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How well do Polish people understand Slovak?

30 Sep 2017 #61
:-) As a Hungarian I can tell that it seems to be an "urban legend". Our word "segg" (which means @ss) contains a double 'g' and we really pronunce it long. In contrast in the second part of the word "egeszségedre" only one 'g' is written/spoken: "seg", which means absolutely nothing. So I don't really think that "segg" and "seg" can be mixed up by an ear of a Hungarian.

But I agree we "guffaw" when foreigners try to speak in our "intractable" language :-) Nevertheless we do appreciate the attempt, because we know that it's reall hard :-)
30 Sep 2017 #62
Basically I have the same dilemma like "yokohikasa" has.
I travel 3-4 times to Slovakia and 1-2 times to Poland in a year and also visited Croatia 3 times. I decided to learn a Slav language from the three above, and it's not easy to choose. My goal is not hard, I'd like to be able to order in a restaurant or ask for the right direction on the street, etc.

I really like Polish people (and I have real pleasant experience of Poland), but the pronunciation seems to be very hard for me. Ok, I know that Hungarian pronunciation isn't easier either :-)

So, what do you think, would Slovak be better for me?

P.s.: I'm also interested how much Poles understand from Croatian and Slovenian?

kaprys 3 | 2,249
1 Oct 2017 #63
You should learn the language you will find most useful. You say you travel to Slovakia more than to Poland. It seems easier to you, too. So learn Slovak. I guess it will be somehow helpful when travelling to Poland and Croatia. A Hungarian speaking Slovak will surely welcome here ;)

I personally love the sound of Hungarian.
1 Oct 2017 #64
I'm happy to hear that you love the sound of our language :-)
Thanks for your suggestion. I've already spoken with Hungarian people living in Slovakia and they told they can understand Polish in a very "beginner's level". Also I heard a Polish ordering dinner in a Slovakian restaurant and he got what he wanted to.

The question is the "other side": will I be able to communicate in Poland with a basic Slovak knowledge?
Telling the truth I sympathize with Poles and Poland, while Slovakia is quite neutral for me. But Slovakian seems to be much easier to learn for me. (I've learned Russian in the elementary school, so I have some experience with a Slavic language.)

So it's a dilemma to choose between my hearth and my brain. (Apologize for the last pathetic sentence :-) )
Lyzko 45 | 9,391
1 Oct 2017 #65

I too have made inroads in my Hungarian. I knew a Pole who speaks fluent Hungarian, but he refused to speak it with me, preferring to "impress" me with his broken English, which at the time, I was way too polite to either correct or even comment on:-) Eventually, he gave in and we spoke Polish together, a relief for me, as well as frankly, relaxation for him.

I can read Hungarian better than I either write or speak it, unfortunately. NAGYON SZEP A NYELV!!
kaprys 3 | 2,249
1 Oct 2017 #66
A warning to you: Lyzko doesn't speak Polish. He doesn't even like Poles. Don't let him convince you you should practice together.

As for Slovakian, it's generally understood by Poles. Similarly to Czech. You will find some similarities that should enhance your understanding of either language. You may also learn some basic phrases in all Polish, Slovakian and Croatian if you really can't decide.

And if you decide to learn Polish after all, it's great. As distant as Polish and Hungarian seem to be I have met both Hungarians speaking Polish and Poles speaking Hungarian. It must be that bratanki thing ;)
Lyzko 45 | 9,391
2 Oct 2017 #67
@kaprys, I really don't understand how you can assert that I don't "like" Poles! You must be trolling, brain dead or somewhere in between. Because one criticizes someone or something is no reason to assume that they are necessarily hostile to it! This is fallacious reasoning. As far as my not speaking Polish, what was I posting you in private, Turkish, Spanish..???! lol

@Baloghbacsi, many Slavs have a surface understanding of other related languages in the Slavonic group. This though doesn't mean that, say, a Pole automatically understands Slovak, Russian or Czech, for instance, without having at least studied those languages. Often, related languages are NOT mutually intelligible.
kaprys 3 | 2,249
3 Oct 2017 #68
How do I assert you don't like Poles? Because you have repeatedly made anti-Polish things up here and told lies here. All you is criticising. And no, I'm trolling. Neither am I brain dead (what a gentleman you are). Most of your post are dripping with antipolonism and ignorance.

Google English to Polish translation isn't knowing Polish. And that's what you flooded my pm box with -35 messages within several days until I had to block you.

As a native speaker of Polish I have both understood and misunderstood Slovak and Czech but knowing one of these languages definitely helps.
Lyzko 45 | 9,391
3 Oct 2017 #69
@kaprys, you're clearly mistaking criticism for hostility, a typical psychological defense mechanism, if you're up on your Freud. Haven't you ever fought tooth and nail with your best friend, calling her every name in the book, only to make up several hours later after you both have cooled off a little?? 'Course you have!

So have I, so have most of us.

You and several others here only focus on the negative instead of the positive posts I've written about Polish food, music, science, and literature. Germany has a similarly noble tradition, and yet I too criticize their recent past. Does that mean I'm some Germanophobe, hell bent on their ruin??!

Use your head, for heaven's sake!!

@Baloghbacsi, I'd love to practice my Hungarian, if you are available. Legy szives irni: tarsape@gmail
kaprys 3 | 2,249
3 Oct 2017 #70
I'm using my head. That's why I have questioned many of your posts here. I can't remember a single time you were able to provide logical explanation to my questions. Quite surprising for someone who claims to be a well educated person.

I'm also using my intuition and it helps me detect fake people. Guess who I have in mind.

Actually since both Polish and Slovak are West Slavic languages, perhaps the previous is not that much harder. I have heard just two Hungarians speak Polish. One was our guide in Budapest - she had studied in Poland and her Polish was excellent. Last year I accidently came across an elderly gentleman in a small Hungarian town (I'd rather not name it, though). He approached our group and asked if we were from Poland. When we confirmed he started to speak Polish. It turned out he had travelled to Poland for work. His Polish was much worse than that guide's but still impressive for someone who hadn't spoken it for decades. So to sum up, you have a chance of succeeding ;)
Lyzko 45 | 9,391
3 Oct 2017 #71
"Fake" people??LOL I'm quite real, I assure you. As to the rest of your message, I merely take it for what it is worth....not terribly much.
4 Oct 2017 #72
Thanks for the information. I felt that "bratanki thing" when I was in Zakopane last winter :-)

Thanks. I'll send an email.
Lyzko 45 | 9,391
4 Oct 2017 #73
@Koszonom, Baloghbacsi.
idem - | 131
5 Oct 2017 #74
Slovak is easier to pronounce and to learn than Polish, so I'd go for it. It also sounds very cute.

Exactly- Cute. I really like Slovakian language. For us Polish it sounds a little like children talk and it usually makes us smile :-)
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
5 Oct 2017 #75
I personally love the sound of Hungarian

Everyone loves ;) I work with Hungarian guys and when is a lunch break they switch from English to native.
kaprys 3 | 2,249
6 Oct 2017 #76
I would record Hungarians speaking Hungarian and then play it home ; )

All the best with your efforts. And I hope you'll get to travel to Poland even more.
Lyzko 45 | 9,391
6 Oct 2017 #77
Hungarian sounds to me, a native Anglophone, almost like steady, rhythmic chanting, intense and almost relentless:-) Quite intoxicating actually to listen to, especially the poetry.
19 Feb 2022 #78
I'm Scottish and worked with Poles and Slovakians for years, and they spoke to each other everyday in work absolutely fluently and without the slightest problem. I used to ask if there were any translation problems, but all they said was there was a slight accent difference.
pawian 222 | 24,343
19 Feb 2022 #79
they spoke to each other everyday in work absolutely fluently and without the slightest problem

Of course. Did they also sing the famous Czech-Slovakian song titled Laska Nebeska, like this couple of Polish Highlanders ?

mafketis 37 | 10,845
19 Feb 2022 #80
absolutely fluently and without the slightest problem

Probably a big of an exaggeration for your sake....

Laska Nebeska

Was it discolored by the jeans?

(Czy dżinsy zafarbowały?)
Miloslaw 19 | 4,856
19 Feb 2022 #81
but all they said was there was a slight accent difference

Exactly what my Polish and Slowak employees say.
When I listen to Slowaks speaking to Poles I can understand them, but when Slowaks speak amongst themselves, I struggle.
The languages are very similar but the accents are very different.
Though they do have a few words that are the same but with very different meanings.....sometimes hilarious!
Slowaks can change their accents easily, so that Poles can understand them.
Poles can't do it.
I may be wrong, but I put that down to Czechs and Slowaks adjusting accents to understand each other.
mafketis 37 | 10,845
19 Feb 2022 #82
when Slowaks speak amongst themselves, I struggle

Was once on a train ride for about an hour with 5 or 6 Slovaks (we were going to the same meeting) and they spent the time talking to each other. I could understand 2/3 to 3/4 of the roots but I couldn't put it together fast enough in my head to actually understand anything beyond the occasional sentence fragment.

Once in a train in Slovakia a mother and child were practicing basic math problems and I could understand when the mother made a mistake (she realized a moment after she said it - we cocked our heads 'wait... that's not right' at the same time.

Another time in a hotel in Bratislava the older staff understood Polish while the younger had more problems.... (though their English wasn't very good either).

Czechs and Slowaks adjusting accents to understand each other.

My understanding is that Slovaks still understand Czech but Czechs don't understand as much Slovak as they used to.... (though the differences between formal and everyday Czech and dialect differences in the country mean they're still used to adjusting their accents - while Poles..... aren't.
Miloslaw 19 | 4,856
19 Feb 2022 #83
I could understand 2/3 to 3/4 of the roots but I couldn't put it together fast enough in my head

I really think it is about the accent and not the words.

I have a good Slowak friend who took his mum on holiday to Poland and she could not believe that he could speak Polish!
He just laughed because he said that all it took was switching accents.
A bit like you trying to do an English accent and me doing an American one.
gumishu 13 | 6,140
21 Feb 2022 #84
A bit like

not really - that might work between Czech and Slovak but between Slovak and Polish word discrepancies are really significant - having said that I think it is easier for Poles to understand Slovak because of the prosody of Slovak is more similar to Polish - and I am saying that as a person who can understand a (singnificant) bit of the Czech language (which I think is more difficult for Poles to figure out)
pawian 222 | 24,343
21 Feb 2022 #85
having said that I think it is easier for Poles to understand Slovak

Yes, the immortal Laska Nebeska is always easy to understand.

Miloslaw 19 | 4,856
21 Feb 2022 #86
I think it is easier for Poles to understand Slovak

Not my experience at all.
From what I have seen, the reverse is true.
Most Slowaks can understand and speak Polish.
Poles just do not understand Slowak.
I have known one Polish girl who did and she shared a house full of Slowaks.
24 Feb 2023 #87
the ethnic group is called: goral / gorali ... they live in villages and cities on foothill of High Tatras.
Miloslaw 19 | 4,856
24 Feb 2023 #88
as a person who can understand a (singnificant) bit of the Czech language (which I think is more difficult for Poles to figure out)

Yeah, Czech is out there, like a totally different language.

I can understand some Slowak but no Czech.

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