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Are Poland's politicians able to speak foreign languages?


delphiandomine 85 | 17,646    
6 Aug 2015  #1
Moved from another thread

Coincidentally, I notice that Duda doesn't speak a word of English. Komorowski spent time in prison camps, what's Duda's excuse?
InPolska 11 | 1,821    
6 Aug 2015  #2
@Delphi: if Duda does not speak a word of English, so what? He'll have dozens of interpreters around and besides, do for instance Obama and Cameron speak 3 words in any foreign language?

Although I am not a PiS supporter (nor I am a PO supporter), criticizing a guy because he does not speak English is rather small...
Roger5 1 | 1,463    
6 Aug 2015  #3
Judging by the damage Korwin-Mikke does to Poland's image by speaking English, perhaps it's no bad thing that Duda doesn't.
InPolska 11 | 1,821    
6 Aug 2015  #4
@Roger: "lol" :)
Harry    
6 Aug 2015  #5
Judging by the damage Korwin-Mikke does to Poland's image by speaking English, perhaps it's no bad thing that Duda doesn't.

One does shudder to think how much damage could be done to the image of Poland if more than a handful of PISites were able to string together a sentence in English.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,307    
6 Aug 2015  #6
Although I am not a PiS supporter (nor I am a PO supporter), criticizing a guy because he does not speak English is rather small...

You should look at this criticism through the Brit Bullies being back again for bullying PiS and President Duda. And indeed, why speaking the petty language such as English of which French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau said it is "just badly pronounced French" should be a must for any president?
OP delphiandomine 85 | 17,646    
6 Aug 2015  #7
Good move! Why invite the guy whose mess it will take a coupla years to clean up? Having to view that shifty-eyed former trough-hanger would be like rubbing salt into Poland's wounds.

You know, there's a thing called "patriotism". Tusk is the highest profile Polish person in the world right now, and anyone with an ounce of common sense would want him around.

@Delphi: if Duda does not speak a word of English, so what? He'll have dozens of interpreters around and besides, do for instance Obama and Cameron speak 3 words in any foreign language?

Tony Blair can speak French -

youtube.com/watch?v=bqwd68-158k

And Hollande can speak English -

youtube.com/watch?v=5helAa0i-9M

But my favourite is the Croatian President, Grabar-Kitarovic. Her English is flawless.

youtube.com/watch?v=ZxIlpoDj61s

I'm not saying that speaking English is needed, but at least one from English/French/German is needed. More to the point - he's not even old, what's his excuse for not speaking a foreign language? He's already talking about how Poland should play a stronger role in foreign affairs - but without even speaking a foreign language, how can he have a clue about what's going on?

You should look at this criticism through the Brit Bullies being back again for bullying PiS and President Duda. And indeed, why speaking the petty language such as English of which French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau said it is "just badly pronounced French" should be a must for any president?

Well, German or French is equally good in my view. But look at the Croatian President's English - it's flawless, and means that she can pretty much work effectively in Europe.

Bully: A person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

To be fair, Duda is pretty much just a puppet for Kaczyński anyway.
InPolska 11 | 1,821    
6 Aug 2015  #8
@Delph: Tony Blair speaks French for the good reason that he owns a house in France and spends a lot of his time while on vacation there. In the US, John Kerry speaks very good French because spent a lot of time in France as a child (on his mother's side, they are French and a French cousin of his (Brice Lalonde) was Minister of the Environment some 25 years ago.

The above speak French because of family and private matters. As to Hollande, he does not speak English (why should he?). Among the French politicans who speak good English: Christine Lagarde, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and several past and current ministers, such as Laurent Fabius, Emmanuel Macron and a few others I don't recall. Besides English, some are fluent in other languages, for instance Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who comes from Barcelona ...

In the US and in UK how many politicians do speak any other language? ;)
eh?    
6 Aug 2015  #9
>But my favourite is the Croatian President, Grabar-Kitarovic. Her English is flawless.
but if duda spent 20 odd years abroad he would too, busy people dont get time for language lessons, i know because i am one of them, busiest q2 biz year so far (it all got very busy just after duda was elected, picked up again 2 weeks ago, very busy week this week so far, much much more busy than last yr)

anyway inviting tusk would seem like a cosy club which politics shouldnt be
InPolska 11 | 1,821    
6 Aug 2015  #10
if the Croatian learnt English (did she live abroad?), it is first of all because no one else speaks her language ;). Since Croatian is not an international language, in order to make if, it is a must to learn other languages.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,467    
6 Aug 2015  #11
a sentence in English

How do you know he dorsn't know nay English? Did he admit as much? But he knows Russian - ever Pole of his generation had 7 years of Russian at school. He may have forgotten it over the years, but can always brush up. enoguh to tell Adolf Pütler off!!!
eh?    
6 Aug 2015  #12
>if the Croatian learnt English (did she live abroad?), it is first of all because no one else speaks her language ;). Since Croatian is not an international language, in order to make if, it is a must to learn other languages.

yes of course, good point :D
jon357 64 | 14,382    
6 Aug 2015  #13
To be fair, Duda is pretty much just a puppet for Kaczyński anyway.

Spot on. the man is nothing but a cipher.

He seems a very odd choice for a president. Basically a non-entity. Probably chosen because the other possible PiS candidates were all either to dodgy, too crazy or both.

In the US and in UK how many politicians do speak any other language? ;)

Cameron and Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer - like Finance Minister) are both fluent in French. Tony Blair certainly learnt at school - he is very well educated. Of the next Labour leader, 2 out of the 4 candidates are fluent.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,467    
6 Aug 2015  #14
in prison camps

Komorowski was briefly interned during martial law. He had plenty of time before nad after that episode to learn another language in addiiton ot the 7 years of Russian all Poles of his generation had at school..
InPolska 11 | 1,821    
6 Aug 2015  #15
@Jon: I heard Cameron speaking French and I would not call it "fluent". At best, he can have a B1 minus level ;). Blair too is far from perfect and has a thick British accent. Probably the best at French is John Kerry (= family reasons) although very strong American accent

Putin speaks good German.

A few do speak foreign languages for a lot of reasons, including family and private matters, but no one has to.

If Duda speaks only Polish, he'll have interpreters. He cannot of course know 15 languages ;)

I assume one cannot judge a politican's ability by their foreign language knowledge ;)
Lyzko 20 | 6,170    
6 Aug 2015  #16
Ms. Merkel's actually a good case in point here. While she is attested to speak really "fluent" conversational English, servicable Russian as well as French, when last in the Rose Garden being welcomed by Obama, she spoke GERMAN before the TV cameras for a solid half hour!

The issue is, does any world leader want or certainly need to risk a serious linguistic blunder merely to satisfy their ego i.e. "Hey everybody! Look at me, I don't need an interpreter. I can speak English, just listen!!!"

On the other hand, as mentioned once before on PF, decades ago when an American State Dept. interpreter, a certain David Seymour, met Carter's head of state partner Eduard Gierek, the American botched the job but royally. As I recall, he translated Carter's remark to the then Premier as "The Americans lust after the Polish people..." instead of "The American people all yearn for Poland's freedom!" or some such thing:-)
InPolska 11 | 1,821    
6 Aug 2015  #17
@Lyszko: absolutely! Making a mistake in a foreign language can be very dangerous especially in those circles and therefore top qualified interpreters are always around.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,467    
6 Aug 2015  #18
Putin speaks good German.

He should - he was Brezhnev's chief KGB spy in the DDR and they didn't send people lacking language skills to such posts.
smurf 39 | 1,983    
6 Aug 2015  #19
Since Croatian is not an international language

Of course, how silly of us all. Polish is obviously a stand out language on the world stage :D :D

This all really boils down to one issue. Polish is a completely useless language except for people living in Poland. Like Croatian, like Czech, like Slovakian etc etc. If you want to do international business these days you need to know English or German or Spanish, I wouldn't even really count French unless you want to do business in France or one of those loser North African countries.

I do think it's strange though that a man of his age doesn't speak another language. After all he's a qualified lawyer. I think he's a law professor too? A man that's so educated should have at least one other language under his belt.

As pointed out he'll have plenty of interpreters so it's not really all that important........it just looks bad, that's all.

Then again he could be like Che Guevara, spoke fluent English but conducted all interviews through an interpreter so that he had some extra time to think of an answer. Mauricio Pochettino was at the same lark when he was manager at Southampton.

Maybe he's smarter than he looks......or maybe he's just Jaro's lapdog.....not wait, he doesn't like dogs, only pussy cats....well, cats, he doesn't like p!ssies, allegedly.
Polsyr 6 | 771    
6 Aug 2015  #20
I personally saw President Komorowski speaking to Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, last year, without an interpreter - so unless Prince Frederik speaks Polish (which I doubt) then President Komorowski can at least communicate in English (or Danish???)

And, how do we know whether President Duda speaks English or not? Maybe he chooses not to speak English for political reasons? Maybe his voters won't appreciate him speaking publicly in English?
InPolska 11 | 1,821    
6 Aug 2015  #21
@Smurf: Get ouf of your village and you would know that French is an international language (the UN's secretary needs to be fluent in both English and French, EU has its parliaments and commission in French speaking cities (Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg, French is the official language of the Olympic Games, and in a large number of internatonal organizations, such as Post office for instance). I can also assure you that especially since 2004, most major politicians and civil servants in Poland also learn French.

If you don't know, it does not mean that "nie ma" ;)

@Polsyr: They could also have spoken French. 1. Prince Frederik's father, Henri de Montpezat (still alive?) is (was?) French and he and his brother were raised in both Danish and French and 2. Komorowski being an aristocrat and related to Belgium Queen, it's not to be ruled out that he speaks French (most aritocrats do)...
gumishu 11 | 4,899    
6 Aug 2015  #22
Komorowski spent time in prison camps,

he did not even last a full half year in prisons
btw Duda declares some knowledge of English though I cannot testify to it because I never heard him speak in English
InPolska 11 | 1,821    
6 Aug 2015  #23
@Gum: whether he does or does not speak any English, what difference does it make? He was elected to run Poland not to teach English.
terri 1 | 1,572    
6 Aug 2015  #24
The info is there on the net. Andrzej Duda does speak English, knows Russian and understands German.
smurf 39 | 1,983    
6 Aug 2015  #25
Get ouf of your village and you would know that French is an international language

pfft, meaningless language.
In all my years going to France I've never once had a problem with speaking English there, as the vast majority of the people I've dealt with speak a second language.

Learning French these days is pointless because they all learn English and one other language.

knows Russian and understands German

what does that actually mean?
I also know Russian, I know it's a language spoken by Russian people and can identify it when it's spoken.
terri 1 | 1,572    
6 Aug 2015  #26
I stated his abilities in a linguistic sense.
Knows Russian means he can read, write, understand and speak the language. He understands German, (his wife teachers German) although is not confident in using it.
Lyzko 20 | 6,170    
6 Aug 2015  #27
@Smurf & Co,

Clearly if/when now-President Duda should decide to meet with the Danish Head of State, for instance, the common language between them will be Globish, ahhemm, 'excuse moi, English (unless there is a Danish-Polish interpreter called in, which is highly unlikely, not to mention prohibitively costly!). Can you imagine an unscripted English-language encounter between them:-)

President of Poland: It is werriy najss tu greet you!

Prime Minister of Denmark: Ah, yes. How do you do?

President of Poland: Sorry? How do I do what, please?

etc..

Almost as much of a riot as when round about the mid-60's, the that-time West German President Luebke entertained a special State Visit by Queen Elizabeth. Seated beside her in their private box seat for a recital at Covent Garden, legend has it just when the lights dimmed and curtain rose, Luebke said to Her Majesty "Equal goes it loose!" Old timers still are chuckling over that one (forget Luebke's already well tarnished reputationLOL)
OP delphiandomine 85 | 17,646    
7 Aug 2015  #28
The info is there on the net. Andrzej Duda does speak English, knows Russian and understands German.

Allegedly. There's not a single example of him using English in the European Parliament, and there's not a single piece of evidence to suggest that he actually can use it.

I personally saw President Komorowski speaking to Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, last year, without an interpreter - so unless Prince Frederik speaks Polish (which I doubt) then President Komorowski can at least communicate in English (or Danish???)

French seems to be the most likely possibility, but still strange.

@Smurf: Get ouf of your village and you would know that French is an international language

It's more or less the lingua franca of cycling, too.

And, how do we know whether President Duda speaks English or not? Maybe he chooses not to speak English for political reasons? Maybe his voters won't appreciate him speaking publicly in English?

That part is a distinct possibility - his electorate are the same kind of fools that mocked Romney and Kerry for speaking French, after all.

But to be honest, if he could speak English, he would've almost certainly given an interview (or several) in English during the electoral campaign towards the Polonia in the US. The fact that he didn't suggests very clearly that he's not capable in English, not like Grabar-Kitarovic... (incidentally, Grabar-Kitarovic's English skills might have won her a few votes from the Croatian diaspora...)
Lyzko 20 | 6,170    
7 Aug 2015  #29
Many world leaders may well know English, for that matter, a number of other languages, but will steadfastly refuse to speak them in public. Such a figure is Fidel Castro! The man attended Columbia University Law School in the 50's and spoke English fluently for much of his middle years. In fact, there's an old, old clip of the late, great Jack Paar interviewing Castro IN ENGLISH at the Governor's Palace in Havana from around 1960 (obviously before the Missle Crisis):-) It sounded accented, but fine to me.


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