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Russian Language - is it offensive if I speak it to Polish people?


Ksysia 25 | 430
29 Dec 2009 #31
Too many gits here think Britain is only England

It's not like that, Seanus. It's the hyper-proper thing. We are informed that people in the Islands don't like that when, say, you land in Wales and call it England, so we are advised to always say Britain. Which is silly really as Britain is a region in France, Bretagne. So now, while chatting with you, it looks as though it's not enough to use Britain, one is to go back to differentiating between countries, - but it's very hard without borders between you. And so there are Mistakes, inevitable mistakes, not meant to displease you. Once I learned more about the Isles, I learned about the part-separation of Scotland, separate Parliament, taxes, etc. But normally it's not so evident - the same as I din't realise that Spain is composed of little countries who are not unified, and dislike one another.

I think I have to come to the conclusion that Europe is not America. We are tribal kingdoms and nothing more.
Yoshi - | 60
29 Dec 2009 #32
When I spoke in Russian to Poles, it wasn't quite appreciated although many did understand it well.

When I spoke in Russian to Serbs, they were rather excited to hear it from an obviously foreign, non-European and un-Slavic person, but not so many of them actually understood it well.

Anyway, Serbian and Russian are, sort of, close enough to each other, so it as very useful there.
Mr Grunwald 33 | 2,147
30 Dec 2009 #33
When I spoke in Russian to Poles, it wasn't quite appreciated

Well I wouldn't feel great if an American spoke Swedish to me while saying "You guys are all alike anyway"
I would understand him yet I wouldn't feel too good either.
Sasha 2 | 1,083
30 Dec 2009 #34
"You guys are all alike anyway"

What if he didn't say that? :) That would be the case for me... Would you feel better if I spoke English to you or Swedish? (both are not native for me)
Mr Grunwald 33 | 2,147
6 Jan 2010 #35
Would you feel better if I spoke English to you or Swedish? (both are not native for me)

Depends on why, just to demonstrate (wouldn't feel anything)
Since your Polish/Russian I wouldn't feel anything if you use English OR Swedish.
But if I got the feeling that Norwegians = Sweeds then I would been frustrated.

Either then that nope
Tyskie 1 | 27
6 Jan 2010 #36
It's not like that, Seanus. It's the hyper-proper thing. [b]We are informed that people in the Islands don't like that when, say, you land in Wales and call it England, so we are advised to always say Britain.

No! Britain = Wales, Scotland & England together.
Britanny (Bretagne in French) is a region of northwest France. Britain and Britanny are different words in English and have different corresponding meanings.
England is not the same thing as Britain. Of course people in Wales won't like it if you call their country England, as it simply isn't England! Fact!

Britain is not the same thing as Britanny (Bretagne).
BrutalButcher - | 390
6 Jan 2010 #37
Captain obvious strikes again!

Back on topic: I don't think it'd bother them as much as it would if you spoke them in German!
Tyskie 1 | 27
6 Jan 2010 #38
Well, it's obvious for everyone...obviously!

On topic: I don't think anyone would be offended for someone speaking Russian to them in Poland...it'd just be more a case of not being understood by younger people, as has already been said.
skysoulmate 14 | 1,296
1 Feb 2010 #39
That reminds me of how I tried to speak Swedish with a German guy (I thought he was a Swede first). :)

A great analogy...

Of course, Germany never invaded Sweden - Russia on other hand invaded Poland on many occasions... ;)

To answer Marvel1990's initial question... If you pinch your nostrils you can temporarily avoid the worst smells out there...

Similarly you should be able to use Russian while in Poland... LOL

PS. Do you enjoy when people ask you questions in Spanish while in Ohio, etc. or when you have to chose: "For English, Press 1; Para Espanol, Oprima Numero Dos" in your own country?

I'm just sayin'
grubas 12 | 1,390
1 Feb 2010 #40
no its not,but may be hard 2 find someone who acctualy speaks russian.they may think they do but trust me they r wrong.
krysia 23 | 3,057
1 Feb 2010 #41
no its not,but may be hard 2 find someone who acctualy speaks russian

Easier than fiding someone speak german. Ever been to a polish market place? All the russians who cross the border and sell their goods in Poland? Ever travel the eastern route where the signs are both in Polish and Russian? Maybe if you get your head out of your you know what you might see things better around you.
superbura69 - | 1
17 Dec 2010 #42
The other thing is that nobody likes Russians in Europe or better to say that considering our current place in the world community and an average behaviour of Russian tourists you may be treated as a 3rdworlder - arrogantly and irreverently.

Last summer I was in Croatia. Speaking English/German was an advantage, even though the service Croats provided was so Russian. :-/

You probably gave yourself the answer as to why you got russian service in Croatia. They could probably smell from a thousand yards that you were russian. No wonder you weren't treated like a king (or queen).

As to the OP the question seems rather silly. Just shows the general lack of knowledge among Westerners about the culture and history of the East Central European nations.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
17 Dec 2010 #43
I'm playing music in Russian at the moment and am waiting for pokes from the broomstick downstairs or a rap on the door. Maybe even the police ;) ;) The good old Russian choir :)
southern 75 | 7,096
17 Dec 2010 #44
The good old Russian choir :)

USSR songs?
Seanus 15 | 19,706
17 Dec 2010 #45
Precisely, southern. Some great vocal range there.
DarrenM 1 | 77
17 Dec 2010 #46
I would suggest that since most Poles don't like speaking Russian, even if they can.

My Wife is only 30 and yet she speaks Russian fluently, virtually native. She learnt Russian at school as it was mandatory at the time. As to whether she likes to....She freely admits now that she is happy she speaks Russian but objected at the time to being forced to learn it.

I am fluent in EVERY language on the face of the planet when i'm drunk. I just speak English even slower than normal

:o)
Olaf 6 | 956
17 Dec 2010 #47
If I traveled to Poland, would I offend anyone if I spoke Russian to them?

What?! Why??
I don't think so. Generally older generations may know Russian more than English and younger ones quite the opposite usually. But no one would feel offended, unless you show them the middle finger or something.
Zed - | 195
17 Dec 2010 #48
Russians are a rare breed in Poland nowadays (unlike in London's posh areas or Courchevel), so they currently get decent attention from us. :-)
isthatu2 4 | 2,703
26 Dec 2010 #49
Or if your reason for speaking Russian is not the will to practise it, but just a conviction of its similarity to Polish, then you should know that it won't work - a Pole who doesn't know Russian won't understand you at all :)

Trouble is,to us,english speakers,Russian sounds like Polish spoken with a different regioanl accent,as far as I can tell there is no such thing as accents in Polish and it does seem to baffle them if you get a word slightly wrong in a way that would never happen in English,the equivelent of "you say tomaHto I say tomaYto" would baffle people :)
Iranian
2 Oct 2011 #50
All language are good and if someone can speak one more language it is a priority for him.
So I think if we teach a russian child polish language or vice versa or any other languages to other nationalities it will be useful to them .

So speak in any language anywhere if there understand you !
I'm an Iranian.
please come to my country and speak in english,arabic,french ,german ,spanish ,russian ,persian or another languages .It will be pleasant for us to hear you!

I myself only understand russian and a little english and arabic. Our native language is Persian.
Reza from Tehran
Ralph
12 Feb 2012 #51
This reminds me of a time when Jimmy Carter visited Poland and decided to use a Russian-speaking American interpreter. He was doumbfounded why his warm words of welcome were met with cat-calls and whistles. Upon learning the reason, he promptly engaged an English-speaking Polish intermediary. Russian language is in no-way offensive to the Polish ears, but an American trying to use it in Poland may suggest the speaker is just another ignorant-of-the world American assuming Russian as the common language throughout the former Iron Curtain countries.
JonnyM 11 | 2,620
12 Feb 2012 #52
This reminds me of a time when Jimmy Carter visited Poland

One problem with the Carter visit was that the interpreter they got in the end was supplied by the Polish government. He deliberately mistranslated certain politically controversial phrases.
Lyzko
12 Feb 2012 #53
The Carter incident I recall well, as it was around the same time I myself was thinking about becoming a translator and interpreter. Apparently some State Dep't, guy (last name Seymour, as I remember) translated literally Carter's remarks to that time Prime Minister Gierek as "I lust after the Polish people" rather than "I too have the same yearnings and dreams as the Polish people..". This obviously caused a furor, but was later quickly smoothed over, a rather put-out Party Leader Gierek still fuming over the alleged slight:-)

Does this though mean that English, even Russian (much less German!) ought to be used by foreign visitors to Poland? Surely no! Better to find the perfect Polish-language intermediary, instead of struggling in broken English. The Polish partner will appreciate the foreigner's effort as well, I have no doubt.
Ralph
12 Feb 2012 #54
In the end, all that matters is to be understood. But it's wise to be aware of certain national sensibilities: it makes life easier and more pleasant for all when we do.
Alligator - | 261
12 Feb 2012 #55
Russian Language - is it offensive if I speak it to Polish people?
OMG, it took 53 post to answer such "intelligent" question. The simple and only answer to everybody who want to honestly answer it is NO.
Zman
13 Feb 2012 #56
No - is the right answer nowadays, but perhaps some of those Russians if not most will not be understood.
ShAlEyNsTfOh 4 | 161
13 Feb 2012 #57
I am curious... I am American learning to speak Russian. If I traveled to Poland, would I offend anyone if I spoke Russian to them? Am I better of with just speaking English?

most Poles over 35 yrs should be able to understand it quite fluently.

my dad, who's in his mid 50's, learned it up until high school, and even though he claims to not have spoken it 'fluently' since then, he speaks very well in russian today! my mother's first language was russian, then polish, but my parents usually converse in polish.

I was able to speak russian when I was a young child, since my mother spoke to us primarily in russian back then. unfortunately upon moving to canada, she for some reason decided to speak only polish, and I alas forgot most ot it. :(

Only in recent years how I gained a very strong interest in wanting to learn to speak russian fluently again.

It's quite easy for me, actually. :)
Wulkan - | 3,243
13 Feb 2012 #58
Russian Language - is it offensive if I speak it to Polish people?OMG, it took 53 post to answer such "intelligent" question. The simple and only answer to everybody who want to honestly answer it is NO.

Is it offensive to speak to Polish people in Japanese?
Lyzko
13 Feb 2012 #59
Most Poles understand Russian, particularly (but not exclusively), the 40- and- over crowd, but far fewer actually speak/read/write it. That's what I found. German was much more popular in Szczecin (StettinLOL), where I was. Older people seemed to like it, whereas younger ones rejected it, insisting on Polish (NOT English -smart move!) first. So it was sort of split down the middle.
Ralph
13 Feb 2012 #60
but perhaps some of those Russians if not most will not be understood.

Well, whatever the circumstances, no-one can really object to a Russian attempting to converse in Russian or a German in German. The overwhelming majority of Poles would not give it a thought, I'm sure. This discussion, I think, is about the appropriateness of using Russian in the Polish context by the people whose first language is not Russian.


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