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How to remember Polish words?

30 Dec 2010 #1
I'm having trouble remembering Polish words I learn. Like, I'll see a word, have no idea what it is, look it up and then realize that I knew it all along. Does anyone know any websites or tips that help you remember? For example Black=charred=czarny/czarna.

Or do I just have to do repetition?

Also when you have ę at the end of a word how do you pronounce it? And the same with y - is it eh or ee?

I've been trying to teach myself Polish. It's fun but hard (and confusing) so I appriciate any help. Thanks/Dziękuję :)
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
30 Dec 2010 #2
And the same with y - is it eh or ee?

Similar to the sound /i/ in, for example, the word hit.

tips that help you remember?

You can learn words while using them in practice. You can learn the whole groups of worlds, related etymologically, thematically, by association, or you can put them on cards with the English equivalents on one side and with the Polish words on the other. First of all, you must have motivation and patience.
chaza 50 | 253
30 Dec 2010 #3
hi madelin
im sure i will be corrected, but it is just a cse of repatition, i too am learning polish on my own and your right it is hard. as for the ę, it is pronounced 'en' although when my polish cousin speaks it, it sounds more like 'enw'. the 'y' is pronounced 'ee'.

any corrections greatly recieved.
you can achieve a lot by going over some of the other relevant posts here.

Ziemowit 13 | 4,539
30 Dec 2010 #4
The best method I've worked out so far is to assocciate the actual word to its imagination in my mind as hard as I can. The trick is to forget its "intermediary", that is its English meaning, almost completely. For example, you should repeteadly try to associate 'czarny' with the colour itself rather than associate it with the English word 'black'. The method takes some time and effort, but it works. After a time, the image of an object will provoke an easy "coming up" of its name in a given foreign language.

There are a lot of such words in my vocabulary of English. Most of them I acquired while living in Britain with my English friends for a while. One of them them is the verb "to splash". The association was so strong that to this very day - about 20 years have passed since then - I feel the verb as one with which I am much more "familiar" than with its counterpart in my native language. There are, of course, English words that I have learned in Poland; in the process of remembering them I was using my imagination which this way "replaced" a stay in a foreign country.
30 Dec 2010 #5
For me, as another adult foreign learner, hearing and then using words or expressions in contextwas key. Movies were (and still are) a boon. I watched "Popiół i Diamanty" (without subtitles) years ago while I was studying Polish. One of the characters was speaking and said "No, tak czy owak." I was able to listen to the context and made a mental note of it. I then tried to visualize the context in which I saw as well as heard this phrase applied. Sure enough, when the time came to use among native speakers my first time in Poland, I got it right!
Seanus 15 | 19,706
30 Dec 2010 #6
Try mnemonic techniques. My co-teacher wrote a Master's paper on the efficacy of them and I corrected it. She was exploring them for English words but also had a small chapter on Polish words. Go with associations. It's like a PIN number, you have some kind of mechanism to remember. I can recall the musical notes EGBDF. Every Good Boy Deserves Football (or Fanny was the adult version, LOL). Seriously, mnemonic techniques work for many.
31 Dec 2010 #7
Seanus, sort of like 'pełny' sounds a little like a Brit pronouncing the English 'pony', or something like that and remembering a new word this way? Or do you mean more direct phonemic association(s)?
Seanus 15 | 19,706
31 Dec 2010 #8
Maybe snooty folk pronounce it that way ;)

Whatever works, Lyzko :) They are versatile as a tool.
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
31 Dec 2010 #9


Enter the word pełny into the box and then press czytaj.
Also wiktionary.łny
Seanus 15 | 19,706
31 Dec 2010 #10
It sounds like pełny funnily enough :)
emha - | 92
31 Dec 2010 #11
Also when you have ę at the end of a word how do you pronounce it?

Try with a clothes peg on your nose.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
18 Mar 2012 #12
[Moved from]: Add (Polish words) to favourites

Polish TV is broadcasting from time to time public-sevice messages urging people to add to favourites (dodaj do ulubionych) time-honoured Polish word that are being forgotten. As examples they give serwus, birbant, etc. This seems a backlash against the contamination of Polish with all the wows, sorki, high fives, dwa w jednym and other Anglo-crapola.
Pushbike 2 | 58
18 Mar 2012 #13
My favourite word is 'Foka'. We were at the zoo and I love to say 'Look at that stupid foka.'
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
18 Mar 2012 #15
The mention of foka reminds me of how some Poles pronounce the English word sheet. For instance in a hotel they migth say: 'I'd like sheet in my bed.'
16 Jun 2012 #16
Label everything (nouns) in Polish. Label your lamp 'LAMPA' and your table 'STO£.' It takes a bit of time to do. My mother did it for me in French and English when I was little... and I'm doing it at 22 as an adult. Might seem childish, but it totally works. :D I think it's picture association... taking out the English words work the best. :D When you see the item, look at the card and say the word (out loud, or not) it will just pop up in your head eventually!
kondzior 12 | 1,242
16 Jun 2012 #17
have no idea what it is, look it up and then realize that I knew it all along.

I used to have the exact same problem with English words. It'll pass.
Peter Cracow
16 Jun 2012 #18
"How to remember Polish words"
Good advice FOR MAN is to open video with a beatiful woman and try to translate it. The best is DVD with Polish subscriptions.
[3 x W dot]
catsoldier 62 | 595
16 Jun 2012 #19

I wasn't expecting her to give us a link to a film, I thought that the horses in the background were going to do something and that she wanted to watch. Marta Żmuda Trzebiatowska chce zobaczyć wszystko.

I was a little disappointed that did didn't happen because it would have been funny.

In the feature film, did they end up together in the end? I watched the film but I don't know :-)

Peter Cracow
21 Jun 2012 #20
She loves horses, she loves riding. Probably that's why she was caught at the stud where she stays frequently.

In the feature film, did they end up together in the end? I watched the film but I don't know :-)

Well... The last boy's lines means: "Just don't grab my nose"
Marta's character is very misterious and I really don't know what to thing about her.
21 Jun 2012 #21
"Snooty" Brits?? That's a good one there, Seanus old man. Spoken like a dyed-in-the wool Scot. Rock on, laddieLOL

So true. Undoubtedly the average Brit sounds more like Russel Crow in everyday speech than Alan Corduner in 'Topsy-Turvey', what?
ScoobySnacks 2 | 10
24 Jun 2012 #22
When I learned a few nouns (statek, samalot, pociąg) I read them and said them out loud with their English counterpart (before bed). Repetition works the best for me, but of course, it is very boring
rybnik 18 | 1,461
24 Jun 2012 #23
for me using that word in a sentence in real life(with Poles) helped cement it into my memory.

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