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How do Poles feel about foreigners learning their language?


Lyzko    
12 May 2013  #61
Pam,

The need to speak Polish in the UK, for instance, might indeed be met with surprise (if not secretly delight!) by immigrant Poles now residing in Britain. The same surprise, more speechless shock, which I encountered in Poland however, merely reinforced my need to continue speaking the target language of the country. When asked, "Why"?, my reaction remained the same as when asked the same annoying question in Germany, Hungary, France, Sweden or wherever, namely, "What else OUGHT I speak in your country?"

In many cases, the Poles whom I encountered admitted to not knowing much English. In Sweden, nearly everybody admitted to knowing alot of English, much of it good, though alot of it to be sure pretty poor:-)
Lyzko    
13 May 2013  #62
To be frank, I think the majority of Europeans are pleased, albeit surprised (one can't really blame them, can one), when they encounter Americans especially who are able to speak a European language, major or minor, with even the slightest degree of fluency! The seeming 'grumpiness' probably results from the initial shock value of having their entrenched notions of America gently ruffled by the rude awakening of reality:-) Yes, not all of us are like Homer Simpson, Sarah Palin and Gov. Perry rolled into one, many of us aren't exclusively money-driven technophiles either - a large portion are still just plain literate and cultured folks (though sadly, most of them are America's best kept secret)LOL
Trivang    
4 Sep 2014  #63
Merged: What do Poles think of foreigners speaking Polish?

I ask because I am not fluent in Polish and know few words but I want to speak it. What do Poles feel about foreigners who speak Polish-English, i.e. speak broken Polish with some English words?
InWroclaw 89 | 1,922    
4 Sep 2014  #64
In my experience, they appreciate the effort, and are usually very surprised (pleasantly so) at an attempt to speak what they almost always term "our difficult language". It's seldom met with anything other than appreciation and even a smile. The problem is if you get a few words right they may assume you can understand more and launch into a long sentence where you'd be lucky to pick out a few words that you recognise.
learningpolish    
4 Sep 2014  #65
I sometimes get the impression that my Polish bf doesn't like that I'm learning Polish. Like he owns the language. It's really weird. Maybe I am wrong though.
Trivang    
4 Sep 2014  #66
seldom met with anything other than appreciation

Do Poles get easily frustrated or unhappy when I (a foreigner) do not understand what they say and then they have to repeat the whole thing in English. Maybe I'm wasting their time.
learningpolish    
4 Sep 2014  #67
I am not fluent in Polish and know few words but I want to speak it.

Why do you want to learn Polish if you don't mind me asking?
Trivang    
4 Sep 2014  #68
Decided to move
learningpolish    
4 Sep 2014  #69
Do Poles get easily frustrated or unhappy when I (a foreigner) do not understand what they say and then they have to repeat the whole thing in English. Maybe I'm wasting their time.

I don't think they would mind repeating in English, they probably love practicing their English. The only problem I have is that they speak really really fast, I can never make out what the hell they're saying because of how quickly they speak
Trivang    
4 Sep 2014  #70
Thanks for the shift in perception. If any Poles disagree or want to add some more please feel free to do so.
Wulkan - | 3,280    
4 Sep 2014  #71
they almost always term "our difficult language".

It's surely not easy, not the hardest though.

I sometimes get the impression that my Polish bf doesn't like that I'm learning Polish.

Maybe he just likes to forget where he is from sometimes. I myself enjoyed that back in the days and international relationship gives you that oportunity.
PC_Sceptic - | 70    
4 Sep 2014  #72
Poles are usually delighted when a foreigner makes the effort to speak their language, even if he mangles it.

I agree 100%
learningpolish    
5 Sep 2014  #73
Maybe he just likes to forget where he is from sometimes. I myself enjoyed that back in the days and international relationship gives you that oportunity.

Jesus, you could be right. That would be a good explanation.
Mrufka85    
13 Aug 2018  #74
If you only learn cześć, dzień dobry, dobry wieczór you will be better received than here in the USA speaking fluent English ... no joke

I was in Warsaw 2nd November through 19th December 2017 and these words opened up a new world for me... Most Polish People receive Native speaking English people well & if you show even a small effort to greet ever time people will warm up to you, even if your pronounciation isn't perfect or even bad 😃

I was impressed that every time you meet someone or walk into a store the workers will always greet you .. it important to be prepared to greet every time
Rich Mazur 5 | 2,237    
13 Aug 2018  #75
English is simple and well structured. Noun, verb, dress-up words like adjectives and adverb, and you are ready to go. Polish is a nightmare in this respect.

And, then, there are those cutesy words women use to show affection. English: face. Polish: twarz, buzia, buziuchna, buzieczka, buzienka. I mean there is no end to this bulls***.

English: you don't have to do it. Polish: to nie trzeba tego robic.
English: Mom, leave it. Polish: Niech mamusia to zostawi.

This 'niech' is almost mental as an evasive word to avoid a direct 'mom'.

Good Lord, how could you go so wrong?
mafketis 16 | 6,314    
13 Aug 2018  #76
English: you don't have to do it. Polish: to nie trzeba tego robic.

To nie trzeba tego robić - is something no native speaker (even if they spent 50 years outside the country not speaking Polish) would think is an acceptable Polish sentence. The obvious equivalent would be Nie musisz tego robić.

Niech mamusia to zostawi. - Does not sound like anything a Polish speaker would say to their mother*.... just weird, weird, weird. But since the poster has no mother I guess it's understandable that he would get confused.

A better translation of the english sentence might be 'mamo, zostaw to'

Good Lord, how could you go so wrong?

As a non-Pole who knows nothing of the country, many Polish ways confuse (and apparently enrage) you

Take a chill pill and stop pretending to be someone you're not.
Rich Mazur 5 | 2,237    
13 Aug 2018  #77
A better translation of the english sentence might be 'mamo, zostaw to'

You are not Polish. "Zostaw to" is a command. Polish culture does not permit giving commands to mothers. It also has an implied 'ty". But, since you are not Polish, you just don't know that "ty" is used rarely and never directly to the persons above you by age or rank.

So, take a chill pill and stop pretending to be someone you're not. And learn better Polish to preach.
gumishu 11 | 4,850    
13 Aug 2018  #78
Niech mamusia to zostawi. - Does not sound like anything a Polish speaker would say to their mother*..

you are completely wrong - while I personally very seldom use the word mamusia some people especially older generations often do and the phrase is their phrase of choice in such situations
mafketis 16 | 6,314    
13 Aug 2018  #79
Polish culture does not permit

I'll let the Polish posters tell me who's right, me or you....

Ziemowitku! Chodź to na chwilę!
Atch 16 | 2,646    
13 Aug 2018  #80
you just don't know that "ty" is used rarely and never directly to the persons above you by age or rank.

It's used with your mother though. Mr Atch's granny was very old fashioned and she insisted on the Pani form with her son-in-laws,they couldn't address her with 'ty' but she certainly didn't require such a thing from her own children.

I would posit the theory that as Maf has lived in Poland for yonks and translates professionally we can take his word for things.

Niech mamusia to zostawi.

Mr Atch says 'Oh God, no, no, no!'. He says 'zostaw to' is 'the correct, non-rude form'. He says a kid might say 'niech mama to zostawi' but he says 'we are grown ups, nobody talks like that' :))

He says the variations are:

Mamo zostaw to
Zostaw to Mamo

He says 'niech' etc blah, blah is very old fashioned and only heard in 'the village'.
Lyzko 18 | 5,319    
13 Aug 2018  #81
@Rich, English is "simple and well-structured" to YOU, perhaps also to educated Germanic-language native speakers long exposed to Globish through texting, TV, what have you!

English, simple and well-structured to an Italian, Spaniard, Frenchman, Pole, Russian, Finn, Hungarian, Fijian, Turk, Balt etc...???!
You must be jokingLOL
Ziemowit 12 | 3,109    
13 Aug 2018  #82
First of all, I am not surprised of yet another Mazur's lamentable attempt at pushing the Polish language even deeper into disrepute. This is some kind of a sick personal hobby of his, I must say.

"Niech mamusia (to zostawi/coś zrobi)" ... is a very old-fashioned phrase used today by 45 or more year old country boys in the truly deep country. True, it may have been fairly common in towns as well in the 1960s at the time when Mazur was leaving Poland with the tail between his legs, but this is no longer the case today.

If Mazur's mamusia left a forwarding address with him when she was leaving home for ever, he would definitely have been able to ask her directly rather than polluting this forum with his silly language remarks.
Lyzko 18 | 5,319    
13 Aug 2018  #83
Amen, Amen, Amen, Ziemowit!!
Rich Mazur 5 | 2,237    
13 Aug 2018  #84
English, simple and well-structured to an Italian, Spaniard, Frenchman, Pole, Russian, Finn, Hungarian, Fijian, Turk, Balt etc...???!

That's their problem, not of the English language. These languages are a joke with those crazy and totally unnecessary letters with the little tails, dots, dashes, and crap like that. BTW, if the world had to vote for the best second language - grammar, clarity, and simplicity, and the sound - what would that be?

On the other hand, the world already did. It's English and its American version. With no other language even close to it.
Lyzko 18 | 5,319    
14 Aug 2018  #85
Rich, your linguistic ignorance and rank ethnocentrism are astounding. However, it really oughtn't surprise me. After all, you're the average American:-)

You make the typical fallacy of presuming that what is second-nature to you, must therefore be so for the rest of the planet!
Now we know why Americans still have among the lowest literacy rate among any of the "developed" industrial nations; it's attitudes such as yours.
Rich Mazur 5 | 2,237    
14 Aug 2018  #86
You make the typical fallacy of presuming that what is second-nature to you, must therefore be so for the rest of the planet!

Second nature to me? Are you kidding? I left Poland at 24 and a half, after studying Latin, Russian and no English. I mean zero. A couple of years ago I wrote a book in English. You can read the first few pages for free. If you do, please find things that are in poor English, subjects and opinions aside.

amazon.com/Preaching-Stupid-being-worst-enemy-ebook/dp/B07DSDYGP4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534257747&sr=1-1&keywords=preaching+to+the+stupid

If you don't want to hurt my feelings publicly, which I don't mind, you can PM me.
Lyzko 18 | 5,319    
14 Aug 2018  #87
You misunderstood my point! ENGLISH, not Polish, is by now second nature to you. That doesn't mean that this applies to the rest of non-English speaking humanity as a whole!

I wasn't insulting you.
seal99    
14 Aug 2018  #88
My experience with speaking Polish in Poland is mixed. I've had reactions from downright amazement and respect to scornful, disapproving looks and they switch to English when you make a basic declination error. Sometimes waiters just switch to English without asking when they hear an accent, which I find a bit annoying, but I just keep speaking Polish and they eventually relent. I guess this is representative of the myriad different types of personality you'll meet in any country. One truth is Poles have a problem slowing down and speaking clearly to 2nd language speakers of their language because they're just not used to it and it can confuse them. English speakers are used to a wide range of nationalities speaking English with their accents e.g. Indians, French etc so they're more in tune and able to calibrate, but I'me sure foreigners speaking English in England will also experience similar reactions as I have had.
Rich Mazur 5 | 2,237    
14 Aug 2018  #89
One truth is Poles have a problem slowing down and speaking clearly to 2nd language speakers of their language

That's exactly what happened to me at the railroad station in Gdansk. So I switched to English. She didn't object and was actually very good at it. To my relief, spoke much slower and used simple words I could easily understand over the background noise behind me.

Not that we are any better - speed-wise. I keep remind my granddaughters to go slower and separate the words when they are practicing school plays. Which lasts 5 seconds.
Lyzko 18 | 5,319    
15 Aug 2018  #90
RIch & seal99, I completely get what you both are saying. Having said that, I've found, exclusively my own experience mind you, that attempting the switch to English from Polish when speaking to most Poles is usually a mistake!

As you said, seal99, if they detect as much as a minor declension error, aspectual gaff etc., they'll jump down your throat and insist on speaking English. The problem here, of course, is that their English is rarely any better than your Polish, only it's usually peppered with enough vulgar US-style "Globish", making it sound ever so cool, hence, it won't stand out as much as a mistake among international types.



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