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Do expats living in Poland speak Polish?


Wroclaw Boy
15 Aug 2009 #31
Do expats living in Poland speak Polish?

Yep, it goes like this "hey Kurwa give me a fcuking beer".
OP Nika 2 | 507
15 Aug 2009 #32
ha ha ha, kurwa being one the most popular Polish words, everybody knows it!
Once they get their fck*** beer do they say na zdrrrrrrrrrrrrrowie or cheers? ;)
Wroclaw Boy
15 Aug 2009 #33
Once they get their fck*** beer do they say na zdrrrrrrrrrrrrrowie or cheers? ;)

not really. yeh course they do.
OP Nika 2 | 507
15 Aug 2009 #34
but do they say na zdrowie or they say cheers (kurwa may be the most popular Polish word but na zdrowie is the most popular Polish expression)?
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
15 Aug 2009 #35
but do they say na zdrowie or they say cheers

I guess most of us say na zdrowie. If you live 1 month in Poland and don't learn na zdrowie you should get a prize or something. Some try to learn a lot Polish, some think it's enough to know 10 expressions and 10 words. It seems, to me, pretty boring to live in a country and don't be able to have basic conversations.

Many languages are easy in the beginning and then gets more difficult. Polish is the opposit. It appears to be almost impossible in the beginning, everything seems to be random, but when you understand the structures the learning process is much smoother. But that takes some time and hard work.
OP Nika 2 | 507
15 Aug 2009 #36
If you live 1 month in Poland and don't learn na zdrowie you should get a prize or something.

agreed!
I think 1 evening is enough to learn na zdrowie ;)
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
16 Aug 2009 #37
I think 1 evening is enough to learn na zdrowie

At the pub you can pick up various expressions. Haha, I'm not gonna say more than that.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
3 Nov 2009 #38
First time poster, short time reader.

I've been in Poland nearly three years now, have been studying Polish even longer, and, in short, to answer the OP's thread title, "No, they don't."

I would bet that 99% of all posters on this sight who say they speak it well, are not even in the vicinity of intermediate. I say this through experience, not a hunch.

I've met several of those "I am like...intermediate" types, but in reality, they can't string together 1 decent sentence with even decent grammar.

Back to 99%..... 99% of all expats in Poland completely disregard grammar, string together random words with clusters of infinitive forms of verbs because they don't know how to conjugate them, all the while leaving nearly every declension out and paying no attention to gender. If you are saying things like, "Mam starszy ojciec niz ty...." and "Kupiles ta ksiazka?" " or "Ja Bede Wziac ta torba do praca", you do NOT speak Polish.

And the Poles are partly at fault for this false sense of accomplishment expats have. For Polish people, 1 sentence in even decent grammar is an enormous accomplishment. Why? Because chances are, they've never heard a foreigner speak even avg. Polish. It's just an accepted thing in Poland that foreigners "don't get Polish".

Polish is in a class of its own. You don't come to Poland, study a bit, and learn the language through osmosis, much like any other European language. Polish is on a completely different level of difficulty, which is why nobody comes here and learns it. It's generally too frustrating, too challenging and time consuming, not to mention useless as a bag of sand in the desert outside of Poland's borders.
Torq 32 | 2,897
3 Nov 2009 #39
First time poster, short time reader.

Welcome to PolishForums, Fuzzywickets. It's nice to have you with us.
I hope you'll hang around and post a lot *thumbs up*

You have a good point about Poles being very tolerant for foreigners butchering
our language. It's because Polish is so hard to learn that we treat any foreigner
willing to attempt to speak it as a hero :-)

To all foreigners learning Polish, I would like to dedicate this nice piece of Polish poetry...

Szczepan Szczygieł z Grzmiących Bystrzyc
Przed chrzcinami chciał się przystrzyc.
Sam się strzyc nie przywykł wszakże
Więc do szwagra wskoczył - Szwagrze,
Szwagrze, ostrzyż mnie choć krztynę,
Gdyż mam chrzciny za godzinę.
Nic prostszego szwagier na to:
Żono, brzytwę daj szczerbatą
W rżysko będzie strzechę Szczygła
Ta szczerbata brzytwa strzygła !!!
Usłyszawszy straszną wieść
Szczepan Szczygieł wrzasnął: Cześć !
I przez grządki poza szosą
Niestrzyżony czmychnął w proso

... ;)
wildrover 98 | 4,451
3 Nov 2009 #40
I have lived in Poland for five years....despite this my Polish language skills are very limited....I know enough to survive , and thats about it..I can go shoping , drive around , and do any job that does not require great language skills...For six months i worked as a truck driver here , and had no problems with that , but it was only possible because i worked with people that spoke some English....

Living in the middle of nowhere does not help of course , and not having a telivision , or enough money to go and learn Polish at some school...

Of course i am learning more Polish each day without trying , but it would be nice to have the time and money to concentrate fully on learning the language....

Saying that , i do have some great Polish friends that speak zero English , and we manage to communicate somehow , so maybe my Polish is better than i think it is...?
derek trotter 10 | 203
3 Nov 2009 #41
wildrover
Today, 20:02

Poles in UK probably struggle as well, particularly when he/she has to make a call to outsourced call centers in India :)
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
3 Nov 2009 #42
nobody comes here and learns it.

They should. If you live in a country you should (at least) learn basic conversation. Everything else is respect less. Polish is very difficult in the beginning. But it is more logical than it looks like in the beginning. But you must have motivation to struggle, esp. in the beginning.

not to mention useless as a bag of sand in the desert outside of Poland's borders.

Only in the USA there are about 11 million Polish people. In the UK you can find a lot of Polish speakers. My friend was in London this summer and met a lot of Polish people, and she didn't even look for them.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
4 Nov 2009 #43
Szwed, when I say "learn", i mean really learn it, like to a good level of proficiency. not thank you, please, beer, and cheers.

and Szwed, I am from the USA, and not once in my life have I ever needed Polish for any reason whatsoever in America. Also, those 11 million you mention, they live in just a few concentrated areas, mainly Pennsylvania, NYC and Chicago, with a couple more communities in the Michigan/Minnesota areas. In America, Polish is useless.

Also, unless you land yourself a job in a factory surrounded by Poles who happen to not speak any English, it's just as useless in the UK. No business owner in the UK would require,or even expect an Englishman to speak Polish so that he can hire him for a job. They came to England, they should speak English. Simples.
gumishu 11 | 5,335
4 Nov 2009 #44
Also, unless you land yourself a job in a factory surrounded by Poles who happen to not speak any English, it's just as useless in the UK. No business owner in the UK would require,or even expect an Englishman to speak Polish so that he can hire him for a job. They came to England, they should speak English. Simples.

the realities are sometimes different - i.e. English enterpreuners advertise jobs only for people able to speak Polish (because there are plenty of Polish workers) - the aim is only Polish people should apply - the practice has already caused much outrage among the local populations (the British) which is no surprise - the practice has also been challenged legally but I am not sure about the outcome - the thing is many businesses hired lots of Polish people (for minimum wages) because there were no British people willing to work for such wages (or they soon abandoned the positions) - now with the recession in Britain people are looking for whatever jobs they can have - even in the environments where hardly any English is spoken - from the business manager's point of view it may be impractical now to employ British people in such circumstances -

there is some fault here on the British workforce - business owners went to hire people with better 'work ethics' (mork hardworking simply) when only they could- some businesses might have gone out of business had they not managed to attract Poles or were forced to increase wages significantly
NorthbyNorth
4 Nov 2009 #45
I've been in Poland about three months and almost speak the language fluently. I find it very logical and interesting. I don't use any of the declensions but people understand what I'm saying.

I used to study French at University, and believe me, Polish is much easier and much more useful! I've been to America and I would say a lot of people speak or understand at least decent Polish in many different geographic areas.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
4 Nov 2009 #46
No business owner in the UK would require,or even expect an Englishman to speak Polish so that he can hire him for a job.

Nonsense. Polish is a major European language - and it can be easily argued that on an importance scale, Polish ranks behind French and German and is equal to Italian and Spanish. Certainly given the vast amount of outsourcing to Poland - knowing Polish wouldn't hurt.

It wouldn't surprise me if Cadbury's for instance were insisting on manufacturing managers speaking Polish.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
4 Nov 2009 #47
wow, what a bunch of BS going on here.

the part about advertising for people that speak Polish, in order to get Polish people, entirely believable.

NorthbyNorth, just cut the crap. 3 months and you're almost fluent? I don't even know how to comment on this. Hahaha, and for what it's worth, saying you speak the language fluently without using any declensions is like saying "I speak English, but don't use any articles or verb tenses." Come on. Nearly every sentence in Polish involves a declension, meaning you are messing it up nearly every time, not to mention whatever other mistakes you make. You sir are a prime example of expats running their mouth about how they are "almost fluent", when in reality, if you were to say be a guest on the Kuba Wojewodzki Show, not only would you not comprehend what the man was asking you, but your responses would leave everyone with their mouth hanging open wondering what the heck you just said. Polish is easier than French??? What in the world are you talking about. I guess if you are learning a language with complete disregard to grammar than sure, it would seem easier, only when you speak, nobody knows what the hell you are saying.

delphiandomine, again.....you're talking crap. blasphemy. Polish is a major European language??? what??? go to any western European country and see how many people you meet speak Polish, excluding Polish people. i simply can't believe what I'm reading on this forum.

and Cadbury??? you are out of your mind if you think a job requirement for someone coming to Poland to manage a group of people in Cadbury is they must speak Polish. THIS NEVER HAPPENS. PEOPLE DO NOT STUDY POLISH, and if they do, they sure as hell don't achieve a level high enough to run business in Poland all in Polish. I can tell you this, yet again, from experience. I teach on a regular basis these hot shot executives who get imported from all over the world, places like France, Germany, Korea, Japan, USA, England, Ireland, etc.....and they are given high paying jobs to manage Polish people, and they come to my school to improve their English, not Polish. Occasionally, a brave soul attempts to learn Polish but EVERY time, they drop out saying it's too difficult. Or, they continue to plug along and after a year, two years, they still can't string a decent sentence together. I could live here for another 20 years and I would bet everything I own that I would never meet a single transplant to LG, Hewlett Packard, Siemens, Google, Toyota....you name the major company, and the only people speaking Polish at that company......the Poles.

NorthbyNorth, I'd love to sit down with you and hear your Polish. I'd bet my right arm you're not even at a B2 level regarding vocab, and grammar, well, an obvious ZERO level.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
4 Nov 2009 #48
Most Poles I meet say I speak it very well but I think I still have some way to go. I have more than enough to converse quite freely so that's good enough for me.
mafketis 24 | 8,732
4 Nov 2009 #49
FUZZYWICKETS, why so hostile sounding? Your tone seems very confrontational and dismissive, is that on purpose?

IME 'expats' (a group I never count myself among) don't learn Polish, they have their own little English speaking ghetto. On the other hand, foreigners who live in Poland have to learn Polish (though I've known of a couple of exceptions who have no end of problems and end up totally dependent on the kindness of friends and strangers). I've known lots of non-Poles from various countries who learn Polish well enough to deal with bureaucracy (in Polish) on their own, keep up with the news and maintain a social life. They generally have accents and make predictable mistakes, but so do most non-native speakers of English (or any language).

And Polish is the fifth largest language (in terms of native speakers) in the EU. Within the EU there are more Polish native speakers than Spanish native speakers. That's enough to say it's a major European language.

My story for the day: I have to see a doctor (sinus aggravation) but haven't signed up for a family doctor. A friend who knows more about healthcare than I do did some calling around and found a likely place. So I called up.

(conversation in Polish)

Clinic : Hello
Me : Hello, are you still accepting patients? I'd like to sign up there if possible.
Clinic : It depends, where do you live?
Me : (Street name)
Clinic : We're accepting patients from (neighborhood).
Me : That (street) is in (neighborhood).
Clinic : Okay, when did you want to come in.
Me : Either after 3 today or tomorrow morning.
Clinic : Okay, is 9.30 tomorrow morning okay?
Me : Fine.
Clinic : So be here at about 9 for the paperwork, now what's your name.
Me : (Obviously non-Polish last name).
Clinic : Oh ..... (confused) are you anglojęzyczny? (strange way to ask I thought)
Me : Why yes I am.
Clinic : (obviously concerned and a little confused) Well, if we accept you as a patient, you'd have to communicate in Polish here ....
Me : That's not a problem

What was weird was that the transaction was going perfectly normally until she heard my name at which point the sure Polish knowledge that anglophones don't speak Polish kicked in (even though there'd been no problem previously in the conversation). In retrospect I think maybe she got confused and thought I was calling to sign up someone else.
MattT - | 4
4 Nov 2009 #50
I've been slowly trying to learn Polish for over a year and its fair to say I'm crap!!

Its true that you get a heightened sense of how good you are as I often get comments from Poles about how good I am if I manage to comprehend something then string a few words together which almost resemble a sentence!

Not knowing any other languages I do struggle to imagine that I could ever get to a level where I could feel fluent -that someone could blurt something out in Polish at speed and I would fully understand it and respond accordingly.. equally to be able to join in a conversation where there are a few people chatting together in Polish - I'd find it impossible to keep up!?

Anyway.. will keep plodding away! Secretly hoping that one day it will just click and all fall into place, but I'm not holding my breath!!
Gaa 2 | 155
4 Nov 2009 #51
MattT

i understand you. i've been learning English for a few years now and i still lack vocabulary , i know just the most frequently used words and i find it difficult to understand native speakers when they talk so quickly!

i guess the best way to learn a langauge is to live in country where the language is spoken..but now even in the uk there are so many Poles and other immigrants that it's impossible to have contact only with native speakers.

if you live in Poland you are at least surrounded by Poles and it's easier to learn...
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
4 Nov 2009 #52
surely not on purpose. just calling a spade a spade. this forum is full of lots of exaggerations, false statements and misleading information.

And Polish is the fifth largest language (in terms of native speakers) in the EU. Within the EU there are more Polish native speakers than Spanish native speakers. That's enough to say it's a major European language.

for the most part, this is a nothing statement. according to Wikipedia, Poland has the 8th largest population in Europe, within it's borders. More are scattered across the rest of the continent, which, according to your research, raises it to #5. If Poland's population was twice the size, it wouldn't make any difference. It comes down to mainly economics, and for most people, they simply don't see any reason to learn Polish because:

a) who wants to move to Poland? it's an ex-communist country (just 20 short years ago) with an economy and quality of living far below any western European country, not to mention an abysmal health care system, awful weather, grossly overpriced real estate, food, clothing, cars and basically anything that comes from outside it's borders like international food, appliances, etc. Basically, in Poland, if it's not Made In Poland, it's a ripoff.

b) nobody outside Poland speaks Polish. years and years of studying to finally, [i]maybe[i], learn a language that is essentially useless.
frd 7 | 1,399
4 Nov 2009 #53
that it's impossible to have contact only with native speakers.

If somebody really wants to they can have a much bigger chance to speak witn british natives while being in Poland than if he was living in uk ; )

this forum

I'd say every forum ; )

learn a language that is essentially useless.

You learn the language which you really need at that precise moment.. what's the whole fuss about..
Torq 32 | 2,897
5 Nov 2009 #54
who wants to move to Poland?

Well, for example, here's one fella who apparently wants to do it...and we have some foreigners here you know (some of them even posting

on this forum) :)

I wouldn't underestimate Polish economy - it's the 22nd economy in the World
(the latest reports show that we've probably moved into the 20th postition recently)...

cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2001rank.html?countryName=Poland&countryCode=pl&regionCode=eu&rank=22#pl

...and it's the only economy in EU which will escape recession this year:

It already attracts workers from countries like Ukraine or Lithuania and with
time it will become attractive to citizens of other European countries as well.

Of course, we have a lot of catching up to do, but the future looks bright.

Besides if you know Polish (at least at the B2 level) it opens the gate for many
other Slavic languages (mainly Slovakian and Czech, but also to some extent
Russian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian or Bulgarian).

nobody outside Poland speaks Polish

That is not true. Apart from large Polish communities abroad (most notably
in UK, USA, Germany, France and Ireland) there are Polish speakers in countries
like Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine (I was many times
surprised, while travelling to these countries, how many natives there have decent
command of Polish language).
Ced 1 | 54
5 Nov 2009 #55
nobody outside Poland speaks Polish. years and years of studying to finally, [i]maybe[i], learn a language that is essentially useless.

you are very wrong. there are people who have polish family roots all over he world.
only in France there are more than 1 million people of Polish descent. it's like one small country, eg.Estonia.
not to mention Usa- more than 10 million people. Polish people are everywhere and the language may soon turn out to be more and more vital for business, wait until Poland's economy gets better.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
5 Nov 2009 #56
Well, for example, here's one fella who apparently wants to do it...
polishforums.com/life-poland-7/want-move-poland-chicago-il-usa-39846/

this is, yet again, a nothing statement, but if anything, maybe you shouldn't have chosen a POLISH guy, born in POLAND, who speaks POLISH. part of me wants to send this cat an IM, letting him know that in Szczecin, he'll be lucky to earn 1500 a month as a "Informatyk". enjoy your packet soups and bread, my friend.

for what it's worth, Poland's economy has jumped because of foreign investment, along with it's recent induction to the EU. basically, lots of industrialized nations are starting to set up shop here for the same reason every other industrialized nation goes to poorer countries....cheap labor. the people working for say Hewlett Packard in Poland are being paid 15% of what they would earn in America. in addition, if this continues to happen, regarding language, far more Poles will study English rather than transplants coming here for a 1-3 year stint learning Polish.

It already attracts workers from countries like Ukraine or Lithuania

again, what point are you making saying Ukrainians and Lithuanians are coming to Poland looking for work? have you been to either of these countries? have a look around and you will quickly realize why people are fleeing. it's obvious that people of poorer countries want to move to richer or simply safer ones.

That is not true. Apart from large Polish communities abroad (most notably
in UK, USA, Germany, France and Ireland) there are Polish speakers in countries
like Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine (I was many times
surprised, while travelling to these countries, how many natives there have decent
command of Polish language).

honestly, when is somebody going to present to me at least a decent argument??? first of all, many Poles, or people with Polish ancestry live in the aforementioned countries. secondly, the languages are all in the same language family, sound similar, and share many common words. A native Polish speaker can turn on a Czech or Slovak television channel and understand 70% of what is being said because of the similarities.

you are very wrong. there are people who have polish family roots all over he world.

including myself, and i never said there weren't. but it still doesn't make the language any more useful. there are millions of Italians and people from Spanish speaking countries living in America, and do Americans need either of those languages? not unless you're an interpreter or an elementary school teacher in Florida or California somewhere in a Spanish speaking community.

not to mention Usa- more than 10 million people. Polish people are everywhere and the language may soon turn out to be more and more vital for business, wait until Poland's economy gets better.

again, I'm American, I know just how "useful" or potentially useful Polish is in America. excluding isolated parts of Chicago, Brooklyn, NYC, and some parts of Pennsylvania/Minnesota/Michigan, you will not hear Polish, and if you did, what would be the point or reason for you to understand it in the first place. so you can turn to your friend and say, "i know what they just said"........?

i will continue to study Polish because I live here, have a Polish fiance along with her family, and my kids are going to speak it, so i need to know it. but, when i'm back in the states, excluding in my own home, i am positive that i will have no use for Polish, along with any other language besides English.

it's really simple.....go to rich countries and walk the streets, and then ask people what language they would like to be fluent in if they could choose, and see how many people say, "I want to learn Polish" over all the others. better yet, TELL them they should consider Polish, and try and convince them of precisely why.

i've grown tired of this thread and re-stating the obvious over and over, sorry to say, but after living in Poland for three years, studying the language even longer, and teaching thousands of people from all over the world and hearing what they have to say, I'm quite savvy on what it means to live in Poland and speak Polish vs. living somewhere else.
Torq 32 | 2,897
5 Nov 2009 #57
Chicago, Brooklyn, NYC, and some parts of Pennsylvania/Minnesota/Michigan

You forgot Wisconsin :-)

it's really simple.....go to rich countries and walk the streets,
and then ask people what language they would like to be fluent in if they could
choose, and see how many people say, "I want to learn Polish" over all the others.
better yet, TELL them they should consider Polish, and try and convince them of
precisely why.

I spent 3 years living and working in Ireland and you'd be surprised how many
people were trying to learn Polish. Not many of those I met had any real success
learning it, but I came across couple of lingustic talents. It was an interesting
experience :-)
Having said that - all of them were men, so they were probably trying to learn
some basics to impress Polish girls :).

after living in Poland for three years (...)
I'm quite savvy on what it means to live in Poland and speak Polish vs. living somewhere else.

Good for you, Fuzzywickets! It's always nice to have some foreign experts
on Polish economy, language and the way of living in general.
Keep up the good work and don't forget to inform us about your newest
thoughts and conclusions :-)
landora - | 199
5 Nov 2009 #58
who wants to move to Poland?

I know several people who do, my boyfriend for example ;)

it's an ex-communist country (just 20 short years ago) with an economy and quality of living far below any western European country, not to mention an abysmal health care system,

To be honest, I don't think that British system is so far superior to ours... In the UK I went to the doctor with a terrible cough. He prescribed me... nose drops!

awful weather,

Awful weather?? Have you ever experienced "summer" in the UK?

grossly overpriced real estate, food, clothing, cars and basically anything that comes from outside it's borders like international food, appliances, etc. Basically, in Poland, if it's not Made In Poland, it's a ripoff.

Still, food "made in Poland" is by miles better than a lot of Western stuff.
gumishu 11 | 5,335
5 Nov 2009 #59
b) nobody outside Poland speaks Polish. years and years of studying to finally, [i]maybe[i], learn a language that is essentially useless.

well it proves to be useful for some - every country needs translators and interpreters also of Polish language - not all of them can be Polish themselves (it is easy to learn the basics of English but learning it thouroughly surely takes time and/or some other investments)

also some in Britain now are better off knowing some Polish
but it's true Polish language won't ever have any international importance - an international language needs to be easily learned and this is not a case with Polish

you sure agree that it is good job guarantee to learn Mandarin (though Mandarin is not an international language) - sure Polish knowlegde is much more of a niche ability in terms of demand
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
5 Nov 2009 #60
Keep up the good work and don't forget to inform us about your newest
thoughts and conclusions :-)

always happy to be of service.


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