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What is the Polish word for "friend"?


Lady Anne
23 Dec 2013 #1
Could someone please tell me the proper word of "friend"? I need the feminine form if there is a difference.
legate - | 46
23 Dec 2013 #2
male form - przyjaciel
female form - przyjaciółka
jon357 63 | 15,309
23 Dec 2013 #3
Yes indeed. Remember that przyjaciół/ka translates best as 'close friend' and can (though mostly doesn't) have romantic assosiations. There's also kolega/koleżanka for a less close friend and znajomy/znajoma for an acquaintance.
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
23 Dec 2013 #4
People here seem to use the word colleago or something that sounds like that. Colleague in English means someone you work with. Here it seems to mean a friend or something like that in some contexts.
jon357 63 | 15,309
23 Dec 2013 #5
Kolega z pracy. They usually translate it when speaking English as 'friend from work' even if the person is more of an enemy than a friend. Kolega does also have a general sense and Polish is not unique in this regard.
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
23 Dec 2013 #6
Thank you, Jon. I However, I have definitely known Poles to use it meaning friend. In fact, one used it yesterday, causing me to enquire as to who the person was exactly to them and when they explained in English I understood it to mean their friend.
jon357 63 | 15,309
23 Dec 2013 #7
Yes. At first I thought it was a mistake, when people talked about a friend from work that they didn't know, and later when I started to speak Polish heard people calling a friend a kolega.

Plenty of less formal words for friend too, as in English. Ziomal, ziomek, kumpel, etc.
OP Lady Anne
23 Dec 2013 #8
Thank-you all so very much! I wish to have a bracelet engraved for my mother for Christmas and want to have "Mother....Friend" in Polish. Have a Very Blessed Christmas!
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
23 Dec 2013 #9
Have a Very Blessed Christmas!

And to you!

and later when I started to speak Polish heard people

How long did it take you to get to the standard where someone could speak to you at random and you could fully understand and then reply passably? Someone here said you're fluent and that you even sound Polish.
jon357 63 | 15,309
23 Dec 2013 #10
Thank-you all so very much! I wish to have a bracelet engraved for my mother for Christmas and want to have "Mother....Friend" in Polish. Have a Very Blessed Christmas!

Have a great Christmas yourself! BTW, the word in this case is indeed przyaciółka.

How long did it take you to get to the standard where someone could speak to you at random and you could fully understand and then reply passably? Someone here said you're fluent and that you even sound Polish.

It just sort of came gradually. A lot to do with most people in my circle not speaking English to me. First the nouns came, simply by reading/learning the names for things, then a hiatus because I had a partner who spoke some English and is very quick with languages (though we speak Polish now when we meet), then it came very quickly when I had a couple of years where I didn't speak much English. The best way to learn a language is having to, not getting stressed if you can't do it all right away, and remembering that most people use 10% of a language 90% of the time. Get that 10% right and you've a lovely framework for the rest to fall into. Rather like the way a child develops skills in their own language.

I do still make ingrained mistakes, especially with syntax and idioms and do have a slight accent always and a stronger one which comes out at times- after all, I'm not in PL for espionage, trying to pass as a Pole. If it's a toss up between not being able to say everything, but saying it beautifully or being able to say everything but sounding foreign, I'll take the latter. Poles it should be said are not as really used to this as people in the UK or US but there we go.
nunczka 8 | 458
23 Dec 2013 #11
I am probably going to make an ass out of myself. But does Komater mean anything to y'all..I know that we Americans slaughtered the Polish language but this is what I remember.. Przyjaciel was also used.
BohdanBazooka - | 24
23 Dec 2013 #12
does Komater mean anything to y'all.

Probably you meant kumoter, it's a word from Poznanian dialect.

pl.wiktionary.org/wiki/kumoter
lunacy - | 73
3 Jan 2014 #13
Well, I hope it will clarify a little:

Use przyjaciel/przyjaciółka when talking about a close friend you like in general AND you know each other's secrets, have a lot in common, spend (or spent in the past) a lot of time together.

Najlepszy przyjaciel/najlepsza przyjaciółka is of course translated as BFF, so basically a soulmate.

Kolega/koleżanka is always acceptable, has rather neutral towards positive meaning. It can be someone we know since the childhood, from school, from work - definitely it's a person with whom you could hang out from time to time because you have some things in common. It could be also a person you simply see very often. Like the mentioned above: kolega z pracy - colleague [from work] that you like or is just okay.

Znajomy/znajoma is a person we don't know well (yet), we can maybe tell where he/she lives, studies, works, we could know the "outer" personality but we don't know his/her secrets, worries, the inner self. It's rather a person you don't see often and can't say much about. It COULD be also a person you don't like OR don't want to talk about. Saying: znajomy z pracy means that you either don't know the person well or he/she got on your nerves but you don't want to go into details - it always depends on the CONTEXT so you shouldn't be afraid of using that word!

We have a lot of other words like the mentioned kumoter:) It's rather an old word, not used on a daily basis anymore. It was used to describe a person that is your good companion, comrade, ally, also a blood-related person. In some parts of Poland it was also a word for the godfather of your children.


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