The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / Language  % width posts: 10

Is it possible to master the Polish language fluently for a non-Polish speaker?


Simon1 5 | 12
8 Nov 2016  #1
Hello again, I have just came across this forum so I am making the most of it lol. From what I read on the forum it seems to be that Polish is a really difficult language to learn and I get that as I am trying my hardest to learn it. So my question is...You always here about English speaking people who can speaking fluently in Spanish, French, Italian etc but I have never come across someone who is English that can speak fluently in Polish and understand others competently. Is it just due to the fact it is extremely difficult or have I just not came across them lol.

Sorry for bombarding the forum...I am just asking the questions that I have thought about in the past.

Is Polish up there with the MOST difficult language to learn?

Thanks again, Simon
gumishu 11 | 4,956
8 Nov 2016  #2
Is Polish up there with the MOST difficult language to learn?

it is very difficult for people whose native language is not Slavic - Polish language is quite irregular - even Polish youth often struggle with more obscure aspects of our language
Wincig 2 | 151
8 Nov 2016  #3
@gumishu

Polish language reflects Polish culture: quite simple and straightforward in appearance, but with multiple exceptions and sidesteps designed to trick the uninformed foreigner!
mafketis 17 | 6,867
8 Nov 2016  #4
but I have never come across someone who is English that can speak fluently in Polish and understand others competently.

In my experience Americans are generally better at learning Polish than British or Irish people are (there are some exceptions both ways of course).

I remember at one time knowing about 4 or 5 Americans (no contact with the language in the US) who were fluent enough in Polish to deal with bureaucracy on their own with no interpreter. I knew a similar number of Brits at the same time who'd been in Poland for similar lengths of time and none of them could speak Polish for crap.

IME Polish is much easier to learn in situ rather than in another country. The learning curve is _very_ steep in the beginning and for the first two years or so it just seems like a hodgepodge of exceptions rather than a system. It's sometime in the third year it starts becoming a bit easier. The problem is you need an overview of the whole system and how it works before you can make much sense of it but once you have that you can predict things pretty well.

(English works in the opposite manner, it starts easy and then after a couple of years starts getting harder and harder).

My advice is first and foremost concentrate on nouns, pronouns and adjectives. For many people that seems to be counter-intuitive and they want to spend more time of verbs in the beginning. But the case system is really the backbone of the language. It should be the priority (don't neglect verbs entirely but don't go crazy over them in the beginning, the more you understand the noun system the easier verbs will be).

Whatever you do, don't spend a lot of time memorizing "aspect pairs" of verbs that's all but useless. I wasted a lot of time learning lists but the more I learned the less I thought about aspect (it largely takes care of itself in advanced learning).

Is Polish up there with the MOST difficult language to learn?

No. The old US Airforce classification (specialized for Americans) put it in category 3, harder than French or Spanish (1) or German (2) but easier than Chinese or Arabic languages (4).
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,724
8 Nov 2016  #5
yes but Maf with such a small sample size you cannot categorise by nationality, it's stupid.
In my experience how good someone is at learning languages is about personality and necessity, Also whether one has a partner who speaks that language. Now obviously all of these things would more have been variables in your tiny sample of nine people than nationality....S:
mafketis 17 | 6,867
8 Nov 2016  #6
.

with such a small sample size you cannot categorise by nationality, it's stupid.

I wasn't submitting this to a peer reviewed journal, but mentioning personal experience.

In my experience how good someone is at learning languages is about personality and necessity,

Exactly, this comes from the 1990s where it was much harder to get around with just English. Still, Brits mostly didn't learn and Americans mostly did (I did mention there are counterexamples both ways).

I think it has something to do with American social networking. We like broad social networks with shallow connections (we like to know a lot of people but not necessarily deeply) At the time the only way to have anything like a broad social network in Poland was to speak Polish.

By contrast, IME Brits are more like other Europeans (esp northern Europeans) in preferring smaller social networks but with deeper connections so knowing fewer people bothered them less.

There's also the idea that most of the Americans I knew had chosen specifically to come to Poland while about half the Brits just sort of.... ended up here.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,724
8 Nov 2016  #7
mentioning personal experience.

yes yes I get that....I was just pointing out that drawing conclusions from personal experience can be a bit of a pitfall.

.

about half the Brits just sort of.... ended up here.

ha ha now that I cannot argue with...:)
mafketis 17 | 6,867
8 Nov 2016  #8
I was just pointing out that drawing conclusions from personal experience can be a bit of a pitfall.

I don't draw conclusions as much as working hypoetheses that are amended as new data is obtained. Of course making too many inferences from too little data is dangerous, but the alternative is to fly blind in almost all situations which is even more dangerous.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,358
8 Nov 2016  #9
Whatever you do, don't spend a lot of time memorizing "aspect pairs" of verbs that's all but useless. I wasted a lot of time learning lists...

Yes, learning from "lists" is completely useless. The polish people often make this mistake learning the cases of German articles.
OP Simon1 5 | 12
8 Nov 2016  #10
Thank you to everyone for all your help. I do appreciate it a lot.

Cheers, Simon


Home / Language / Is it possible to master the Polish language fluently for a non-Polish speaker?
BoldItalic [quote]
 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.