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Which language to learn in my university course? Polish Or German?


researchers 4 | 19
25 Jul 2013 #1
Hi guys i am confused as to choose which language in my university course.

University is offering German and polish course in the academic year, so i should learn polish which will be helpful in everyday life in Poland?

Or
German which will be helpful in Poland and abroad too from job prospectus as this language is widely accepted.
What do generally people do?
I am interested in German but i know polish is must for surviving in Poland , So are their any free polish course or cheap polish course for foreigners?
Monitor 14 | 1,820
25 Jul 2013 #2
If you come at least for 1 year to Poland, then you have real chance to learn the language if you try hard. On the other hand you have no chance to learn German in 1 year in Poland, because you won't be surrounded with this language and few hours per week in school is nothing. German has simpler grammar to learn especially declension. In Europe German has more use, when it comes for job prospects or number of speakers. Out of Europe I think that they're both not important :)

Free or discounted Polish courses should offer your university. But it's very hard to learn 2 languages at once. It's suggested to intensively learn 1 language and switch to 2nd after reaching at least B1 level of the 1st one.
jon357 67 | 17,059
25 Jul 2013 #3
@researchers
What's your first language?
jock3r37 2 | 11
27 Jul 2013 #4
I agree with Monitor. The best option is to learn only one language at a time. Which one is better for you depends on your goals. If you're planning to stay in Poland, you should probably devote your time to learning Polish. That will pay off in the future when you look for a job on the Polish market. If you are not planning to live in Germany or Austria permanently, then there's no need to spend time learning German. Generally speaking, it's English that is a "universal language" in EU or elsewhere. So, maybe you should consider it as your first priority? It's up to you. But remember no university course is going to make you a fluent speaker of a foreign language whether it's English, Polish, German or something else. There are usually just a mandatory part of your program, so that you should attend the classes and study the material. From my own experience, that's a waste of time and money. If you really want to study hard, then you should do it on your own. There are tons of educational material out there to choose from.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
28 Jul 2013 #5
I'll have to put in my two sense, once again!

Above all, when studying (certainly when living) in any country outside one's own, learning the language is paramount, BAR NONE!!
While English may well be considered the universal language, I defy anyone to go to Austria or Germany and hear English spoken as it's supposed to be spoken/written etc.. It's a living joke.

I further defy anyone out there in cyberland who's typically never even studied or been exposed to German to make heads or tails out of the following which supposedly passes for English:

German: My colleague means you are on the woodway. German kitchen are the worstest. Why make you nice words about it?

"Translation": My buddy thinks you're all wrong. German cooking's far from the best. Why do you like it so much?

Plus there's all this culture stuff which almost never comes across in English, but instead can frequently appear rude, vulgar and aggressive, although it's usually not meant that way at all.

Motto? Do your best to at least try and learn the language of the country. In the end, it'll be worth the effort.
Monitor 14 | 1,820
29 Jul 2013 #6
learning the language is paramount, BAR NONE!!

I disagree. If he stays in Poland for 1 year, then most likely he will learn only basics of Polish - not enough to have a little bit complicated conversation. And for being able to do shopping in Polish, guessing what others are talking about, he will have to invest a lot of time. Is it worth it? For sure it's possible to invest time much better.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
29 Jul 2013 #7
And which language, pray tell, is the bleedin' bloke going to use when going shopping in Poland? English?? Then you have a case of two non-English native speakers desperately trying to make themselves understood to one another in a language other than their own, like the blind leading the blind:-)))

G-d help him!
Monitor 14 | 1,820
30 Jul 2013 #8
Nothing desperate about it. Most of not native English speakers even prefer to speak with each other, rather than with native. They were saying about it in BBC. Natives use less common words which not natives may not understand thus they feel more save when speaking with each other.

And you don't have to know Polish to do shopping in Poland. Even more. Before Poland joined EU and eastern border was closed, many foreigners were selling stuff in bazaars of eastern Poland - not knowing the language.

I was living for 3 months in Turkey. I knew just numbers and few phrases and I could buy whatever with that. More important is to have money than knowledge of the language. It seems Wlodzimierz, that you haven't lived anywhere out of your USA and Poland perhaps.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
30 Jul 2013 #9
As a matter of fact, I lived for several years (spaced out, not all together) in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and for a little over a month and a half, in Spain. I didn't find it necessary to use English in any of these places since I knew it would be a disaster! DId my message before last leave no impression whatsoever as to what all too often occurs when foreigners translate from their mother tongue into English??? I'm certainly not stopping any of you from using English where and whenever you darn well please. Just be aware, you're actually practicing English, not just using it, so at least for heaven sake accept a bit of correction every now and then!

You also inadvertently hit the nail on the head (Du hast eben den Nagel auf den Kopf getroffen) regarding native vs. global English. The fact that a Turk for instance enjoys practicing his English with a Pole, a German, a Russian, a Chinaman or another Turk as opposed to a native English speaker, is the problem right there. It's those "less common words" you mention which make one's English sound literate rather than semi-literate and/or plain unintelligible!! If we lose our language, what then will make us in future any different from the four-legged variety of animal?

Need I further remind you concerning your post that had I not studied languages other than English, I'd scarcely understand some of your syntax, expressions, as well as vocabulary, e.g. "save" instead of "secure" etc...

Only by "translating BACK" into whichever language your interference was coming from was I able to make sense of the entire message, I hate to disappoint you:-)
Monitor 14 | 1,820
31 Jul 2013 #10
And that's why not natives prefer to speak with not natives. Then there is no such problems.

If we lose our language, what then will make us in future any different from the four-legged variety of animal?

Who are you talking about? Why should anybody loose language when speaking broken English abroad?

Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and for a little over a month and a half, in Spain

If you know all languages of this countries then obviously you can learn language much faster than 99% of people in the world. Or languages are your profession...
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
31 Jul 2013 #11
"Or languages are your profession."

D-U-H-H, monitor!! You FINALLY catch on, eh?! No, in fact I started out in life as a salesman, yet after encountering soooo many multilingual Europeans doing such humdrum jobs such accountant, grade school teacher etc.., I thought to myself long ago, when then should I have to be a foreign language major to speak German, Dutch, Swedish, Polish etc...?? If a Belgian plumber visiting the States claims to know more English than I Flemish or French, who is he?? He can butcher MY native English language, while I have to speak his with precision??!

I'm merely trying to even the playing field as much as I possibly can.

If the entire world in fact speaks broken English, then at least (I say for the umpteenth time) kindly admit that you're all PRACTICING, not speaking English the correct way it should be spoken. If you never learn, your English will never improve. If good English is not your goal, why bother speaking it?

What's more, if you honestly think you're communicating in English and you really can only be lulled into false security by ignorant, non-native English chat, you're really living in a fools' paradise.
Monitor 14 | 1,820
1 Aug 2013 #12
If a Belgian plumber visiting the States claims to know more English than I Flemish or French, who is he??

English is an international language. I guess you also knew English then.

He can butcher MY native English language, while I have to speak his with precision??!

You have some obsession.

(I say for the umpteenth time) kindly admit that you're all PRACTICING, not speaking English the correct way it should be spoken

everybody is learning. Even natives learn all the time new phrases and words. languages evolves. And if the goal - communication - is met then it's not only practicing :)

If you never learn, your English will never improve.

truism

If good English is not your goal, why bother speaking it?

Because most of people don't have such obsession like you have. For many the goal is communication not language purity.

What's more, if you honestly think you're communicating in English and you really can only be lulled into false security by ignorant, non-native English chat, you're really living in a fools' paradise.

Knowledge of a language is not binary. You don't need perfection to communicate. Only you think so.

To sum up your case. You hate people breaking your native language. You have talent learning foreign languages. You enjoy learning them. That's why you think that everybody living in foreign country has an obligation to learn it's language to perfection.

But where is there space for professionals who use English for their work (lets make them native English speakers, so it doesn't hurt you that they butcher it) during 1 year contracts in various countries around the world? In my opinion it doesn't have scene to learn new language every year. Especially that most of people cannot learn so fast. Should all soldiers in Iraq learn Arabic meanwhile?
OP researchers 4 | 19
1 Aug 2013 #13
Thank you for the post everyone and for the wonderful discussion, you may continue it,
i think i should learn maybe German as most of the people advice me to go for it as it will be helpful in many other countries also from job prospectus and talking about the polish language that maybe i can learn from the people around me in 3 or 4 years of my stay that would be sufficient to survive in Poland ..

Is it a good thought? let me know what you think
Monitor 14 | 1,820
1 Aug 2013 #14
i can learn from the people around me in 3 or 4 years of my stay that would be sufficient to survive in Poland ..

If you stay for so long then I would suggest learning it. Investigate your options of cheap/free courses. You never know what will happen to be useful in the future.
OP researchers 4 | 19
1 Aug 2013 #15
yes thanks Monitor :) i searched for some good cheap courses to learn the language but i will not start the course very fast,, i will give it a try after 6 or 7 months of my stay till the time i get familiarized with the accent and words of the language i guess :)
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
1 Aug 2013 #16
By all means, researchers, learn German if it's practical for you to do so! Don't rely on their English. Frequently, it's NOT about communication if they're saying things you don't understand (or vice-versa):-)

My point earlier yesterday was simply that Germans, Norwegians and many other Europeans especially often OVERestimate their English skills so that it's almost laughable! To be sure, their frequent reticence in speaking English with educated native English speakers is that their poor English would be shown for what it is, rather than what they think it is or even should be!

Monitor, it's not a truism (Binsenwahrheit) to state that the more you practice a language, the better you'll get at it; it's the truth:-)

Try it some time, it'll work wondersLOL
TheOther 5 | 3,682
2 Aug 2013 #17
My point earlier yesterday was simply that Germans, Norwegians and many other Europeans especially often OVERestimate their English skills so that it's almost laughable!

Please remind us how many languages native English speakers have usually mastered besides their own...

Binsenwahrheit

And its 'Binsenweisheit', not Binsenwahrheit... :)
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
3 Aug 2013 #18
Other, aside from myself, few Americans feel it necessary to learn another language. This is often a mistake. Half of the "translation" work I have to do here at my office is to translate foreign English into "ENGLISH" English, and usually with little success as the original message is in many instances so garbled, it sometimes has to be decoded before it can even be understood. Admittedly though, this doesn't happen too frequently.

Apropos "Binsenweisheit" vs. -"wahrheit", this is the same native German-speaker glitch as "ausverschaemt" instead of the DUDEN-correct "UNverschaemt".

I'm well aware of the distinction, but do appreciate your pointing it out for the sole benefit of those who don't know German:-)

A brief aside. While still a teenager, we all participated in a sort of international youth jamboree (Jugendtreffen) at our highschool. Youth from all over Europe especially came and took part in practically an entire week of sports, lectures and related activities. I noticed then (late '70's) as I notice today that my conversations in English with my Dutch, German, French, Danish peers was on the whole so limited, that most of the chat was four-letter words and punk-style vulgarity.

Sure, the "international" language of the jamboree was English! If that's communication,.... you can keep it. I kinda felt like Jacques Coursteau - in search of intelligent conversation. I'm still looking (... but haven't given up hope)LOL

Only the other day, a colleague of mine from Vienna was in our office, chattering away non-stop in rapid fire "Wi'aanerisch" with another colleague, when we ran into one another in the corridor. I greeted him jauntily in his dialect, to which he replied with annoyance, "What's that, Mark? You speak also English, I think!", in a sort of caricatured "American" accent it'd have made Duke Wayne proudLOL He clearly thought I was making fun of his accent, simultaneously with his mocking mine:-)

Now if that isn't the pot calling the kettle black
Foreigner4 12 | 1,768
3 Aug 2013 #19
If you're going to learn a language specifically for coming to Poland then the choice is clear. Good luck.
If you're going to learn a language to make use of it for years to come outside of Poland then study German. It's waaaaaaaaaaaay easier for most people coming from English. The rhythm is comparable (depending on dialect) and the pronunciation is easy.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
3 Aug 2013 #20
I agree to a large extent, Foreigner4. I disagree slightly with the notion that specifically English speakers will find the study of the language "way" easier, since very often the cognate similarities with English can lull the learner into the mistaken belief that the languages are really alike. which they actually aren't, the deeper you go. While German has some semantic sameness with English, its syntax (hypotaxis and frequent inversion rules) and often sentence length can make the native English learner almost dizzy at times, particularly those extended adjective constructions, all too common in formal, written German. Case endings too, even when speaking, are necessary to sound at least half-way intelligible.

Therefore, it's a mixed bag, I'd say:-)
TheOther 5 | 3,682
4 Aug 2013 #21
few Americans feel it necessary to learn another language. This is often a mistake.

Often? This is ALWAYS a mistake because it reeks of arrogance towards other cultures. Wonder what happens when Hispanics and Latinos will be in the majority in this country.

but do appreciate your pointing it out for the sole benefit of those who don't know German

That one was actually meant for you, as you seem to be overly confident when it comes to your language skills... ;)

as I notice today that my conversations in English with my Dutch, German, French, Danish peers was on the whole so limited, that most of the chat was four-letter words and punk-style vulgarity.

I'm astonished, because almost all Dutch, Germans, Swiss and Scandinavians I have met in my life spoke excellent English. Often, their grammar was way better than that of native speakers.
pawian 179 | 16,135
4 Aug 2013 #22
If your university offers two courses, I would try to join both of them, if I were you. In this way you will test your academic aptitude - if you are brilliant enough to make a good carrer after graduation or you aren`t. Simple.
Foreigner4 12 | 1,768
4 Aug 2013 #23
Wlodzimierz
Say what you like, I'm sure your understanding of German and Polish are better than mine. That being said, I would consider a person close to mentally retarded (or their teacher is inept) if they were a native speaker of English and had trouble getting the basics of German down. Where the basics lead a person is another matter but I stand by this statement: for a Native speaker of English with no functional ability in either language, German is far easier to catch onto than Polish.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
4 Aug 2013 #24
Foreigner, German is once again a more lexically, not to mention semantically, related language to English than Polish! Having established that, for many of my students, wrapping their brain around German "logic", i.e. thought structuring, has been much like a Star Trek episode, taking a voyage into another universe.

With Polish, once the aspectual distinctions (related in an odd-sort of way with tense usage in various languages) have been mastered, the fact that even place names receive FULL declensional attention, is a bit more than many a faint-hearted first-time learner can deal with:-)

Other, you make errors in English too (thereby overestimating YOUR language skill, with which you unapologetically continue!). Allow me to point a few of them out to you some time. My German is essentially bilingual, and as I stated earlier, the errors I admittedly make in either English or German, are basically identical to the example I gave you previously ^^

As far as Dutch, Swiss etc.. having better English than many English native speakers, I'd think that as a non-native English speaker that would be somewhat difficult for one to judge, wouldn't it? Not everyone from that part of the world is a language genius any more than the average Polish university student is another Joseph Conrad.

LOL
Foreigner4 12 | 1,768
5 Aug 2013 #25
Dude, I don't care too much about your analysis of my language. If you can wrap your brain around the fact that I hold the opinion that German is easier for most English speakers than Polish then great. If not then, well, whatever.
TheOther 5 | 3,682
5 Aug 2013 #26
you make errors in English too (thereby overestimating YOUR language skill

Well, it was you who indicated that everybody else is too stupid to communicate with you in English...

OVERestimate their English skills so that it's almost laughable! To be sure, their frequent reticence in speaking English with educated native English speakers is that their poor English would be shown for what it is

Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
5 Aug 2013 #27
My point was simply that it only is the truly exceptional non-native English speaker who can judge the native-speaker quality of another's English, that's all. Often, non-natives (although educated, i.e. well schooled) are easily impressed with what SOUNDS as though it's good, even correct, English, but in fact would cause an English native speaker to either shake their head in bewilderment, or simply start to guffaw.

A Brazilian construction brochure, typically translated for international comprehensibility by a Brazilian rather than an English native speaking translator, stated the following:

"Our architects have often big erections all over the city which is why she impress everybody to touch peoples from all over the world..."

It gets even more embarrassing:-) Had a native English speaker translated same, you can be sure of quality control, not merely the usual cost-cutting measuresLOL
TheOther 5 | 3,682
5 Aug 2013 #28
the truly exceptional non-native English speaker

Does Strine count as non-native? :)
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
5 Aug 2013 #29
I'm not familiar with that person's work. Examples, please?
TheOther 5 | 3,682
5 Aug 2013 #30
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strine

I was born there...


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