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When is speaking Polish showing off and when is it ok?


catsoldier 62 | 596
22 Jan 2013  #1
When is speaking Polish showing off and when is it ok?
gumishu 11 | 5,012
22 Jan 2013  #2
speaking Polish is showing off when you show off with speaking Polish really this simple

if you want to practice Polish with Poles just give it a try - if people don't really want to talk to you in Polish they will let you know - btw let them know you want to practice your Polish
pawian 159 | 9,553
22 Jan 2013  #3
When is speaking Polish showing off

Speaking Polish is showing off when you hang out with your expat friends from US or UK or Aus or Can and during a conversation in English you drop Polish words or phrases to impress yuor interlocutors. Simple.

and when is it ok?

It is OK when you speak Polish to Polish interlocutors. Simple.
Lyzko
23 Jan 2013  #4
When is speaking ENGLISH showing off " " "? might really be a more appropriate thread, CatsoldierLOL
In fact, it's never "showing off" to speak any language of the particular country in which one happens to be visiting or working; it's merely common sense respect, period!

English in another country is only appropriate when or where the host etc. specifically requests that (in this case) English be spoken in order for them to practice/improve their knowledge of that language. Other than that, all of their polite or not-so-polite protests to the contary, using English right off the bat, be it in Poland, Germany, Norway or what have you, is generally a lose-lose proposition. Take it from my experience:-)
OP catsoldier 62 | 596
23 Jan 2013  #5
All very sound answers, thanks.
Lyzko
24 Jan 2013  #6
... to an equally sound query! The issue of when or when not to use a foreign language while in a foreign country can indeed be fraught with all sorts of social as well as sociophobic difficulties, granted! I always err on the side of caution and when in Rome/Kraków, I do as the Romans, resp. the Krakowiacy, doLOL
zetigrek
24 Jan 2013  #7
When is speaking Polish showing off and when is it ok?

May I ask why you ask this question?
Lyzko
25 Jan 2013  #9
Zetigrek, the question may well be bothersome to many, yet it's perfectly logical, given the occasionally "off" reactions of certain Poles and/or others when foreigners attempt to speak their language:-)
Ziemowit 12 | 3,495
25 Jan 2013  #10
So speaking Polish as a foreigner to a group of Poles who don't want to speak in Polish with you, but insist on speaking in English instead, would apparently be a sign of "showing off" on the part of those Poles?

If so, I concur with this view wholeheartedly.
Lyzko
25 Jan 2013  #11
And not only among the Poles, I might add:-) Perhaps the Germans and the Scandis are the most aggregious offenders in this respect, Ziemowit. The Germans often arrogantly insist on speaking English nowadays, even a major international conferences, where interpreters are readily available, but the Germans usually insist with dogged steadfastness that such isn't necessary (..although it's painfully obvious that it isLOL)

:-)
Ziemowit 12 | 3,495
25 Jan 2013  #12
Indeed! As a participant in international conferences here and there, I find that some Germans speaking English are often hard to understand due to their harsh Germanic accent. Even worse than they are perhaps some French speakers (Christine Lagarde excluded :-) with their harsh Gallic accent. I once attended a meeting at which all the twenty people of different European countries taking part could hardly follow a presentation made by a researcher from France since afterwards no one dared ask her any questions as people were not sure of what she had said.
Lyzko
25 Jan 2013  #13
Lagarde's a wonderful example TO THE CONTRARY!! Heard her the other evening being interviewed by the US-press. Her entirely natural command of American idiom was startling, e.g. "As long as as we continue to kick the can down the road.." etc.. Even her accent was strangely UNgallic:-) Then again, as with Bibi Netanyahu, she did attend her senior year of highschool and her college years in the States.

Apropos, my favorite example of "showing off" is a report from our local German Consulate written (charactaristically enough!) in English, using the word loosely indeed: "Yesterday in Berlin, a four-headed Turkey family were attacked upon the walkway before their house....." rather than "Yesterday in Berlin, a Turkish family of four was attacked on the street right in front of their house...."

In years prior, native speaking English staffers proofread ANY AND ALL English text! Apparently, they were either asleep at the switch or downsized as "too costly"LOL

Showing off (...how bad their English often is) ^^
zetigrek
25 Jan 2013  #14
aggregious

egregious?
OP catsoldier 62 | 596
25 Jan 2013  #15
May I ask why you ask this question?

Sometimes my judgement isn't the best and I wanted to get a second opinion on what people thought.

I do have my own ideas also though:

At a Polish course in Poland where you are supposed to speak Polish in the school building:
Speak in English if that is what your classmates prefer to speak, break the rules of course, it will help you get along better with them making the course more enjoyable.

If you have to have a conversation with them in class only use words that they can understand.
I suppose the lesson here is that if you can speak Polish better than they can you are in the wrong course, it isn't suitable for you.

Generally don't speak Polish outside of Poland unless you are in Polish class (unless it is a life or death situation and you have no choice :-) )

Whether or not to speak Polish in a Polish shop is a tricky one, these shops are like Polish enclaves, when you go in the door you are usually greeted in Polish, it is definitely rude not to say anything in return.............the question is whether to reply in English or Polish???
Lyzko
25 Jan 2013  #16
Thanks, zetigrekLOL

For me, catsolder, once again, the "Golden Rule" continues to apply. Common courtesy, not to mention simple curiosity, dictates that when leaving one's English-speaking home turf (wherever that may be!), make every effort to communicate in the language of the country towards which you are headed, save a rare transfer stopover from, say, London via Rejkyavik en route to somewhere else, in which case "knowledge" of Icelandic is scarcely 100% imperative!

Other than that, it's more or less a reflex with me that when I'm off to Poland, Germany, even Russia (in whose language I'm hardly fluent) etc..., I NEVER rely in the slightest on English. Merely to reiterate, experience has proven time after time, that such is often folly and is usually not met with a satisfactory outcome:-)

Incidentally, when I was in such a shop in Poland once, the youngish man behind the counter obviously greeted me in Polish! I of course responded with more than a mere "Dzień dobry!", and proceeded to inquire about a specific street address. He sort ofs smiled that bemused smile I've come to recognize all too well and in fact began in such atrociously accented English to the effect that he couldn't understand meLOL I then replied in a successful mock Polish accent that I actually WAS Polish but spent most of my adult life in Germany. Stunned, he quickly reverted back to polite Polish and gave me complete directions.

I wasn't about to let him get the better of me:-)
zetigrek
26 Jan 2013  #17
Speak in English if that is what your classmates prefer to speak, break the rules of course

Ah, so you ask about the reactions of non-Poles? Ok, however remember on a course you are the most important one - you are there to learn as much as possible.

.the question is whether to reply in English or Polish???

Do the most convinient for you. You seem to worry too much about not very important things :)
Lyzko
26 Jan 2013  #18
I agree here with zetigrek! If you enter a French shop in Paris or wherever, you begin by speaking French, in a Polish shop Polish etc.... What's the big problem? If anyone has a problem with you, hence your entire thread catsoldier, it's THEIR problem, not yours!!
isthatu2 4 | 2,708
26 Jan 2013  #19
depends on my mood,if Im in a hurry I reply in English or just grunt.......if not I'll reply in Polish but then end up being faced with a barrage of *native speak* that I have to explain Ive only understood a tiny bit of,which can lead to long drawn out conversations about where I learnt Polish followed by either positive or negative reactions to the towns and cities Ive visited in Poland....you know what, sometimes you just want a loaf of bread and some cigs' not a trip down memory lane :)

So, yeah, I kind of agree with a previous poster,if Im with a group of native english speakers and I suddenly drop in Polish words or correct their pronuciations , or switch to Polish when someone Polish (who can speak english) joins us it verges on showing off lol
Rysavy 10 | 308
26 Jan 2013  #20
Unless I was sure English was spoken I am not sure.

I would try the home language first and let them rescue me if any speak engish and ask if any please do.
I had wonderful and humours experience ordering a chocolate telegram this week for my dearest. He was wonderfully patient and took at all with man-giggles. But he wanted to be sure before filling the custon order, So we awaited the english speaking associate. Who only instructed me to try the website again. So my language buddy ended up making the order. Seems something with my OS was incompatible with the site which is why I wasn't seeing the full menu.

It was a good experience for me, all around.. except for DPD. My blind grandma on a galapagos turtle is a better courier..

At home in US.I was always careful not to be so rude as to speak non-english with my cousins in front of our friends; who did not speak Portuguese or Boheme.
pam
26 Jan 2013  #21
Other than that, it's more or less a reflex with me that when I'm off to Poland, Germany, even Russia (in whose language I'm hardly fluent) etc..., I NEVER rely in the slightest on English.

But you are something of a linguistics expert Lyzko! Obviously if you speak the language of the country you're visiting, fine, then use it .I would say the majority of us don't have the command as you do, of several languages under our belt!

.

Whether or not to speak Polish in a Polish shop is a tricky one, these shops are like Polish enclaves, when you go in the door you are usually greeted in Polish, it is definitely rude not to say anything in return.............the question is whether to reply in English or Polish???

I presume you're talking about a Polish shop in Poland, and not England.
If it were me I would reply in Polish. You're in Poland, in a Polish shop, and I know you speak Polish Catsoldier! Why would you reply in English? There would be no point, unless of course, you didn't understand the language!

English isn't spoken everywhere in Poland, especially outside large cities, so by replying in Polish, you're just ensuring you're making yourself understood! I don't see in any way that could be thought of as showing off! BTW, how are your studies going?
Lyzko
26 Jan 2013  #22
Guess what, Pam, I didn't either once upon a time. Nonethless, when I first went to Paris with my dad at sixteen, I made at least an effort to ask for my hotel key IN FRENCH (even though I got the gender wrong!). You've no idea how mch it was appreciated, small gensture though it may have seemed at the time:-)
poland_
26 Jan 2013  #23
Its just bizarre when I meet foreigners in Poland and they use Kurw* instead of an English expletive.
jon357 63 | 14,122
26 Jan 2013  #24
When is speaking Polish showing off and when is it ok?

In Poland, it's never showing off, unless you're talking with people who have the same first language as you or who speak your own language better than Polish.

If your in a mixed group of native speakers of Polish and foreigners whose Polish is, say, only intermediate standard it can feel like showing off, but really it isn't - unless you feel a conversation should be dumbed down.
Lenka 2 | 1,422
26 Jan 2013  #25
I don't like generalisations (you,on the other hand, seem to love them) so I will speak for myself-I'm proud of my country,culture,language and roots.I never had problem with speaking Polish outside Poland (of course with ppl that understood it).If somebody had problem with that that's theirs problem,not mine.
Lyzko
26 Jan 2013  #26
Amen there, Lenko!

To assert, as some do, sadly, that only people with an "intermediate" or so knowledge of Polish ought speak it with Poles, is nothing short of ludicrous! Would the Poles or other European afford the same courtesy with English??! Imagine going to London or New York and being told by some joker "Only speak English with me if you speak my language on an intermediate level..!" They be given the royal middle finger in spadesLOL

Poles have as much to feel proud of as any other nationality:-)

Oxon, I'm not certain I understand your point. At least I see the practical value of learning a language such as Polish as owing to the large number of Polish immigrants to the UK, much as it is now required in many US highschools to learn at least beginning Spanish in the light of so many arrivals from south of the border! Britain can only benefit from trying to approach their new arrivals by at least attempting to learn a little of their language.... while the latter are busy trying to learn yours:-) No, I'm not suggesting to also learn Chinese, Urdu, Gujarati etc.. and any other number of languages. Since though the Poles form such a major non-English speaking minority, it might facilitate smoother integration into society.
OP catsoldier 62 | 596
26 Jan 2013  #27
BTW, how are your studies going?

Not too bad, I am not a serious learner, it is a pastime and I don't take it too seriously.

How are your studies going? I hope things are going well for you, do you still have someone to practice with? I remember that you used to have a lodger that you practiced with. Are you going to move to Poland?

I presume you're talking about a Polish shop in Poland, and not England.

No I was talking about Polish shops outside of Poland.
Lyzko
26 Jan 2013  #28
I share your reservations! Indeed, parasites of all kinds have always been and, I fear, will continue to plague the rest of us honest, sincere hard-working folks. Just be mindful of punitive language which illiegitemately penalizes the abusive few in disfavor of the deserving many.

Try to remind myself of that ever time I leave my house here in Queens and walk into our local deli where the owner, a couple who've lived here for THIRTY PLUS years, still don't understand "I w - o - u - l - d l - i - k - e a d - i - e - t c - o - k - e, p - l - e - a- s - e!"

without some sign languageLOL
TommyG 1 | 361
26 Jan 2013  #29
Edited

Back on topic, I would say that learning foreign languages (especially Polish) was the smartest move I ever made. Speaking Polish to a Pole can never be considered 'showing-off'. I've had to use it to communicate more effectively with people from Czech, Slovakia, Lithuania and Ukraine in the past. It is often used as a 'lingua-franca' in the UK for many central European migrant workers...
Lyzko
27 Jan 2013  #30
Rock on, Tommy!

I gladly reiterate. Is speaking English in England for a Pole in England "showing off" or merely doing the logical thing of speaking the language of the country one's in, albeit imperfectly? Poles ought to be grateful. Even the French may admit begrudging admiration for a foreigner who speaks at least some French.


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