confusing than not. Listening to guided dialogues can be helpful as well (but WITHOUT English translation!!).

This is only a suggestion:-)
ShortHairThug - | 1,101
12 Dec 2013 #8
Your grandparents' saga was perhaps typical to the Polish Jews living in shtetl, closed off from the rest of the polish society by their own choice, speaking their own language instead of the country they lived in very much so like Amish communities in US, together but separate. Struggling with polish language is really no surprise there. Look at a thread "polish ww11 era letters can't read" and other like that, where the poor farmers somehow managed to whip up a pretty long correspondence to communicate with their illiterate relatives in US. That alone should perhaps make you rethink you theory. Looking through Ellis Island records one does not find X in place where the signature should be either.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 543
12 Dec 2013 #9
Thank you, your point is indeed well taken. True, my grandparents (on my mother's side) were in fact Polish (really YIDDISH)-speaking Jews who learned English only after coming to the United States. My grandfather might have spoken some Polish, yet so much of it colored by Yiddish, it was essentially unusable:-)
OP Jan Romanczuk 1 | 1
12 Dec 2013 #10
Thanks guys I'll take your advice, Dobranoc!

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